Those who have been following the Lingerie Football League campaign would be well aware of our petition calling on sponsors, advertisers and venues to Stop the Lingerie Football League in Australia.
Since beginning this petition, we have been delighted to hear from an amazing group of students and their teachers from the Southern Teaching Unit in Melbourne, who had already started another petition titled Triple M: Stop promotion and support of a Lingerie Football League in Australia.
We were amazed and impressed to hear the story behind how this petition started. Teachers were discussing the Lingerie Football League in their staff room when a student overheard the conversation. Straight away 14 year old Texus Kent decided he would do something about it.
Texus wrote a petition letter and a campaign began which has seen the students at the Southern Teaching Unit speaking out and calling on the Prime Minister to act.
Today, we are going to hear from the teaching staff at the Southern Teaching Unit about how their approach to health and media literacy education has helped to encourage young people to speak out and re-shape their culture. Over the next few days, we will hear more from the students themselves. Stay tuned!
Southern Teaching Unit Response to the Introduction of the Lingerie Football League into Australia.
The Southern Teaching Unit is situated in Moorabbin and we work with 11-15 year olds who are experiencing emotional, behavioural and/or social issues. We have an intake of 12 students who are referred to us by secondary schools in the Southern Metropolitan Region.
The Unit operates two intakes per year, each running for eighteen weeks. The primary objective of the program is to equip them with a classroom demeanour and social skills, that better enable them to participate in mainstream schooling.
One of our subjects that we teach is Health, which revolves around our healthy bodies, minds and attitudes philosophy. Over the past three or four years we have seen the need to increasingly focus on the way gender is represented in the media. Six weeks into our Media, Gender and Respect unit of work, the students have felt motivated to write protest letters to object against the introduction of Lingerie Football into Australia.
After considerable classroom discussion and lessons analyzing gender as represented in media - advertising, magazines, newspapers, TV, music videos, billboards and the internet (pornography, for example) - our students have developed a reasonable understanding of the negative influence that extremely narrow stereotyped and gendered behavior has on theirs and others behavior.
At-risk, disengaged adolescents that have learning difficulties and behavioural problems are appalled at the idea of a Lingerie Football League coming to Australia. Even they can see that there are significant negative social implications associated with this; so much so, that these ‘disengaged’ students that often have poor literacy skills, have found the voice to express their disappointment about the introduction of a Lingerie Football League and through their letters are literally begging for this to be stopped. They feel they can foresee the damage that this representation of women is having. Their letters to Triple M, the Prime Minister and others, show their understanding and passion and their ability to use ideas like dehuminsation, objectification, hyper-sexualised, the pornographic imagination, intimate partner violence, misogynistic and male entitlement, in context to express these views.
Here are some of the students letters.
Dear Prime Minister Gillard,
I am writing a letter to protest the introduction of the Lingerie Football League (LFL) to Australia. I truly think this is a bad idea because I as a female feel uncomfortable about the expectations of how females have to behave. A lot of girls could lose their self-esteem because they might not look like the girls playing LFL. It also makes men feel like they should expect women to dress and look like the girls playing LFL. Please reconsider your decision because of the effects it will have on men and women in Australia, those playing and also watching this sexualised spectacle are being dehuminised.
Dear Prime Minister Gillard,
I would think that you would have put your foot down by now and said “I don’t want Lingerie Football League (LFL) brought to Australia.” I think it is a disgrace that people are thinking of starting LFL in Australia because of the following reason s:
LFL is a bad influence on children as they might think that is how they should act and how they should dress.
I truly believe that LFL is so disrespectful and dehumanising towards women that by having a league in Australia it will encourage more sexualisation and exploitation of women.
This in turn could see a rise in sexual harassment and violence towards females.
Exploitation of women in this way encourages men to treat women like objects and even toys. Not only are they wearing inappropriate underwear whilst they are playing sport they also have garters and suspender ribbons that promote the sexualisation or these women.
It feels to me like LFL comes straight from the pornographic imagination.
Can you please make sure that this “sport” does not come to Australia, because I think it will make more trouble for our community? We already have unhealthy issues surrounding body image, feminity and masculinity and this kind of league would further blur the lines.
To The Right Honourable Ms. Gillard,
I’m writing to protest about the Lingerie Football League (LFL) that is being introduced into Australia. The issue I find with this sport is the way women are presented and the way it encourages men to think and behave towards women.
In Lingerie Football, women dress in a highly sexualised manner, reducing them essentially to two body parts.
This is demeaning and degrading and damages women’s self-esteem as well as their mental health making them thinks that they need to look like porn stars. It also feeds the sense of entitlement men have to treat women as their sexual items.
As a 14 year old boy, I would like to think of women as what they are naturally, not sex slaves that the LFL shows me.
Please Ms.Gillard, I request that you see what’s going on, and stop it, before the matter gets worse.
Dear Ms Gillard,
I am writing this letter to protest the LFL (Lingerie Football League). Over the past few years LFL has been a big hit in America. Now some people are considering bringing it into Australia. To be honest I think it should be banned because it’s demeaning to women everywhere. It’s pretty much saying that the only way women can get attention or play football is in their underwear.
Women don’t need to dress as strippers to have a good time playing football. We are pretty much dehumanizing women as sex objects rather than human beings. Imagine what the young women think today. We could potentially brainwash them to think that’s how to get attention and to dress. Please take this letter seriously as to help our generation learn the right way to act.
Yours sincerely Chelsea (14 year old Australian citizen).
Join the students and make your voice heard!
These young people deserve your praise and support. Even if you have already signed the petition created by Collective Shout, please take a few seconds to also sign this one created by 14 year old Texus Kent.
Triple M: stop the promotion and support of a Lingerie Football League in Australia
Tomorrow, we will publish an interview with one of the students about their campaign against the Lingerie Football League.