From Melinda Tankard Reist's blog
On December 10, I wrote an opinion piece titled ‘Who says female corpses aren’t sexy?’ for ABC The Drum Unleashed, reprinted here the same day. The piece has so far received 1086 comments (many helpfully informing me I am mentally ill and hung up about sex).
Here’s an extract from the article:
Two dead women in lingerie swing back and forth from the ceiling from a chain around their necks.
Two young women are slumped on a silk-sheeted bed, like corseted lifeless mannequins. A man advances on them. His intentions are clear.
Another woman in fetishized clothing lies spread-eagled on a table in front of a man eating a huge plate of raw meat.
Have I been exploring the far reaches of online torture pornography and snuff movies? Was I checking out necrophilia genre?
No. I was watching rapper Kanye West’s new video teaser for the single Monster, from his new chart-topping album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
With contributions from Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj and Jay-Z, the Monster preview is a mini horror movie – with all the horror suffered by women. The men don’t seem horrified at all by the female corpses littered through the haunted mansion, the apparent victims of a serial killing. In fact, they seem to quite like it. It seems to turn them on...
Women from around the world began contacting me asking what could be done. We decided to circulate a petition targeting the CEO/Chairman of Universal Music Group Doug Morris and CEO of MTV Judy McGrath. Sponsored by the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (Australia), Collective Shout: for a world free of sexploitation and Adios Barbie, the petition is now live here. It reads:
Prevent Official Release of Kanye West’s Woman-Hating “Monster” Video
HipHopConnection.com has leaked a video teaser for the Kanye West hit song "Monster" and what we've seen is beyond disturbing. In just 30 seconds, viewers take in image after image of eroticized violence against women:
• Dead women, clad in lingerie, hang by chains around their necks
• West makes sexual moves toward dead or drugged women propped up in a bed
• A naked dead or drugged woman lays sprawled on a sofa
If that’s not enough, a behind-the-scenes clip of the video includes a semi-naked dead woman laying spread eagled on a table in front of Rick Ross as he eats a plate of raw meat. It is likely we can expect more brutal images in the full-length video.
The victims in this video are clearly women. Only women. And the men, Kanye West, Rick Ross, and Jay-Z are far from bothered by the female corpses. They seem to quite like being surrounded by lifeless female bodies, apparent victims of a serial killing.
The official release date of the full-length video has not yet been announced. Let's make it clear to Universal Music Group, the controlling company of West's record label, Roc-A-Fella Records, and MTV that the music industry’s portrayals of women’s pain, suffering, abuse, objectification, and victimization as valid forms of entertainment are not acceptable.
We call on Universal Music Group and MTV to combat violence against women by refusing to support, promote, and/or give airtime to West's "Monster" video. Please add your name to support this letter.
To: CEO/Chairman of Universal Music Group (Doug Morris) and CEO of MTV (Judy McGrath)
Dear Mr. Morris and Ms. McGrath,
We the undersigned write in response to the leaked video teaser of Kanye West's video "Monster," released by HipHipConnection.com. The shocking and demeaning images of slain women, fetishized and eroticized in the video clip, suggest that violence against women is sexy. The 30-second clip sends the message that women as lifeless and passive objects are sexually appealing.
As one critic has written, “Women are slaves and bitches who can service a man’s sexual needs, even in death. Men are brutal and dominant, and have no empathy for women. Men enjoy dead women as sex and entertainment. The female body is to be devoured, reduced to the same status as meat. Female bodies should be displayed before men as a great feast for their consumption.”
The mainstreaming of videos of this nature, combined with accessible and repeated exposure contributes to desensitized and callous attitudes toward violence against women, which is a scourge around the world. Becoming numb to violent images make violent acts easier to commit and condone.
We ask you to consider the fact that much of West’s fan base is comprised of young people in the formative stages of their development. Possibly millions of them globally will absorb and potentially internalize the unhealthy and harmful messages that women are playthings and objects of male pleasure – even if dead or drugged - and that they do not deserve basic human rights.
We hope you will agree with us that music industry portrayals of women’s pain, suffering, abuse, objectification, and victimization as valid forms of entertainment are not acceptable.
An official release date of the full-length video has yet to be announced. We respectfully request that you take a stand against the official release of “Monster” by refusing to promote, support, and/or give it airtime.
We await your response.
Please add your name and distribute the petition through your networks. We need to demonstrate the widespread global outrage at this monstrous video clip and demand action against it.