An expert on the influence of pop culture and media on women’s body images is quite pleased about what she’s seeing in Vancouver during this year’s Stanley Cup competition.
While writer Audrey Brashich has observed that professional men’s sporting events often use provocative images of women to stimulate public interest, she noted that the NHL series generally has a clean, family-fun appeal.
“The Stanley Cup to me has become sort of another citywide pride,” Brashich told the Straight in a phone interview. “Everybody’s involved—the buses with the ”˜Go Canucks go’”¦boys and girls are wearing Canucks shirts. So it’s not”¦just a men’s event, the way some sporting events are.”
Despite one website that asks visitors to rate whether female fans of the Vancouver Canucks are “hotter” than those rooting for the competition, Brashich doesn’t see many indications of what she calls the sexualization of women.
“Sexualization in media imagery means like when someone’s value or attractiveness is really being assessed on how sexy they are and how good they look,” she said. “The downside of this is it really plays up appearance at the expense of any other accomplishments or attributes a young woman might have. Those things aren’t really looked up to. The bigger implication of it in our culture is that hotness or sexiness ends up being used as a measure of success for girls.”
The author of the 2006 book All Made Up: A Girl’s Guide to Seeing Through Celebrity Hype and Celebrating Real Beauty will speak next Thursday (June 16) at an event organized by YWCA Metro Vancouver, on the issue of sexualization of young girls and women in contemporary culture.
She will be joined on the panel by YWCA youth programs manager Alex Gist and communications expert Chris Staples. The June 16 forum runs from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the YWCA’s downtown Vancouver office (535 Hornby Street).