Sex object - empty prize

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 July, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 July, 1995, 12:00am

I LIKE the neat rhetorical trick in Peter Lavac's letter (South China Morning Post, July 10). Instead of discussing a real issue, such as Hong Kong attitudes towards obscenity or critiques of the recent Carlsberg adverts, he condescendingly concludes critics of the ad are simply jealous, unattractive women (aren't all feminists?). Obviously, it's okay to marginalise and disregard women's concerns because they must be ugly women's concerns.

I'm a woman and a feminist. Does my opinion matter less if I look like a plain Jane, a Barbie-doll goddess or a hermaphroditic dwarf? To people like Mr Lavac, I suppose it doesn't much matter - beautiful women don't have to be taken seriously, they're just sex objects, after all - and women who are 'physically less gifted' hardly exist. That's exactly the kind of sexist stereotyping that people find offensive in the advert. (I find the TV spot artless and wooden - but that's another letter).

Feeling - and thus being - sexy is positive, empowering and fun. To be awarded status as a sex object is an empty prize, a pimp's powerful drug that leaves one scrounging for self-esteem like needles in the street.

Mr Lavac, it seems, lacks the insight and compassion to understand modern women and our dilemmas.

He finds it more convenient to dismiss the issue altogether as 'sour grapes'. His letter purports to critique Hong Kong's provincial attitudes, but ends up displaying his own.

TRACY K.S. YUE Happy Valley