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What equality?

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In wake of the public exposure of Britain’s darling Kate Middleton's bare breasts in French magazine Closer, it seems as if no woman is exempt of the misogyny of today’s prevalent hyper-sexualised media.

Despite western society appearing to achieve liberation for women on the surface, we are a long, long way off in terms of achieving equality with men.

With many female students graduating this academic year, will their gender define their career prospects? The pay gap between men and women in 2012 at 15.5% is better than the 35% compared to 1972, but women are four times more likely to be in low-paid, part-time jobs. In the finance sector, women earn 55% less than men for the same work and the inequality doesn’t end there.

You can see the impact of these shows and values if you go out on a Friday or Saturday night in any student town in the UK from Kent to Liverpool, where heavily-made up women with lycra short dresses, tangoed complexions and big bouffant hair all perceive themselves as sex symbols, when in fact they are arguably victims of the ideals of overtly-sexualised adverts and lads’ magazines.

Misogyny is still subtly somewhat present in mainstream universities. Women who are sexually liberated are persecuted and berated for their casual attitudes to sex in comparison to men who are praised for the highest number of women they can sleep with during their time at university.  UniLad and Lad Bible on Facebook and Twitter, which appeal to male university students, are derogatory and are based on making a mockery of women’s intellectual abilities.

UniLad’s sole purpose appears to be slut shaming, victim blaming and seeking to humiliate women with advice to men that women are vulnerable during freshers, alongside encouragement to ‘stick it to her, BOSH!’ and trivialisation of rape culture and violence against women under the guise of banter.

In response to the rise of misogyny, there are women who are increasingly campaigned against it. Lucy-Anne Holmes, the author who has launched a renewed campaign against The Sun's Page 3, has tapped into the fears of women who fear that they are increasingly being seen as sex objects, possessions to be used and enjoyed. Her petition currently has over 11,000 signatures and will be given directly to The Sun's editor Dominic Mohan. She has also been the victim of cyber abuse from men who accuse her of being jealous, something many women are accused of when they aim to remove these so-called ‘glamour shots’.

Society has a long way to go in terms of achieving equality for women and their freedom from objectification. Even if women feel they are being empowered by the sex industry, they are still viewed as sexual objects by men and are still exploited as merely a pawn in the capitalist industries.

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