I am a lover of print media. I choose to read the news instead of watch it. Print in its paper and digital forms give its audience a moment to pause and revel in the script read or image viewed, instead of being pummeled forward to the next topic or commercial as when watching television. Tonight as I read the New York Times, I daresay a breath of hope escaped my lips about another topic near and dear to my heart. The Pirelli Calendar, oh The Pirelli Calendar! I took more than a moment to pause and smile so hard my cheeks hurt.
The article by Vanessa Friedman poised on the little screen before my face, (thank you IPhone) depicted beautiful women – strong, vibrant, intelligent women – with clothes on! Could it be? Women of all ages and various ethnicities were shown, I felt faint! As I read the words of the article my eyes welled up with tears. The Pirelli Calendar, a “ode to pin up and deemed soft core” calendar produced by a Italian tire company of the same name decided to change its tune from solely supermodels and scantily clad actresses to a more fluid representation of women. Authors, Athletes, and Business women are shown. Tummy rolls, muscles, and various types of skin glorified. The photographer of the images, Annie Leibovitz is deemed to be the brainchild of the calendar, and it was from her firm that requests were sent to the women involved.
While this shift is cause for celebration, the article also elaborates that the change in Pirelli’s marketing strategy is not due to a regret of objectifying women for all these years. It boils down to money. Women are ever so slowly closing the gap in the workforce, gaining monetary worth, and increasing overall asset value, thus only now making them worthy of consideration in the tire industry that is Pirelli. The article mentions that “…the greatest offender is now the greatest bandwagoneer.” The trend is now women’s empowerment according to the article, citing Antonio Achille who was quoted as saying “Women are superb brand ambassadors. Women share a positive car experience with more than 20 people, while men share only two.” Not to mention that Annie Leibovitz has shot more than one calendar for Pirelli, the first in the early 2000’s under the old model of Pirelli calendar style.
In all reality why is any of this important? Why should anyone care that women are being shown for their brains and brawn instead of just their boobs and butt? Why should we care whether or not they have clothes on? Because it is a ripple against the tide that is mainstream media’s objectification of women. A small hiccup, a little chasm, a tiny break in the perceived norm. A hope. A hope that one day there won’t be a stigma for women’s colleges because “you can’t find a husband there.” A hope that one day women can walk down the street in a tank top and not fear for their safety because “they were asking for it!” A hope that my children’s generation will never hear the phrase “boys will be boys” because there will be no excuse for indecent behavior for any child, regardless of gender. A hope that the ripple will become a wave, a wave that will grow in force until it covers every inch of mainstream media and therefore the world. A tidal surge against objectification, of accepting women as bodies but not souls, a shell with no voice A force, that once beckoned will lead us to a better tomorrow. One where articles like this will become extinct, because the battle for gender equality and respect will be won. A hope. A hope I valiantly share with men and women all over this great planet. A tiny ripple of beginning… to reach a beautiful end.