University community given eye-opening talk on 'Resisting Objectification'

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Spring 24-9-2008

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame, Sydney Campus

Publication Place



An eye-opening and moving talk on the objectification of women in popular culture was recently given to staff and students at The University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney.

The talk, Resisting Objectification, was presented by author, researcher and social commentator, Melinda Tankard Reist as part of the new ‘Provost Presents’ lunchtime seminar series.

Ms Tankard Reist is the director of Women’s Forum Australia and the editor of the discussion paper / magazine, Faking It. She has also written two books focusing on issues affecting women: Giving Sorrow Words: Women’s Stories of Grief and Abortion and Defiant Birth: Women who Resist Medical Eugenics.

Throughout her talk Ms Tankard Reist highlighted how women are sexualized in ‘everyday’ media and how society is slowly becoming used to seeing young women and girls inappropriately depicted.

“Women can be engineers, scientists, lawyers and politicians. They can be hairdressers, teachers, army officers and mothers. But just when it seems we have made so much progress, young women are reduced to the sum of their body parts.

“Trends in popular culture, the insidious creep of the cult of bodily perfection, the dominance of fad diets, billboards and magazines depicting flawless female forms, all play a part,” said Melinda.

First year law student, Sally Egan, said the talk was eye-opening and highlighted how easy it is to allow women to be classed as sexual objects in society.

“How the sexualisation of women has become normalised is quite shocking. It was great to see someone working so hard towards gender equality and made me want to be a part of that change."

Media contact:

Moira Saunders 02 8204 4407