An initiative of the National Women’s Council of Ireland


Unfair judgement of Young women and Youth Culture by Sensationalised Stories

August 22, 2013 at 1:54

The reactions to the story regarding incidents that occurred at the Eminem concert in Slane over the weekend, the virality of the photographs on social media and the mass vitriol directed at the young woman involved, as well as at other people who have criticised the sexist commentary, have all been a depressing reminder of the on-going struggle we still face against sexism and misogyny.

At The Y Factor, we’ve been struggling to know how to respond; whether to add our views to the already frenzied social media discussion and analysis, which has ended up being about one young woman, or whether to refrain from making her and the situation symbolic of all young women, without even knowing her own views or what she herself would want.
The young women and men who are involved with The Y Factor are fed up with how young women are constantly portrayed: sensationalised; sexualised; objectified; vilified; dumbed down; talked ABOUT – usually with very little participation by themselves in the discussion.  It’s one of the reasons The Y Factor exists – to promote the voices of young women, and of young people who want to see an end to sexism and inequality.  The work we do is both driven and executed by talented, competent, experienced, creative young people whose lived experiences are informed by a rich diversity, reflective of the reality of our society.   Dress, sexual preference, and private life activities are irrelevant to what young women contribute to that society and to what they should be recognised for.

A Gárda investigation is ongoing and there are legal issues at stake as well as the extreme vulnerability of at least one individual.  We have little different to add to what has already been well articulated by many of our sister feminist and youth organisations and individual commentators, and to the solidarity stands that have been made.  The Y Factor joins in the outright condemnation of the lurid social media coverage of and sexist backlash to this media story, but also seeks to resist the unfair and disproportionate judgement of young women and youth culture by such sensationalised stories alone. This was an isolated situation which regrettably stands as an example of strong moralistic social reaction connected to sexist ideology. Let it be this reaction that we focus on and work towards changing.