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Sense of a woman

• Kevin Myers's prose contribution of today (January 12, 2012) is confused. Here are a few conceptual clarifications that help rationalise (some of) the non-sequiturs.

Feminism is about justice, not equality. Sometimes justice demands equality (equal pay for equal work), sometimes it doesn't. A mundane example. Some saunas have 'women-only' days. Why? Because women are less likely to use saunas occupied by men. So, for access to the sauna to be fair or 'just', it must be 'unequal'. This is the first point.

Second, Mr Myers identifies the presentation of oneself as a potential sexual partner with the presentation of oneself as a sexual object.

But there is a distinction between using the body of another as an instrument for one's own sexual gratification (which involves treating another human being as an object) and having consensual sex with that person.

Third, we distinguish fashion photography (say) from pornography not in terms of its content, but its effects. Pornography has the effect of propagating certain myths about female sexuality that are linked to an increase in violence against women (for example, rape myths).

Fashion photography, for the most part, does not.

Clare Mac Cumhaill
University of Edinburgh

Irish Independent