GUST is… sexist

Glagow University Student Television have produced a promo video.  That’s promo not porno, but someone obviously misread the brief. Much consternation has been caused on their facebook page among female students over the contents and style of the video. The response from GUST has been almost as stunning as the video itself.

Your comments about it being sexist are unprecedented, if you don’t think the girls in it are sexy, then you don’t appreciate beauty

And then this from another contributor

…just why exactly is the Gust video sexist? Every critic of the video has declared it to be sexist without ever giving reasons why.

So…lets look at the video – take a wee peek here

The scene starts with a manicured fingernail pushing a button followed by a close up shot of a female mouth in close proximity to a very phallic mike. It’s then followed up with the camera following an attractive female as she walks down a corridor, then beckons the viewer through a door where a roomful of attractive young women dressed and made up more for a night of clubbing than a filming session await.

The next scene is then the camera traveling around the room, lingering on the bare back of a computer user, across a young woman stroking her her headset, lingers on another woman who smiles at the camera…and then there is a cut scene of a female shadow behind a curtain. A pout, a wink, an eyeflicker then a woman holding another phallic symbol before another cut scene of a female form behind a curtain. A hairflick and then (hurrah!) at last at, halfway into the video we see the first (and only) non-objectified woman behind a camera – shame they had to spoil it by overlaying yet another female/curtain shot. A liplick in front of a mike more phallic than the first, a knowing look, high heels, a shy smile and finally a hipwiggle.  This whole scene, from when we the viewer enter through the door until fade lasts 30 seconds with 16 instances of objectification. A woman is being objectified literally every two seconds.

The final scene is of the camera panning across a vista of static women positioned on a set of stairs. They are illuminated briefly, then fall into darkness as the shadow of a camera pointing at the static women is the last thing we see.

This video was designed to encourage people to become involved with Glasgow University Student Television and was written, performed, filmed and directed by them.  GUST isnt entirely female – so why are there only females in the film? …and if all the females were on camera – who did the filming?  The whole middle scene is filled with come-hither looks, signals of sexual desire and phallic imagery. It is aimed at attracting the viewer, and the manner in which they have chosen to attract the viewer is through female sexuality. So ultimately we have a promo designed to attract new recruits to a student society, where the female members of the society perform in a sexual manner.

There is precisely one instance where a woman is seen with technical equipment using it as it should be used, in all other instances it is either being used as a prop, or the manner of filming is deliberately sexualised. That is interspersed with random shots of women behind curtains and sexualised imagery completely unrelated to purpose.

In their defence it is pretty well shot, and the final scene of doll-like women briefly illuminated then falling into darkness as a shadowy camera is trained on them approaches Arthouse.  If this were a student project to develop a short illustrating how gender issues are represented in film, it would get an A rating as a case study in female objectification and the male gaze.

Leave a comment below, or join the discussion on the or join the discussion on the Second Council House of Virgo facebook page. .
6 comments
Isabel
Isabel

Or, I guess I should say sometimes a talkback tannoy system is just a talkback tannoy system. :)

Isabel
Isabel

"This is a bit puzzling, as a) as far as I am aware, microphones are not designed nor are they generally considered to resemble phalluses and b) neither GUST nor GU Media Services (whose facility this video was filmed in) possess mics of a different type, except tie clip mics which were not appropriate for this piece." Hahahaha. yeah, I'm sure the "resemblance", especially in the tight close-up shot where the woman is licking her lips slowly just above the rounded tip of the "longer than it's wide" object that is shown in silhouette, never *once* occurred to you or to anyone involved in the production of this tacky, cliche-ridden promo. Sometimes a microphone is just a microphone, sure, lol.

bloggerclarissa
bloggerclarissa

It is very sad to see such intense humorless prudishness masquerading as feminism.

Chris
Chris

Hi Mhairi, I just read some of your blog. It's kinda boring. I suppose it keeps you entertained and away from the public though so that's the main thing. Keep it up.

mhairi
mhairi

Thank you for your response, I'm glad you appreciate the critique. The symbolism which is repeated on two occasions, is of close up of a female mouth in close proximity to a phallic object. On the second occasion this is accompanied by actions which indicate sexual desire.

Daniel Laird, Head of Factual Programming, GUST
Daniel Laird, Head of Factual Programming, GUST

My name's Daniel Laird, I'm the Head of Factual Programming at GUST. I had no personal involvement in the filming or editing of the promo. I would not like to start a lengthy discussion on the merits of the video, nor on the instances of objectification. I say this because I do not wish to appear to be blindly defending the video, and because I do not consider myself suitably qualified or knowledgable to do so. However, I am writing a comment to point out one issue/inaccuracy. You refer to the mics in shot as "phallic". This is a bit puzzling, as a) as far as I am aware, microphones are not designed nor are they generally considered to resemble phalluses and b) neither GUST nor GU Media Services (whose facility this video was filmed in) possess mics of a different type, except tie clip mics which were not appropriate for this piece. Furthermore, a clarification should be made that the device the first performer used was in fact a talkback tannoy system used to facilitate communication between the gallery (the control room where technical equipment is controlled) and the floor (the main studio area where programmes are filmed). Therefore, it is incorrect to call this a mic. Thank you for watching and publishing this blog post, at GUST we like to know our content reaches far across the student body. Daniel Laird

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