A leaked teaser and a behind the scenes video of Kanye West's "Monster" video show West, Jay-Z, Rick Ross, and Nikki Minaj surrounded by the corpses of lingerie-clad women. Women dangle from the ceiling by chains. A naked corpse, mouth open, lies on a couch behind Jay-Z. Ross chows down on a plate of raw meat placed between the legs of a female corpse lying prostrate on the table. Minaj doubles as a fanged dominatrix and her innocent victim. West, in bed with two scantily clad corpses, poses them in erotic positions and kisses one while stroking his face with her lifeless hand.
Melinda Reist and Sharon Haywood have started a petition, co-sponsored by Collective Shout: for a world free of sexploitation, the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (Australia), Adios Barbie, Media Watch and Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (International), for Universal Music Group to withdraw the video and never officially release it in any capacity.
Reist explains: "The mainstreaming of videos like this increases desensitized and callous attitudes toward violence against women. Young people are seeing images and absorbing harmful messages which glamorise misogyny and brutalise women. Women are reduced to sex-doll like playthings. So great is the level of desensitisation that the barbaric treatment of women and girls is seen as normal and to be expected. We decided to run this campaign because we wanted to challenge the status quo."
Watching this video further desensitizes us to the plight of real women who are used and abused for men's amusement. It feeds a growing appetite for sexual violence, witnessed or committed, that is inevitably acted out on victims of sex trafficking and rape. It teaches men that women are nothing more than bodies, raw meat, to be devoured. It's really a cowardly statement and an uncreative, easy way to get attention. Surely West can do better than that. And his sisters deserve better by far.
Tell West, Universal, and MTV that the victimization of women as a valid form of entertainment is never acceptable and the video needs to be withdrawn. Sign Reist's petition today. Then go a step further. West and his representatives pay an exorbitant amount of attention to what fans say on his Facebook page and Twitter. Use your social media connections to tell them this is a decidedly unfavorable image for their client and needs to be rectified with something like "#kanyewest teach men to be REAL men, not cowardly monsters. Pull the "Monster" video and stop promoting sexual violence against your sisters."
Photo By: YouTube
As one critic has written, "Women are slaves and bitches who can service a man's sexual needs, even in death. Men are brutal and dominant, and have no empathy for women. Men enjoy dead women as sex and entertainment. The female body is to be devoured, reduced to the same status as meat. Female bodies should be displayed before men as a great feast for their consumption."
The mainstreaming of videos of this nature, combined with accessible and repeated exposure contributes to desensitized and callous attitudes toward violence against women, which is a scourge around the world. Becoming numb to violent images makes violent acts easier to commit and condone.
We ask you to consider the fact that much of West's fan base is comprised of young people in the formative stages of their development. Possibly millions of them globally will absorb and potentially internalize the unhealthy and harmful messages that women are playthings and objects of male pleasure - even if dead or drugged - and that they do not deserve basic human rights.
We hope you will agree with us that the music industry portrayals of women's pain, suffering, abuse, objectification, and victimization as valid forms of entertainment are not acceptable.
An official release date of the full-length video has yet to be announced. We respectfully request that you take a stand against the official release of "Monster" by refusing to promote, support, and/or give it airtime and that Mr. West issues an apology for contributing to violence against women in this way.
We await your response.