The Bureau of Women's Affairs is expressing outrage at the growing practice of using women's bodies as 'body bars', as reported in The Gleaner on Tuesday.
The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, of which Jamaica is a signatory, calls on governments to address sex roles and stereotyping as well as prostitution/exploitation. The practice of using women's bodies as 'body bars' is a form of discrimination to the extent that it constitutes the sexual exploitation, objectification, and commodification of the bodies of women and girls involved.
Although this can be seen as an income-generating activity, it is not approved as a legitimate form of employment as it increases the vulnerability of women and girls to sexual and other forms of exploitation.
The practice of sexual objectification dehumanises the person involved. The newspaper article indicates that the practice of sexually objectifying the female body as body bars is gaining acceptance within the entertainment industry.
This is outrageous, exploitative and abusive and is cause for alarm. As indicated in the article, the entertainment industry facilitates practices such as "persons eating fruits, whipped cream and strawberry from the body of a woman". The inclusion of alcohol is an added risk to the participants. It is a deplorable and harmful practice and constitutes a violation of women's human rights, particularly women and girls who are more vulnerable to sexual and other forms of exploitation.
We encourage women to place a high value on themselves and not allow others to use them as objects of pleasure or commodity.
We also urge the media to be more responsible when reporting issues of this nature and take into account the various ages of readers and the impact stories or images such as these could have on them.