It struck a chord to hear Esquire editor, Alex Bilmes, refer to women as pure “ornamental,” and “objects” to his racy hetero male magazine. Bilmes was frighteningly comfortable enough in his sexist position to openly associate women as “ornaments” to be “objectified.”

The editor of the trendy Mens magazine admitted: “We use pretty girls in the same way we provide pictures of cool cars.”

You read correctly, he linked us to cars (i.e. consumer goods).

This past Tuesday, at the Advertising Week Europe conference in London, Bilmes joined a panel [of women] to discuss the topic of feminism in the media and advertising.

“I could lie to you if you want and say we are interested in their brains as well. We are not. They are objectified. Men see women in 3D in many different roles in life but at certain times, we like to see them sexy.”

This is another prime example of when someone’s “real” goes wrong.

Nobody granted you the green light to openly eulogize female objectification at jest, Sir. There is no douche-bag pass provided for condoning or boasting on this matter, Mr. Sexist.

Perhaps you don’t care about the women that pick up your illustrations. Maybe the fact that I enjoy the quality writing style of male magazines is not useful or moving to you. I may not make up the larger percent of your readers, but as a consumer, and more so a woman, this doesn’t sit well with me.

Every raunchy cover feature with a woman bent over in a racy bikini in fact depicts objectification to some degree. Yes, you aren’t the ONLY magazine to exploit or cater to the “male gaze.” But your pretentious and nonchalant demeanor has stained me with an ill feeling that I am supporting the corrupted mind frame of a brand that proudly and fully contributes to female objectification. And for that, you’ve lost one.

During the conference, Bilmes stated that Esquire is far more honest and less rigid in their portrayal of women in comparison to their competitors: “We’re at least, or possibly more, ethnically diverse [than other magazines]. More shape-diverse. We also have older women. Not really old, but in their 40s… Cameron Diaz was on the cover three issues ago. She’s in her 40s.”

More shape diverse? I’m alleging this goes for sizes 0-4; and kudos on being an ageist as well!

The man clearly escaped from a Benny Hill sketch. According to Bilmes, men are not racing to his magazine in hopes of reading about a woman’s political view on the fiscal crisis or budgeting; we are simply the bait to a product.

In case Bilmes is either unconcerned that feminists are probably aligning battle formation outside of the Esquire offices in London, or failed to be consciousness to the ongoing issue at hand, the topic of female objectification or exploitation is not to shouted from the rooftops. Reality chicks and video models can’t wear a midriff tee or lick their lips without us questioning if it is bad representation of the whole. The battle is not over, Mr. Sexist, so we can’t let you walk away comfortably knowing you broadcasted your narrow-minded outlook and casted your corrupted sense of “realness,” onto your readers and in doing so, pushed many of them away.

I can only hope that the Cameron Diaz’s and Drew Barrymores of the world form a reaction and stand.

Watch the video for yourself here.

What are your thoughts on Alex Bilmes’ comments?


-Nikki B.

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