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Feminists groups are protesting an Australia's Next Top Model competition that called for fans to post Instagram selfies for a chance to win a "VIP experience" as a special guest at the finale episode taping and the publication of their selfie in Australian Cosmopolitan. Feminists tried to hijack the contest hashtag with photos of hand-written messages like "Forget #antmselfie there's more to be than a 'sexy' selfie."
Protest organizer Melinda Tankard-Reist says the competition is bad because it is creating "a vast collection of publicly accessible images of teen girls" that could "ultimately wind up on pornographic websites," and that encouraging even innocent selfies "legitimizes" sexting. Tankard-Reist calls the contest "Australia's Next Top Predator."
Virtually all of the images, which you can view under the Instagram hashtag "ANTMselfie", are pretty tame and age-appropriate. Perusing the hashtag, you can see fans posted some humorous riffs on the selfie, like baby pictures or pictures of their pets, too. Most are simple snapshots. Frankly the hashtag seems an unlikely vein to mine for porny creepshots.
But even if online predators were trawling these images, shouldn't those predators be the targets of feminist ire, and not the girls they victimized? What is shaming girls who just like taking selfies supposed to achieve? You can believe that women and girls shouldn't be judged on their appearance, and that women's personal worth doesn't lie in our physical attractiveness, as Tankard-Reist writes, and still see nothing wrong with posting the occasional selfie. These girls posting selfies to the show hashtag didn't do anything wrong, and to say that they were somehow enabling their would-be predators is disgusting. What's missing from Tankard-Reist's critique is the fact that the message of the competition is actually a rather friendly and inclusive one: that anyone can take pride in their appearance, and in taking control of how they present themselves to the world, whether they're "model-pretty" or not. Frankly, this seems like a pretty silly misapplication of finite feminist resources.
— Jenna Sauers
· Feminist Group Hijacks Australia's Next Top Model Selfie Competition [Mamamia]
Australia's Next Top Selfie [Fox8]
Australia's Next Top Predator [Melinda Tankard Reist]