Is Jesinta Campbell really raising awareness about domestic violence?



By Madison Manning


Jesinta CampbellDanii Minogue and Megan Gale have all been featured in the Marie Claire magazine’s latest issue, in an attempt to bring awareness to domestic violence*.

The magazine has been active in raising awareness about domestic violence concerns, including the publication of an article about makeup being a tool for domestic violence sufferers, and the sharing of a story about an abuse counsellor who was also a victim of abuse.

This month, Marie Claire launched a campaign of editorials featuring celebrities with younger children, in an effort to promote the following message:

“What you learn as a child shapes the adult you become. The best way to deal with negative assumptions about domestic violence is to pull them out at the root by educating our kids.”

The edition was published in the lead up to the International Women’s Day Forum event, which is affiliated with the #BePartOfTheChange campaign.

So can we break this down and call it what it is?

Will these three women deter perpetrators and inform the public about the serious realities of domestic violence, or will they simply sell magazines and do little to help the cause?

Lady Gaga generating awareness for the issue of rape is a case in which the power of public relations and celebrity works effectively.

Why? What’s the difference between these two scenarios?

Lady Gaga brings forward her emotions, her talents and her personal experiences to the cause. Gaga means and understands what she says.

Fashion magazines and models exist in an industry largely based on superficiality; a contradiction to the raw realities of domestic violence.

I’m not suggesting any of the three women don’t genuinely care about the issue of domestic violence, but I do suggest their involvement with the cause is, primarily, professionally self-serving.

According to Campbell, “no child is born abusive or violent; this type of behaviour is learnt. It really does start with what they see in the home or playground, and how they see men and women interacting.” (Source)

How did Campbell reach this conclusion? Or who told her to say that?

Campbell is a hard-working 24-year-old, becoming increasingly successful, and is endlessly adored by fans.

She is a pretty picture of health, fitness, beauty, fashion and happiness.

She is not the face, or voice, of the reality of domestic violence.

In fact, I’d argue Campbell’s shallow involvement with domestic violence awareness (and her sexist views) are even harmful to her devoted, younger audience.

Campbell glamorises fashion, health and fitness – it serves little value to feature her voice as an attempt to offer insight to an issue which requires serious attention.

Marie Claire editorial featuring Campbell, surrounded by young girls in ballerina attire, deflects the message of the reality of domestic violence.

If Campbell had experience with such violence, was actively involved with victims, or was better educated on the topic, using her public image to raise awareness would be worthwhile.

The problem is, all Campbell boasts is the public image, and that is not enough in such a scenario.

It is disrespectful to the people who suffer from the tragedies of domestic violence, to listen to Campbell’s vapid attempts to bring about positive change.

It’s not entirely Campbell’s fault – as a media personality, when you get offered work, you generally accept it.

Unfortunately, owning a large public reach and a reputable profile was reason enough to choose Campbell, as opposed to someone well-versed in the facts and ramifications of domestic violence.

Domestic violence victims need a little more grit than quotes about “learnt behaviour” from a fashion model, to guide them through their trauma.

During the conversation about sexual discrimination and domestic violence with the thoroughly informed Elizabeth Broderick, Campbell also claimed she was “disappointed” in women’s behaviour around footballers, claiming “the most shocking thing for me is the way… women in general act around these sports stars. It’s almost like they would do anything to have the glory of being with a footballer.”

Note she is engaged to Sydney Swans footballer, Lance Franklin.

On the Today Show, Campbell followed up on her point, defending sportsmen and male celebrities, and explaining females are to blame for the way they conduct themselves around these males, and their behaviour is “degrading”.

Those remarks appear as discriminatory against females – believing women overtly sexualise themselves.

Jane Caro questioned Campbell’s views: “I don’t know why we expect women to be better controlled, better behaved, nicer [and] more generous than men. To me, that seems like a particularly insidious form of sexism”.

Let’s leave Campbell to her thriving career in fashion, and replace her with a campaigner who can offer the public some real insight into the brutality of domestic violence.

An editorial featuring gorgeous ballerinas and a semi-famous model will sell magazines, but won’t do much for the women living in fear, in their own homes.

*Sell magazines

bio piece on domestic violence, by Madison Manning published in Feminarsty.