The Global Investment Group (GIG) has faced renewed criticism over its annual event, Blackout: Stocks and Bondage.
The night out at Liquid nightclub in Dundee has been promoted as “another night of bacchanalian pleasures… with more latex suits, silk ties, C notes, and champagne than you can crack a whip at.” Promotional images for the event portray scantily clad women being pursued by
men in suits.
Members of FemSoc have expressed their concern over the images. Lin Mortensgaard, the treasurer of FemSoc, said: “How sad that the GIG once again feels the need to use degrading and sexist images to advertise their events. Many students will remember the event photo from
a couple of years ago with a naked woman on a horse, surrounded by fully dressed men. Back then the GIG received a lot of criticism for their advertising of the event and they ended up retracting the ad.
“Either the advertising team of the GIG have had a ‘blackout’ on the past reactions and the promises they made back then or they simply lack the creativity to come up with a campaign that doesn’t reek of highly sexualized, sexist and degrading images. The Feminist Society has some really creative marketing and events officers – I’m sure they’d be happy to help any time.”
A spokesperson for the University said: “As a University we seek to nurture respectful citizens, who have the courage and the critical faculties to challenge sexism, discrimination and human devaluation in all its forms.
“It’s every student’s responsibility to help define the student culture they want to be a part of, and we are encouraged to see our students rising to this challenge and calling out sexism where they find it.”
The GIG is an investment and finance society that is not affiliated with the Students’ Association. According to its website it is one of the largest student run societies on campus with over 400 members. Members are offered the opportunity to participate in the society’s $15,000 equity investment fund.
When approached for comment, a spokesperson for GIG said: “While yes, the promotional pictures and event descriptions used are risqué, criticisms of sexism are gratuitous and unfounded. If you wish to write an article about women in the GIG, I would encourage your newspaper
to focus on more important matters, such as our female leadership or all that our committee does to help promote women in business and finance.”
Both the current President and Vice-President of GIG, Kajsa Johansson and Caroline Michaels, are female. A spokesperson for the group pointed out that the committee takes an active role in promoting opportunities for women in investing. They highlighted that their latest newsletter contains information about a female insight afternoon at Morgan Stanley in London.
The photographer who took the promotional images, Leigh Walderman, is also a woman. She was previously the creative director for DontWalk.
The GIG have been criticised in past years about the event, though the spokesperson emphasised that there were no problems with last year’s event.
In 2011, Director of Student Representation, Sam Fowles, proposed a motion condemning the event, to go before the Student Representative Council (SRC).
His motion attacked the advertising campaign for the event, which featured scantily-clad models standing before men in black tie. The dress code for that year’s event was described as “men in suits, women in leather”.
“Previous GIG events have included encouragement to women to do ‘anything for money’,” Fowles’ motion asserted, adding, “The objectification of women for entertainment is inappropriate and harmful.”
However, a letter of apology from the GIG stopped this condemnation. In this letter, the group expressed their change of heart and promised to withdraw the advertising campaign and hold the event in a respectable manner.
GIG but commended them for their apology, withdrawal of the ad campaign and undertaking to conduct this and all future events in a manner respectful to both women and men,” adding, “The GIG responded very maturely.”
Pat Mathewson, president of the Students’ Association, could not be reached for comment.
A video of last year’s event, carrying the slogan #BlackOutOrGetOut, can be found here.