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In response to one of the biggest party weeks of the year for students, the Wellington City Council (WCC) and NZ Police released the Check Yourself campaign. The WCC says the campaign is designed to encourage people aged between 18–25 to be safe and responsible in the city.
The campaign, which was developed by Massey University Creative Enterprise students, features a video depicting a young, drunk woman. The campaign urges young people to not be “that girl,” and to think of their elderly neighbours.
The video has drawn criticism for negatively portraying young people, particularly women. Salient spoke to one second year student, who wished to remain anonymous: “It’s so classic — trying to appeal to a younger audience with ‘white girl wasted’ […] that trope is boring, stereotypical, and kind of offensive.”
The President of the Victoria University Feminist Law Society, Chennoah Walford, questioned the direction of the message, particularly in relation to incidences of alcohol-related harm. “Each person has control over their own behaviour, but victims/survivors cannot be expected to control those who hurt them.” Instead, “the ‘checking yourself’ thing could potentially add to our culture of victim blaming.”
Two first year students, who wish to remain anonymous, were less than impressed with the campaign. One said that the WCC had “missed the mark” as the video was “not likely to be viewed by and taken in by first year students.”
“No one who is drunk is going to think back to this video and actually check themselves. It’s more like a joke.”