Objectification Of Women: A Problem That Keeps Growing

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Sexualization of women has been the longest ongoing war that the female world has been fighting against and it shows no sign of letting up. Women, not only in America but all over the world, for many years, have been used and referred to as objects and it is still going on today. The objectification of women portrays the idea that they were created not only for the pleasure of others but especially for the pleasure of men. Sexual objectification has been around for as long as time, in some shape or form but in the last decade, social media has played a big role in how women are perceived. It has created many disturbing stereotypes about women worldwide and shows that this matter is a problem that continues to increase. Sexual objectification has also been linked as a key factor involving violence against women. Studies conclude multiple forms of evidence that lead females of all ages to various complications if they are a victim of such circumstances. Many elements tie in when dealing with the repercussions of the sexualization of women like how it occurs, the effects of the occurrence, and the way society reacts to it.

When sexual objectification occurs it takes away the human dignity of a person and violates more than what someone shows on the outside. Objectifying another human being, women being the prime example, causes their self-worth to be tampered with and creates the idea that they are objects and not people. This type of objectification is frequently present not only in social media but also in everyday social interactions, mainstream media such as movies, TV shows, lyrics in music, video games, and advertisements. When women are viewed in these areas it is mostly emphasizing the development of their body parts and does not pay much attention to their inner beauty which causes men to think that is more important. Women are more than just their physical features and society should play a more positive role in helping men and women understand that those standards are not the only thing that matters. In the article The Common Thread Connecting Myriad Forms of Sexual Violence Against Women, they say “sexual objectification serves as a means by which women are reduced to their sexual body parts, seen as an object for the sexual pleasure of others and lacking their humanity. Instances of everyday sexual objectification are prevalent in girls’ and women’s day-to-day lives. Research shows that people perceive objectified women as less human and less deserving of moral treatment. Being sexually objectified also negatively influences girls and women by changing how they see themselves, focusing on how they look instead of who they are.” 

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Women’s feelings are not something that is taken into consideration as people use them to make money or create these achievable standards. Studies have shown that women who are raped are left to feel contaminated and wrong, often placing blame on themselves rather than the person who hurt them. This is because objectification leads to a woman feeling less of themselves, deserving of these horrid acts of violence. After all, they are sex objects, or maybe they believe they did not act “lady-like” enough, but what is lady-like? An article called Sinful Flesh; Sexual Objectification threatens women’s moral self explains “People, usual victims of an immoral deed or violation, feel themselves being mentally contaminated or polluted by an “immoral human source” by way of physical contact, as well as non-physical contact. The immoral deed can be betrayal, degradation, emotional abuse, or even humiliation. When individuals, as victims, participate in a situation deemed as immoral, they will be likely to experience these internal emotional charges of being polluted or contaminated and thus feel as immoral. Because objectification is immoral, given the fact that it contributes to the perception of the person as a tool or object, we predicted that women victims would feel contaminated or polluted following objectification.” Stereotypes like these cause women to believe they must live by certain rules or an agenda to be accepted in society, but in reality, nothing will ever be enough because men will always feel more entitled, and will always look down on women because this is how it has always been, but this does not mean this is how it always has to be.

More recent studies show that not only does the media perceive women to be objectified but the “college experience” is also a contributing factor. Deciding on the right educational setting and career path is stressful enough to deal with, women now have to consider the role of their sexuality and gender equality when entering college. According to Stefanie Davis, a scholar for Sage Journals, “Almost 400,000 undergraduate men are members of collegiate fraternities in the United States. Their influence on college campuses has been a hot topic of debate among university administrators and has gained the attention of the national media. In a 2016 interview with U.S. News & World Report, Harvard University President Drew Faust said, “They (fraternities) play an unmistakable and growing role in student life, in many cases enacting forms of privilege and exclusion at odds with our deepest values”. Given this potential for problematic social influence, it is important to understand hyper-masculine fraternity culture and its role in the marginalization of female students.” Based on this information, it is easily noticed that sexually objectifying environments are created by the media and even on-campus life for young women.

In our society today, it is normal to scroll through your social media, drive past a billboard, or see an ad on television or in a magazine and see a beautiful usually thin, and mostly white woman with barely any clothes on advertising something that has nothing to do with a naked woman at all. Companies use these women as a lever because when you see a woman like this it makes them desirable and companies hope to get usually the male population to see this female and the product that she is advertising as something that he wants. As stated by Rosewarne “A commuter cannot avoid seeing a sexist billboard. Sexual harassment will always be used as a way to understand sexist outdoor advertising because of the parallels that can be drawn between the ways that both media masculinize space.” This explains that viewers of these advertisements have no control over if they see it or not, driving on a highway you see tons of billboards, and scrolling through any social media you have very little control over what comes into your feed, by saying this we can understand that these sexualizing companies take control over us because once we see this kind of material, we can never unsee it, it will forever live in our head.

In conclusion, women have a wide range of standards or “norms” that society places a heavy burden on them to follow. Social media alone constantly bombards women to feel like they should compete with each other, have a certain look about themselves, and even lessens their value of themselves if it means they will fit into the popular crowd. Instagram profiles are a highlight reel of what the ideal body image should be, the latest trends circulating, and the idea that achieving these goals is the only way to succeed in life. Cultural norms for women in today’s society are much different from the past but still revolve around the same topic of interest, the male audience. It all surrounds the fact that sexualization in women can cause unhealthy self-images, negative emotional engagement, and unattainable or unlikely achievable goals because of such high standards. All of this is just from being on the internet, so imagine the effects a woman can have if she is a victim of rape, a mental illness; such as an eating disorder that started from these cultural norms, or even something as simple as how a woman can be judged for the style of clothing she is wearing. It may seem like this is not a big deal to some, however, research shows that women are impacted every day by these circumstances and it needs to be taken more seriously so a change can take place for the future of all women.  

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