Over the years, sexual objectification has sadly become subconsciously normalized in our culture, and needs to change if our society ever wants to reach gender equality. There is no justification for objectifying women, or any human for that matter. It is sexist, discriminatory and goes against everything we strive for as a country that promotes equality for all.
Objectification not only dehumanizes women, it can lead men to consider us as objects rather than as human beings. Sexual objectification is when a person’s body or body parts, usually a woman’s, are singled out and separated from her to be viewed as a physical object of sexual desire, according to the American Psychological Association.
This type of objectification can be seen in the popular men’s magazine Details, which once promoted an advertisement for men’s apparel that featured a woman posing naked with shoes, briefcases and belts draped over her. The image was accompanied with a title that read “Girl not included” so that readers would not mistake the woman as a purchasable object as well.
Women are often judged in terms of physical appearance while men are generally measured by their success. I feel upset when I see female actors play the weaker character or when they are portrayed as dependent of men in film and television. In 2013, only 15 percent of the top films put women in the leading role, according to the New York Times. Women should be empowered in the media, not put down or seen as a the weaker gender.
Studies prove exposures to sexually explicit video games and music videos are linked to men’s acceptance of rape myths and sexual harassment, according to the award-winning documentary “Miss Representation.” Video games like Grand Theft Auto constantly show extreme misogynistic views by glorifying talking down to female characters or hitting them. Exposing how the media constantly misconstrues women, “Miss Representation” is a catalyst for cultural transformation and challenges society to overcome gender stereotypes and injustices.
Sexual objectification is also constantly seen in music videos and advertisements. Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” music video caught a lot of attention for the explicit objectification of women. Throughout the video, three women parade around almost completely naked, acting as Thicke’s accessories.
While these are just a few of the many examples of sexual objectification in the media to get more viewers, it is still discouraging to see women agree to appear like this because it sends the message that women are inhuman and have no purpose other than for sex or visual stimulation.
In reality, there are many successful women who have strayed away from these stereotypes such as Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg who is an advocate for women in leadership positions and is also the author of the bestselling book “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead.” A woman that most can recognize, Beyoncé is a self-made musician, actress and entrepreneur who sends uplifting and empowering messages to women through her songs.
Even though there are many women of power in the world, the media is still saturated with images that sexually objectify women. Whether it is seen in advertisements, video games or music videos, the way women are portrayed has sadly become normalized in our culture and most of the time goes unnoticed.