The issue of the objectification of women in the media and society is probably one of the most controversial social issues of our time (not really). Sex sells and women are the more sexy of the gender so as you would expect capitalists have done what they have to do to make the profits stretch. It is almost impossible to go through a whole day without seeing some form of female objectification. Some are done tastefully, some funny (Lynx adverts), some outright derogatory (see most hip-hop videos). So is this a gift or a curse? And how is the way women are portrayed in the media affect both the way men perceive women and how women perceive themselves?
It might seem like the highly sought after ‘fat free’ hourglass shape represents an empirical formula for female beauty, but this hasn’t always been the case, and in some parts of the world it still isn’t. A quick look into history will show you that in the past women were expected to have a bit of meat on them, and the paler you were, the more attractive you seemed. I don’t need to stress how much money businesses are making of fake tan and sunbeds. Ironically in Africa women take to bleaching their skin to look lighter. I guess we are all aiming for a shade of caramel. I heard the pale skin represented wealth because it meant you didn’t work in the fields, and the weight represented the same as it meant you had enough to eat. Today the tan shows wealth because you can afford a holiday and the weight loss shows you hit the gym (wealth and fitness).
I have met a lot of ladies with real issues as regards to the media standard of beauty, but I have even met more trying to conform to it by working their ass of in the gym (pun not intended). I personally believe in the idea that the standard of beauty is determined by the society and the time in question. The media only reflects the ideas we already have in our minds but then reinforces it. But maybe I might be wrong and already brainwashed by years of exposure to MTV (when they did show music videos). The second question is do you think the current depiction of women in the media has forced insecurities on ladies today and influenced men to respect them less. While I cannot answer the former (as I am a man), I will say the latter has an element of truth to it. When a girl comes across looking like one of the objectified women we see on TV, men do have the habit of objectifying them. Can this be in anyway seen as empowerment as I have heard some girls argue, or is it downright disrespectful? Famous women all over the world have sexualized themselves to get ahead and while sexual harassment remains an issue at work women still maintain wearing pencil skirts and tight fitting blouses.
P.S A woman dressed provocatively is NOT an invitation for harassment. But all things taken into account I think we can all agree it increases the chances of that happening.
I am hoping that this one will not land me in another soup of trouble with the opposite sex but someone has to say this. I would like to start by saying that women are strong, but men still hold all the physical records in sporting events. I am no stranger to the world of feminists and their quest for equality which at best I will describe as unrealistic. The truth of the matter is that men are different from women and that is never going to change. The notion that anything a man can do, a woman can do better and vice versa is just silly. The point I am trying to make here is that each gender has its strengths and weaknesses and if only women focused more on building on their strengths instead of trying to do everything men do to prove a point, women actually have a very good chance of ruling this world.
From a socialization stand point women are constantly being groomed to fall behind in some of the world’s leading fields of development but no one seems to be addressing this issue. Little girls are given ‘baby’ dolls to take care of or dolls with doll houses. Boys on the other hand get to play with toy cars, legos, and other toy of a constructive nature. Just Google ‘Lego for girls’ and see what girls get to build when legos are given to them. From a childhood age girls are misdirected from interest in things of a technical nature and we wonder why very few girls are present at engineering lectures in the university or why the tech industry is lacking in female programmers. It is the same reason there aren’t as many men practicing hairdressing. A British Gas engineer told me they only had TWO female engineers in the region! Ladies if you are serious about equality with men it is time to deconstruct the entire idea of what it is to be a woman. The notion that girls that are interested in technical stuff and play video games are ‘Tomboys’ should tell you something about what women have accepted to be their identity in society. Instead of spending time fighting for trivial rights I will recommend the feminist movement dedicates its time to educating girls on breaking away from stereotypical female ideas. This ranges from sexual identity to inter-female relations. Women accuse men of calling promiscuous women hoes but turn around and do exactly the same to each other. I commend what fighting women in Iraq and Afghanistan did to shift the way we think of women in battle. Instead of complaining about the system they fought with valor even breaking protocols on many occasions to earn the respect of their male colleges. Actions will always speak louder than words. There are still issues around women in the military as they face difficulty completing some of the physical circuit test but no one can say they are incapable of battle.
Anyone got her number?
There is much to be said about this topic but I am hoping this opens the door for conversation. Feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comment section.