The Sexual Objectification of Women
Updated: Oct 26, 2020
By Eres Croker
Image via Suicide Blonde uploaded by N. on We Heart It
It is no doubt that women are constantly being objectified for their bodies. In todays world, sexual assault is labeled as the victims fault because they were “asking for it in that outfit”. People see women as a vessel for their needs instead of individual beings; women are still viewed as property of man, which can lead to injustice in domestic violence or submissive behavior in a marriage. Women are expected to satisfy their needs in every aspect of life, because that is our job. According to ncadv.org, “1 in 4 women experience severe intimate partner physical violence as opposed to 1 in 9 men.” Society likes to assume that the woman did something wrong to lead him on, as if there’s such a thing as excusable abuse or assault. In this piece, I will be breaking down a few of the ways women are still sexually objectified today.
One of the most common forms of sexual objectification is dress codes. Across the board, the majority is in favor of men. Women are regularly objectified by dress codes by placing strict regulations on our outfits and portraying modesty in order to not “distract boys’ learning”. By simply stating that we are distracting, adults are implying that men do not have enough self-control to continue paying attention at the sight of a shoulder or cleavage. When these rules are enabled, we are instilling this ideology into young boys’ brains. If you tell them that women’s bodies are distracting, they will believe it. I hate to break it to you, but I do not wear a tank top to get your attention. Believe it or not, I, like all women, am a human being just like you. I find it miserable to wear jeans and a t-shirt in 95-degree weather just to keep you in control. I wear clothes because they are pretty or comfortable. The issue is that I am still trying to prove my fashion choices, when we should be able to dress how we want without any “respectable” reason whatsoever. Instead of teaching boys to look at women as only an external entity, teach them how to respect women, recognize them as human beings, allow their opinions to be just as valid and understand that they are equal to men too.
Tyra Parker via Voices of Gen-Z
Schools in themselves can also create an uncomfortable environment for young women. From a young age, boys are unknowingly taught how to objectify women. They sleep with a girl and then slut-shame her. Boys compare body counts and brag about having a high number, as if women’s bodies are trophy prizes. High school relationships can end over absence of sex, which leads to most young girls doing it before they are comfortable.
Fashion goes farther than schools. According to Stop Street Harassment, 65% of all women have experienced some form of street harassment. For some, they experience it daily or multiple times a day. To all the men that participate in this, may I ask where my clothing, body, or face is asking for attention? Do you think that my skirt is a call for harassment? How come you can wear cut off sleeves and aren’t judged? You are not asking for assault, just like we are not. A male complimenting a female is not wrong. It can make us feel better, if it is a true compliment. But catcalling is not a compliment; it is a remark that you seek pleasure from our bodies and ultimately look at us as objects. When you yell at us about our bodies because you think they can please you, it makes us feel uncomfortable and unsafe.
Robin Tran, a writer for Everyday Feminism Blog, has written about how gender roles can be a toxic reassurance to objectification. If men do not ask a woman out, do not execute better than a woman, or act slightly feminine, they are told that they are “not manly enough” or “act like a girl”. I am sure many of you have heard this several times in your life. If a boy runs slow, then he “runs like a girl”. If a boy cries, he is “acting like a girl”. Just by using these statements, it is saying that men should be above women, women are vulnerable and weak, and there is no such thing as a powerful woman. By elementary school, boys know these terms like the back of their hand, which is why childhood is one of the main sources to blame.
Tran also stated that “men are encouraged to believe that women are their property”. By paying attention to TV, you will see the common pattern of women being won by men. When a person is looked at as a physical advantage, they are ultimately dehumanized. This applies to abuse as well; women are terrified to seek help for abuse or assault because it is judged that women are not acting how they are supposed to.
If I went into every way that women are objectified, this article would never end. As I have stated a lot of negative instances related to men, I want to say that men can change. This will only occur when they decide to view women as equal human beings. Society is partly to blame for teaching this philosophy of dehumanizing women, but that doesn’t mean we cannot change it.
Dear men, stop using us for our bodies. Stop complaining about women being weak, emotional, and clingy. Stop telling us that we can’t do it because we are girls. We are just as powerful as you. We have feelings, morals, and we are real beings. You cannot blame how you were raised on everything because you have the choice to change. Feminism is not about hating men; it is about demanding equal rights and respect. Take this knowledge to reevaluate your subconscious beliefs because you may not be aware that you act this way until you take a closer look.
Written by writer Eres Croker