If you know me you would know that I am passionate about anything to do with going against society’s given concept of beauty which is not compatible with every person who wants to feel beautiful. I think more and more people are realizing this now days. Among the many social media campaigns such as #unfairandlovely #blacklivesmatter #plussizemysize and #bbw to name a few, one that has also recently hit social media is #womennotobjects and I love it.
The sad thing about sexual objectification like most of the problems I mentioned above is that for the longest time it has not been recognized as an actual problem that needs to be dealt with. Some men even have the nerve to think that women who started the #womennotobjects movement are overreacting. Adressing the objectification of women would be solving a root problem that branches out to other issues that affect women’s (and men’s) perception of beauty. So what is the objectification of women?
Sexual objectification is the act of treating a person as an instrument of sexual pleasure. Objectification more broadly means treating a person as a commodity or an object without regard to their personality or dignity.
The Oxford New English Dictionary defines objectify as: to degrade to the status of a mere object.
I agree the definition above does say it applies to any person, meaning men can be sexually objectified as well which one man so candidly points out in this video but to say that we as women, should suck it up and just move on with our lives as if being looked at as objects wouldn’t affect us is a horrifically tragic view to hold. I say this because firstly, two rights don’t make a wrong. Just because men might also be in a sense objectified doesn’t make it right to objectify women either. Secondly, the objectification of women presented by the media in forms of advertisements, shows, magazines, Hollywood and etc. is bolder and more out there. This is because women’s bodies are beautiful covered in curves and edges that are naturally, for some reason, attractive, and men are visual creatures. They feed off of the images that are presented to them. This is just the nature of things.
However, it does become objectification when the physical appearance is all that is used to judge a person by. As expounded on by Quora there’s a different psychology involved. When men objectify women, they reduce women to breasts, vaginas and legs (or whatever body part they prefer). It is not the woman’s job to be these sexual parts.
This is where there is an arch created between both your thighs. It is not something you can naturally
create; some people are born with the bone structure that allows for that arch, others are not. Another example was the Kylie Jenner Lip challenge. This was where girls, who wanted to achieve the voluptuous lips that Kylie has, began literally sucking air out of a shot glass or tightly squeezed glass. This causes the lips to swell, bruise, and sometimes internal bleeding.
Advertisements also degraded the use of force on a woman to get what you want in a sickening light manner. Business Insider shows more than ten such ads that would make any decent human being cringe. We have to realize that there is a very thin line drawn between what we see and what we do. If sexual harassment or ‘being rough’ is treated as lightly in the visual images we perceive then it very quickly turns into ‘not that big a deal’ when somebody imitatively does it in reality.
These are just a few examples of how objectification of women can literally harm them physically, but even more so there is the emotional and intellectual aspect. With sexual objectification an ideal beauty standard is set, as in the case of thigh gaps, ‘Kylie Jenner’ lips, and the ‘Kim Kardashian butt’. It is made to seem as if these physical attributes are all that define an entire being. This affects the girl who doesn’t have these attributes as much as the girl who does. They take it even further by taking real women who are almost perfect and photo shopping or technologically modifying them. One of the women said in the video above, “we raise our daughters believing that their bodies are projects that constantly need to be modified.”
Objectification implies that a woman cannot be valued for her intelligence, sense of humour, emotional maturity, nature, personality, spirit, or soul, the very nature that makes her who she is. At the end of the video one of the speakers says something crucial, “The people being affected the most are the children. Girls are growing up thinking that how they look is more important than how they feel and who they are.” In essence we are harming the woman physically, psychologically, emotionally, and socially.
Shingai is an upcoming writer with a passion for words and expression through writing. She lived in Zimbabwe as a child and has traveled to over ten countries. She craves adventure and hopes to be an inspirational writer. She is currently pursuing a degree in English Literature with a minor in Psychology at Daystar University.