Hyper-Sexualization of Women in the Media
by Student123 on April 7, 2015 - 4:11pm
In the article “Don’t Blame Girls for Their Own Sexualization,” the author Paulina Pinsky discussed the time she attended the Women in the World Summit convention in 2014. “It was an inspiring and powerful day,” she says. The entire day was constructed in a way that highlighted so many accomplishments and Paulina felt as if she was watching history being made. It made her feel like she could have achieved anything and change the world for the better until the discussion turned to the sexualization of women in the media. Rather than inspiring and elevating women the convention did the opposite, it blamed girls and women for mirroring what they see in the media. However, young girls and women should not be blamed for mirroring what they see because they are the victims. Instead, the media should be blamed for the sexualization of women and not only setting standards but also using women’s’ bodies to sell products. She explained that if you had asked 17-year-old Paulina to describe herself, she would have given you a description of her body and what needed to be changed. She never really described herself as ‘smart’ and when distant family or friends would see her everyone’s focus was on her body. They would often tell her what was right about it or what it did not have. Moreover this is not their fault because these standards are created and maintained by the media. Girls and women are victims of what is being portrayed in the media and the exploiting images of women’s bodies and objectified representations of women are unethical.
Furthermore, social media shapes our society and politics and viewers are often influenced by what they see. The media's sexualization of women is hard to ignore. You turn on your computer, you walk down the street, you ride the bus, you turn on the TV and the images bombard you. Our culture damages girls and women from a young age and makes them believe that being strong, smart and accomplished is not enough. The media sets hyper-sexualized beauty standards and sends out the message that they need to be beautiful in the eyes of the men to be accepted. One of quotes from the panel that had Pinsky’s head spinning was: "Instead of doing their math homework, girls are sending nudies!" This however, is not the girls’ fault. It is the media that emphasizes that portraying yourself this way is beautiful and what men like which causes women and especially young girls to see themselves and use their bodies as objects. Young girls shouldn’t be blamed for doing what they see in the media because if the media doesn’t want girls to act this way then they shouldn’t be promoting this sort of behavior and appearances (cleavage is beautiful in the eyes of men). At the convention some argued: "Don't they realize what they are seeing isn't real?" However, media is sort of a role model to young girls because they are surrounded by it in their everyday lives and learn a lot from it (latest trends) therefore, they tend to imitate what thet see regardless of whether or not it is real.
More than anything, sex sells. The standards for women that are set by the media such as: white, thin, long legs, toned abs, cleavage, and big hair is what companies need to grab people’s attention and sell their products. This makes girls and women feel depressed because they do not look or feel sexy like the models they see that the guys are attracted to. Despite the fact that most of us know these images are photoshoped women still compare themselves to these models and some young girls are too young to understand that the women aren’t realistically depicted. Moreover, when selling prestigious and luxurious products to wealthier men such as luxury cars, women’s bodies are often objectified because they are effective at selling products. They are even used as sex objects in music videos to attract young males’ attention. Although these image make girls and women feel disempowered because only their appearance seems to matter, if the media stopped exploiting women’s bodies to sell products it will likely decrease the earnings of a company’s profit. Therefore, objectifying women makes certain people money and for this reason these images will not go anywhere anytime soon.
In conclusion, the media uses their power and exploits women’s bodies to help sell their products. Girls in particular look up to these images and not only act but dress the way they see the models/actresses in the media (short tops, cleavage, short shorts, etc.). Although the media has the power to stop portraying women this way and prevent women from feeling disempowered and objectified, by continuing to show these images and degrading women it raises a lot of issues on how ethical it really is. The media is destructive because young girls imitating the models they see degrade themselves to get attention from boys therefore blaming them wouldn’t be right because the media is promoting this behavior and bombarding future generations with these images as well. It is difficult for parents to hide these images from their kids because the images can be seen online (computer and cell phones), on TV and in the streets therefore only the media has the power to stop this. The media allows women’s bodies to be objectified for profit and money becoming more important than human dignity is immoral.
Pinsky, Paulina. “Don’t Blame Girls for Their Own Sexualization.” Huff Post Women. Huffington Post. March 6, 2014. Web. April 5, 2015. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paulina-pinsky-/dont-blame-girls-for-thei_....
Miss Representation. Jennifer Siebel Newsom. 2011. Film.