Objectification of women in the media

In this paper, I will demonstrate the reality of the objectification of women
in the media. The many platforms that we use are channels for content designed
to sell us a product, influence attention, and alter our behavior. Many studies have
shown that women are portrayed more than often as sexually available and a product
linked directly to consumerism. The image of nudity and “beauty” are used in
many art forms since the beginning of time. The hyper-sexualization of women
in the media has a direct impact on the lives of young girls and women across the
globe. Most people of the 21st century have access to mass media. The problem
is in every household and some regulations should be addressed. Who should be
responsible for the media we consume? Or, do we have a deeper problem in our
society?

ART, SEX AND OBJECTIFICATION

Nudity, explicit sex, and beauty standards have been depicted in art since the beginning
of time. Most of the great masters of all the art forms have used the woman’s
body in their masterpieces. Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sixtine Chapel
with naked bodies. As a species, our nudity and sexuality have been a channel of
our innocence, beauty, culture, and perversions. There are vases of Greek antiquity
depicting explicit orgies. The extensive eroticism of the Kamasutra from India is
rooted in social issues to this day. In the world, we live in today the reality of our
depravation is amplified by the desire for wealth through consumerism. Most of the
media we consume today is filled with the objectification of women.

Children and adolescents spend more time with entertainment media than they do
with any other activity except school and sleeping (D. Roberts, Foehr, & Rideout,
2005). A report from the APA has shown that the cultural contribution to the sexualization
of girls is fueled by mercantilism and a set of pre-existing values. Girls
are not virgin canvases that soak in the ink of media. They are actively engaged in
interpreting the media in their lives as they mature. (Rubin, 2002; Steele, 1999).
People are the product of their environment. WE can track down problems coming
from society, family, and even self sexualization. Girls may treat and experience
themselves as sexual objects (Fredrickson & Roberts, 1997; McKinley & Hyde,
1996). Media content responds to a certain demand and is a reflection of contemporary
needs. Girls are major consumers of media and engage with these messages
every day. Mass media is easily accessible and a challenge for parents to supervise.

The amount of exposure to media can be regulated. We can see young girls and
adolescents with iPhones and access to the web without any kind of parental lock.

VIOLENCE

Research has shown that violence against women is a serious public health and
human rights concern (World Health Organization 2000) and that the simultaneous
presentation of women as sex objects and victims in various forms of media increases
acceptance of violence against women (Malamuth et al. 2000).

Mass media have a direct impact on the violence done to women in our society.
The ease of access to disturbing material and advertising that contribute to the
hypersexualization of women is a problem. Hypersexualization of women in the
media is an understatement. Although Kilbourne (1999) proposed that the sexual
victimization of women is glamorized in advertisements, there is an absence of empirical
research that tests this claim. In contrast, interest in women’s sexual objectification
in advertising has received ample attention.

The portrayal of women in sexually vulnerable positions creates a culture of rape.
A lot of advertising depicts women overpowered by a male figure. In 2021, the
pornographic industry was estimated at about 100 billion dollars. This is about as
much as Nestle, Facebook, and Home Depot. 70% of teenagers have viewed some
form of pornography. In 2019 alone PornHub streamed the equivalent of 6000
centuries worth of pornographic material. (Wright, 2021) 1 out of 8 titles in pornography
describes sexual violence towards women.

They are many factors that contribute to violence against women. Religion, poverty,
ignorance, the lack of funding for quality education, or mental health issues. The
media act as fuel on fire long burning the core of the cultural relationship between
men and women. For centuries gender roles played an important part in the faith
of women. A good example is the Kamasutra. This widely distributed book about
eroticism in India could have roots deep in a bigger problem of Hinduism.

As it combined with other factors in the Hindu social system that led to a more
general devaluing of women, the Kautilyan Kamasutra tradition contributed greatly
to the culture of violence against women. (Doniger, 2015)

Eroticism and sexuality have been used in the most primitive form of media or art
we know. No one can avoid media but we can regulate its usage in our households.
Mass media have been directly linked with the objectification of women. Pornography
is consumed as much as bottled water. Yet we have a plastic bottle problem
and hypersexualized society. A great portion of the population consumes the very
products that gangrene our relationships. The gender roles have been broken from
the past tradition and we live in a “free will” society. We have governments capable
to mandate vaccines for public health. Where are our leaders when it is time to
mandate regulation on rape culture content? Where are the funds for education and
mental health?


REFERENCES

https://www.unicefusa.org/stories/not-object-sexualization-and-exploitation-women-and-girls/30366

https://psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.ajp-rj.2016.111206

https://www.dailyo.in/arts/wendy-doniger-the-mares-trap-sexual-politics-kamasutra/story/1/5311.htm

https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/violence-against-women

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