Feeling Sexually-Objectified? It Could Be Your Own Damn Fault

Illustration for article titled Feeling Sexually-Objectified? It Could Be Your Own Damn Fault

In The Guardian today, writer Decca Aitkenhead argues that these days, if women feel like victims of sexism, it might be because they've set themselves up for it. In the UK, there's this "lad mag" called Nuts. You know the kind: sexy girls, football, rude jokes, cartoons. The Nuts website features a section called "Assess My Breasts," (NSFW) which invites men to study pictures of naked mammaries and rank them on a scale from 1 to 10. Sure, toplessness is more common in the UK. But asking men to judge your tits? Really? Because the thousands of pictures available are uploaded voluntarily. For free. By ordinary women. Writes Aitkenhead:

And so manicures, and Brazilian bikini waxes and pole-dancing classes were all reintroduced under the guise of harmless girly "fun". Barely 10 years later, we look in the mirror and mistake ourselves for sex workers.

It is no wonder a lot of men now genuinely believe that women want to be treated as sex objects. Who could blame them when so many of us have internalized an exhibitionistic ideal of our own objectification?

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Perhaps you're thinking, yes, but I believe in individual freedom! I'm smarter than that, I know the difference between being a fierce, sexy woman in charge who chooses to be sexy and take cardio striptease. But what about women younger than you? What about girls? What are they learning from this? Aitkenhead reports that a 14-year-old had her topless photo published in FHM, and that at "a London school where a teacher I know works, a pupil recently videoed a younger girl giving him a blowjob in the school toilets, then uploaded her performance straight on to YouTube." What fate do you suppose awaits girls who idolize "glamour model" Jordan? Or girls who wax their legs at age 9? Doesn't it make the "I left my brain in my locker" t-shirt seem so much worse?

No Wonder Men Treat Us As Sex Objects If We Act Like This [Guardian]

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DISCUSSION

@SarahMC @ RedNRowdy @Angel_I and everyone else: Agreed.

I agree about the survival part. And the repugnant porn part, the normalization of sh*t that is ultimately degrading...above and beyond the pain in the ass of wearing make-up. Looks DO matter. When I see "Girls Gone Wild" infomercials, it's painful because some of the girls don't hide their insecurity and smile when the creepy camera guy purs, "Of COURSE I like your thong/ass/(etc)! Don't be shy, you're SO HOT." What better validation could there be? A personality is negotiable...if you're fuckable, you're lovable. A nice personality alone won't get you as far as a decent personality (I know alot of girls who are beautiful and actually AREN'T bitches or complete idiots, but suffice it to say, they're not surviving by their wits).

Another thing that really disturbs me—I'm 20, and I dread getting older. It's just "nature" at work when that 55 year old dad who definitely looks it jumps ship and leaves his wife b/c his 30 year old secretary makes eyes at him. Secretary will be just as nice (if not nicer) than his wife, and she's thinner and younger to boot. It's a new lease on life! Who could fault it? It's just nature!

We applaud the sexualization of kids for money(hey, if that 18 year-old Sports Illustrated Model and the 14 year old girl next door look alike...!). If kids are "sophisticated" to the extent that they want to stop wearing Barbie/Care Bear shirts and want to wear pink lip balm at age 8 and after, fine. Obviously it is far above and beyond that.

It sickens me to think that I'm going to be expected to look 16 when I'm 30, and that's all I need to know. Not that it's troubling in a million different ways and repugnant that men want to f*ck kids instead of women their own age.

End of rant...sorry.

It really sucks being a girl, and even though I am SO glad to be a girl now (as opposed to when our mothers were growing up), there are some things that I doubt will go away anytime soon. Sex and a specific type of sexuality/sexual presentation sell.