Blurred beauty

Sexualization in the media degrades women

By Maddie Darling, Editorial Intern

Women in Media

IMAGE FROM NEWSTATESMAN.COM
Women are constantly reminded about the unrealistic expectations portrayed by the media that surrounds them.

The type of women plastered in the media tend to be considered the skinny or “sexy” type who will draw attention to the ads or music videos they are in. But what is really obtained from seeing those raunchy ads or watching scandalous music videos? They only send harsh messages to adolescent girls who from a very early age learn that they must look a certain way due to the standards set by the media. These stereotypes also have an effect on how young boys will potentially view women and change their expectations to what a real woman should be. The sexual degrading of women in the media has a negative impact on the mental and physical well-being of young girls and boys, and is overall insensitive, vulgar, and offensive.

Teenage girls often have a lack of self-confidence. Seeing glorified women such as Victoria’s Secret models constantly shown in the media makes this feeling almost inescapable. These media models are often viewed as “perfect” and leave regular girls feeling incompetent compared to them. According to Anad.org only five percent of women actually have the ideal bodies that the media portrays. This idolized image is more fictional than a reality and is ludicrous to be desired. Additionally, according to Anad.org, almost 70 percent of young girls claimed that seeing how women in magazines were portrayed affected their idea of a perfect body. Young girls are not being taught that individualism is beautiful; instead the lesson they learn is only one type of look is acceptable. Diversity is not being glorified like it should be.

The effects of the sexualization of women in the media is not just limited to girls. Boys can be influenced by what they learn from the media as well. By seeing the types of models that are in ads, whether they are scandalous or have unrealistic looking bodies, boys can have a limited perception to what is socially acceptable. This can leave long lasting effects on them and influence what they consider as the perfect body. Boys learn how to become judgmental by what they learn from the media. They may learn inappropriate ways to treat women by watching  music videos they are featured in.

The sexualization does not stop at magazines or commercial ads; in fact it is taken to a whole new extreme in the music industry. It is not uncommon to see women in music videos portrayed as sexual objects. They are more likely than not to be groping something or someone and wearing revealing clothing. It might be appealing to some people to see a woman exploit her body and display her sexual value for entertainment purposes, but it is a disgusting popular opinion. Women are not empowered by being degraded this way; it does not make them any more “fierce.” In fact, it creates limitations. People watch sexualized music videos and commercials and begin to make assumptions against women, thinking that all that they are good for is sex. Vulgar song lyrics against women and displaying them in disrespectful ways create a message that it is okay to act this way towards women. In reality, it is not okay to treat anyone like trash.

It doesn’t make any sense that young girls feel self conscious about their looks because of the media’s twisted definition of what beauty is. Furthermore, boys should learn early on that they are entitled to determining their own standards of beauty and what they consider to be attractive. The media should not promote one look, it should promote an acceptance of diversity in appearances. People need to learn how to create their own definition of beauty, not allow the media to set the standard.