Sexualisation, viewing someone’s body as an object, as a sex object, this is the meaning of the word. I think the term modesty and dressing boldly come because we have set standards of what gets sexualized and what does not. It is scoff worthy actually because even little girls of age six get sexualized and so do women in their twenties. I think rape culture and sexualisation go hand in hand; they are the cause and effect.
When we hear rape cases of little minor girls we get this feeling of what must have she done that attracted the leering of deranged men towards her? For a very long time we blame clothes, then we blame the location she was at and finally we blame the time she was out. We do all sorts of victim blaming and we try to school the girls instead of the men who had the audacity to think of a little girl as a sexual object. Whose mentality must change here? Who must be kept locked inside?
There is something really wrong with the societies who feel that the only reason why a woman exists is due to the mind-set that she is meant to be for pleasure and nothing else. You objectify her and grant her ownership to someone. That’s what she is.
I don’t want to get religious here but during Christian weddings the father usually ‘gives away’ his daughter at the altar and in Hindu weddings we have ‘kanya daan’ that loosely translates to donating a girl. Is there a possibility that our religions might be objectifying women? I still have to perform more research on this.
Rape is the most extreme on the spectrum of sexualisation. It all begins with small things. Media plays a very important role in forming negative ideas. They create these very singular ideals of beauty such as shaving your hair, having glossy hair, having skinny bodies, flawless and blemish free bodies etc. and it is wrong because we have created a prototype through print media, advertisements etc. that everyone is trying to fit into. And this has long lasting and damaging effects. In a bid to be highly sexualized or in simpler terms being ‘accepted by the society’ we try doing thing that aren’t healthy.
American Psychological Association (APA) recently conducted an extensive research on the sexualisation of women and here are a couple of its findings:
- Women and girls are more likely to get sexualized than men.
- A certain type of portrayal of models created ideas in the minds of little girls who then try to emulate them.
- Girls try acting in a sexual precocious manner when it comes to their hair, body and attitude.
- Due to advertising women dress up in a manner that may be considered as provocative.
And following are the consequences of sexualisation:
- Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia
- Shame for having a body that is not accepted by the society
- Onset of smoking cigarettes at an early age
We live in a society where it is easy to profit from a woman’s body, sex sells. You are called an eye candy, arm candy and what not because you are viewed as a hot piece of ass. Your scars are not appreciated, your stretch marks are not appreciated and your paunch is not appreciated.
You have to fall into this category of becoming a Barbie doll. That’s how you will be included in the society.
And then you have a scale for sexualisation, if your skirt is too short then you are a slut and if it is too long then you are a prude nun who probably has a stick up her ass. You will be seen as a sex object whether you cover yourself or not.
Wardrobe malfunctions happen, both for men and women, but why is it that woman’s nip slip is given so much of attention? In most places even breastfeeding, which is simply a natural requirement, is starting to be looked at in a sexual manner.
We enter in this world naked; the god does not clothe us and send us because he does not see us as a ‘sexual’ being. We need to stop associating nudity with sexual invitations. My small skirt should not attract your leering; if it does then it’s not my skirt that’s short but your thinking.
Rather than teaching girls’ modesty what should be taught is to accept themselves as who they are and promote this positivity of being yourself and acting without inhibitions. There are a host of issues associated with this normal sexualisation of women and soon we as humans are getting desensitized.
I guess being aware and mindful of your attitude can set you apart from the sexualized lot. It is okay to not have a thigh gap. It is okay to have stretch marks and it is also okay to leave a guy who does not like your stretch marks and it is absolutely alright to call out advertisements for sexualisation of females. Breast are breasts, get used to it, just like a stomach is a stomach, it is a human organ.