Friday, May 8, 2015

Sexism's Impact on Girls

Screen Shot from "The Breakfast Club"
Source: Ladygeekgirl.com 
Slut-Shaming: “An unfortunate phenomenon in which people degrade or mock a woman because she enjoys having sex, has sex a lot, or may even just be rumored to participate in sexual activity.” In society, women and girls are expected by men and media to present themselves as “hot” and “sexy”, but when they do, why are they degraded and shamed for it? Women in the media and in the normal world are viewed as sexualized objects. The objectification of women starts at a young age when girls start worrying about their weight and how they dress and act. We don’t see quite the same thing.

The women in advertising and media are usually viewed as “sexy” and girls in their teens or even younger see this and want to be it. But where is the line drawn between sexy and slutty? Young girls who are impacted by slut-shaming are often seen dressing or acting a certain way around boys or others. The word “slut” isn’t only used to torment or degrade people, but to also police their actions. If a girl is called a slut, she is less likely to freely express her desires or experiences and is more likely to regret them and feel shame about them. This kind of self- hatred or self-shaming, can affect her ability to relate to men and it will impact the kind of relationships girls have with them. Also, once a girl is labeled a slut or whore, she is more likely to experience sexual assault because men are assuming she will accept it.

Kim Kardashian’s “Break the Internet” is another example of a woman being objectified and sexualized even if she feels comfortable with it. Kim was accused of “overexposing” herself. I think that if Kim felt comfortable in this ad then she shouldn’t be being slut-shamed. Women in advertising are over-modified and have unrealistic body images and set too high of standards for women to uphold. Slut-shaming isn’t all about a woman's sexuality, but also about the fact that men get to announce their sexuality and women do not.

On the other side of things, men in particular may agree with slut shaming or sexism because it gives them power and also gives them the ability to express their sexuality freely without being held back by a woman’s also freely spoken experiences. Men like to be given power and by slut-shaming people, they gain power over girls because it makes them feel small and as if their wants don’t matter. Issues such as this tend to lead to bigger issues like domestic violence and rape. Many people say that rape is the victim’s fault for “dressing a certain way” or acting “somewhat suggestive”. They want an excuse to be sexual with someone who doesn't want it, that’s why they call girls sluts. Instead of no means no, we should live by yes means yes, a lot of people say that they didn’t know it they didn’t have the victim's consent, but you only have consent if they say yes directly.

Another reason for men to agree with sexism or slut-shaming, is because they like to look at the over-sexualized women in magazines and on tv. Men are sexual creatures, as are women. But they tend to overpower and take over the media. Social media uses women to draw in the attention of men, and other women because of the looks of the models. Yes, the body imagery is unrealistic for the average American to achieve, but if they use good looking models, more people will buy their stuff because they think it will look like that on them.

I disagree with this because it is not acceptable to shame women for their sexuality when men can openly express it. If a woman feels comfortable wearing clothing that is “revealing” she gets called a slut, and that is a major issue in society. Both women and men slut shame and it can lead to suicide and depression. Sex is a big part of society and our world is dependent on it and shaming people for doing what is idealized as an important aspect of our normal lives. It is far too hypocritical to shame people in taking part of something that is critical to our race.

Sexism causes women to think of themselves and others as less than men because they are objectified and sexualized. Women are pressured to look and present themselves as sexual beings. This issue of slut-shaming puts a burden on women to perform as sexual aspects of society. Women are used as a means of attracting men in advertising and television. The over objectified image of women in our society builds the mindset that all women need to be sexy, but with this double standard comes slut-shaming, the repulsive act of discriminating against women who are just trying to fulfill the social norms.

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Conclusion updated 28 May 2015

In the journey of writing, editing and posting a blog, I have learned a few more things from my readers than what I had intended my post to contain. I learned that many people agree with my opinion on how women are over sexualized and objectified in the media, but also in our homes and just through what their parents and others say to them and teach them. I have also learned that many people, including myself, think that men have a great deal of sexism tied onto them in the media as well. Although my post was more focused on the female side of sexism, my opinion was altered a little bit because I thought more about the male side of it. I feel as if my initial argument could have been more appealing to readers if I had brought in the male aspect of sexism.

Along the way, I have discovered many more sources that informed me more on the subject of male sexism. The question of why girls are pressured into being sexy but aren’t supposed to be sexual and are shamed for it when they are, still stands. This is important because it lowers girls self esteem and makes them think there is something wrong them, even though they are doing exactly what society tells them to. It also teaches girls from a very young age that they should always look sexy. Furthermore, it continues to let the media think they can keep teaching young men and women to objectify themselves and others.

9 comments:

  1. Well said, Elle. This complex double standard has truly tragic consequences for girls and women. We're encouraged to be sexy then blamed if we're the victims of sexual assault. And I believe the latest statistics are that one in four women have been sexually assaulted.

    I'm not sure how to address this problem. We should be able to dress and act the way they want, but until the majority of males respect women and understand that "no means no," there are great risks in doing so for women and girls.

    But I think an important part of this for females is being aware that though we may not like society's messages, they are powerful and affect how we may act. It's not fair, but there it is.

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    1. Hi Shelley, Thank you for the very well written comment. I think that we have very similar opinions on this subject. Society teaches women from a very young age to appear as sexy, and i don't think that we should subject our future generations to that kind of a world. The more we keep advertising the "perfect" body and the "sexy" kind of girl, the more of a problem it will become.

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  2. Hello,
    I liked your post about your topic. I thought it was very informative. I specifically liked the way that you gave good examples about this matter and a contrasting paragraph about how others might feel. I certainly think that women are being objectified with how short shorts are and how low the collar of a shirt goes in todays world.

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  3. I Elle! I really enjoyed reading about this interesting and thought provoking topic that you choose. I really agree with the points you are making about how women are slut-shamed and stereotyped in ads and the media. I also have some topics in your essay that I would like to bring up. When you talk about how women are being shamed for being either a virgin or a female who has had sex a lot, you say that males are the instigators of the whole thing. I do agree that men do slut-shame young ladies, but what about the opposite way? This really made me curious so I decided to do a little research about men being shamed about their activeness in sexual activities. I found a interesting article that talks about this very subject. I am not saying that you are wrong about your opinion, I just want to bring up that point that girls are not the only gender that have been shamed. I want to ask you, is there a way that we can minimize or even eliminate slut-shaming in the world? And if so, how do you think people can complete this daunting task? Thank you again for bringing up such a complex issue! -Coley

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  4. Elle, your conviction about this topic is obvious in your passionate writing. I do think, however, that your arguments would be made even stronger with some data to back them up. This article reviews research that suggests the more men in heterosexual relationships objectify women, the more likely they are to coerce or pressure their partner into sex. Objectification has real consequences. Jean Kilbourne is the foremost expert on advertising's image of women, as she has been studying it since the 1960s. Her conclusion is that the problem of objectification and perfect beauty standards in our culture have resulted in very real public health issues, like depression, eating disorders, and sexual violence. How do we combat these problems? Jean Kilbourne suggests we need to be doing a better job teaching sex education. Your suggestion to move away from "no means no" to "yes means yes" is gradually gaining traction in our culture the more we expose the problem of sexual assault on our college campuses. California even went so far as to pass a law this fall to redefine consent. That's progress!

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  5. Hello Elle well written post. I agree with you in the context that women are overall objectified in the media. But I strongly disagree with you "Men like to be given power and by slut-shaming people," this is a very incorrect generalization of men. Not all men "slut shame" women or girls for how they act or what they do, I feel like you should say some men not just men because you worded like all men objectify women which would be a stereotype which is not true. I understand that most of you're post is true but I find it saddening that you generalize men in such a lackluster manner. I hope you expand on you're facts and think about what I wrote above.

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    1. I agree with you Tommy it isn't all men that slut shame only some do. but also its not just men ether its women to. and I find it very wrong that just one gender and all of that gender is blamed especially with rape people say men rape women do to and only some do not all and some women who support
      feminism blame it all on men, ¨men rape there sexist well there being sexist by saying that women do this stuff to.

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    2. Hi Tommy, I do realize that not all men slut shame, and that they get a significant amount of sexism thrown at them through the media. But my post was focused on the female side of sexism and how it impacts girls. I agree that I should say some men because not all men like to slut shame.

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  6. I agree with you on the slut shaming its very wrong but its not all men or just men its women girls boys everyone and people need to speak out more about these kind of things.

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