OP/ED: The Objectification of Women in Media


For decades, women and young females have been objectified in the media industry whether it is through music videos, video games, tv shows or movies. Have you ever stopped to wonder why? Why does a woman have to remove her clothes to get attention? Why are women being forced to appeal to male gratification? Take a moment and reflect on this portrayal of women and the dangerous message that it sends.

Ever heard the saying “sex sells?”

Well, unfortunately that statement has proven to be true time and time again.  When it comes to the entertainment industry, sex appeal is a very popular method to sell and showcase a product. It is believed that the more skin that a woman shows, the more likely she is to capture the male gaze and generate popularity for herself. This ideology stems from a patriarchal environment with historic beliefs about women existing to please men sexually and that is something that society continues to struggle with in present day.

Do not get me wrong. I am fully supportive of the sexual liberation of women and the right for a woman to embrace her sexuality especially given past restrictions. However, there is a line that must be drawn between women using their sexuality for empowerment and when it is being used as an element to pander to toxic masculinity. When our sexuality is being forced into advertisement that has nothing to do with sexual expression like a beer commercial that targets men then that is where the problem lies.

Why do I need to tease you sexually to sell you a beer? It is literally a beer!!

Why do you need to think about sex while you are drinking it?

It should also be mentioned that sex and alcohol should never be promoted under any circumstance as being socially acceptable. Are there any other ways that women can contribute creatively? Perhaps, the next time you sit and smile while you watch a woman being sexually exploited, you ask yourself why it is so difficult to value us as individuals instead of sex objects.

We are more than our vaginas and it is time for the world to realize that. We are intellectually appealing, emotionally driven and mentally capable. Why are those traits rarely portrayed in the media? Let me guess, it does not sell. The truth is the problem lies not only with the producers but with the consumers as well. It is time for men to re-evaluate the way that they view women. The entitlement to visually access a woman’s body is a very dangerous mindset to have and it should not be perpetuated with content that foster that type of behavior. When we allow our talents to be overshadowed by our need to be sexually appetizing to someone else, it takes power away from us and gives it to them. As women, we have fought so hard to be respected and treated as equals to our male counterparts, so it is important that we keep that same energy going forward.

Women can be just as desirable in their clothes as they are out of their clothes. I should not have to remove any article of clothing for you to find me interesting. Allow me to sell my personality and my image and stop trying to profit from my sexiness. It is exhausting watching sex being forced into every aspect of media and it is even sadder that whether a woman generate buzz depends on if a man is attracted to her or not.

I was reading a viral tweet the other day about men not supporting Lizzo because she does not fit into the typical standard of beauty. Hence, she is “unmarketable.” That is quite disappointing and disgusting because she is incredibly talented and the only thing that “fans” should be focusing on is her contribution to music. Why is her body even a factor? How is that an appropriate response to a woman that chooses to share her art with the world? We cannot continue down this path. This woman’s job is not to sell you sex, she is trying to sell you an album. The constant obsession with all things associated with sex is concerning to me and it is something that we need to work to rectify now.