Objectification has consequences.
As 2012 is right around the corner, we have to be honest with ourselves regarding the fact that women are still treated like shit in most countries around the world, even here at home. We hear of women not being able to drive in Saudi Arabia, and imprisonment of rape victims in Afghanistan. However, we often assume that our women receive more equal treatment here in the Westernized world. Even though we may be slightly better off than our middle-eastern counterparts, I would also argue that the treatment of women in the US and Europe has gotten worse.
1 in 4 American women experience domestic violence in their lifetime.
We see a wave of right-wing laws controlling women’s reproduction, even calling for IUD users to be considered mass murderers! We also see increased objectification of women in the western world, with continued nudity and massive amounts of photoshopping of skinny stars and models. Apparently an anorexic waif is still not skinny enough. Also, women are still greatly discriminated against in terms of pay and opportunities for advancement.
Photoshop Fail! Avril is missing a piece of arm due to her altered waist.
But the most damaging attack on women is more psychological, pervasive and less apparent: objectification of girls, followed by the normalization and encouragement of sexual violence against these objectified (and thus ‘deserving’) girls. This psychological cycle is quite dangerous. First we prop up young women who are naked and photoshopped, indicating that this is what society values. Next, we encourage men to treat women as sexual toys ready for their pleasure and taking. And finally, we blame the victims for the attacks. Their clothes were too skimpy or they were drunk, rape clearly being the appropriate punishment.
An ad against heavy drinking by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, blaming the victim.
So how do we encourage violence against women? A recent British study looked at British men’s magazines and statements made by convicted rapists, and found that most individuals could not tell them apart. Here is a sample:
There’s a certain way you can tell that a girl wants to have sex . . . The way they dress, they flaunt themselves.
Some girls walk around in short-shorts . . . showing their body off . . . It just starts a man thinking that if he gets something like that, what can he do with it?
Mascara running down the cheeks means they’ve just been crying, and it was probably your fault . . . but you can cheer up the miserable beauty with a bit of the old in and out.
What burns me up sometimes about girls is dick-teasers. They lead a man on and then shut him off right there.
Filthy talk can be such a turn on for a girl . . . no one wants to be shagged by a mouse . . . A few compliments won’t do any harm either . . . ‘I bet you want it from behind you dirty whore’ . . .
You know girls in general are all right. But some of them are bitches . . . The bitches are the type that . . . need to have it stuffed to them hard and heavy.
You’ll find most girls will be reluctant about going to bed with somebody or crawling in the back seat of a car . . . But you can usually seduce them, and they’ll do it willingly.
Girls ask for it by wearing these mini-skirts and hotpants . . . they’re just displaying their body . . . Whether they realize it or not they’re saying, ‘Hey, I’ve got a beautiful body, and it’s yours if you want it.’
You do not want to be caught red-handed . . . go and smash her on a park bench. That used to be my trick.
Some women are domineering, but I think it’s more or less the man who should put his foot down. The man is supposed to be the man. If he acts the man, the woman won’t be domineering.
I think if a law is passed, there should be a dress code . . . When girls dress in those short skirts and things like that, they’re just asking for it.
Girls love being tied up . . . it gives them the chance to be the helpless victim.
I think girls are like plasticine, if you warm them up you can do anything you want with them.
A never-ending supply of naked and objectified women gracing magazine covers.
To find out which quote is from a convicted rapist or from a man’s mag, read about the study at Jezebel. Unfortunately the encouragement of violence against women also brings up the actual numbers. The CDC found in a 2005 study that 1 in 4 women in the United States are victims of domestic violence at some point in their lives and RAINN reported that there were 248,300 sexual assault victims in 2007. In addition, we are seeing laws being passed to punish and jail women based on their role in the reproductive process. I feel that the objectification of women makes it easier for others to hurt and attack her, and thus also indirectly contributes to violence against women. After all, an object feels no pain and has no emotions, and is never quite equal to a human life.