The “Sexploitation” Of Women In America

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McKenzie Reimer, Co-Editor In Chief

American pop culture is based on viewing women as objects. We are put in sexy outfits and made to sell everything from hamburgers to cologne. Unfortunately, it doesn’t just end in the media, it continues into our everyday lives. How is a woman feeding her child in public sexual? Or wearing a shirt that shows shoulders? And when has it ever been made acceptable to yell obscenities at a woman from across the street? The answer to all these questions is simple, it’s not, and yet we are told time and time again that it is.

Women are forced into a role that is dehumanizing. We are made to feel like we need to look like the photoshopped women we see in magazines to be beautiful and to be accepted by society. “The sexualization of women in America is a problem. It gives people an unrealistic expectation of what they should look like, what their romantic relationships should be, and what is expected of them.” said Ames High School graduate Kacey Reimer. She went on to say, “ It makes us feel like we should all have perfect bodies and perfect relationships where all we do is have sex all the time. It makes it seem that looks are the most important things.”

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In recent studies, it has been shown that the sexualization of women has a very negative impact on impressionable young girls. The areas of cognitive functioning, physical and mental health, sexuality, and attitudes and beliefs are only a few the primarily affected. “Children of this generation are growing up too fast, but how do you expect them not too when all they see is the women being over sexualized?” said senior Sofia Lence. “Everywhere women look is oversexualized. It makes you feel like an object. Like you don’t have any worth, except to sell a product.”

Women’s clothing become has become aimed at a man’s lust. The popular clothing company, American Apparel is only one of the many examples I found during my research. I never expected to have to search for two hours just to find one ad from a woman’s clothing company that didn’t show a woman’s breasts, butt, or vagina. When I buy new clothes, I typically look for how comfortable or cute it will make me feel. Not about how sexy I’ll look in a pair of socks.

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Before I even hear the comment “not all men treat women like objects” and “men are sexualized too” I would like to point out the fact that yes, I understand the majority of males are great, and men can be sexualized as well, but women are unfortunately sexualized more. In a study done by the Society Pages in 2011, they found that only 2% of men featured in Rolling Stone Magazine over a 43-year span were hypersexualized, while women were hypersexualized by 61% in the early 2000’s and another 22% were sexualized.

 

It’s common knowledge that women are oversexualized, so why write an article about it? Because it’s an important topic that should be discussed. Maybe today we can’t change how we are viewed by the media, but we can change how we view ourselves and each other. Instead of treating each other as targets, we should be standing up for each other when we hear unflattering comments about a woman’s body over her mind. It starts with us. If we can start treating each other like human being, then maybe one day the world can stop treating us like objects.