Sexual Objectification -Individual or Social Phenomena


Prabhjyot Kaur is a 20 year old Mumbai girl whose daily aspiration is to add value to other’s thoughts along with her own.

Sexual Objectification -Individual or Social Phenomena 

Today’s era is shaping a modern ideology of sexual objectification into our lifestyle. Humans have foregone the power of shaping their own being and existence because of this delusional idea of living.

According to the study commissioned by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, with support from UN Women and The Rockefeller Foundation, in cinema sexualization is the standard for female characters globally: girls and women are twice as likely as boys and men to be shown in sexually revealing clothing, partially or fully naked, thin, and five times as likely to be referenced as attractive. Films for younger audiences are less likely to sexualize females than are those films for older audiences. Teen females (13-20 years old) are just as likely as young adult females (21-39 years old) to be sexualized. However a few Indian films have recently portrayed strong women as protagonists. We can think of “No One Killed Jessica” (2011), “Kahaani” (2011), “Angry Indian Goddesses” (2015), “Queen” (2013), “Mary Kom” (2014), “Piku” (2015) and “Neerja” (2016).

Advertisements project women on screen with glowing features, fairer skin tone, perfectly shaped curves, flat belly and long-silky hair as an ideal sex icon; which helps to promote their business and to attract more customers. Such unreal projection through media creates a perception of ideal beauty. No one else is to blame other than the public as we act in its favour by buying such products. People enhance their body parts to look the way society defines beauty.

Breast augmentation has become a new trend. In fact, it is the third most common aesthetic surgery procedure in the country today after rhinoplasty (nose jobs) and lipoplasty (fat removal). According to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS), there were 51,000 breast augmentations in India in 2010, ranking it seventh in the world.

Society’s definition of ideal beauty changes with time. Keeping pace with the changing trends is self destructing since one is never true to their own version of beauty, in turn demeaning oneself. Individuals belittle themselves by no longer seeing themselves as a whole entity but in sexual parts. To be skinny but not too much, also to be more bustier and hourglass-like. Emma Rooney of Department of Applied Psychology, NYU wrote about ‘The effects of Sexual Objectification on women’s health’ where she mentioned “Constant experiences of sexual objectification cause women to internalize society’s scrutiny; the resulting self-objectification leads to habitual body monitoring and self-consciousness, which in turn increases feelings of body shame and appearance anxiety and diminishes states of flow. These variables can then lead to depression, which may be a risk factor in the development of disordered eating habits”. 

This unreal definition of beauty has created image barriers in the society. Younger kids are the most targeted audience and it’s destroying their outlook about the world. This image barrier can denounced by respecting one another’s beauty, emotions and intellect. Once this is done, both on an individual as well as collective level, causes of sexual objectification through pornography, advertisements, cinema, media and culture would be eliminated by itself.

This year Beyoncé performed at the Grammy’s while pregnant with twins, Serena Williams won the grand slam while pregnant and Alysia Montano an Olympic runner ran the U.S. Track and Field Championships while she was 5 months pregnant with her second child. This is not her first time running pregnant though, as, in 2015 she competed in the 800 meters while eight months along because she wanted to show women that they should still be active while pregnant. This time around, in the searing heat, she ran 11 seconds faster than her record time in 2014.

By far women have always been identified by their outer beauty. Serena, Beyonce and Alysia are huge step towards bringing awareness about the greatness of women, developing the idea of women’s capability to stand out as a wonder woman. Such actions will help develop people’s idea of women being identified for her intellect, emotions, talent and spirit.

Changes in individual’s outlook on this issue would be very helpful. To bring a bigger change it takes smaller acts by each one.

Opinions of the writer.


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