Opinion: The Sexualization Must Stop

Kamari Brown, Copy Editor

April 18th, 2020

Sexualization reaches all levels of society and is the top reason of the three of the most common mental health problems experienced by girls and women; low self-esteem, body dissatisfaction, and eating disorders. As females we are raised into it, from childhood, we’ve almost been trained to think that what we need to always be worrying about is how we look and act, we have to always be ladylike, that’s what it is to be a girl, right? 

The hypersexualized landscape that youth are growing up in isn’t hard to see. Walk through the mall, turn on the TV, or flip through social media and you easily come across it. Sexuality is being inappropriately imposed on girls, like push-up bras being marketed to 12-year-olds, Bikinis for little girls, makeup, lacey under garments, high heels, the whole “boy crazy” thing, magazines for young girls encouraging them to lose ten pounds, straighten their hair and wear a mini-skirt to attract their crush, the list goes on. 

These girls are just wearing clothes that are fun and they don’t even know what sex is. Or we Americans are such prudes; girls in other parts of the world run around naked and no one cares. Or girls might as well get used to it because that’s the world they are growing up in. I reject the idea that women should shrug off the comments, jokes, and stares that combine to degrade us on a daily basis.

Not only that but the people you see on social media, on magazine covers, the models in the stores in the mall, are all perfect, and photoshopped, but you have to remember that even many of the “perfect” people have insecurities. The narrow, often unattainable standards for female attractiveness, pressures these unrealistic expectations and standards on females and can affect them in many ways. Starting as just a girl, it’s very easy to develop insecurities, anxiety, and low self-esteem that stop you from living your best life. 

Fiona Murphy/Pepperbox

It can give a person low-self esteem which affects them in many ways. I know girls who come to school quiet and in a bad mood some days because they don’t have a cute outfit or enough makeup on, and it’s not that they can help it but that most young people’s brains are wired to think like that. It can lead them into relationship troubles or difficulty making friends, negative moods such as feeling sad, anxious, ashamed or angry, low motivation, poor body image, earlier sexual activity, and drinking alcohol and/or taking drugs to feel better. A lot stems from it. 

There is no doubt women are frequently made sexual objects and thought of as lesser, female sexual objectification involves a woman being viewed primarily as an object of sexual desire, rather than as a whole person. Women are more likely to be picked apart by the brain and seen as parts rather than a whole, according to research published in the European Journal of Social Psychology. Men, on the other hand, are processed as a whole rather than the sum of their parts.Everyday, ordinary women are being reduced to their sexual body parts and disempowered simply because they have bodies, where sexual attractiveness is valued above all other characteristics, like athletic or educational abilities. This isn’t just something that supermodels or porn stars have to deal with.

The day that women and men are equal is coming up, but things like sexualization and unrealistic expectations are going to be around forever, because that’s just how it is. Women will always be sexualized because we are beautiful, Some people are born more blessed than others, but no matter who you are you have to remember to not let anything or anybody hold you down or stop you from thriving. As long as you have the mental and the heart, you don’t need much of the outside.