HIBA ARIF PATANWALA
Women have never had it easy when it comes to having their words heard in society. In fact it took such a long time for them to be able to vote in the United States. Men have had most things handed to them on a silver platter and have always retained more power throughout time compared to women. This misogyny and lack of representation presents itself further in the world in the new forms of media and entertainment that have been produced in today’s world. Women are regularly objectified in today’s media. One need only open a television set to see how many sexist advertisements are being shown every day. Since advertisements are one of the biggest forms of marketing in the world of today and due to their versatility of being able to be present anywhere and everywhere they change how we think about the ideal woman. Advertisements shape our minds and our perceptions of what the perfect woman is and how women should look and act. Women themselves become greatly influenced as well as these advertisements start to influence them as to how exactly to act in the world and start to shape their mindsets. While it is also true that there exist a lot of amazing women who also work tirelessly to ensure that the world gives equal rights to women it is also true that they usually belong to an older generation while most younger generations are easily influenced.
Most importantly in advertisements it is true that they are guilty of setting a standard of beauty that is too high for any women to conceive achieving. People do not realize that on the covers of magazines most of the models that are considered amazing and gorgeous have been greatly photoshopped, have a face of makeup and spend hours getting ready to look like this. People do not realize this unrealistically high standard of beauty is poisoning the minds of women and girls who do not realize how unrealistic it is for them to expect to look like them.
The image of what a successful woman looks like in the media are standards that have been set by men under a very misogynistic gaze and subconsciously explains to women that their worth is only present when they are being appreciated under the male gaze. There is no lack of studies which indicate that this is greatly detrimental to the development of women in several ways. Women are objectified to such an extent that it promotes an extremely shallow representation of women should actually be. This hinders the intellectual growth and development of women and reduced the value women hold for themselves. Objectification in the media especially sexual objectification is rampant. We see it everywhere while a man for example modelling a suit will look perfectly good and will apparently reach the standards of male beauty women have a far steeper slope to climb. Often being shown half naked and wearing bikinis, while in sexually explicit poses women are show to be used more as tools some advertisement campaigns even go so far as to show women as slaves to men and being dominated by them. This goes a long way in affecting the self esteem and confidence of women and this along with the standards of beauty that have been set for women render feelings of degradation and powerlessness within themselves. It is not only through external sources however, when women are objectified in the media it gives birth to a cycle. Whereby objectification happens women see that and then they also begin to self-objectify. Eventually this can lead to several problems later in their lives. The sensation of being looked at and viewed in society lends women to feeling self-conscious and in turn turning themselves to match the same misogynistic standards that society had set out for them to follow. While it is possible there are several who do not do this the overbearing power and influence of the media is something that is difficult to counter and may bend the wills of even the most powerful individuals.
Often the argument is made that if it is only happening on television and on the internet it is possible for women to distance themselves from it since definitely it is not the only thing that is happening there. However, it is not how much is happening but what effect it has. Objectification of women in society is something that has always held major influence. This can lead to a society where victim blaming is rampant. Studies have found strong correlations between men who engage in sexual objectification and committing sexual assault. Thus something through trivial turns into a major crime. Almost as if women have no right to be who they are they are almost turned into a sort of commodity to be treated as worse then some other commodities. Women have always had it difficult one only need look at history for several examples of that. However, it is true that the media also holds the power to be able to help them. The media is a powerful tool and the objectification of women using this tool is something that should be avoided to help a gender who has always had difficult in climbing an increasingly steep and difficult hill.