Sexualization is hurting our culture

Daniel Vasilchuk

Her hazel hair falls lusciously below her raised shoulders, her slender legs are ever so slightly apart, her chest is aimed upward and the look on her face suggests only one thing.

Our culture is filled with sexualized images in magazine advertisements, music videos and video games. These images are mostly aimed at selling products to viewers.

Men and women in the media are often portrayed as objects of lust, and both genders suffer as a result of this sexual objectification.

But this sexualization applies far more to women than to men.

According to a 2007 American Psychology Association report, women are three times more likely than men to be objectified in magazine advertisements.

Ads in Cosmopolitan and Vogue magazines show women in poses that mainly suggest their longing for sex just to promote a product. The ads assert that all women should look this way.

Cosmopolitan almost always promotes new ways women can seduce men. Titles like “Seven Bad-Girl Bedroom Moves to Master” and “30 Things to do with a Naked Man” lure women into purchasing Cosmo’s magazines.

This torrent of sexual media subconsciously compels women to make men one of the main focuses in their life.

“One of the dominant themes about sexuality reported across these studies and across magazines is that … gaining the attention of men is and should be the focal goal for women,” according to the APA report.

But the constant sexualization of women affects men too. Men often have trouble committing to a relationship because of it.

“Exposure to narrow ideals of female sexual attractiveness may make it difficult for some men to find an acceptable partner or to fully enjoy intimacy with a female partner,” according to the report.

This focus on sexual appeal causes men to relate to women in a largely sexual way, according to the report.

Because of this, women suffer from cheating boyfriends and husbands while constantly being ogled.

In addition to ads in magazines, covers of video games like “WET” and “Tomb Raider Anniversary” show sexualized computer-generated women.

Through these articles and video game covers, the media suggests that all women should strive to be as sexual as possible.

Lisa Bohon, professor of psychology, said that being repeatedly exposed to sexualized media can lead to having these images infused into everyday thoughts.

“An emphasis on sexuality can encourage people to derive their feelings of self-worth from those things that are associated with sexuality, such as appearance, popularity, and conquest,” she said.

While it may be acknowledged that sexual images have certain appeal and do sell products, it is all done at the expense of men and women who have feelings and emotions that aren’t just sexual.

The human body should not be something that is used to sell products or entice viewers. The products themselves need to be the main focus. Though this might lead to some dull ads and boring music videos, it is worth promoting healthier images of men and women for everyone’s sake.

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