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Objectification of Women vs Sex Sells

In: Social Issues

Submitted By Mythiusdee
Words 2040
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Objectification of women Vs. "Sex Sells": Where is the Line drawn

Why is it that we have become impervious to the objectification of women today? Why do a large group of men and women allow and condone this type of behavior? A perfect example of this is my friend Chad. He is your stereotypical play-boy. In his mind he is God's gift to women. One day we were at the bar. He was doing his usually "surveillance" as he called it. Looking around trying to find out which girl would be most likely to go home with him just by their physical appearance. I thought of it more as his predatorily stalking like a hyena looking for a wounded calf in a herd of buffalo. (No objectification meant) His eyes fixated on a women in her mid twenties with red hair and a super model body. It wasn't an hour later that he left the bar with her, leaving me in the company of a sweating Heineken and a $53 tab. Two days later we met up and lounged on his porch in the late afternoon enjoying the cool weather. He began to brag about the red haired woman he took home. He nicknamed her "Lips" for reasons I prefer not to get into but spoke of her actions during their little sexual escapade. He spoke in graphic detail about things I just didn't care to hear. After a few minutes of this assault Chad asked me what I had done after he left. I don't know if it was anger that compelled me but something motivated me to do something I have avoided doing in a long time. I began to speak of an explicit encounter with a woman that I made up. I gave her dirty blonde hair blue eyes and body tighter then shrink wrap on Texas summer day. I regurgitated facts about Chad's episode but in my own words and in different chronological order. He had a shocked face when I told him about this. Chad said "Man! That's awesome bro you finally catch and released, How did it feel?" I didn't answer the question but deflected it by asking one back. "Is it really awesome?". "Hell Yeah!" Chad said. In the most serious face I have ever had I told him her name. Michelle. Chad and I both knew a Michelle, in fact when I described this woman I illustrated characteristics of the Michelle we knew and put them into this made up woman. Michelle as it turns out is Chad's younger sister. She just so happens to have a crush on me which made my story of only a brief second believable. But that's all I needed was a brief second to get my point across. Who says that the objectification of women today is okay. Progressively we have increased the objectification and sexualizing of women without elevating suspicion upon ourselves that we are demoralizing the women that could one day be our spouse, friend, sister, or daughter.

Sex and sexualizing of women extends deep within our culture and community through advertising . Advertising has molded this image of the perfect body which in order to acquire such a figure one most give up the fun things in life and live on a rice cake diet. This tactic isn't new to advertising. "Look" Magazine published a article called "Nudity is Ad Fad" in 1968 where the publisher, Thomas Shepard went on record saying that the days of scantily clad models in advertising were numbered. Guess he was wrong. Seems like everyone is putting their hands in the pot. Herbal Essences a hair care company had a commercial that I remember of women washing their hair in varies places yelling "Yes! Yes! Oh Yes!". Now what does sex have to do with hair care? " Sex in Advertising: Perspectives on the Erotic Appeal" a book written by Dr. Tom Reichert a acknowledged author who has studied sex in advertising for 21 years says that "Most studies examine the effects of sexual ads from the information processing and hierarchy of effects perspectives."(Tom, 11) He then goes on to say "These approaches assume persuasion occurs in a linear manner. Information must first be noticed and encoded before the receivers become receptive to it, yield to it, and ultimately act in accordance with the recommendation."(Tom, 11) Advertising companies play on this. In fact once a year advertising companies spend $4 million dollars to convince us to buy their product in a 30 second commercial. They are willing to do this because they know that close to 111.5 million viewers will be watching. There are some people like me that don't care much about watching men in tight pants throw a ball up and down a field and tackle each other. But I am engaged when the commercials come because this is the one time out of the year where companies hold nothing back. They go all out to entice us with humor, sadness, or any other emotion to encourage us to buy what they have to sell. Attention, cognitive, recognition, recall, purchase intention, Brand-name, unaided memory of the brand name are all things used in advertising to make a sell to us. The first of this list is attention, sex is the biggest attention getter available. Most men will stop in their tracks to get a look at a woman in a skimpy outfit. I have a unaided memory of the brand-name of Herbal Essence because as a young child I remember the moaning of the girls that were shampooing their hair. I remember thinking that I wanted to shampoo a woman's hair because it could be the doorway leading to sex. Herbal Essence just got a new customer!

When we surround ourselves on a day to day basis with songs that objectify women we tend to become ignorant of the actual meaning of the lyrics. Music has had a huge impact on the shaping of the modern culture as it is today and contains more sexual explicit material than any other media. A case study in 2006 involving over 2,000 young people aging from 8-18, it was found that 98% of these young people had access to radios/MP3/CD players and that 86% had their own in their bedroom. The average time spent listening to music in this age range is 16 hours a week. In this same case study it was shown by taking 279 songs from the 2005 Billboard Top hits and scoring them on their sexual explicit content. Out of 279 songs 103 were found to have degrading and or non degrading sexual content. That is 36.9% of the songs. Given that the average child listens to 16 hours a week that's 5.9 hours of sexual content exposure a week just through music. In the article Degrading and Non-Degrading Sex in Popular Music: A Content Analysis written by Brian A. Primack, MD, PhD with areas of specialization in adolescent health, Primack states "During the period when adolescents are forming health attitudes and behaviors that last a lifetime, they are exposed to an enormous amount of electronic media, much of which contains messages relevant to health behaviors."(Primack, 594) With case studies to back this claim one of which stated above it is obvious that without the proper monitoring and mentoring that possibility of exposing our children to a notion that objectifying women is normal becomes a extremely high probability. Objectifying women will always be present when people like Notorious B.I.G who are famous and looked up to by many young and old fans has songs that contain lyrics such as "Sex on the first date Then I, whip it out, rubber no doubt. Open up your blouse, pull your G-string down South."Notorious BIG, song) However it is a well known fact that "Sex Sales". The is the reason for the explicit lyrics in music today. Most of the songs that mention sex are also reference to songs about making money or “Getting that paper”. Which makes this an obvious sight that singers and artists are aware that sex sells and so they are not selling songs but sex. They have become pimps of music. The New York Times posted a article called This Just In: Study Shows Songs About Sex Are Hot Sellers written by James C. McKinley Jr. He explains that the State University of New York did a case study on the top Billboard songs in 2009 and found that 92% had sexual content. The most shocking.... maybe not so shocking is that McKinley says " What’s more, the authors found a direct correlation between the number of references to sex in a song and how well it did on the Billboard charts."(McKinley, 1) This study was published in an issue of Evolutionary Psychology.

Sexualizing women to increase sells proved to be successful and fueled many other fashion companies to follow suit. Fashion seems to have this rule that the more revealing clothes are the more fashionable and desirable they are. My father disagrees that fashion effects him. I then asked "Would you be ok if I wore this for dinner tonight?" turning to a page in a magazine that showed a man in a light grey suit with a bowler hat and sandals. My father threatened me by saying "I would disown you!". I began to explain that fashion does affect him maybe not by what he wears but by what his family or friends might wear. Tom Ford is a well known high end fashion designer. If you were to take a quick break and hop over to you would find yourself looking at a photograph of women lined up some covered and some not so much. Now go to the women's new arrival section and you will come across another photograph this one of two women both wearing footwear and only one in waist high fishnets. You would think that the objective of Tom Ford would be to sell clothes. So why not have these women wearing more clothing to show how it appears while worn. In an article by a The Fashion Law which is one of the leading authoritative sources dedicated to the field of fashion law and the business of fashion, TFL states "Ford, the mastermind behind the controversial campaign, managed to take Gucci, which was actually a faltering luxury goods company on the brink of bankruptcy in 1994 (when he was promoted to creative director), and make it into an international success. Between 1995 and 1996, sales at Gucci increased by 90%, and when Ford left in 2004, the Gucci Group was valued at $10 billion."(The Fashion Law, 1) The major change in their fashion campaign was sex.. They chased this profit gain at the price of sexualizing women in fashion to market a sexy look.

This has been a tactic of the industries for a long time now. L.C Soley author of "Taking it off: are models in magazine ads wearing less clothing" whose article has been cited in over a hundred different works brings up a ad that was published in the early 80's. "Sexually provocative and suggestive content has not only been confined to television advertising." (Soley, 1) When the success of a song, clothing line, or sell of a new car is determined by how sexual the lyrics, skimpy the cloths, or by how driving this new car will make any women orgasm at the site of you, it is obvious that we as society have over saturated our culture with the selling of sex and sex appeal. Our culture is a shy culture when it comes to the speaking of sex in person, it is a justification for us to hide these little sexually innuendos in our commercials because we find it acceptable. We stretch the line of what's suitable in fashion because that is our corn-pone opinion. We defend the sexual lyrics of our singers and artist by saying "They're words not actions." It is time to realize what kind of stage we are setting for our future generations.

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