Has Social Media Become a Platform for the Objectification of Women
Women or objects? That is the trending question when it comes to women posting photographs on social media. Females from all walks of life are constantly being thrown into the fire of social media scrutiny with little consideration. Not every female is vying for the attention of the world. Yet on a daily basis they are met with terrible comments that often make them feel bad about themselves. So you’ve got to ask yourself, is social media doing more harm than good in women’s fight for equality and the feminist movement?
“They Ask for It”
All too often you hear the excuse, “Well if they dress that way, aren’t they asking for that type of attention?” However, that would be along the lines of saying a woman who is wearing a tight shirt and a short skirt deserves to be sexually harassed because of what she has on. Really? It’s unfortunate that it’s 2016 and we still have to argue this stance.
Now that is not to say that there aren’t women out there that want that type of attention – to an extent. Women in the sex, porn, stripper, or even music video industries might like the idea of being objectified because their bodies are essentially what makes them money. They want to hear a man talking about how sexy her body looks, because this is what sales and is ultimately what gets them where they want to be. But that is a small percentage of women and even they don’t ALWAYS want to be viewed as sexual objects.
“They Shouldn’t Post”
There are critics that will say, “If they don’t want that type of attention, they shouldn’t post those types of pictures.” However, the truth is that there are women who are objectified and have not put out a “sexy” picture. Tia Mowry for instance posted pictures last year of herself and her family. Social media instantly started trolling her page calling her unattractive, overweight, and some even assumed she had to be pregnant! Tia was fully clothed, she was smiling, and to us she looked amazing. Turns out she had put on an extra 15 pounds because she was happy with her life and her career!
Everyone who utilizes social media understands that with it comes the potential for some pretty harsh feedback. Anything from an article or status update to a picture or a video is placed on a platform for the world to see, view, and comment on. Naturally, if there is something you don’t want the world to see, you wouldn’t post it.
As a social media account holder, you should not have to have your picture picked apart in the way that many do. If you lose weight, you’re too skinny. If you gain weight, you’re too fat. If you’re fully clothed you’re unattractive or boring. If you’re in a bathing suit, you’re a slut and a sex object. If you’re breastfeeding your child in public you’re a disgrace and an embarrassment.
Why can’t a woman share her new outfit, vacation pictures, precious moments with her children, or just a selfie without social media trolls attacking her physical appearance? Does society have such a strong ideology about women that they can’t look past the physical attributes and see a human being?
Unfortunately, these are questions we’re still trying to answer.
A Platform for Advocacy
Now social media is not ALL about objectifying women. In fact, for many females, it has been a platform for advocacy. It is a place where women can share their beliefs and speak to the masses about how women are treated in society today. There are lots of women who are speaking out for the feminist movement and making big statements.
Madonna Badger launched the #womenarenotobjects campaign. As she did a Google search of the terms objectification of women, she came across so many negative images that she felt compelled to do something about it. Madonna created a Youtube Video which displays women reviewing sexist ads. The campaign hopes to spread the word through social media on the objectification of women.
After having a child, some women experience stretch marks and other physical changes that society would like to say make them less appealing. Two mothers had had enough of the scrutiny they received about their stretchmarks and decided to do something about it. #LoveyourLines movement was started as a way to encourage mothers with stretch marks and other “imperfections” to embrace who they are.
Have you ever noticed as you’re watching a red carpet event, the women are simply asked “What designer are you wearing tonight?” and “How do you stay in such good shape?” Well, some members of Hollywood have had enough of it and are using social media to speak out. #Askhermore was designed to address this issue. The movement hopes to get reporters to look beyond the physical attributes of a woman and talk with her about her talents and interest just as you would her male counterparts.
Social media can be a cruel platform at times for women. It is a place where they are viewed and judged by millions – most of which who don’t know them personally. Women more than men are expected to watch what pictures they post and what clothes they have on. They are expected to appeal to the masses whether they want that type of attention or not. As bad as social media can be at times, it can also be a platform for advocacy. The more women that realize they can utilize social media as a voice for a cause, the more they push forward to continue fighting for equality.