Facebook has always been the bane of my existence- in that I love it and find it so insanely frustrating at times that it kills me. Sometimes though, it just becomes nothing more than a social experiment- what are my peers talking about, what are they dedicating their time to and anything else that matters to the collective brain of teenagers glued to their computer screens.
Every day I scroll through things- sometimes heartwarming, clever, funny or interesting. Dialectics on why weekends or breaks need to come faster, missing significant others, or recounting the memories that most of my college aged peers are enjoying. And then every so often I stumble upon something offensive, and most of the time I just want to scream, or write about it.
So in this very first edition of things seen on facebook (that represent other more pervasive levels of what occurs in reality away from social media) I present to you:
I protect the identity of this person mostly because I sometimes believe it is the right thing to do, although I doubt he actually would see this. I think the bigger point would be that this is a peer- who attends the same university that I do. That is to say, this is a young (supposedly open minded) educated young man.
Let me just start by saying there is one pretty good point that this kid brings up. I think that advertisement and mass media objectify male bodies as well, there is no denying that. And I think that it is easy to ignore the objectification of the male body because men don’t seem to care, or don’t come out and say that they care. That being said though, the instances of objectifying the female body is so much more; more far reaching, more extreme and ultimately more damaging to the female psyche.
It’s easy to say “brush it off” to women, but it’s another one of those predicaments, easier said than done. And what I would say to this person, if I ever see him on campus, would be- do not tell me what I can and cannot be affected by, or what I respond viscerally to. Yay, yay I’m so proud that you don’t care that you don’t look like a hollister model, tell the ten year old girls who are on a diet because they think they are fat to learn how to handle their insecurities.
You get the gist.
Basically, what some people consistently fail to understand is that we still live in a society dominated by men. That is, when we still sell sex as a means to sell bras (and I mean, who wants to pay $85 for a Victoria’s Secret Bra…) we are still advertising to the ideal in the eyes of men. We are advertising “hey, look good for your guy” instead of “feel good for yourself” or “this is really good quality and we’re not trying to gip you out of money.” Advertising is a dangerous world of trickery and desire. Maybe we want to look like a Victoria’s Secret model, but maybe we just want a guy to look at us in this way. What is the driving force? That depends on the woman, definitely.
We are taught form a VERY young age- beauty is important, beauty drives everything else, we must be beautiful to be successful. We are sold it in Barbie dolls and advertisements. We are taught it before we even know how to analyze it. Look at how many girls versus boys struggle with body dysmorphia, or eating disorders. Look at the amount of girls who call themselves fat and put themselves on extreme diets or exercise regimens, look at how many girls self esteem becomes dependent on thinness, a layer of beauty that is intensely unattainable for many. We airbrush our models into perfection until we cannot be them and yet we want to.
It’s insensitive and impractical to say women have an issue handling the way women are portrayed in media and frankly it is wrong. It is denying the existence of the patriarchy that still exists in the mass media and the way we advertise. I don’t look at a model and say I want to be her, but it is hard to ignore the way men look at these women, their desire. But we are still a society that portrays women as bodies, and that’s inherently the problem.