Do you frequently see female models wearing revealing clothes in advertisements or magazines? You must have several times, right?
If you are not aware yet, this is called sexualistion. According to an article by INHOPE, ‘sexualistion’ refers to when “a person is valued for his or her sexual appeal or behavior, to the exclusion of other characteristics.” It is especially commonly seen among women and girls in different commercials to attract more audiences’ attention, particularly male audiences. In fact, a study conducted by researchers at Wesleyan University showed that women are sexualised in men’s magazines a whopping 76% of the time. However, it is unfortunate that many people today still do not recognize this as a serious problem and deem it as harmless, but the sexualistion of women and girls alike should absolutely NOT be condoned.
Although sexualistion can be an effective method of advertising at times, its impacts on not only the model but also the viewers are extremely detrimental. According to UNICEF USA, one of the most significant effects of objectifying and hypersexualising women on young girls is lowering their self-esteem, forming eating disorders, and leading to body negativity. When young girls witness these beautiful models with hourglass body shapes appear on the screens all the time, they will want to become like these models just so they could be called “beautiful” without realizing that everyone is beautiful in their own way. In other words, such advertisements are creating unreal beauty standards in society and thus having a bad influence on future generations of females.
Another notable impact is encouraging harmful masculinity among men and boys. Boys embrace the idea that success and attractiveness are linked to dominance, power, and aggression by observing how their bodies are portrayed in relation to girls. This will result in the normalization of violence against girls and exacerbate gender inequality.
Next time, if you ever see the sexualistion of women and girls in advertisements and magazines again, please inform others about this issue and help spread awareness about it.