Reversing the Denigration of Women

There is a particular quote, that I love, that has been coming to my mind with ever increasing frequency as of late;
“Popular culture today often makes women look silly, inconsequential, mindless, and powerless. It objectifies them and disrespects them and then suggests that they are able to leave their mark on mankind only by seduction.” (M. Russell Ballard)

Denigration of women, violence against women, and sexual objectification of women is astoundingly  prevalent in our culture. Just turn on the TV, radio, computer, read a book, or take a walk in your local mall. It won’t take long to see blatant examples of how women are being hypersexualized and belittled. Walking down the magazine isle or in the news racks at the grocery store checkout you can’t help but notice how women in our culture are picked apart, objectified, told how to act, dress, move and lose weight.

Magazines are inundated with articles telling you how to be different than you are. Statements like, “Better skin, Change your hair, Fix it, Don’t be…..,What you need and don’t have”, fill the pages of magazines that, believe it or not, aren’t there to help you improve. They are only trying to make money and help their advertisers do the same. They really need to convince you that you aren’t OK the way you are so that you will spend your money trying to become what they tell you to be. The problem is, they are selling lies. I would like to say all, but will be safe and say most of the pictures you look at in magazines are so touched up and altered they can only be classified as lies. The definition of beauty is continually changing as well, It has to so that these companies can continue to convince you to spend money changing yourself. So not only is it impossible to reach the level of perfection they advertise but it is also ever evolving and changing so if you do somehow become perfect you won’t be for long.

Media objectifies women in many ways.

Ad campaigns can be seen where we only view a portion of a woman’s body, making her become mere pieces and not a whole person. Her butt, boobs, abdomen, legs, mouth, eyes, hair.

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They glorify violence against women.

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Stereotype women as being moody, irrational, easily confused,  of low intelligence,

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and tell us our value lies in our ability to be sexy and please a man

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or simply objectify women by turning them into objects this way

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Music videos border lining on pornographic are repugnantly abundant and the lyrics of popular songs are so raunchy and degrading I am simply amazed. A sample of some lyrics from popular songs, when stripped of their catchy beats and flashy presentation, should make us scratch our heads and wonder how we dare listen to or even sing along with them;
“Shush girl, shut your lips,Do the Helen Keller and talk with your hips.”  Want
“Let this be a sermon I mean everything I’ve said Baby, I’m determined And I’d rather see you dead” The Beatles
“I know you want it  I know you want it  I know you want it” Robin Thicke
“He’ll give us what we need It may not be what we want” Kanye West

In regards to the making of his music video for the song Blurred Lines, Robin Thicke, who apparently knows exactly when a woman “wants it”, told GQ magazine this:
“We tried to do everything that was taboo. Bestiality, drug injections, and everything that is completely derogatory towards women. Because all three of us are happily married with children, we were like, ‘We’re the perfect guys to make fun of this.’ People say, ‘Hey, do you think this is degrading to women?’ I’m like, ‘Of course it is. What a pleasure it is to degrade a woman. I’ve never gotten to do that before. I’ve always respected women.”

Another tool the media uses to tear women down is pitting one against the other. Jessica vs Brittany, Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey, Naomi and Tyra, Hillary vs Pallin or as it was once said “The B@!ch and the Dittz”.  In fact women can be each others worst enemies, gossiping, and putting each other down. Degrading shows like Big Brother and The Bachelor are popular in part because we can sit  and judge other women from the comfort of our own home.

Recently a magazine I glanced at quoted a young star as saying, “Sex motivates everything”, quickly followed by the magazine stating “We love this girl” and I realized why I have become more concerned about the welfare of women and why that quote, “Popular culture today often makes women look silly, inconsequential, mindless, and powerless. It objectifies them and disrespects them and then suggests that they are able to leave their mark on mankind only by seduction.” keeps coming to mind. It is because I think too many young women are actually buying into it. They are believing that all they can offer the world is a sexy body. That their top goals should be to be pretty and popular. That they will never be enough, not pretty enough, not skinny enough, not enough. I also worry about my sons. How will this influence them?

Really I could go on and on. But instead I want to propose a small way to chip away at the culture that is beating women down. I want everyone who reads this to post to pay a real compliment to a women. Not an insincere, “You’re beautiful”, but a real heart felt compliment. I also want everyone to vow to stop doing one thing that lends itself to a culture that objectifies and belittles women. It could be as simple as not watching a particular show or not gossiping. And One Last Thing I want you to do if you are a woman reading this,  I also want you to share something  you think is beautiful about yourself physically and emotionally and a talent you have.

Lets build ourselves up and build each other up to a higher level. Let us be leaders, thinkers, writers, philosophers, welders,mothers, doctors, teachers. Lets be more than just a body that we aren’t happy with. Lets love ourselves and respect ourselves.

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