My friend Kelly posted the video above today on her Facebook page. I started to write a comment on Facebook, but it got longer, and longer…..and longer. So I decided to write a blog on it instead.
There’s always been pressure on women to look a certain way, the Victorian era had extreme corsets, ancient Romans used makeup, the Chinese bound the feet, the Kayan Lahwi place brass rings around their necks. To imply that advertising is the cause of how women feel about themselves today is disingenuous. All of the above examples and many more were done decades and centuries before modern advertising. Before TV, magazines, before books, and I’m sure there were ways that women changed how they look before we even had writing.
Second, where are women in this? Is the speaker saying that women are so easily manipulated that a mere image destroys their self worth? That women and girls don’t know and can’t be taught that what they see in advertisements is not real? If the problems stemming from advertising are so inescapable why aren’t they more prevalent?
Third, “The person is dehumanized and violence becomes inevitable.” Um, no. While making a person an object may be the first step in violence against that person, I strongly disagree that it is inevitable. To agree with that statement you would have to believe that humans are violent against all objects. That because I think of a tree as an object I have to fight my natural urges to violently attack it?
You know what I think is causing all the self esteem problems in this country? It’s the dichotomy between what we show and what we do. We surround people with sex but then we tell them not to do it. That a women’s body should be looked at, but not touched, even by her own hand. If the only way you’re allowed to be sexual is through what you look like and what you wear, of course you’re going to take it to extremes.
We need to teach women (and girls, and boys, and men) that sex and masturbation are not bad things. That feeling good is not something to be ashamed of. That loving yourself physically is loving yourself mentally.
I think this last part relates to two recent posts by Katie West.