An informative TED talk on sexual objectification -- the personal damage it does and what we can do to stop it.
The speaker's position was that sexual objectification is societal dehumanizing. And when you dehumanize women, it's much easier to discriminate and abuse them. Women are not the subjects of advertising here -- we are objects. The difference is that subjects have the freedom to act, while objects are acted upon. The excuse that sex sells is also false. Contrary to popular believe sex is not being sold, otherwise there'd be as many pictures of naked men as women. Men are being sold sexual subjectification -- that they are in the drivers seat and can derive power from being surrounded by women who are sexual objects. Women are being sold the message that they derive their value from being the ideal sex object. The speaker explored how this affects our own behaviour, the main one being self-objectification. For starters, when we habitually body monitor ourselves and others, we are wasting time evaluating and working on our appearance, instead of using our time and energy for good. We also end up competing with other women for men's attention, which we think is a finite resource to be attained. Gawd, this is so depressing!
So what can we do?
Stop consuming damaging materials
Stop competing with other women
Stop seeking attention for our bodies
Stop evaluating each other based on appearances
I can see where I do self-objectify. No good can come of it either -- depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, body shaming ... However, it is getting easier with age. I am way more comfortable in my skin then as a young woman. I can do more though -- not just for me, but for my children.