Not too long ago I revealed my deep, dark secret – I am a feminist.
That’s right. I believe in equality. Shocking! Many people, both men and women, continue to argue that the feminist movement is no longer needed. We have the right to vote. We can wear pants whenever we damn well please (in this country anyway). And we can open our own bank accounts. That must mean we’re equal.
Wrong! All we have to do is take a look at the rampant sexism within our media to see that we are not equal. Women continue to be reduced to mere sex objects to sell things like beer, cars, and even burgers. I mean, I know that I always wear a bikini and crouch on all fours to eat my burgers, but that doesn’t mean everybody else does. Surprisingly, some women may actually prefer to be sitting at a table or wearing clothes.
Let’s take a look at what happens when men are sexualized in the same way women are:
These men look absolutely ridiculous. Yet, this is how women continue to be portrayed in the media every day.
Now, let’s take a moment to focus on the ‘Nerdy Guy + Hot Girl’ dynamic. In actuality, this dynamic boils down to ‘Any Type of Guy + Hot Girl.’ It seems that men can be overweight, nerdy, short, tall, etc. and it really makes no difference. Their worth is not based on their appearance. The women, however, must all meet a certain level of attractiveness or standard of beauty. Even those who are portraying the homely or unattractive girls are basically hot girls sporting a ponytail and glasses.
When television does actually attempt to challenge this dynamic by matching a woman, who deviates from society’s approved beauty standards, with a hot man, all hell breaks loose. In the episode of Girls titled “One Man’s Trash”, Hannah (Lena Dunham) hooks up with a very attractive doctor played by Patrick Wilson. In response, people everywhere, especially women, turned to social media to voice their disgust with this pairing.
Society has become so accustomed to linking a woman’s worth to her outer beauty that people couldn’t even handle this pairing. It seemed so outrageous that a man like Patrick Wilson would ever be interested in a woman who looked like Lena Dunham.
But, nobody seems to mind this:
I could go on forever about sexism in the media, from the portrayal of women on the news to characters on the big screen, but the bottom line is that we are not equal. And that is not okay.
Sexism hurts everybody. It places unrealistic standards on both men and women by stifling our humanity and dictating the parameters of female and male personalities, interactions and expectations. So, it’s up to us to change it. The first step is awareness.
I’ll leave you with one last video: