Not the biology. Smirking children with fumbling hands are already being taught how to have safe sex with fruit (I remember my own sex ed seemed to involve putting condoms of bananas so my teachers could rest assured that I would not be contracting panama wilt any time soon). It’s what goes along with the sex that was so easily glossed over and in our ever overly-sexualised society seems to be increasingly important.
Boys and girls are being bombarded with images of what it is to be female. It can be hard to find a music video where the female singers has and then keeps all their clothes on, whilst successful female actors feature their work through, well mostly through their cleavage. The superbowl advert featuring Kate Upton pretty much involved a woman getting semi-naked over her excitment about eating a burger. In fact google any famous female and chances are you’ll be able to find an instant array of pictures of them posing seductively. And that’s just the more overt stuff. TV, film and adverts are all filled with sexism that maintains and reinforces the way we all look at women. This is not even to mention the easy availiability of instant porn.
So what’s the big deal?
Well, there is the potential that this is beginning to subtley and not-so-subtely influence the younger minds amongst us. Males and females alike are being given the impression that women are there for sex and that this is their most important attribute (I doubt that an advert featuring Kate Upton having a conversation with a burger would have been seen as quite so alluring – you might think that that’s because it would be stupid but somehow we’ve got to the point where a becoming aroused by a burger is seen as a valid idea). Porn certainly has the ability to influence the way that men and women believe sex should be enjoyed and could be having a detrimental effect on the way they have relationships – leading to detachment and reduced empathy towards women. Indeed, the sexualisation of women could be a factor in sexual violence as people begin to detach a woman’s identity from her sexuality and skew the prevaling opinion of what is seen as normal. Furthermore, it seems that as society devalues women, women can’t help but join in leading to self-objectification, shame and lowered wellbeing.
So we need to educate people that there’s more to women than sex. They are people and not just objects, until we can round out the dominant view of women in the media to more than just lusty sex hungry playthings we’re robbing a generation of women of the chance to aspire to more than being seen as sexy through mens’ eyes (and a rather limited version of what sexy is at that) and we’re impeding the chance for men to truly appreciate what 50% of the population really has to offer.