The Pornification of Women in Mainstream Western Media
Sexuality is a normal part of life for every male and female. Regardless of where he or she lives, or even what age a person is, sex will be a need. It is a known biological fact. However, the Western media has been blamed to play a large role in exacerbating the need. Back in 1811, a novel published by Jane Austin known as Sense and Sensibility mentioned the word chaperon. It was stated that back then a young woman and young man were never left alone. Even if they were left alone, they were left in the presence of a chaperone. (Poisoned by Porn; It's" 2010, 14) why was this the case? The answer to that lies in that sex is a need for every man or woman born into this world. It was back then that women were looked as objects to be honored, respected and actually taken care of. As humans have evolved over the course of two hundred years, we have made technological inventions and advanced in the name of education and media. Keeping all the revolutions before us, now we live in a society where very few, almost negligible restrictions are placed to defend a woman's honor. Let alone defend, the media today portrays women as objects adorned with sexuality and beauty. Most of the women aspire to be sexy, hot, and beautiful rather than respectful, learned and intellectual.
The culture that we live in today is being influenced by porn to a dangerous extent. It has been engulfed into areas such as language, fashion, advertisement, movies, magazines, television and even video games. Gone are the days when boys had to go through troubles of attaining porn, in one form or another it is given to them (Sarracino and Scott, 2008 p x). Porn has become mainstream and something that people often hear but these days it has gone to the extent that mainstream has become porned. Back in the 19th century, boys sat with their fathers and grandfathers and they were lectured on how anything bad that they did in this world would affect them in the after life. They were told that they would suffer consequences and have insanity in this life too. Little girls were actually lectured by their aunts and mothers about how sexual activity is done only to make babies and the only women who do it for another purpose are known as prostitutes (Sarracino and Scott, 2008 p xii). If we look at our culture now, any woman who appears that she doesn't have sexual urges is seen as not normal. The same notion is for men that they are considered homosexual or gay if they don't have sexual urges.
The American teenagers were stranded in a confusing situation of where they received confusing messages. Where parents and health classes tell them it's something to stay away from. The internet and media puts out the fact that it is desirable and pleasurable at the same time. This leaves the adolescent confused about where to go and what to think. The teens then turn to media as their only hope. The media then makes them feel as if sex and porn is something really good and they should dress to be sexy. (Sutton, Brown, Wilson, and Klein, p 2002 26)
It is discussed by many how pornificaiton has lead to increased demand for sex by men and women regardless of what age they are. A study done by the Matrimonial Lawyers Association stated that the more men viewed porn, more difficult it was for them to be in a sexual relationship with someone. (Balan, 2010). The main concern here is that pornography or porn is degrading the role of women in a relationship. The extent of cruelness and brutality that is shown in pornography affects the way men think about women (Balan, 2010). Many women, whose partners watch porn regularly feel as if they are being cheated upon and apart from treating women badly, men make women think they are not good enough for them. (Balan, 2010)
The media puts forward a very narrow defined body type ideal. It gives forward the message that women need to be toned and thin. With the advent of pornography, the desire to look sexy has also come into the play. Now just being slender and toned doesn't make you desirable for the opposite sex. A survey done in 1993 stated that the women between ages 18 and 70 stated that 50% look at themselves negatively. (Cash and Henry, 1995) All of them feel that they are not good enough. What exactly would be the answer to this? Media is the answer. A study conducted on female undergrads stated that the pictures present in magazines of super slender women led to guilt, stress and depression among the females. (Stice and Shaw, 1994) The idea of looking sexy and desirable makes women feel that their education and their credibility will not come to their benefit. It alters their ideals about what a good person is. Women especially go on to think that they can be doctors, lawyers and someone very intelligent. yet, if they are no thin or sexy, no one is going to want to marry them.
The amount of Breast augmentation procedures increased a total of 45% from the year 2000 till the year 2011 (ASPS 2012). In 2000, a total of 212, 500 people got this surgery done, where as the number increased to 307, 180 in 2011. (ASPS, 2012) Breast augmentation is a cosmetically procedure in which the size of the breasts is increased. Similarly, there was an increase in buttock lift from 1,356 in 2000 to 4,546 in 2011. In the later surgery, there was an increase of 235% over the past decade (ASPS, 2012) These statistics clearly show that pornification has been affecting women to a dangerous extent. They want to have breasts and buttocks that resemble the movie stars or even the porn stars because that is what sexy is. If their partners are interested in those types of body, obviously the women will do everything they can to look like that. This impact is observed in adolescent girls the most who have not achieved their mature body but they are in a hurry to do so. In their mind, they think they will get the boy they want only if they have a nice butt or if they have big breasts.
It was back in the day that being sexually active was a mark of defame for most girls. If they were discovered to be involved with a guy and have had sex, they were seen down upon. Thanks to the pornification society and the media making sex seem like such an achievement. An example is given of a high school senior, Anastasia, who uploaded the details of her sexual interactions with her boyfriend online for the entire world to see. (Stern, 2002, p. 266) This can be used to state that the media and pornificaiton is making sex seem like the ultimate goal of life. Now instead of women thinking that a sexy look is disrespectful, they want to look sexy. Women want the opposite gender to know the intimate details about them, their body and also about their sexuality. Surely, boys being boys will find that attracting and thus will find the 'sexy' girls attractive as well.
It is true that sexuality has increased in media for both men and women. But a study done by the University of Buffalo researchers stated out of the pictures gathered form 40 years of Rolling Stones magazine, women have been more sexualized than men. (Willard, 2011) Hypersexualization is basically that when a reader or viewer sees the images, they are reminded of sex and they want more sex. Many argue that the mere availability of porn relieves the users of their sexual frustration and rescue so many women from becoming victims of sexual assault. The opposite effect of hypersexualization is occurring on women. Hypersexualization enhances the chances of violence against girls and women. It also leads to more and more anti-women attitudes and sexual harassment against women. (Willard, 2011)
Pornification leads to increased expectations for men especially young boys. For them it is something inspiring and that is exactly what they expect of their innocent girlfriend. The standards in a relationship are set higher leading to more occurrences of date rapes and violence in a relationship. Most of the porn scenarios are based on violence against women and thus keep women at a degrading level. This leads to husbands trying out those scenarios in their marriage and thus increasing violence against women. (Groote, 2011) Most of the men who go for pornography are the ones that see women with hatred and anger and don't feel sorry for their suffering either. The same scenario is repeated when it comes to internet pornography. The pictures depict…
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2012, "Christina Aguilera's 'Your Body' Dress Doesn't Leave Much To The Imagination," The Huffington Post.
American Society of Plastic Surgeons (2012) 2011 Plastic Surgery Statistics Report. [report].
Baudrillard, Jean 1979. "Seduction." Translated by Brian Singer. New York: St. Martin's Press