SEXUAL OBJECTIFICATION & YOUR MENTAL HEALTH

Sexual objectification is probably present in your life and you might not even realise it. Have you ever flicked through a Cosmopolitan magazine or a Playboy magazine? Been to any recent movies? Ever felt like you have to wear makeup or dress a certain way to be accepted? Received compliments concerning your appearance rather than your intelligence? Ever been catcalled? If you answer yes to any of these questions, you’ve most likely experienced sexual objectification.

Sexual objectification is the reduction of people to physical objects of sexual desire, which sadly, we’ve all seen before in everyday life. It is becoming increasingly common for girls at the start of adolescence to subconsciously internalise our culture’s sexual objectification and stereotypes of women. Growing up in a culture which sexually objectifies the female body, this only increases as girls turn into young women and begin to experience more. It doesn’t affect all young women, but many begin to feel as though they have to dress or look a certain way to be accepted.

There are a number of factors that contribute to this feeling that physical attractiveness determines your self-worth. The media is a big factor – films, TV shows, magazines, advertisements, music, video games, books – every platform of the media can portray sexual objectification and hence impact young women.

Films are a huge factor: in the growing industry, the sexual objectification of women is often an underlying occurrence in many films in different genres… it appears in action, comedy, drama, thriller, horror and even romance. With the issue frequently present in movies nowadays, women who view the films or are exposed to them, often begin to self-objectify.

Self-objectification occurs as a result of the over-obsession with the female form without any regard to personhood. Researchers describe it as “regular exposure to objectifying experiences that socialize girls and women to engage in self-objectification, whereby they come to internalize this view of themselves as an object or collection of body parts”. It has been proven that this can lead to physical and mental health issues like eating disorders, anxiety, body shame and dissatisfaction, depression, substance abuse and sexual dysfunction.

Psychologists believe that learning about sexual objectification reduces its impact, so let’s raise awareness by discussing, educating and most importantly challenging the unattainable expectations and standards raised by different movies. Remember that #SheIsMoreThan her body or just a pretty face. Let us stop seeing ourselves and other women as body parts and instead as stories to be told.

Stay tuned for our upcoming posts, movie reviews and discussions by following us on here and our other social media platforms.

– S x

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