“Sexual objectification dehumanizes girls and women, which contributes toward rape culture and violence against women,”Carrie Baker, J.D., Ph.D., author of Fighting the US Youth Sex Trade: Gender, Race, and Politics and The Women’s Movement Against Sexual Harassment.
The sexualization of females is an ongoing problem all over world, from exposing girls to societal pressures to perpetuating sexual violence. A report of UNESCO declares that, ‘Every 10 minutes, an adolescent girl dies as a result of violence. Nearly one in five girls is sexually abused at least once in her life. Even a country like United States, 18 percent of girls report that by age 17 they have been victims of a sexual assault or abuse.
Why are women and girls so often the victims of violence?
There are several reasons such as objectify and hypersexualization of women bodies, stereotypes of media, social patriarchy. To confirm about it, let’s have a look towards the data of APA (American Psychological Association) which found objectification, equalization of person standard to its physical attractiveness, revealing clothing even the world games dresses, bodily postures, shows women sexualization. An another print media study reveal 51.8 % of advertisements featured women as sex objects, that has amplified in todays social media age.
Its all affect mental, emotional and physical health of women on a global scale. It include anxiety about appearance, feelings of shame, eating disorders, lower self-esteem and depression. A study found that only 11 percent of girls worldwide would call themselves beautiful and six in ten girls avoid participating in life activities because of concerns about the way they look.
It contributes to harmful gender stereotypes that normalize violence against girls
These stereotypes normalize the violence against women. However, they are also harmful boys, it force them to internalize the notion that success and attractiveness are tied to dominance, power and aggression. A very dangerous data shows only 1 percent of adolescent girls who have experienced forced sex reached out for professional help. (the reporting of cases is very uncommon, fear, family pressure, social pressure, and unbiased policing system are directly responsible)
The #MeToo movement raised awareness of sexual abuse and harassment and encouraged survivors to speak out. However, the Law enforcement and social service providers often do little to encourage women to self-identify, so it’s up to our culture and our media to empower women to affirm that all forms of sexual abuse and assault are serious and harmful.
It is leading many girls to experience various health and mental health issues include low self-esteem, anxiety, eating disorders, depression, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts. As a result, they can experience sensitivity to criticism, the desire to withdraw from social events, hostile behavior, exhaustion, migraines, negative self-talk, and more.
Many girls deal with mental health issues that go unnoticed. It’s important to pay attention to drastic changes in mood, behavior, personality, and likes or dislikes. If a girl loves playing soccer, but suddenly hates it and wants nothing to do with it, you should find out why.
Ending the Sexualization
The mentorship, programs or activities that build self-esteem, access to mental health services, and more. The more we talk about the problems associated with sexualization, the better. Employing more women in the media and in politics, for instance, could help ensure that moving forward, more realistic portrayals of women in the media and more protective laws for women are enacted and will safeguard our young girls.
We need to end the demand for child porn, prostitution, and underage trafficked victims. As girls need to understand the relevancy and the power of sexualization so they can mentally and physically protect their overall health and well-being.