Media and sexual brainwashing?

This has been my comment taken and edited from the following article.

Although I find this article filled with blatant sexism and heterosexism I can say that I agree with some of its more solid points.

Society does project a certain standard that men and women are meant to follow, in terms of beauty. More often than not it is portrayed in the media. Shows like "America’s Next Top Model" put men and women into standards that make them feel like they are "not enough," that women are not "beautiful enough" or "thin enough". That is what irritates me. Women are told to be pretty, "get the guy with your looks, not your brains". He does illustrate an interesting point, plastic surgery is mutilation. Mutilation of: genitals, breasts, face…etc. So is the act of piercing for beauty…to knowingly keep your body from properly healing. It is unnatural. High-heels are another beauty standard that is unhealthy, they destroy your body if worn too much. Don’t get me started on hair removal.

I would like to make one thing clear, he does not seem to understand the difference between sex and gender. Gender is the product of society. Sex is what you are born with. We are not turning, as a culture, toward the removal of gender (as you seem to argue). Instead we are reinforcing it. Even though more women are working out of the home they are told to be feminine and girly, to wear high-heels, to be masculine, to be aggressive, the same goes for men; it is a constant barrage of conflicting ideals. Instead of offering a solution to this apparent problem he seems to be reflecting this ideal in his argument that short hair is masculine while too much makeup is too feminine.

Society is formed through hierarchy, and by telling a person that they are the "other", the "unnatural", the "imperfect", it makes the oppressor "look good." I say hierarchy rather than patriarchy (like some feminists would argue) due to the many levels of oppression (sexism, heterosexism, racism, ageism, ableism, classism…etc) that affect all genders and classes. The media definitely has fun with that one…it is the ultimate of oppressors.

That being said, I agree with his notion that using sex to sell a product is in effect pornography and is dehumanizing (and kind of creepy in some cases). However, I do not think that it is the product of women being "strong and independent". It is the reinforcement and product of the hierarchical system mentioned above. It is also rather impractical to sell a product with sex when the product itself is not a sex object. This system objectifies women, and in rarer instances, men.

Gender is the product and sex is used to sell it, which is unfortunate.

Disclaimer: This post was written by a Feministing Community user and does not necessarily reflect the views of any Feministing columnist, editor, or executive director.

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