Bodies, Brains and Broadcasting: How the media is over sexualizing women

Opinion by MeganBartness

Think about how many movies and TV shows you watch in a year, then think about how many of the main characters you see are women. While a TV show or movie can have women starring in them, women are not always portrayed as they should be. For example, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise, while there are women superheroes, they are pictured in tight, scandalous outfits and are sexualized by other male characters. 

Now look at the same male co-stars right next to them. The men are more likely to be represented accurately and non-sexually. I’m tired of being compared to an impossible standard. 

A set of rules or applications known as the Bechdel test first appeared in 1985. The Bechdel test is a measure of the misrepresentation of women in film. The test looks at whether a film features at least two women talking to each other about something other than a man. 

This can be further enhanced by adding that the two female characters be named in the film. A few movies that do not pass this test are “Sing,” “The King‘s Man,” “Dear Evan Hansen” and “Elvis.” 

The problem with misrepresenting women in the media is that it teaches young girls from the earliest of ages that letting men sexualize your body is a normal occurrence. It gives people an excuse to sexualize women’s bodies and use their appearances against them. 

What I like to call “The Adam Sandler Effect” is a perfect example of the double standards in media. It’s when there is an average-looking man, maybe he is funny, maybe not, and an overly attractive woman at his side. I look at those movies and think “how can this average man get this beautiful woman?” when if the roles were reversed the average woman would never have a chance with an attractive man. When all we consume follows “The Adam Sandler Effect,” men get this idea in their head that they deserve a woman that fits an impossible beauty standard.

Over the last 20 years, America has become infected with the over-sexualization and misrepresentation of women in the media, which leads the newest generation into eating disorders and body dysmorphia because they believe they will never be good enough to please others. 

How are women supposed to change the narrative of themselves in the media when they only make up 10% of directors and 5% of music producers, according to the MDSC Initiative? 

Since women are not producing most movies, 47% of women and 30% of men observed that violence against women in the media is more common over the last five years, according to the MDSC. Zero women were nominated for directing and cinematography awards, and only 17% for writing and film editing in 2019.  Almost anywhere you turn, you can find a woman being objectified. Women are being unnecessarily sexualized everywhere. 

They could go to a movie, turn on the TV, look at the cover of a magazine or even just open up their inbox and be sexualized. They often have fewer speaking roles than men and fewer opinions shown in their characters. 

According to the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, women are almost 67% less likely to play roles as leaders or professionals in the entertainment industry. Women represent half of the world’s population, so why are these industries discriminating against us?

The oversexualization and objectivity of women in film and media has become overwhelmingly prevalent in the modern day. From a young age, all that girls perceive is the objectivity of women their age and up, which teaches them men are allowed to do whatever they want with them. 

They grow up to conceive that they are objects for male pleasure.

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