Negative Effects Of Hypersexualization In Media
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Politics and Activism

Negative Effects Of Hypersexualization In Media

"Sex Sells."

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Negative Effects Of Hypersexualization In Media
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In today's society, it is nearly impossible to not see some form of media that utilizes the hypersexualization of another person to sell a certain product. There are many facets of media, including but not limited to advertisements, pornography and music videos. Sexualizing both women and men sells whatever product these industries are profiting from. We have all heard the phrase "sex sells" and this is very true, but it is not at all comical.

"Why is sexuality being used by the media bad?" you may ask. "Everyone likes seeing hot guys without their shirts on for Abercrombie ads" or "Stop being a feminazi, porn does not objectify women. It's all consensual."

While these things may be true, and everyone is allowed to look at anything they choose, it is important to understand why seeing these hypersexualized images can be detrimental to the mental health and self-image of people worldwide of all gender identities.

This teaches children that their sexuality defines their worth. Moreover, they will be looked at strictly through a sexualized lens from a young age.

For young girls, this can negatively affect their development emotionally and cognitively, leading to eating disorders, anxiety, depression, and ultimately causing them to view themselves as objects because that is how media portrays them. I know as a small child I would be told to dress a certain way to "cover up" so that men wouldn't look at me. School dress codes also perpetuate this culture of shaming girls from a young age by subtly giving them the idea that their bodies need to be covered and hidden from the boys who apparently can't control themselves (and will never be taught to) and that the education of their male counterparts is more important than theirs. When females are shown at an age where they have not even reached sexual maturity that they are somewhat reduced to sexual standards, this creates a mindset of worth equates to sexuality. (School dress codes have little to do with media, but combined with media, young girls can be easily influenced into believing this vicious cycle of slut shaming and hypersexualization).

For males, they are shown at a young age that worth is equal to masculinity and sexuality in the sense that they must fulfill the societal norms of what is considered "masculine." This happens in the pornography industry, where most actors have to appear physically flawless. The men also have to fit certain standards regarding their overall appearance, physical attributes, and sexual prowess. In advertisements alongside the scantily-clad blonde selling burgers (where is the connection there?) men are also objectified, and reduced down to handsome-faced six-packs who happen to be wearing a certain brand of men's underwear. Like women, these photos will be retouched. Like women, men may see this hypersexualized version of what "masculinity" is supposed to be, and may judge themselves or others because of it.

All in all, this was just a brief overview of what is happening to people worldwide because of media influence. Most people don't realize the negative impact this kind of advertising has on people of all gender identities. Although it is partly the fault of consumers that "sex sells," it is the job of people who have the ability to influence millions to understand the detrimental effects that their desire for profit has on society as a whole.

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