Caroline Heldman talks about the effect of sexual objectification of women in the media, most especially in advertising, on the way women see themselves. In her talk, she talks about what sexual objectification is, why it’s not empowering and what we can do to combat it.
When Heldman says that she’d like to see a world where instead of spending an hour grooming in the morning, girls are spending that time making a difference in the world, I can see how it might send the message that any form of grooming is playing to sexual objectification. I’m not totally sure if that’s body-positive or closer to body-shaming. A friend of mine said to me recently that considering the world we live in, she doesn’t begrudge women spending a lot of time on things like hair, makeup and clothes if that’s their best option for coping with the expectations on them. I wonder, based on how body-positive the rest of her message seems to be, if Heldman was simply suggesting that we could get there, to that place where these expectations aren’t on women anymore at all. And if they weren’t, would women totally cease to do these things that make us pretty? Perhaps the real question I’m getting at is: if they didn’t cease to groom in these ways, would that be an inherently negative thing?
How do you feel that sexualization fits (or doesn’t) into your own positive body image? Do you think it’s possible to groom ourselves in these manners in a way that is truly body-positive, completely independently of the messages we’re sent through the media that outline what women are expected to do?