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  • Good afternoon! Are we having a transformative afternoon so far?

  • Well, I am here today to talk about a lie.

  • In specific, a sexy lie. I know there are lots of lies,

  • some of them are sexy, some of them are very unsexy.

  • But I'd like to talk specifically about the lie or the idea that

  • being a sex object is empowering.

  • And I'd like to convince you that it is not empowering.

  • First by talking about what sexual objectification is

  • and then moving on to theoretical and data driven analysis of why it's damaging,

  • and, lastly, provide you a plan of action

  • so you can both navigate objectification culture

  • and change objectification culture.

  • So let's jump right in- what is sexual objectification?

  • It's the process of representing or treating a person like a sex object

  • one that serves another's sexual pleasure.

  • What's so interesting about sexual objectification

  • is that we used to have a vocabulary for it.

  • In the 60s and 70s, we were concerned about sexual objectification

  • and its harm on girls and women.

  • In the 80s, 90s and today, we've actually been relatively quiet

  • when it comes to public discourse.

  • And so even though our sexual objectification culture is more amplified

  • we see more images, and 96% of them are female,

  • of sexually objectified bodies,

  • we don't have a vocabulary to talk about it.

  • And young people have even mostly lost the ability to identify it.

  • As a friend of mine said, it's like being raised in a red room,

  • pulled out of that red room and asked to described the color red.

  • So I built on the work of others, and I put together a sex object test,

  • and if the answer is "yes" to any of these 7 questions

  • then you are looking at a sexual objectifying image.

  • First, does the image show only parts of a sexualized person's body?

  • In other words, does a part stand in for the whole?

  • This woman's derrière, for example, in this advertisement.

  • Does the image show a sexualized person as a stand in for an object?

  • In this image a woman becomes a table.

  • Does the image show the sexualized person as interchangeable?

  • That is, as one of many items that can just be swapped out.

  • Does the image affirm the idea of violating

  • the bodily integrity of a sexualized person

  • and that person can't consent?

  • In other words, is that person being acted upon

  • as though she is a sexual object?

  • Does the image suggest that the sexual availability of the person

  • is the defining characteristic of that person?

  • The text for this ad reads:

  • "You know you're not her first, but do you really care?"

  • And it's being used to sell pre-owned vehicles.

  • Does the image show a sexualized person as a commodity?

  • Something that can be bought and sold?

  • In this advertisement, you see women in a vending machine

  • and a man is choosing a woman and this is to sell men's shoes.

  • And, lastly, does the image treat the sexualized person's body as a canvas?

  • And I'm not talking about inking or tattooing that a person decides

  • but rather marketers using the body as a specific type of canvas.

  • New objectification culture has emerged in the past ten years

  • and it's marked by two things.

  • One is an increase in the number of sexually objectifying ads and television,

  • movies, video games, music videos, magazines and other mediums.

  • And the second advertising component,

  • is that the images have become more extreme, more hypersexualized.

  • So, why are we experiencing this now?

  • It can really be boiled down to technology.

  • New technology has increased the sheer number of images

  • that you are exposed to every day.

  • So in the 70s we saw about 500 ads a day.

  • Now we see about 5,000 ads a day

  • and children ages 8 to 18 spend an average of 8 hours a day

  • hooked up to devices where advertisers can reach them.

  • So what do advertisers do? They cut through the clutter

  • with increased emphasis on violence, hyperviolence and hypersexualization.

  • So how is this not empowering?

  • I want to make an appeal first to logic.

  • When we're talking about sex objects, we're talking about dichotomies.

  • In Western thinking, we think of black and white, yes and no.

  • Two opposing categories.

  • When we're thinking about sex objects, we're thinking about

  • the object-subject dichotomy.

  • Subjects act, objects are acted upon.

  • So even if you become the perfect object,

  • the perfect sex object,

  • you are perfectly subordinate because that position will always be acted on.

  • So there's not power in being a sex object when you think about it logically.

  • But beyond that this idea that sex sells- I'd like to challenge that directly

  • because the fact is, if sex sold, most women are heterosexual

  • and we are sexual beings

  • so why wouldn't we see half naked men everywhere in advertising?

  • (Cheers and laughter)

  • I would like to propose...

  • (Laughter)

  • I would like to propose something else is being sold here.

  • To men, they are being sold this idea constantly that they are sexual subjects.

  • They are in the driver's seat.

  • It makes them feel powerful to see images of objectified women everywhere.

  • And for women, we are being sold

  • this idea that this is how we get our value

  • and this is the way to become the ideal sex object.

  • Which is why, instead of sex selling,

  • these ideas of subjectivity and objectivity are being sold.

  • So we see men's magazines with scantily clad women

  • and we see women's magazines with scantily clad women.

  • Moving now to the research.

  • Self-objectification is a phenomenon

  • where we, girls and women, view our bodies as sex objects.

  • And all of us do to a greater or lesser extent.

  • This varies somewhat by sexuality and somewhat by ethnicity

  • but, by and large, all women face this in the US.

  • So self-objectification, 10 years of research,

  • mostly done by psychologists.

  • We know that it has some pretty severe effects.

  • I'm going to run through the list

  • but I want to concentrate on just a few of these items.

  • First, the more we think of ourselves

  • and internalize this idea of being sex objects,

  • the higher our rates of depression.

  • We also engage in habitual body monitoring

  • much more when we view ourselves as sex objects.

  • What is habitual body monitoring?

  • The men in the audience, this might be news to you.

  • It is not news to the women in the audience.

  • We think about the positioning of our legs, our hair,

  • where the light is falling,

  • Who's looking at us? Who's not looking at us.

  • In fact in the 5 minutes I've been giving this talk,

  • on average the women in this audience

  • have engaged in habitual body monitoring 10 times.

  • That is, every 30 seconds.

  • Eating disorders are much more prevalent

  • with those who see themselves as sex objects,

  • as well as body shame.

  • And depressed cognitive functioning.

  • If we're engaging in habitual body monitoring,

  • it simply takes up more mental space

  • that could be better used completing math tests

  • completing your homework. It just sucks our cognitive functioning.

  • Also sexual dysfunction.

  • So this idea that sex sells.

  • Isn't it strange that if you think of yourself as a sex object,

  • and we're raised in a society

  • that raises little girls to view their bodies

  • as projects to work on and be sex objects

  • that it actually gets in the way of good sex.

  • So what tends to happen is that women who are high self-objectifiers

  • actually engage in what's called "spectatoring" during sex acts.

  • So instead of being involved and engaged in the pleasure and what's happening

  • you tend to view yourself from a third party perspective,

  • a spectator's perspective

  • where you're worried about rolls of fat hanging out,

  • what that leg looks like.

  • So, again, it gets in the way of sexual pleasure.

  • So if there is anything I can pitch to you about why you don't want

  • to live in a culture that sexually objectifies

  • it diminishes your sexual pleasure.

  • It also lowers self esteem, it lowers GPAs

  • and it's not negligible the difference that I found in my research.

  • It is the difference between going to graduate school

  • and not going to graduate school for college women.

  • It also lowers political efficacy or the belief you have a voice in politics.

  • And it lowers your ability to get along with other women.

  • We engage in female competition.

  • We see male attention as the holy grail of our existence

  • and so we compete with other women for our own self esteem,

  • because we see it as this finite resource, this cherished finite resource.

  • So we go into parties

  • and we know where we are in the pretty girl pecking order

  • And when another woman is valued for being a sex object,

  • it actually makes us feel bad about ourself.

  • What can we do about this- a plan of action.

  • First I'd like to propose some personal actions.

  • Because what sexual objectification does is actually set up a sexy ceiling

  • that damages or harms women

  • personally, politically and professionally.

  • I want to focus on the personal here.

  • What can we do?

  • We can stop consuming damaging materials - girls, women,

  • because we know within the first 3 minutes that our self esteem goes down

  • when we're looking at fashion magazines.

  • We can stop competing with other girls and women.

  • When we see a woman who is getting attention for this

  • we can understand that she is part of a system

  • where the rules are stacked against us

  • She is not a problem, she is a symptom of a problem.

  • And we can stop seeking attention for our bodies.

  • We raise our little boys to view their bodies

  • as tools to master their environment,

  • We raise our little girls to view their bodies

  • as projects to constantly be improved.

  • What if women started to view their bodies

  • as tools to master their environment?

  • As tools to get you from one place to the next.

  • As these amazing vehicles for moving through the world in a new way.

  • And for boys, be a supportive ally,

  • understand what's happening around you,

  • What's going on in the minds of the women around you.

  • Don't evaluate girls and women based upon how they look

  • evaluate them for what they say and what they do.

  • Finally, use your position of privilege strategically

  • to speak out against objectification.

  • So moving beyond the personal to the political,

  • You can boycott, you can simply refuse

  • to consume materials that sexually objectify girls and women.

  • You can contact media producers when something is offensive to you.

  • You can produce your own media.

  • Get behind the camera!

  • Write! Act! Direct!

  • And you can also engage in new media activism.

  • There's an incredible world at your disposal

  • to bring about political change.

  • And I want to provide just a few examples.

  • First, Sociological Images, a blog run by Dr. Lisa Wade

  • worked with students to pull Abercrombie & Fitch's padded bras

  • or padded swimsuits for toddlers.

  • And they ran a campaign where they blogged about it,

  • it got some press coverage. There were some petitions

  • and they pulled the product nationally from their stores.

  • This is my hero. Her name is Julia.

  • She's a 14 year old who got change.org to put a petition together-

  • 85,000 signatures, and she went to New York

  • and Seventeen magazine agreed

  • that they would not Photoshop any of their models from here on out.

  • So, lastly, I'll leave you with this idea of imagining a different world.

  • I'd like you to imagine a world where girls and women

  • don't spend an hour every morning

  • putting on their makeup and doing their hair.

  • I'd like you to imagine a world,

  • where women are valued for what they say and what they do,

  • rather than the way they look.

  • I'd like you to imagine a world where instead of spending time on appearance

  • we actually directed our energies to dealing with serious problems.

  • Like human trafficking, sexualized

  • violence, homophobia, poverty, hunger.

  • And, lastly, because you are the architects of your future.

  • I would like to remind you that sometimes architects have to demolish paradigms

  • in order to build a better world.

  • So my question for you is: what better world will you build?

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

Good afternoon! Are we having a transformative afternoon so far?

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TEDx】The Sexy Lie: Caroline Heldman at [email protected] (【TEDx】The Sexy Lie: Caroline Heldman at [email protected])

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    Cheng-Hong Liu に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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