The objectification of women in media is not a new concept. As long as there have been films, television, books or advertisements, the cultural norms of treating women like sex objects has been a steady part of every day life, seeping into generation after generation through the media we digest.
From the dangerously vivacious Victoria’s Secret models, to the Botox-ed and implanted Real Housewives, the unrealistic standards media continually set for women creates a vicious circle that, unfortunately, won’t break until society’s views change.
Recently in my Race, Gender and the Media class at UNT, a student in my class did a media analysis (similar to my own) on World of Warcraft, and how the male characters were portrayed as varied versions of male creatures, with different features and body types. Female characters were primarily portrayed with minimal armor, despite it being a battle-based game, with skimpy outfits and unrealistic body types for women who would, presumably, be fighting to the death with other characters (see – left).
I’ve been a part of a few different nerdy cultures – namely Potter and Doctor Who – for a while now. And if you look at the products that are “unisex” or clearly labeled as men’s/male, there’s no hint of sexyness or really any gender bias. Men’s tee shirts aren’t form fitting, their socks are a little bit bigger, and their accessories tend to be a little less sparkly. That’s about it.
If you look at the products made for women, especially clothing, it seems like designers go out of the way to make nerdy women “sexy.” From pinup dresses with fandom prints, to six-inch stilettos with your favorite characters on them, the products pushed at female fans are hardly ever at the same price point or the same level of usability as those pushed at males.
Of course, this is all part of a larger issue – males in any role are going to be viewed very differently than females, and they should, as, inherently, we have very different characteristics as genders. However, there’s different, and then there’s unequal.
For example, my Race, Gender and the Media professor recently re-tweeted a post boycotting Party City, after the clear objectification of CHILDREN through their costumes.
— Miss Representation (@RepresentPledge) September 28, 2015
Because somehow, all female cops are sexy. Even if their children.
Again, I just threw up in my mouth a little.
I think it’s interesting to go back and look at some of the costumes Party City has, not just for children but also in the different fandom areas – if I see one more “sexy” wizarding costume that looks like something out of that Hogwarts scene from Epic Movie, I may scream.
But in the mean time, I’d love to hear what my fellow female nerds think. Do you have an issue with the products being pushed at you? Do you like suppliers making you feel like you HAVE to be sexy?
And, because it’s gotta happen…