Blog | Why objectification of women must stop

Objectification focuses on a woman's physical appearance, showing her as the object of beauty, portraying her as a vulnerable being inferior to men.

Shreena Nepal

  • Read Time 2 min.

Isn’t your color too dark? Isn’t your weight too heavy? Aren’t you too skinny? Isn’t your height too short? Aren’t you wearing too much make-up? You could have done a bit of touch up! She laughs too much, so she is not good enough! Aren’t you overdressed? You’re a little underdressed!  There are too many concerns for us to think about in the world but all that people care about is how a woman looks and how she behaves. 

We have made such a society where women are expected to have ‘perfect’ bodies and behave decently no matter what.

Often these notions have been reinforced by movies, advertisements and music videos. They portray women in such a way they become the subject of objectification. This process of objectification focuses on a woman’s physical appearance, showing her as the object of beauty, portraying her as a vulnerable being inferior to men.

The Supreme Court’s decision on ‘Pro-public vs Office of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, et al’  states that the publication and broadcast of half-naked, obscene and salacious advertisements jeopardizes women’s self-respect which can even promote violence which should not be ignored. So a parameter must be made and a censor board must be formed to ensure gender-friendly policy to control such advertisements.

But the ruling of the Supreme Court has not been effectively implemented. Women have been continuously shown as an object of beauty.

So, what’s wrong with it? Many things. First, it not only portrays women as vulnerable beings but also reinforces the message that they are inferior to men and are subject to protection from men and by men. It contravenes all the laws and conventions that the country has and directly impinges on dignity of women. The provisions of equality enshrined in the constitution become mere words.

In the world famous epic, Mahabharata, Draupadi was put on a bet by her own five husbands. The room was filled by the so-called elite group but not one person spoke against that dehumanizing action. Perhaps the objectification of women has its roots in such cultures. 

Even today, women are being treated like subjects of objectification. But there are double standards here. Men like it when women are objectified but they are the ones who question the character of such women.  Everyone wants an item song in the movie but they consider the ones who dance in those songs as characterless. 

The actresses who call themselves feminists should ideally speak up against such tendency but I have not heard a single one of them do  so. This level of hypocrisy is baffling. 

German philosopher Immanuel Kant was concerned about objectification. He thought that sexuality is extremely problematic when exercised outside the context of monogamous marriage and also argued that in such instances it leads to objectification.  Considering women’s  bodies as beautiful objects to be gazed at and decorated must be changed. The mentality must be changed. 

Men and women are companions to each other. Objectifying one sex for the sake of other is simply absurd.   When, essentially, men and women must live together and their well-being depends on each other, they must coexist by respecting each other.

Demotivating and discouraging objectification of women in advertisements, movies and music videos can be a good start.

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My fellow women, break the illusion, break the silence and speak up