Let’s mix it up and talk about the sexualization of men.
While yes, women are sexualized constantly by forces greater than them, and it’s important to take notice and remove this sexualization and focus on one body size, we’re making breakthroughs. Take the Dove Real Beauty Campaign, for example, which aims to help women of every size feel beautiful. And, well, we can actually argue the campaign is still hurtful, considering its implication that thin or petite women aren’t “real.” And where are my bald women at? But we can talk about that sometime later.
Sexualization of men, while it might not be in the public eye, is apparent once you start to take notice.
We can talk about video games all day long in terms of sexualization, but think about the nature of them; in general, two body types are present in video games. Women are tall with hour glass figures and men are built like Olympic wrestlers. One shape that heterosexual men find attractive across the board, another than heterosexual women find attractive across the board.
Both are examples of a sexualized gender. And no, they aren’t created equal; look at video game armor and clothes for men vs. for women. But think about it; society has told men that they want to look like muscled brutes with zero percent body fat and women want to look like Sofia Vergara. Video games reflect society’s highest standards, and men are pressured to look a certain way just like women are. Just because it’s hilarious, check out the greatest example of sexualization of both genders in TERA Online. We all look like succubus, amazon women and The Rock as Hercules, right?
Another wonderful example is the H&M commercial during the Super Bowl this year. Check it out below.
Who doesn’t want to watch David Beckham get totally naked while buff, bearded model Ricki Hall takes pictures of him? For more fun, check out the comments on that video.
Umm. Yuck. Imagine if these comments were about women, made by men. I don’t think very many women would be happy, and these comments directly contrast the uplifting and “reclaiming sexy” comments on a Victoria’s Secret lingerie commercial. Is this because we haven’t seen an anti-sexualization of men movement like we have for women? Is it because we see men as being able to “take it?” Is it because of the ridiculous stereotype that men are always looking for sex and always want women to call them sexy?
Spoiler alert: it’s all three.
The second word in gender equality is equality. And that means equality for all genders, not just the one that has access to less privilege. We need to recognize objectification and correct that if we are to achieve that equality.