Sitting and listening to a discussion and feeling the need to add to the converstaion. But when I voiced my opinion a friend of mine silenced me and asked me to not do so, and she added ” … you dom’t always have to express your opinions. ” . The injunction got stuck in my mind and I came concluded: Women are still not allowed to say their opinions to the same extent as men. Some say it is equal , but that is not the case.
In today’s society , women are first and foremost items and not thinking beings . We are constantly bombarded with media that gives the image of women as sexualized objects. A very popular thing among advertising is infantilization, which means that it portrays women as innocent little girls, preferably with something in their mouth or with a silencing finger in front of their lips. By doing so the advertisers silence women and make us appear as helpless and as anyone’s property, anyone can own a woman. A perfect example is Rexona which had an advertising campaign where the picture showed a stick thin woman with a high turtleneck that covered her face. The message given out was that women should be small and narrow , not to be seen or heard and not think or be . Therefore, it is perhaps not surprising that women do not feel like they should have a strong opinion , let alone express it.
This scares me, that women are getting pushed into the frames that does not allow us to age. Instead we have to be young, helpless and sexualized in every which way.
The great advantage men have is that our culture allows two standards of male beauty: the boy and the man… A man does not grieve when he loses the smooth, unlined, hairless skin of a boy. For he has only exchanged one form of attractiveness for another …
There is no equivalent of this second standard for women. The single standard of beauty for women dictates that they must go on having clear skin. Every wrinkle, every line, every gray hair, is a defeat.
-Susan Sontag (The Double Standard of Aging)
The sexualization of girls and the infantilization of adult women are two sides of the same coin. They both tell us that we should find youth, inexperience, and naivete sexy in women, but not in men. This reinforces a power and status difference between men and women, where vulnerability, weakness, and dependency and their opposites are gendered traits: desirable in one sex but not the other.