America’s Constant Sexualization of the Human Body
The statistic one in five has been used in many ways, yet what if that statistic made you hate everything about your body. Making you want to crawl out of your skin and hide from our own person. This statistic is most commonly used today to show people who have experienced sexual assault. People who have said no whether they stated it verbally, or never said yes in the first place. Sexual assault as defined by the United States Department of Justice is “any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient.” This type of behavior has no place in society yet, our society doesn’t condemn these behaviors. The American Society is over sexualizing individuals and promoting rape culture.
People in America subconsciously are promoting the over sexualization of society, through a variety of means. We doubt individuals who say they have been sexually assaulted or ask them what they were doing, what they were wearing. This omits the attacker of any guilt before any evidence has been looked at. As a society we are taught from a young age the phrases, “boys will be boys” and “he’s mean to you because he likes you.” These phrases both harm young women teaching them that signs of abuse are simply men taking an interest in them. The other dismisses any action of a young man as a normal coincidence and is brushed off. Women aren’t allowed to show their shoulders in schools due to it being distracting. However, men can have tank tops that are cut under their armpits to almost their waists. The media in our society doesn’t help fix these issues either they are adding to the sexual fire with models and other cosmetic fixes. Do to these campaigns many teens now have body insecurities and eating disorders. To be the epitome of beauty in our society women must starve themselves and men must have rippling muscles and six pack abs. These are all promoting the over sexualization of individuals in America.
This is very apparent with the fetishization of LGBT+ individuals. We see two women kiss each other and straight men look with fascination. Gay men are seen as the epitome of sexual prowess. Yet as a whole society we are still homophobic this was shown in the backlash over NFL player Michael Sam kissing his boyfriend after he was drafted in 2014. He had fellow members of the league calling his kiss “horrible”. Sally Kohn with CNN writes in the article “NFL draft Michael Sam: Just a kiss, and more than a kiss” that “men who dress up in tights and huddle together and routinely slap each other’s rear ends are uncomfortable with guy-on-guy affection. It’s 2014, people. A majority of Americans support gay rights and marriage equality. If two guys kissing can make hulking male athletes and sports fans feel so insecure about their own masculinity and heterosexuality, that’s not Sam’s problem.” Kohn makes a very strong point as she calls out the hypocrisy that is shown in the NFL, men touch each other in socially taboo places, yet can’t handle the thought of a team mate kissing another male.
LGBT+ groups are also written in fiction and other novels known as slash fiction. When looking at these novels we see blatant fetishes take root. Such as rape between a masculine man and a more feminine one. The Pulp Zine in its article “Know Your Stuff: Fetishization or Objectification?” argues:
By fetishizing these bodies one is equating them to objects. When a person is objectified for something they are only seen as that particular trait, rather than as a human. This increases the rates for acts of violence and sexual assault against these groups of people, because they aren’t being seen as people but as sexual objects.
We look at LGBT+ individuals like objects yet this isn’t only in their community we do this to everyone in our society. Women travel in groups to avoid being singled out by men who see them as nothing more than a vagina. Men feel as though they need to have a six pack or be a lesser man.
Due to the increase of sexual normalcy in our society we have people who claim that sex and sexualizing people is false as sex is a horrible thing in general. Thus, stating there is no issue with sexualizing others as it’s not a real occurrence. “How We Dishonor God in Our Sex Lives” By Glenn Stanton states:
When we use others, we diminish their dignity as well as our own. Animals do this. People shouldn’t, because it’s not what we were created for. It’s not what sex was created for. This is why pornography, masturbation, and rape fall outside of God’s intentions for us.
He is stating that these issues aren’t of God and thus aren’t an issue. This claim states that but viewing others in this light is not people’s view it’s the view of an animal.
Stanton isn’t the only person who claims this, as shown by Ian Kerner in his article “Why Americans are having Less Sex.” He writes, “”I think young singles having less sex boils down to them having more choice. They can be picky, and they are,” said Holly Richmond, a certified sex therapist.” He is stating that we as a society are becoming more deliberate and refined with how who we choose to have coitus with. He is stating how we are actually having less sex in general thus creating a more reclusive society.
I believe the most credible source is clearly Sally Kohn she brings a very specific example forth and has multiple collaborators give feedback on the how the issue was dealt with. She also makes a point to bring about the time of when this happened and make a point on how in our modern day how we should not be having these arguments as they don’t make a real difference.
On the opposing side I feel as though Mr. Kerner’s article brings a very strong argument however he only focuses on consensual sex and while it might be true that the rate of consensual sex is declining the statistics of rape and other forms of sexual assault have remained in similar states. However, Mr. Stanton has no credibility what so ever using a divine entity to fight his argument. Even citing the bible has minute credibility, as a source written roughly three thousand years ago, it has little to no argument to be given in modern society.
Overall the fetishization of individuals in the American society and the ever-prevalent undertones of sex are unhealthy and lead in direct support of the rape and sexual assault epidemic that America is currently facing. Girls are getting sent home from school as early as the age of four, for having too short of skirts. Meaning that adults think that the girls will be turning on four-year-old males and distracting them. This epidemic of sex is disgusting and childish, and needs to end. We need to look at ourselves and question our own ethics and why we promote this kind of culture for ourselves, why we would want to live in fear of sexual assault?