Forward: The first two paragraphs of my book on the sexualization of women in media
I wrote this book because there has been a dramatic and profoundly disturbing escalation of the sexualization, devaluation and pornographization of women and girls in the mainstream media in recent years and although a few authors have already sounded the alarm on this terrible situation the issue has been insufficiently examined, discussed and addressed. It is my hope that this book will help raise the collective consciousness by sharing crucial information and bring about change and a better, safer world for us all. It has often been said that knowledge is power, and girls and women need to be better equipped with information in order to protect themselves. Therefore, this book aims to improve the media literacy of girls and women especially, as well as provide an insightful look at the way in which parliaments, governments, justice systems, police services and the military endanger women and girls and fail to protect them. Furthermore, an entire chapter is dedicated to the consequences of devaluing women.
The way women are portrayed and treated in society is sickening, saddening and totally unacceptable. The overwhelming majority of images of women in public spaces are sexualized, and the cult of sexiness has gotten completely out of hand. Even little girls are regularly sexualized, which has had and continues to have devastating effects. There was a time when viewing pornography was an activity you could choose to engage in—and more importantly, not engage in—however, that choice no longer exists because pornography is everywhere nowadays. Girls and women can’t escape it. This is damaging and demoralizing. Boys and men can’t escape it. This has terrible repercussions for girls and women, as well as for boys and men. It also diminishes everyone’s quality of life. The devaluing, denigrating, sexualized images of women in the media and our treatment in all areas of society are related, whether it be unequal political representation, unequal pay for equal work, widespread sexual abuse and harassment, systemic sexism and discrimination, unfair treatment, pressure to maim and poison our bodies to conform to a beauty ideal, gynocide, etc. The reason behind this connection is that the media is the biggest force shaping our perceptions and influencing behaviours. There is perhaps no greater urgency today than addressing the problem of the portrayal of women and girls in the media for it is at the root of so many of our problems, including the destruction of this planet. If the media portrayed women in a realistic and unsexualized manner, if pornography were not everywhere we look there would be many positive outcomes, including a significant decline in the incidents of violence against women and girls, better self-esteem among women and girls, greater representation of women in politics, a significant decline in the numbers of women who choose to undergo surgery that is not at all ‘cosmetic’ or ‘plastic’, a much better chance of achieving equality and pay equity in our lifetime and a greater chance of survival for the inhabitants of this spaceship Earth.
© 2016 Alline Cormier
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The film analyst who puts women first. Author of an upcoming film guide for women.