Lately, there has been a trend on social media where men feel the need to explain to women what they are in their eyes. And I use the word “what” because they are not speaking of women as people; they are objectifying them. Now, before all you male readers go up in arms about my post, read the rest.
The other day, a friend of mine (who is a true gentleman, by all means) posted a meme that read: “Ladies: Showing a great amount of skin when you dress up isn’t the way to find Prince Charming. Prince Charming likes his gifts wrapped.”
At first glance, this seems sweet and harmless. And there have been many other memes that have come about recently that are along the same lines: Classy women attract gentlemen, intelligent women get the intelligent man, etc…however, I had an issue with this specific meme because it speaks to a larger issue facing our society: the objectification of women. Let’s break down this meme real quick.
The first line is saying that prince charming isn’t lured in by the showing of too much skin. Who determines what too much skin entails though? Is a short-sleeve shirt okay, or is that too revealing? How about a knee-length skirt? The problem is, “showing a great amount of skin” is relative to each individual male. Some guys might be okay with their girl walking around in a bikini. Not everyone likes that, but that is okay (which is a relief to me since I am covered a lot more than that!). So maybe we shouldn’t assume what Prince Charming likes. Maybe we should ask him after getting to know him.
The next line, “Prince Charming likes his gifts wrapped,” should explain itself, however I will elaborate. One can look at this sentence from two angles: the “gifts” can refer to the female herself. She is a gift to man, and therefore should be wrapped so that he- and only he- can unwrap her. Okay, I just threw up a little while writing that. Because that’s just demeaning. So I’m going to assume the “gifts” in this meme refer to her most intimate and sacred parts of herself, which should be saved for the man she loves and not given away so freely. But even that explanation doesn’t go down easily. Who are we to judge when and where a women gives away her most intimate self? Isn’t that a decision between herself and God? To judge a woman on that is to continue to perpetuate the image that women who are provocative deserve all the labels and assaults, because let’s face it- she asked for it.
Which brings me to the next point: rape culture. Along with judging women on their outer appearance and actions is the culture that women who are raped “ask for it” by dressing a certain way, getting intimate with a guy on a first date, or getting intoxicated. However, all that aside, there should be no reason why a man feels entitled to raping a woman because she wasn’t conscious, or was dressed like a “slut.” When are we going to stop blaming women for the actions of men? It seems that when a girl is raped, the man “just couldn’t help himself,” or “he didn’t know she didn’t want to.” The problem is that we glorify the boys who commit these acts, especially if they are part of an athletic team like in Maryville or Stuebenville. The girl is blames because she was drunk, and well, that’s not very lady-like so she deserves what she got. I mean MY GOD! No wonder women have such a hard time breaking the glass ceiling in corporate America! They are reduced to nothing but objects, there for a man to use and discard after. And when a girl has a rape in her history, society will automatically wonder what she did to deserve it. Was she dressed a certain way? Intoxicated? On drugs?
Not only that, but the fingers will point to a girl once she has been identified as the culprit in exposing the incident. Especially when it comes to schools, a girl will be shamed for speaking up and harassed as if SHE is to be blamed for the rape. Social media is brutal, and the students behind the screen even more so. This takes cyber bullying to a whole other level. In turn, women will hesitate when reporting rape or assault, as they fear that once identified they will be harassed as well.
Why can’t it ever be that the guy was at fault, that he has no respect for women and felt entitled to something that wasn’t his? Why can’t we teach our boys that no means no? That when they rape a girl we will not glorify their actions and there will be consequences? We, as a society, place the welfare of our women behind that of prestige, recognition, and profit. Just this past week there were arrests made in NY/NJ after the Super Bowl in the distribution of prostitutes and sex-trafficked women. The Super Bowl is one of the largest events that draws the most business, and women are brought to watch parties in the area to please the men. It’s just all so disgusting.
What can we do to change all this? Easy. Stop treating women like objects. Stop likening us to wrapped or unwrapped lollipops and gifts. Stop handling us like a porcelain figurine that will break. Stop reducing us to memes and pictures on social media. Show us the respect we deserve and treat us like we are meant to be treated: like human beings.