Opinion: Women’s bodies continue to be objectified in exchange for financial success

Wherever we go and whatever we buy, we always see models or celebrities endorsing products in hopes to boost a company’s sales. However, we must consider the way these models are displayed.

Take a simple Magnum ice cream commercial for example. Magnum advertisements most often showcase women in fancy dresses seductively biting into the company’s famous chocolate. Car advertisements are no different, showcasing multiple women in bathing suits on top of upscale cars, flashing their bright white smiles into the camera.

These companies are not selling the ice cream or the car — they are selling women. Most importantly, they are selling sex, because you know the saying: ‘sex sells.’

In the video  “The Real Reason Why Artists Make Their Songs About Women & Sex” by BET Networks, numerous rappers were asked why they use women in music videos and include sex in their lyrics.

“Sex is all over hip hop,” said Too $hort, a rapper and record producer. “Personally, when I write a song, I’m like ‘cool song but let me rewrite it because there’s not enough sex’. Its expected, it’s almost like the music has to make it feel sexual.”

D Dot, producer and rapper, has similar feelings about the inclusion of sex and women in the rap industry.

“Sex sells. Women can just make money,” said D Dot.

This indeed is the main reason why women are used in music videos.Without women, the music and rap industry would fail.

There are many problems with this, including the act of turning women’s bodies into tools and the specific way women have to look and the ways in which they are labeled.

In many rap songs, women are often referred to as profane terms, such as ‘b*tches’ or ‘h*es,’ followed by footage of them dressed in lingerie or bikinis, sitting by the rappers who are not only fully dressed, but are often dressed like royalty.

These videos put the women featured in a certain criteria, similar to how women are treated and judged within beauty pageants, such as Miss Universe.

According to Miss Universe requirements, the contestants must be at least 18 to 27 years of age,  have never been married, and have never given birth or parented a child.

Although most sites have said that there aren’t height and weight requirements to compete in these pageants, they are wrong and misinforming the public.

For example, the majority of the 2018 Miss Universe contestants were thin, tall, and had makeup on. Though, the problem is not with how these women dress or how they appear. Rather, it is how the pageant judges score them, and by which criteria and standards they are evaluating these women.

In the Miss Universe pageant, contestants are scored in three categories — the evening gown portion, the bathing suit portion and the ethnic gown portion.

Although each woman has a unique background of volunteer work and commitment to their country, it does not hide the fact that these pageants are not inclusive of all women, and that these contestants are ultimately judged solely upon their looks — once again, selling the women.

Another platform that broke out in scandal was the Adnan Oktar show. Adnan Oktar is famously known as a Turkish religious cult leader, creationist and television star who was arrested in 2018 for his wrong and illegal portrayal of religion on his show.

The women on Oktar’s show are referred to as his “kittens,” — all appearing to have plastic surgery, bleached hair and pageant-like makeup plastered on. Each woman also had open cleavage with their legs completely exposed, and had to be dressed a certain way on camera.

Ceylan Ozgul, an ex-kitten from the show, spoke in multiple interviews on how the people working within the cult would brainwash the women involved and brainstorm strategies to lure women within the cult. It was also revealed that the women had to get plastic surgery in order to fit into Oktar’s criteria of the “perfect kitten.”

So, it is true: Sex does sell, and women’s bodies are victims of it. So many women are still underrepresented due to the portrayal of females in big hit music videos. This brainwashes viewers to think that women must look and dress a certain way.

Hopefully one day, women of all shapes and sizes, women who choose modesty and women who just want to be themselves will be represented and honored in these troubling pageants and appreciated more in music videos and shows.