Inequality Debates 10- Female Bodies
Why Do Females Hate Their Bodies?
Once, a long time ago, I was on a beach and heard a man say: “Jy het ou boude!” (Your thighs are old”)
I looked. He was a pot bellied out of shape unfit male.
“You look pregnant.” I said. “When is your baby coming?”
He was shocked speechless. His friends were shocked too.
This is perhaps one of the most explicit ways in which men and society demonstrate the inequality between the sexes. Men feel that they are powerful, have a penis, are the providers, give women pleasure and money…
According to research men give pain and are often absent from the family- that is, they do not provide emotional or financial support.
Proportion of female urban single parents in each race group:
Source: South African Institute of Race Relations 2011 report- Healing The South African Family.
Old thighs hey- from guys beating up on women, standing on street corners, hanging on bar counters, and sunning their pot bellies on the beach and then return home to feed off a woman’s meager resources.
We need to heal our families and our communities.
There’s no denying the fabulousness of the female – but do the lyrics of
‘Baby Got Back’ show respect for a woman’s natural form? Do the lads’ mags
shelves pay homage to a woman’s wit? Bombarded with sexed-up unrealistic
versions of the female form, it’s little wonder that they end up hating their bodies for the way they do or don’t look.
Isn’t it my girlfriend’s choice if she wants to take pole-dancing lessons?
Indeed she can teach herself at home, Amazon has a pole-dancing kit
complete with paper money. And that’s the problem really, every which way
a woman or girl turns she’s served up with a new way to make herself more
sexy. Schoolgirls can pick themselves up a pink Playboy pencil case. Mums
and dads can dress their baby girls in a ‘Does my bum look big in this?’ t-shirt.
And it’s a massive problem. One research study found that 63% of teenage
girls want to be glamour models and 25% see lap-dancing as their ideal
profession. Funny, considering that the sex industry is so glamourised when
in fact the reality of it is pretty grim. The ever-pervading pressure to become
sexualised saps confidence and ruins self-esteem. Teenage girls across our
society report mental disorders at a rate of 44%; currently, our vibrant girls
are the most depressed section of the population.
Blokes aren’t stupid, they know that this isn’t what women are all about.
Correct. But they have a tough time trying to work past all the plasticky,
fake-boobed versions. Just think about the impact that this culture has on boys
and men. They are openly encouraged to view and treat women as objects.
From where they’re sitting it wouldn’t be unrealistic to expect a lap dance on a
first date. Between magazines, adverts, the telly, there’s a pervading sense of
pornification that says it’s OK for women to be viewed like this. Harmless it ain’t.
Scarily it’s creating what policy types call a ‘conductive context’ for violence
Like what exactly?
The folks who are calling for these issues to be addressed aren’t being prudes.
The links between pornification, discrimination and violence against women
have been proven. So much so that there’s a legally binding United Nations
convention to Eliminate Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which has
called on states to take action against the objectification of women. It’s not just
down to them though, all of us can speak out against the industries which often
reduce a woman to the sum of her body parts.