The victimization of women in the media has become a very popular topic in the last ten years. It has become almost common knowledge that the photos of women in magazines are photo-shoped and Hollywood has turned women into mere sex objects. It’s a harsh reality that subconsciously hurts thousands of girls, and thankfully there are a good number of groups promoting awareness about it all.
However, something that isn’t acknowledged as often is what Hollywood has done to men.
Two things have recently brought this to my attention more than ever: the chart-topping novel Fifty Shades of Grey and the highly anticipated summer movie Magic Mike starring Channing Tatum. To be fair, I will admit that I have not read the book, nor have I seen the movie yet. It’s possible that both may have viable story lines or some redeeming qualities, but at the surface they are both fueled solely by sex (feel free to debate with me). That alone should be a flare in our minds: these are dangerous, in more ways than one.
Besides all the misconceptions that are promoted by Hollywood about the value of sex and what it means in our lives, another danger is how these products have turned men into sexual objects. It’s not hard to see that Channing Tatum’s six pack is selling the movie more than whatever the plot line might be, and there’s a reason Fifty Shades of Grey has been nicknamed “mommy porn.”
Why are we ok with this? We have seen the way that over-sexualization of women has created all kinds of self-confidence issues, increased eating disorders in young girls, and passed off sexuality for empowerment. We can’t let the same thing happen to our brothers next. Men will be judged solely on their appearance, their sexual potential, and be photo-shopped in magazines — oh wait, that is already happening.
This is part of our culture that we can’t ignore. For both men and women, we need to acknowledge the false expectations Hollywood and media create in our minds. When we watch movies or read books that objectify the opposite sex we start to have unrealistic expectations not just of ourselves, but of our peers and in our relationships as well. It defines people as objects whose value is based solely on sex; and when that object is the tightly wrapped package of Channing Tatum or Christian Grey’s (mostly abusive) sex moves that is all we are going to want.
You can’t expect all men to perform as well as Christian Grey, and you can’t expect them to look or dance like Channing Tatum. You can expect them to be respectful, kind, polite, and considerate — but where are the movies about those guys?
What do you think of the way our entertainment industry portrays men, is it unfair?