Adolescents’ exposure to a sexualized media and their views of women as sex objects

By: Brandy Castillo

Evidence has accumulated that adolescents’ exposure to sexual media content is related to a variety of gender stereotypes and sexual beliefs (Ward, 2003).  The Internet has become so widely available for many teens to get on and see explicit depictions of different sexual activities and sexual preferences are not only easy for them to access but they use the information they view online. Young teens are being confronted with magazines with nude models, openly discusses sexual techniques, and tells them how to improve their sex lives have made a huge impact on their views of sex especially for young girls who read these magazines then share their media intake with their peers which a lot of magazines give false information and the kind of information shown to these girls are very inappropriate for their ages. According to Fredrickson and Roberts (1997), the sexual objectification of women may be defined as the reduction of women to their sexual appeal in terms of their outer appearance and a focus on their body. Meaning women’s sexual activities have become a main criterion of their attractiveness which depicts women as sexual playthings for men sexual desires. In any magazine directed towards males will always have a female sexualized being half undressed and waiting for a male. An example of these types of magazines would be Sports Illustrated who will always show a female in a swimsuit posing in a sexualized position and a car or bike magazines who show females in the driver seat half undressed. Exposure to magazine advertisements in which women were portrayed as sexual objects led to a stronger acceptance of rape myths and sexual stereotypes among male college students than among female peers (Lanis & Covell, 1995). In magazines representations of thin women in mass media reinforces the conclusion that “physical attraction” and “sexually desirable” means thin. An example of this would be “Get the Body You Really Want” besides “ How to Get Your Husband to Really Listen,” and  “Stay Skinny” paired with “What Men Really Want”. Young adolescent girls are fascinated with finding out what men really want which also tends to keep female characters in film and television busy. Women in movies or film are always seen to be more likely dating, or talking about romance while men are more likely to be seen “on the job” than women. This reminded me of the film we had watched which talked about toy commercials directed towards a certain gender. How the boy’s toys are more hands on and learning skill based by building and creating things. But the girls’ toys are more directed towards being domesticated.

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