In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal the way that women are now objectifying and sexualizing themselves and how that is damaging women and relationships.
Women objectifying women
First a quick update:
“How women made porn fashionable”
Read my controversial article about the way values for women are changing, the impact of “50 Shades of Grey” and my appeal to women to embrace real empowerment and not continue to foolishly rob themselves and undermine all of the positive strides and triumphs they have made in their quest for equality.
“The dangers of processed food”
Read the transcript of the interview with Michael Bauerschmidt, MD, MBA and Medical Director Full Potential Health Care, about the negative impact on the body when consuming processed food.
Now, let’s talk about the way that women are now objectifying and sexualizing themselves and how that is damaging women and relationships.
“Jessica Simpson debuts post-baby body on ‘Katie’”
“Jessica Simpson Post-Baby Body: REVEALED! HOT!”
“Jessica Simpson reveals post-baby body”
These headlines were not just featured on gossip websites – they were splashed on news websites such as CNN.com, FoxNews.com and MSNBC.com.
“How to look hot in a minivan”
This was a segment on NBC’s Today show, featuring an author of the book of the same name. Also, on the same show, on September 11, 2012, NBC was the only network which chose not to cross to the live commemoration and moment of silence for the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack hosted by the President of the United States of America. Instead NBC continued with an interview with “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” reality mom Kris Jenner discussing her breast implants.
The point here is that the media is shifting the focus of women with the message that what is significant and valuable is the need to look hot, young and sexy, and to have the perfect body.
Why does this matter at all?
For decades women have complained about being treated or viewed as sexual objects, and yet now, women are sexually objectifying themselves, and, as I will explain in a moment, it is seriously damaging to women’s self-esteem, their happiness and their relationships.
A 2012 study by the University of Missouri reveals that sexual objectification of women in music videos isn’t limited to videos featuring male stars; female artists frequently turn themselves into sex objects in their own videos. “Young audiences may interpret these sexually objectifying images as important ways to be seen as attractive and valuable to society” says Jennifer Aubrey, associate professor in communication from the university’s College of Arts and Sciences. Click here to read more.
When Jessica Simpson showed off her post pregnant body on Katie Couric’s new TV talk show “Katie”, she also flashed the picture her 4-month-old daughter Maxwell wearing a lacy yellow bikini.
Claude Knights, the director of Kidscape, a British child welfare agency says “It is very disturbing to see a young baby presented to the world wearing a bikini…Celebrity choices carry great influence, as can be seen by the manner in which their accessories and behaviors are copied widely. It is to be hoped that parents will understand that ‘baby bikinis’ are totally inappropriate, and that they contribute to the sexualization and commercialization of childhood. We should not be compromising the sanctity of our children’s early years.”
Meanwhile, famous actress Liz Hurley recently released a bikini line for children less than 8 years of age. In one of the promotional photos, the 8-year-old female model in an animal-print cha cha bikini expresses sexually provocative, alluring and seductive poses and gestures.
While many women might argue that dressing up a baby or even a young girl in bikinis is harmless, they are missing the point that what they are actually doing is sexually objectifying all females, their body parts, and programming girls from infancy to believe they are worthless unless they are sexy and physically beautiful.
How would mothers respond if it were dad dressing their young daughters in these bikinis?
As I told FoxNews.com:
“Sexualizing children at this young age is dangerous because it impairs their emotional and sexual development and reinforces to girls that their primary value and self-worth is their body and level of sexual appeal…which in turn is creating more eating disorders and body dysmorphia amongst young girls.”
I also told FoxNews.com that “Children are not mini-me’s” and they are not designed to please, fulfill or compensate for the parent’s unfulfilled fantasies or emotional needs.
As a result of the constant obsession by women over their body, a new study now reveals that the human brain of both genders is looking at and processing women as body parts but it is processing men as a whole rather than the sum of their parts.
Sarah Gervais, a psychologist at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln authored the study “Seeing women as objects: The sexual body part recognition bias.” (published in the European Journal of Social Psychology) and says “Everyday, ordinary women are being reduced to their sexual body parts. This isn’t just something that supermodels or porn stars have to deal with.” And she believes that since both genders are objectifying the female body “the media is probably a prime suspect.”
“Women’s bodies and their body parts are used to sell all sorts of products, but we are now for everyday, ordinary women, processing them in a similar way.” Click here to read more.
The objectification of women’s bodies and body parts as well as the constant competition between women leads to eating disorders, self-loathing, shame, low-self-esteem, social isolation, depression, unnecessary surgery and even suicide.
One client who suffered from an eating and body-image disorder told me that from age nine when she started reading fashion and beauty magazines, she began to feel bad about her body and self, saying “I always thought there was something wrong with me and I’d be in the mirror looking at myself, crying and saying ‘I hate you’ – sometimes for hours.”
From there she would swing between hiding and isolating herself for days to going to extreme ways to get attention and reassurance even though she would often react harshly anytime someone complimented her on her beauty.
(Did you know that one study reveals that women do worse on math tests when they are ogled, but men don’t? Listen to my radio interview “Jealousy, insecurity and ogling other beautiful people”
Aside of the serious damage to individual women, the sexual objectification of women by women is also ruining and eroding relationships.
If you objectify yourself, there is a good chance that you will also objectify your partner. And today, it seems that women have created or at least have been hypnotized by the media to the extent that they are focused and obsessed with their body, body parts and the subconscious belief that there is something wrong with them – that they are ugly and not good enough. (Meanwhile, the media is also promoting that men are stupid and their only role is to provide. See my article “How stupid are men” )
While academic studies support the contention that women who objectify themselves also report less satisfaction in their romantic relationships and less intimacy, the best examples come from female clients who report that they wallow in negative self-talk, struggle to express physical and emotional intimacy, avoid lovemaking or cannot enjoy it, and often argue and fight in their relationships.
Summed up in simple terms, women are becoming more insecure about their bodies. In one body-image poll of 16,000 women by Glamour magazine, 75 percent of women surveyed felt they were too fat, and more than 60 percent said they were dissatisfied with or ashamed of their stomach, hips and thighs.
It cannot be overstated that it is very difficult to love someone who hates herself, her body, or who constantly thinks she is lacking and is not good enough. I teach that no one can love you more than you love yourself – because you won’t let them. Happiness comes from loving and accepting yourself – all of you. And that cannot happen when women continue to constantly compare themselves to false, artificial or unattainable ideals of beauty, perfection and self-worth. True female empowerment occurs when a woman makes the conscious choice to not let anyone outside of her determine her beauty, value, significance, lovability, and level of deservedness.
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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”
Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist
Publicist Jonathan Hay alleged to TMZ that Chrystal Workman, the mother of “Modern Family” star Ariel Winter, asked him for help in leaking nude photos of Winter’s older sister, 34-year-old Shanelle Workman, who is also an actress. Hay tells TMZ that Workman approached him in December 2012 with the images, which are reportedly eight or nine years old.
Read more by clicking here.
Anointed “The Woman Expert” by WGN Chicago, Patrick Wanis PhD is a renowned Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert who developed SRTT therapy (Subconscious Rapid Transformation Technique) and is teaching it to other practitioners. Wanis’ clientele ranges from celebrities and CEOs to housewives and teenagers. CNN, BBC, FOX News, MSNBC & major news outlets worldwide consult Wanis for his expert insights and analysis on sexuality, human behavior and women’s issues. Wanis is the first person ever to do hypnotherapy on national TV – on the Montel Williams show.