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ACADEMIC WRITING

The Oversexualization of
Women
What can be done to help turn the tide?
Dominick
12/4/2014

Dominick Knight
Zack De Piero
Social Justice Paper
The Over Sexualization of Women
In this world it seems, women are the objects that seem to be the most desired.
Advertisers, even entire industries are geared towards women. Women possess the largest
percentage of buying power in this country by a wide margin, nearly eighty percent and they are
catered to in a way that no other demographic is in America and almost the world. Women are
even used to sell products to other women and of course men. The subtle influence women seem
to be able to exert without even saying a word is tremendously powerful. They can be found on
almost any ad from mufflers to mens underwear, the latter almost is mind boggling to think
about. But when we look at the way women are treated, but yet how they are regarded, the
inverse of the relationship is staggering. On the one hand women are highly sought after as
incredibly powerful tools to essentially drive growth across a great many industries, nevertheless
they are almost seen as disposable in a world that both relies and needs them. Nothing else works
that way. Women are responsible for 80% of all household spending and account for 55% of
household income on average! But yet there contributions seem to be highly undervalued. It is
because that the language used by many Experts to supposedly help women, is written in a
way that is only general and vague, meant only to sell them books and services.
Why is that? Well that can be attributed to a host of reasons, not the least of which is the
public images portrayed by the different forms of media among other things. There is a stark
contrast between womens fight for equality and the struggles of equal pay and say for example
the rights for African Americans as a whole. It seems that while the image that is put out there by

mainstream media is changing, for the better I might add, there is a strong almost anti
progressive movement that social media, fueled by the very individuals from these various
groups no less, that is beginning to undermine what progress is being made. Experts have
begun to weigh in on this issue, and the language is often harmful and ineffective. Meant only to
be vague and tout a supposed knowledge on the subject. While there of course have been an
exhaustive amount of studies about the negative effects that social media is having on younger
people, and more specifically young women. The shift towards finding ways to be more
provocative while maintaining an innocent persona is becoming more and more prevalent. And
the rhetoric being fed to them is beyond disturbing. The idea that they must do this in order to be
worth a mans time, many of which they will never meet, is frustrating. So much needs to be
said, and so much needs to be done and it is almost impossible to know where to start. However
it is safe to say that there needs to be a focus on changing the message that is being told to young
girls and maybe it is time for women to take direct control of the message that is being sent.
Well there is a major difference between what language is used in, say a social media
environment versus an academic one. Even within the artifacts used for The Womens Sexuality
Center, the dialogue used on her Facebook page for example is much more casual and almost
playful. It actually lacks much of the tone that is prevalent in much of her writing which to say
the least is extremely long winded and of little actual substance. In the majority of what she
writes, she tends to refocus it back on what she offers and not on what she actually may know.
Obviously, and she even said as much, it is never good to simply regurgitate book knowledge.
She feels that true knowledge comes from a combination of wisdom and intellect, and that
writing purely from either only serves to negatively affect your argument, regardless of whether
you are right or wrong.(Madison, 2014) She points out that one of the reasons she tends to write

in the style that she does, is because she wants people to see the entirety of what she offers. So
that they will start to look inside themselves for the answers to the questions, and according to
her it helps. She does not feel it all together prudent to be too specific when dealing with the
people that reach out to her. Unless they are ones that she takes a lot of time to deal with, say if
they are personal clients for example, everything else is meant to be for a very general public.
This is the opposite message that needs to be sent however, but she feels strongly that getting
specific to early or sometimes at all, can hurt the people reading and looking for advice. She
claims to never want to influence any one person to heavily with her own ideas of what is
wrong or right.
An article that she wrote is circulating online right now and references the issue of
women and girls posting images specifically actually. In this article, Pamela Madison, who
happens to be a relationship and sexual expert, is writing to essentially plea with young girls to
start a reversion of the trend that is strong on social media of posting risqu and/or scantily clad
pictures of themselves for the world to see. Pamela Madison writes this, not with the intention to
shame or put down girls or women who have the confidence to show themselves to the world,
he simply wants to make the argument that constantly posting pictures of themselves practically
naked for any and all too see is not making them look any better. It creates a stigma about them
that is probably associated with the other overly sexualized girls that prevalent on social media.
He cautions women as too what message they are sending to the world about themselves with
these pictures. What are they saying about themselves, that they may not be consciously trying to
send? Is it really worth it to cheapen their image for the highly sought after like? That while
self-gratifying, the infamous like is ultimately pointless. It has no real or intrinsic value what
so ever. But yet it has spurred an almost entire generation of women into a cycle of trying to

outdo or keep pace, at least try anyway, with a bunch of other women, they will never meet, just
for the idea of a competition that really doesnt exist nor matter. To be so easily forgotten as
soon as their latest picture is seen, a constant need to stay relevant in a medium with a nearly
unlimited amount of options for others to stare at. But wait; is it not a sign of women
empowerment? Isnt this just woman embracing their sexuality, taking it back from the men or
society that has taken it from them? This seems to be the popular response to this line of
thinking. That it is just another form of Slut shaming. And in some ways yes it is
Pamela Madison of the Womens Sexuality Center, is who responded quickly to my
emails about this subject. She specializes in the education and empowerment of women and
couples. She has been published for 15 years and is renowned for her knowledge and experience
with helping couples, but primarily helping women help themselves be a better and more
complete and confident version of themselves and that is from any age. She is foremost in her
belief that womens struggle starts with how they view themselves first and foremost. And I
would have to agree. She spoke a lot of how she writes is how she approaches women in her day
to day activity. That a woman must embrace her sexuality but do so while becoming a more
complete person and not just to do so out of a vain attempt to please someone else. Her language
is always soft and up building, never harsh. She seeks to build women up by making sure they
have a strong mental attitude so that when faced with situations that would normally present a
problem, they are deal with them in a healthy way. When asked what writing style she prefers,
she says that it depends on the audience she is writing to. When talking to just women, young
and old, it is more of soft tone of voice. She is seeking more to inform them of what the world
does and how it affects them. She points to the ever growing self-help genre as too what she feels

would be the genre she that best categorizes her work. And that is exactly how her writing style
is reflected in her work.
But for Madison one of her favorite communication mediums is email. If she is ever
specific or direct it is typically through email with clients and anyone else that may contact her.
She was not able to provide anything specific for the purposes of this paper, because of privacy
reasons, but she was able to describe them to me in as a great a detail as possible. Because she
has clients and gets media inquiries from all over the world, and in this instance she feels that the
direct approach is best (Madison). It conflicts with her given style of communication and to be
blunt seems almost incredulous to do it this way. The article that she wrote about women and the
images that they post for the world, was a rare example of her actually giving some sound
advice. However to her own point, it feels more like an opinion for the simple fact that she does
not back anything with actual knowledge or facts. It comes off as more of a statement of feeling,
and based off what she wants to be known for, which is more of the comforting mother figure, it
fits. It is a bit contradictory however, but that is the voice that is needed to be taken with this
issue. A soft tone is great for the easily swayed and influenced, and that is who she targets. At
the heart of it all she is selling not just herself, but her ideology and her products. From really
looking at what she is trying to say versus what the rest of the world is saying, her voice seems to
get lost in all of the noise.
However in actuality, there is much that is being done to that effect, not so much the
social stigma but more to buoy up women and support a better self-image. Pamela writes that
women must be able to embrace an image of their own first, before they seek to share that with
the rest of the world. She definitely writes with an Ethos appeal, simply speaking from a point of
view of her being a credible author that is well respected in her field. But it does not seem that

she wants to take real control and help be a voice true solid macro style change. Taking this
initiative isnt just about pictures on Instagram, its about how they take control of their own
destiny. But through reading her articles and materials on her website, she seems more interested
in individual change rather than change as a whole. And while there is nothing wrong with
holistic change, being that her platform could work well for a much larger stage of women
embracing their places in society, she chooses to not be political. She preaches a theme of
individualistic self-awareness, but she says that she writes mainly for a specific audience, and
only them. She feels very strongly that large social change starts with the individual. And well
she would be right.