March 5, 2015

International Women’s Day: Defend Dignity

centredinternationalwomensdaySunday, March 8th is International Women’s Day, a day to observe the great strides gender equality has made throughout history and to highlight the issues that still need improvement. Women in the United States enjoy more freedoms than ever before. However, some areas need to be addressed for the safety and equality of the future generations of women.

Women are, more than any other demographic, sexually objectified and their abuse is fetishized. Females make up the majority of sex trafficking victims. 88% of the most popular porn scenes demonstrate violence against women, perpetrated by men.

Starting from a very young age, girls are inappropriately sexualized by the media and toy manufacturers. They then take on this idea that their self-worth is inextricably connected to how sexy or sexually capable they are.

Meanwhile, the widespread acceptance and use of porn by both boys and girls teaches them astonishingly damaging messages: women are meant to be used and abused as sexual objects without the need for their consent or comfort. These messages form their sexual template at a young age and influence their expectations of intimate and social relationships from that point.

These children grow up and go out in the world with the mindsets that women do not require the same sexual dignity as men. Many go to college or into the military where sexual assault and rape are commonplace. Street harassment shows the same level of respect for women: the need of the perpetrator to express their sexual desire for a woman regardless of her feelings of comfort and safety.

The worst part about this pornified culture of sexualized women is that many women are buying into the idea that this view of them is empowering, sold to them by “feminist” pornographers, Cosmopolitan magazine and “Fifty Shades of Grey.” These companies perpetuate these ideas that sell women short and push permissive attitudes toward sexual degradation and domestic abuse.

This International Women’s Day, let us celebrate women and girls for their natural human dignity. Let’s work together to defend that dignity and foster healthy attitudes about female sexuality and worth.

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