– A Body Unknown Essay, Research Paper
It happened suddenly, surprisingly and overnight. One day I was a child and the next I was a sex object. Catching everyone from friends to teachers, parents to siblings off guard I had grown into a women and to some, a piece of female specimen that welcomed sexual advances, harassment and jokes. The one thing that has defined my womanhood more then anything else has been my breasts. I was thrown, unarmed into this situation at the tender age of 13, since then my views have changed. At 13 I viewed my buxomest body as a toy, an advantage, but after 5 years of being viewed as a sex object my views have changed. Changing my views ever further was reading Chapter 9 in Julia Woods Gendered Lives, this chapter dealt with the stereotypical roles of both sexes. One female role that applied directly to me was the sex object stereotype. Even after 5 years of continuous harassment I feel empowered and proud of my sexuality, I love my body, including my breasts. Wood described a sex object as something that was wrong, something that shouldn?t be a part of our society. Wood inadvertently made me feel like I was harming other women by embracing my sexuality. Wrong, I say, society has made me a sex object and I will do everything I can to make society deal with what they have created.
I have always believed that my body was something to be proud of, something that I have treasured and praised throughout my life. For the first 6 months of my womanhood I felt I had been blessed. But, over the years I endured example after example that showed me there was something very, very wrong with the way society deals with sexuality. I did not see anything wrong when I was on an airplane with classmates and found them staring at my breasts. When I asked them what they were doing they simply replied, ?waiting for turbulence.? That was funny, then. A couple months later I heard boys in the back row of my science class talking vulgarly about my body, naturally, I was upset, but chalked it up to immaturity and went on with my life. My freshman year of high school was the worst, so far. I didn?t feel like I could run in P.E. because the wrestlers, whom were all upperclassman would stand at the wall and yell elicit lines to me. Further damaging my self worth, were teachers. I was never directly harassed my teachers but they let other students verbally harass me over and over again. The first week of school, freshman year, a senior, yelled to me from another table that I was his new girlfriend because he ?likes them girls with huge jugs.? It might have been different, I might have been protected if I was some meek, shy girl, but I was not. I was class president, an athlete I was well known and apart from my body, widely respected. It appalled the administration that such an active student was so bluntly sexy. They showed me, through looks and stern talks everyday that I shouldn?t wear certain things, the same certain things that every other girl was wearing. I was not trying to make a statement; I was simply, embracing my body. I felt beautiful in my clothes and that?s why I wore them. Even with all the things I had endured I made a pact with myself, I was not going to sulk away and become unnoticed and lacking self-esteem. As the years went by, the harassment continued. As I matured and became more of an adult and less of a child I began to understand what I believed in and that my sexuality was not my problem, it was theirs.
Women, even women who are viewed, as sex objects should not have to ?cover up? or feel ashamed, it is society that should learn to embrace them. A woman, even a woman with big breasts, or an hourglass figure, should be able to dress, as she wants and not be harassed. I have yet to discover the exact problem, but there is an underlying current ready to destroy our culture, it is something that both men and women have internalized, something that we have been conditioned to think, to feel.
Something in our society has given these people the right to destroy a persons self worth because they are sexual. This poison might be the media, it might be the schools, it might even be the in the family dynamics, but people in our communities feel it is their right to comment, to judge and to scrutinize women simply because they have a certain type of body. All the same, these people are scared. They view open sexuality as unknown and dangerous, the feel if they tell a person like me to cover up or down play my body it will protect me, as well as the others who surround me. Protect me from what? Last summer, completely covered I was grabbed by a complete stranger at a restaurant. The moment it happened I felt violated, upset but most of all concerned. What a sad life that little boy would have. Furthermore, this situation goes to show that this is not a personal problem, this is a problem that has began to condemn our world. Only 6 months after this incident a grown man I had just met bluntly told me, ?you have really big boobies.? Not even knowing how to respond to such a blatant form of disrespect I began to ask him questions about his comment. He could not understand why I was so upset; he also could not understand why I did not view his comment as a compliment. I told him why, I told him about the last 1,885 days of harassment I had endured, I told him about strangers grabbing me in public and I explained to him that on average, I get unwelcome comments about my breasts 5 times a day. A perfect example of why I was so mad happened only 20 minutes after our conversation. Coming out of a gas station with a friend we found that my car was parked next to a car full of boys. As I was getting into my car they rolled down their windows and said, ?Hey, you have really nice tits. Are they real?? Yes, only 20 minutes later I was thrown into another situation of harassment. That is why I was upset.
After years and years of constant harassment coming from people of all ages, both male and female, I have come to realize that people just do not understand. They do not understand that a woman that is a sex object can also hold so much more. Media has produced a culture that has such an obsession with carbon-copied manufactured sexuality that when a person embodies one or all of the ?assets? found in media, they so intensely focus on that one thing, and in turn, they do not see the rest of that person.Before taking the time to study the media and its influence on society I did not realize its harm. The media sells sex; it portrays both men and women in sexy, stereotypical roles. I never felt there was any harm in a person being sexy, dressing sexy, or acting sexy so I did not feel the media was in the wrong. Only after applying my personal experiences, my friends experiences, or lack there of, to the media, I realized that the societal impact was dangerously effecting today?s cultural dynamics. With the media emphasizing not only sex, but also certain body types (i.e. Bay Watch) the media is harming people that embody those certain body types, and the self-esteem of those who do not. Only after typing this do I realize why I had never understood this before. I never saw the media as effecting people on such a personal level because after each incident I either blamed the person or just took it and chalked it up to a lifelong annoyance. What I did not see was that girls that embodied anything that is stereotypically portrayed as sexy were receiving the same harassment. It is not widely known because most women are just beautiful, something that is sexy but not something that is easily harassable. All women have something about them that makes them sexy, but a woman with pretty hair is not going to be offended when someone grabs her hair. There is a fine line between a woman that is sexy and a woman that is a sex object. Almost every woman has been a sex object at least once in their lives, but there are a few women that are sex objects constantly. There is a common perception that needs to be changed. A woman should be able to be a sexy and smart. A person?s mind is a precious thing, a smart thing, and a beautiful thing; let?s not let sexuality override that truth.