Their fame shouldn’t give you a free pass on sexism
By Angela Espinoza, News Editor
In film, television, and even music, many in the spotlight are hired based partially on their physical appearance. If the person you’re watching on screen is considered fat, skinny, short, or tall, their presence is likely placed there intentionally. But with much of the media-based industry still heavily focussed on conventionally attractive men and women, have we in turn been trained to objectify them?
Several weeks have passed since the celebrity nude photo leak involving Jennifer Lawrence, amongst many others. The leak caused a mass discussion over privacy concerns, as well as how we view the people (mostly women) who were in those photos. Then on September 14, Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone experienced similar sexism when a photo of her cleavage was posted on Twitter by the Times of India, one of India’s oldest newspapers still in circulation. The image was shared with the caption: “OMG: Deepika Padukone’s cleavage show.” When Padukone responded negatively to the tweet, she was told to, as BBC puts it, “consider it a compliment.”
The event resulted in a quick social media run of #IStandWithDeepikaPadukone. But much like the nude photo leak, what does the obsession with celebrity bodies say about people?
Again, many particularly good-looking people you see in media are hired and, to some extent, designed to adhere to conventional beauty standards. They’re often dressed in fitted clothes made for them to look their best, and hours at a time are spent on adjusting their physical appearance. That’s not to say we don’t all do a little of that ourselves sometimes, but we’re not exactly Sofia Vergara being placed on a pedestal; no one is actually making us up to go out and look a certain way to impress people.
Although these recent photo controversies mainly involve women, that’s not to say men aren’t objectified either.
Anytime you see a curvy woman or fit man moving sensually in slow motion, even if it’s played for laughs, that’s objectification. Anytime an advertising campaign focusses on specific body parts of men or women, even if they’re selling underwear, that’s objectification. Anytime a person is hired to stand around and look pretty, even if they’re there of their own accord, that’s still objectification.
There’s nothing wrong with appreciating a person’s physical appearance; everyone has a beautiful feature. But there is something to say about society when a person follows their Google search of “[insert celebrity]” with “[insert body part]” or “nude pics.”