Nudity cheapens women yet it sells

Rumbidzai Dube
Posted April 23, 2012 from Zimbabwe

Misogyny-a deep hatred of women- is the sentiment that the media is brewing with the content that it is spawning each day and yet we have allowed them to get away with it-even becoming accomplices to the crime ourselves as women.

Representation violence! Anyone ever heard that expression before? When people hear of violence against women, physical violence comes to mind-the one that leaves bruises and scars on women's beautiful skins.

Yet everyday representation violence is in our faces yet we hardly see it and we do not even comprehend its consequences and how it fosters mindsets that make the other forms of violence permissible in our society.

Naked women on advertisements of cars-do boobs drive cars? Naked women on realtor's websites-what has that got to do with selling houses?

Movies in which men beat up their girlfriends because they caught them cheating-what happened to dialogue?

Music videos with naked women caressing and (whining up) to a fully dressed man-and the songs are about making money-explain the link between nudity and money please?

Yes each day the media, print, electronic is prostituting women's dignity and perpetuating violence against women.

Oh yes some of you right now are thinking-but the women want it. They love posing naked. They consent to these adverts-They are paid for it so what's the big deal?

The big deal is that the media has cheapened the body of a woman to such an extent that any advertisement without an attractive woman will not sell. What sells is not the product but the face of the advertisement.

So if the industry has already laid out its rules driven by masochistic tendencies, what choice does a woman who is fighting for survival in a harsh world have besides capitulating to its demands.

If the first advert had not had a naked woman, would this woman have such a terribly sexist precedent to fend off?

The reality of today is that nakedness sells and the choice is limited to selling or not selling. At the end of the day, that is no choice.

The media names and shames a woman, blaming her for being sexually assaulted and imputing that she "asked for it." In films teenage girls who get raped will either be wearing a short skirt, flirting with the guy or get drunk and so when they get raped the sentiment is why were they doing all that-. They should have been more careful. -But what excuse ever justifies a man who forces himself upon an unwilling woman-drunk or not, naked or not??? In other words, the media through such films represent rape more as a sexual act rather than focus on the violent aspect which makes it a crime.

Criminologists have conducted studies which have shown that the majority of child sexual offenders, child molesters and other perpetrators of sexual offences are regular consumers of pornographic material-be it films or magazines. Pornography increases behavioural aggression and cultivates views of women as objects rather than beings. Again the media’s representation of women is to blame.

The media has normalised the face of rape as that of a woman and so no one is shocked anymore when they hear that a woman was gang raped by 12 men.

The media has made it seem as if fat and big women are unattractive and so women starve themselves, deprive themselves of the food they love in a bid to be smaller and hence more attractive. Is this not psychological violence?

How do we make it stop when few women worldwide own the media? How do we restore the value of women? How do we negate repair terrible representations that paint women as objects? How do we repair those who already view women in this manner?

I was inspired by the lyrics to the song Times like these by the Jamaican artist Queen Ifrica in which she bemoaned the negative role that artists and the media have played in ploughing under society's decency and exploiting women when she says: "They took away the voices, that gave the people pride Now we're plunging into darkness We all have to play our part, make a bold start Every disc jock[ey], tell every artist Media houses, we notice you love [to] support the slackness How so much alcohol [is] in our parties While the girls are broke out And the something she drinked [drunk has] knocked her out Now she don't [doesn’t]care where they prop her up"

To watch the whole video to the song

Comments 6

Log in or register to post comments
  • Bonnie Samuel
    Apr 23, 2012
    Apr 23, 2012

    MaDube, I agree with you completely. There are so many influences at play in today's world of instant info in many forms and delivered, blasted actually, constantly. But here's the rub, humans, male and female, young and old, put themselves in the line of fire, mindlessly watching, listening and interacting with the messages of the ads and all media. First step, turn off the bombardment. Second step, speak up AND, as a woman or girl, BE what and how you want the world to see females.

    Women, sadly, buy into the media's distorted image designed to hold woman at a certain level. And woman buy into the message that they will get their man, will get the respect or notice they desire, etc if they wear this label or that, buy a new wardrobe every year including the ridiculous, spine destroying heels, do this diet,or give yourself to this or that movement...unquestionably.

    Women has moved forward in great strides, but must take a position of strength, individually and collectively now as we are now experiencing a dangerous push back by a world that is still male dominated.

  • Rumbidzai Dube
    Apr 24, 2012
    Apr 24, 2012

    Thank you so much for your comment.

    I agree that as women we are buying into the cheap messages about what defines beauty, what it means to be well dressed, what attracts a man to a woman and so you see that this nudity, the bleaching of skin amongst African women, the frantic diets amongst women who perceive themselves to be too big is all part of this violence. In its subtlety women do not even see it as a form of violence.

    Indeed we need to move forward and define ourselves rather than conform to the definitions set out by a highly patriarchal order.

  • Barbara Bracewell
    May 01, 2012
    May 01, 2012

    MaDube, I couldn't agree more with your assertions here about women being portrayed as sex objects and buying into the whole media hype of showing off our naked or half naked bodies if we want to succeed. Sad isn't it? Until women can slam on the brakes and let men know that we will no longer be their naked muse, they will continue to exploit our bodies and treat us in the trashy manner they do. Again, thanks for shining the spotlight on this issue.

  • Rumbidzai Dube
    May 02, 2012
    May 02, 2012

    I like how you put it-"Until women can slam on the brakes and let men know that we will no longer be their naked muse, they will continue to exploit our bodies and treat us in the trashy manner they do."

    Yes men started this form of exploitation and we have bought into it and we perpetuate it ourselves. The first step towards achieving any change lies with us.

    Thanks for reading and for commenting :-)


  • Osai
    May 12, 2012
    May 12, 2012

    Hello Rumbi,

    This articles nails it in the head. But what is the solution? Our can we stop the media from making women look cheap? Is it by changing ownership of media outlets? This won't happen overnight. Is it by challenge advert regulators to work withing certain guidelines on nudity?

    Poverty (economic and of the mind) is a major cause that drives many female models to model near naked for a fee. If there were more opportunities and a social welfare system in place as well as confidence in our dignity as human beings, there would be less candidates to feed this habit. Have you noted our playboy always offer a 'hefty' fee for women in the spotlight to pose naked? Why must women be sultry on the cover of a magazine to be considered attractive?

    I enjoyed reading your article but now it has got me thinking about what else we need to do to stop this.


    Best wishes, Osai

  • Rumbidzai Dube
    May 13, 2012
    May 13, 2012

    Thanks so much for your comment. I hear you and I hear you loudly. And I am glad the article achieved exactly what it was meant to achieve-drive us all to have these kinds of conversations and devise solutions to the challenges. If you noticed I ask many questions towards the end of my article...."How do we make it stop when few women worldwide own the media? How do we restore the value of women? How do we negate repair terrible representations that paint women as objects? How do we repair those who already view women in this manner?".I hope it is in answering these questions that we can come up with durable solutions to end this abuse of women.

    Thanks always for reading and taking the time to give your input.