Woman: part, parcel, or person?

The other night after dinner I let my kids watch a bedtime movie so I could clean the kitchen. First we chose a Jim Carry comedy about a superhero, as the kids had heard it was really funny. I gave a hesitant ok and popped in and out of the living room to make sure it was suitable.

At a certain point there was scene in a lounge with a female singer in a sparkly dress “purring” a little to confidentially to the men in the audience. My 9 year old daughter said right away, “Mom, her dress is too short.” “Yeah, kinda more like pajamas,” I agreed. “She’s being inappropriate,” stated my 7 year old bluntly, as the woman continued in the manner of an overly friendly cat, rubbing up against people. “Let’s change it,” concluded my 9 year old. So we did. 

Figuring it would be a safer bet, especially for the younger ones, we switched to a cartoon. An adventure story about archeologists. Surely this would be fine, right? Again I popped in and out to make sure while tidying the kitchen. I came in to the following scene: 

A slightly nerdy looking guy, the main character, having a discussion with a slim woman with glasses and a pony tale. There was some dangerous adventure to be had, and he objected to her going alone. Then from the other room she asked if he was offering to come along. He hummed and hawed until she reappeared, now in her “archeology outfit” which consisted of little jean shorts and a small, revealing tank top. Her glasses were also removed. All his hesitation disappeared, and no surprise: of course, he was coming!

Perhaps kids won’t really notice this subtly sexual joke, likely put in there for the adults watching, but what message does it actually send to girls? Guys won’t be willing to make sacrifices for you because of your friendship or your brains, but you can be sure they’ll do anything for your boobs. Great! And we really think feminism has advanced so far…

Whether or not women’s bodies are being presented as sources of power and control over men (again, this is a manipulative rather than healthy message), the fact is what seems to matter about women is their parts…the pieces of their bodies that interest men. Perhaps brains are also presented as a good thing, but only as long as they come in a pretty package. 

Parts. Packages. Juicy bits. What are we talking about here? Cars, internet bundles, steaks? Things. We are still talking about women as if they were things instead of people. This is objectification. Do we want our daughters to be objectified? 

 
What really matters about women is that they are people, and like men, each one of them is unique, irreplaceable, and worthy of love and respect. Tell me Hollywood, when are you going to grow up enough to share this message? It is one of true beauty and of hope for relationships that actually respect each person as a person, and just not a set of spare parts to be used for fun…until a better model comes along. 

13 thoughts on “Woman: part, parcel, or person?

  1. Melissa

    I find it next to impossible to find anything appropriate on tv for my kids. I’ve limited there tv time significantly because of it. So sad!

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    1. I know…so tricky! I’ll try to remember to recommend the good things we find here and there! Apparently the new Pixar cartoon “Inside Out” is great. My close friend Laura saw it with her kids and loved it.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Nico! Yeah, shows and movies are a tricky one…I guess at least with discernment they can be an opportunity to talk about real values. I was happy it was my kids who suggested changing the movie even before me. I guess they’re learning to think for themselves!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Robert McCandless

    OH YES!

    Very sad. So sad that (in our often harsh world) that we (men and women) have such low self-esteem – that we feel so hopelessly unloved, so unfulfilled on the deepest level of our being.

    So sad, in our desperately real human need to be loved, valued and respected, that we might settle for any temporary substitute. We might make the mistake of thinking we are only as valuable as our bodies.

    Yet so wonderful! that your girls can spot what is “inappropriate” in dress and behavior, and that they know their true value because they are loved and respected – by their parents, their community, and by their Creator.

    I believe it’s all any of us REALLY want.
    Love,
    Dad

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    1. Thanks, Dad for these beautiful insights and encouraging words! Thanks for always helping me know I was beautiful and loved, unconditionally and on the deepest level. I think the love of a father does a lot for a daughter’s self-worth.
      Your,
      Anna

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  3. This is so true! And our world seems saturated by this objectification, even of quite young girls. It seems hard to escape it. It’s good that your children are at least able to process these things critically, and to question what they are shown. I think this is the best way to equip our children for the world.
    I follow an activist group called Collective Shout, which tries to make corporations accountable for their objectifying behaviour. Do you remember my Fangirl Fail? It was the founder of this group that I was grovelling at. Their website is http://www.collectiveshout.org/
    but most of the issues they address are rather local.
    I wonder if there is a Canadian equivalent?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Kate! I’ll take a look. It’s good to keep speaking up. And yeah, I agree it’s good to teach kids critical thinking skills so they can analyze things for themselves when they leave the nest!

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  4. Yeah, I agree with you on this. It’s sad but it’s there in so many movies. In one recent movie with my husband, I pointed out that the girl was wearing a tank top while the guy had on a winter coat — ??? I like the fact that many of the new action / superhero movies have a better cast of female characters – but the women are still dressed in tight, revealing clothing that’s just not necessary. Would you really go out to do kung-fu in skinny jeans??? We do need to support good clean movies and protest against those that send the wrong messages to our daughters. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your great comments. It’s almost laughable how blatantly differently men and women are dressed sometimes, if it weren’t also so objectifying and damaging of girls’ self esteem…thinking they need to be king-fu barbies to be worthy of love…kinda makes me glad I grew up with three brothers and didn’t care about appearances. Soccer and climbing trees are way more fun than staring in the mirror or at the scale!

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