I was walking around campus the other day and I couldn’t believe how often I heard some one tell a woman things such as: “You are so beautiful,” “You are beautiful inside and out,” “big girls can be beautiful too,” “you can have beauty and brains,” “Always remember that you’re beautiful to me.”
That was a huge contrast to the things being said to men, but I guess that should come to no surprise. Honestly, how often do we hear people tell men, “you are just so handsome,” “big guys can be sexy too,” “you can be handsome and have brains,” or “always remember that you are handsome to me?” The answer is probably rarely do we ever hear the latter. As a society, we seem obliged to constantly have to assure or reassure women of their beauty as if it is the most vital part of their existence.
This sense of obligation to assure one of their exterior appearance is not mirrored towards men. That is because the value of men to society does not solely rely on their attractiveness, rather we value a man’s knowledge, braveness, adventurousness, and so on. At no point in a man’s life is physical appearance emphasized as a critical aspect of being worthy. Sure, some of you reading this can probably think of examples of times when men have been sexually objectified. And my response to that will be, “yup it happens,” but it happens far less often than it happens with women. So let’s stay focused here, ladies and gentlemen.
The problem is society considers women’s exteriors vital and terribly important to their worth. When women are reduced to being as valuable as their bodies make them, it is easy for people to demean them because they are objectified and viewed as less human, and less deserving of rights and respect that equate to that of men. We need to challenge and revamp this paradigm of women having to feel that their worth is defined by their exterior appearance.