We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby.

Via on Apr 29, 2012

Firefighters, kittens and tequila—oh my!

Is it time that we accepted the fact that all of us—men and women, straight and gay—enjoy seeing images of attractive people? Or is it all “exploitation” and unacceptable?

Clearly, liquor companies are always going to use sex to sell, but what does it say about who has the buying power if now instead of a girl in a skimpy bikini, Sauza tequila is using a hot firefighter and kittens?

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I’m not complaining.

Hot firefighters and kittens are cool. What’s funny to me is that when we women cry exploitation when there’s a girl in a skimpy bikini in a Peta PSA, why do we turn around and yell, “more, more!” about naked Adam Levine and his girlfriend…umm…lending a hand in support of testicular cancer awareness? Is it time that we accepted the fact that all of us—men and women, straight and gay—enjoy seeing images of attractive people? Or is it all “exploitation” and unacceptable?

What’s the real issue here? It isn’t that men want to be reduced to being valued only by their appearance. It isn’t that women want to be valued only for their minds. So why the double standard? Is it only sexist when men do it or can women be sexist too?

Scratch that—it’s rhetorical. Of course we can. The question isn’t do we objectify or are we sexist, it’s are we all being a bit too sensitive about all of this stuff? Can we differentiate between true malicious objectification and appreciation of beauty—all types, all genders—and realize that while we squabble over it, advertisers are laughing their way to the bank.

Can’t we just call a truce and say what’s good for the gander is good for the goose (or whatever other cliche you want to use to admit that we all like seeing attractive people, we are all sexual beings and when we are talking about consenting adults—it’s not a bad thing?).

You mull it over and get back to me. I’m going to go watch the firefighter make another margarita. Cheers!

Relephant Bonus:

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About Kate Bartolotta

Kate Bartolotta is the strongest girl in the world. She is the love child of a pirate and a roller derby queen. She hails from the second star to the right. She doesn't know how to behave with all the apples and ibexes. She doesn't suffer from her eight million freckles, she loves them! Like a rolling stone, Kate gathers no moss. Kate loves kale, being barefoot, Dr. Seuss, singing too loudly, gallivanting, palindromes, blackberries and has far too many books for her own good. When she's not writing, you can find her practicing yoga, running in the woods, playing with her kids, devouring a book, planting dandelions, changing the world and doing her dishes. Kate does not play the accordion. She is a massage therapist, writer and a compassionate friend to all. This year Kate aspires to finally give up on learning to knit and will instead spend that time putting a little bit more of her heart on the page. Connect with Kate on Facebook and Twitter

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5 Responses to “We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby.”

  1. So true. I've never quite gotten the attitudes people adopt around this issue. Of course, we like to look at people we think are attractive. That should be less a problem but a given. There are plenty of studies with infants indicating this.

    What's important is how you treat them as people.

  2. Ellen Renwick says:

    The question might be what is the effect on the objectified sex? Studies demonstrate that most women identify themselves as a less desirable body type than they really are and men tend to identify themselves as a more desirable body type than they really are. So most men see the hot firefighter and think they look almost, if not exactly, as good, while most women see a hot "bikini babe" and despair that they will ever be that attractive. Cultural power disparity? We all may like to look at attractive people but we don't all like to be made to feel unattractive.

  3. Shesinrome says:

    Numerous studies and evidence that the media's representation of women in America (and other countries) not only leads to huge rises in mental/physical health issues but limits women's potential in many areas, including in positions of power, and has been a key player in the sexualization of women, which by the way, leads to things such as rape, and girl on girl violence, among so many other issues – are widely available to read and understand. Over simplification of issues that harm women is generally not a helpful stance to take.

    This issue is so much more complex than "We all like look at attractive people" or political correctness. It does not end there. I mean, really? That's the depth of the argument in this piece? Yes, there is certainly a level of over sensitivity and political correctness in America in regards to feminist issues, but it is not helpful to ignore real problems we have as a culture either. Before any more entries are written about this issue, I would highly recommend Kate Bartolotta do more research into this matter, such as viewing the documentary "Miss Representation", or reading the book "Enlightened Sexism", among many other academic and public health studies from the WHO, UN Women, and UNFPA that tackle the real issue of women and the media in a scientific and holistic way.

  4. [...] No, it’s a great time to be a girl. [...]

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