Sexism - Women as Sexual Objects Since the beginning of time, women have always been described by men as having sexual appeal. However, most of the descriptions held a negative stigma in them. In Korea’s fairytale, there exists a mythical gumiho, a nine-tailed fox who could transform into a beautiful woman so that they can seduce unsuspecting men and eat their livers. What does this tells us? Men, beware! There are beautiful women out there who are out to trick you so that she can eat your liver. This reeks of sexism where women are held in negative assumptions.
Media further reinforces this view by broadcasting shows, programs or video games that exploit women’s sexual appeal. In the past, women are blamed if they could allure other women’s men; they are said to be wicked and bad (or to used the common word, a whore). If they are raped, it will always be the women’s fault; they wore revealing clothes, they were seducing him, etc. The men were never blamed, at least not directly. They are absolved of any responsibilities towards the women, even if the women that they had raped became pregnant and were the subject of ridicule among other people.
Even when the men are punished for their crimes, the women will always bear a stigma; they are considered to be dirty and have lower status than a slave. I watch a lot of Korean dramas. They usually are centered on the theme of love. There usually will be two types of woman characters in the story. First and foremost is the heroine. She can be a successful woman in her career, or a naive school girl, or a woman who is facing some difficulties in her life; they will always be identifiable because they are the good girl who are kind to others or are sympathetic to other’s plight.
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They will always get the heroes. Then, there are the other women on the other side of spectrum. They are usually the bad girl, the one who wanted to steal the heroes. They are the scheming temptresses, are two-faced and are out to get the heroine. However, in the end, justice will prevail and the bad girls will get what’s coming to her. This is a type of negative stereotyping. Either the girl is kind and innocent, or the girl is a wily seductress. The girl’s sexuality is viewed as a bad thing; her weapons in tricking mankind. Woman’s sexuality is further exploited in video games.
A 1998 study found that a significant amount of games portrayed women as sex objects (Dietz). There have been a lot of Japanese adult video games published recently where the goal of the games is for the player to break the wills of the women characters and seduce them until they become his faithful sex slave. An example of this game is Gibo : Stepmother’s Sins. In this game, the player’s father had just gotten married and his new wife and her daughter had moved into the player’s house. The player had a grudge against his real mother because he had walk upon his mother while she was cheating on his father.
He transferred his hatred towards his new mother,Misaki and tried very hard to seduce her in order to prove his point that all women are depraved and couldn’t contain their sexual wanton feelings to themselves. In the course of proving his point, he groped Misaki on the crowded public train and let everyone else see her stepmother being covered in his semen (after he covered his own pant, of course). He also installed small hidden camera in the bath room so that he can take a peek of Misaki and her daughter, Shiina showering and using the toilet at a later time.
He repeatedly tried to bend Misaki’s will to match to his wants and punished her psychologically when she refused. For example, Misaki wanted them to feel like a real family and asked him to call her mom. He then slyly agreed to follow her request in exchange for a kiss on the lips. When she initially refused, he cajoled her into agreeing to his terms. This happens repeatedly throughout the game, even when she repeatedly says no, until her will is broken and she became his sex slave. This game cleverly avoided using physical violence to break the women characters; instead the player had to use psychological persuasions to get what he wants.
Never the less, this game still degrades women and their sexuality. Then, there are video games where the player downright raped women to break their wills. RapeLay is one of these games. In this game, the player initially attempt to grope a girl named Aoi, but was arrested when she reported it. His parents bribed his way out though, and he planned to take revenge against Aoi for busting him by raping her as well as her mother and sister. The girls will be groped until they are aroused against their will, and then they are raped. Once a girl’s will is broken, you can count on her to help you molest her relatives.
If she is pregnant, which happened when you choose to ejaculate inside her while having vaginal sex, you will have to force her to abort the baby if you want to live through the game. However, the girl will commit suicide after this by taking a poison pill. You are free to rape these women as long as the game doesn’t end. Though the sex themselves are non-consensual, there was never any violence nor torture while the player is raping the women. Usually, the women will give in after a while, and they even enjoyed the sex (supposedly).
As you can see, this does not bode well with women. Are we supposed to assume that a woman will enjoyed the sex while she is being raped by a stranger, even though she initially resists his intention? If this is taken as a fact, then the ‘psycho’ will took this as a legitimate reason to rape women against their will because according to the video games, the women may resists it at first but they will enjoy it after a while. This misperception is dangerous for women. If the men believed this, then women are prone to be subjected to physical and emotional abuse in their relationships.
A research by Apt and Hurlbert (1993) noted that women who experienced sexual abuse in their relationships expressed higher levels of sexual dissatisfaction and has negative attitudes toward sex. They also will have a tendency to avoid sex altogether compared to women who did not suffer any abuse whatsoever. This reality is a far cry from the games’ depiction that women enjoyed being raped. Even more disturbing is the possibility that women who experienced sexual violence may blame themselves for the experiences (Bennice et al. , 2003).
Furthermore, in one research, college students rated female characters in video games to be more sexually provocative than the male characters (Ogletree & Drake, 2007), which shows that these students have a negative perception towards women’s sexuality. Video games that feature women as a tough chick with guns have become popular during recent years. Lara Croft is one of them. This game features Lara Croft, the protagonist, who travels around the world in the mission of searching for rare and mystical artifacts. Lara is the ultimate sex symbol.
She’s sexy, she’s brainy, she’s athletic, and she kicks and kills people, literally (or at least, she does in the video game). She is a powerful woman who can fight to protect herself. This is what Toby Gard, the creator of Lara Croft, intends for Lara to be; she is sexy because she is powerful. However, other people attributed her status as a sex symbol mainly because of her physical appearance, or to be exact, her body. Play Station Magazine even listed big breast as one of her famous physical attributes. It also help that the game is in 3D mode, which makes Lara body appears realistic, even when it is not.
Lara’s body in reality is an image product of a man’s fantasy. When the game is adapted to real life film, Angelina Jolie, who played her had to wear padding on her breast to add the big breast effect to Lara’s character (Lara Croft has 36D cup size while Jolie’s is 36C). She also has to gain some weight to portray Lara’s curvaceous body. Angelina Jolie has stated that personally, she is comfortable with her own body and wouldn’t want breast as big as Lara’s. However, many players, especially men, appeared to be happy with Lara’s body.
They performed in-game actions to view closer camera angles of her breast, and some fans also created cheat code that would make Lara removed her clothing. Some fans also created artworks called the Nude Raider, which featured images of Lara in the nude. It has become a trend nowadays to produce movies that featured women as a tough chick who are involved in violent fights. Example of one is Kill Bill, produced by Quentin Tarantino. It tells the story of the Bride, a ninja assassin, who is on a mission to kill all of her former assassin colleagues who took part in the massacre on her wedding day.
She was shot in the head by Bill, her former boss and lover during her wedding day. The movie justify the Bride’s actions by acknowledging that she deserved her vengeance after being wronged by her boss and his entire assassin squad. The film was filled with action and violence all the way. The Bride went on a killing spree mission, assassinating the people on her kill list, and the sight was not pleasant. There are a lot of bloods splashed, gory images of limbs parting ways with the body. And funnily enough, almost all of the assassin squad is women. The only exception was Budd, Bill’s brother.
This film glorifies women as killing machines. They are the absolute femme fatale whose looks can kill (literally). The heroine herself is a powerful woman, which in turn make her hot. Women embrace this perception of female aggressive sexuality. I myself, on occasion, dreamed of being a lethal woman, who can fight her way out of trouble. It is appealing to think of myself that way, because to me a femme fatale is both hot and sexy. I think the reason we find an aggressive women sexy is because we can protect ourselves from threats, and the notion of being able to fight is opposite to the traditional view of women’s femininity.
Women has always been viewed as weak and relying on the strength of a man to protect them from harm, and the idea that we could defy that and be able to fight a man on our own are very appealing. The women are empowered by strength and the ability to handles weapons; it’s not hard to see why women are attracted to this view. Among other things, women are also affected by the ideal body portrayed in video games. In video games, the women character is busty and curvy while being thin at the same time. Of course, this is not realistically possible.
It has been confirmed that young women usually compare themselves with the models they see in advertisement (Richins, 1991). And they don’t like what they see in themselves. However, women are still obsessed with achieving what they saw as the perfect body and go on extensive diet to acquire it. In the course they neglect to take proper care of their body. And when they still couldn’t achieve it, they are depressed and ashamed because they think they are fat, and their self confidences plummet down the drain. Men who played video games also have unrealistic perceptions toward women’s body.
In video games, women characters are usually shown as having small breast, thin body and small hips. There has been several researches which show that there is a positive correlation between large breast and attractiveness (Furnham, Hester ,& Weir, 1990; Kelinke & Staneski, 1980). In one study, Amy Rask surveyed the male student on which type of women’s body they think are realistic. The majority of them choose the drawing that showed a skinny woman with a large breast. This means that the male players are affected by the video games because the games altered their perceptions on realistically well-proportioned women’s body.
In my Best Plan Paper, I used Utilitarian Theory to guide me in making decision that will affect people I never met. In this particular topic, I would take actions that will benefits everyone in the longer run. I think it would serve the society greater benefits if game makers start to portray the characters especially their physical appearance as realistically as possible. This way, the player will not be misinformed and have unrealistic expectations towards their own or other’s body. Violence against women should also be discouraged especially in video games and media. There should also be stricter rating system on violence.
This way parents can avoid bringing their kids to the film that contains extensive violence. The available rating system on violence is too loose. For example, Kill Bill, which is a very violent film depicting gory killing scene, is granted PG-13 when it should only be viewed by teenage aged 18 and above only. The society should also be educated in the effect of violence and abuse on women, and if the media need to portray the violence on screen, they should be as minimal as possible and served as a reminder to educate the people on the effect this abuse will have on society’s harmony in general.
Works Cited Rask, Amy. "Video Game Vixens: Shaping Men’s Perceptions of Beauty? " Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, TBA, San Francisco, CA, May 23, 2007 . http://www. allacademic. com/meta/p171095_index. html 5 March 2011 Rayhill, Ryan (August 2007). "Tomb Raider: Anniversary". PlayStation Magazine (Future Publishing) (126): 82. Miller, Prairie. Angelina Jolie on Filling Lara Croft’s Shoes and D-Size Cups. NY Rock. June 2001 Web. http://www. nyrock. com/interviews/2001/jolie_int. sp 5 March 2011 Rapelay. Giant Bomb. Web. http://www. giantbomb. com/rapelay/61-16696/ 5 March 2011 Geddes, Dan. Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003). The Satirist. 19 January 2004. Web. http://www. thesatirist. com/films/Killbill. html 5 March 2011 Offmann, Alia & Matherson, Kimberly. Healthy Place. The Sexual Self-Perceptions of Young Women Experiencing Abuse in Dating Relationships. 1 November 2004 Web. http://www. healthyplace. com/sex/abuse/the-sexual-self-perceptions-of-young-women-experiencing-abuse-in-dating-relationships/menu-id-66/ 5 March 2011
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