Op-ed: Instagram and Female Sexuality

Courtesy of JuperMedia

By Daniela Sol, Class of 2018

The objectification of women has taken a new detour as the multiple realms of social media lend themselves to women being perceived as objects of desire. I had a very intriguing conversation with a group of girlfriends about the topic, since it’s been drilled into my mind what I consider obtrusive or helpful to what feminists all over are trying to fight. The male gaze, which originally was a term used to describe women how were seen and presented in the arts by artists (predominantly men), has taken a new form as it’s emerged in social media platforms like Instagram.

I started questioning why I felt annoyed that people, for a general example, Kim Kardashian, would post pictures of their semi-nude bodies and claim themselves to be feminists. For me, my priority as a woman is to be taken seriously because of who I am, not how I look. I’ve worked for my gratification to be based solely on who I am intellectually, spiritually, artistically, etc. And I question whether these women, who claim these certain expressions of their “sexiness”, are helping or weakening my argument?  

As I heard the opinion of various women on the topic, I felt that my whole ideology was shattered. As a woman, shouldn’t I support women who love their body and feel free to show it? Yet I knew that my starting thought made sense too. In the conversation, the idea of a “difference” existing, a “line” being crossed, came up a lot. But what is that line? Some claimed that you can tell when a woman is expressing her sexuality compared to when they’re using it for something else (likes, promotions, sales, male approval, etc.).

It’s important to understand the fact that the male gaze is very much present in social media. And it’s important to understand how a post should not be done to please it. Instagram can easily become dominated by the male gaze and it is up to women to change that. As women, we should understand the significant importance our bodies have and uphold. These posts won’t shatter the ideologies feminists all over are trying to fight: objectification & equality.

Then again, as women we fight for our rights, for our lives not to be controlled, and to basically do whatever the f*** we want. When done for others, to please others, or to get an Instagram like, it debunks the whole argument. In the end, don’t we want our worth to be quantified by the substance of our talent, ability, creativity, or whatever other form of expression presents itself on social medias like Instagram, not our body?

I love seeing confident women owning their bodies and celebrating their womanhood when it is precisely done for that: the expression of their own individualism. Before we prance around saying “You go girl!” it’s important to understand the significance behind what we’re chanting for and to completely understand it. It is then that we are fighting the objectification of women. If not, it’s just further lending the female figure to be objectified.

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