What’s Sex Got to do With….The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show

victoria-secret-fashion-show-2003

Every year, young girls and women from all over the country wait in anticipation all Fall for the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show to come around. This year it took place on Tuesday December 2nd and will air on television on December 9th. The infamous fashion show is filled with ridiculous outfits, crazy runway walks, concert performances, and stick thin models. Each model has a perfect body that is extremely skinny yet curvy, pretty hair, flawless skin—realistic right? This fashion show, while it may be fun to watch, also puts the wrong idea into the minds of young girls and women throughout the country.

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, Lexington Armory, New York, America - 07 Nov 2012

While the fashion show is extremely entertaining—not to mention that it is filled with beautiful women, it is extremely demoralizing to women. Not only is it demoralizing, but it also most definitely objectifies women and sexualizes them. It shows women all over the world, and especially young girls, that body image and appearance is all that is important for females. It does not matter if you are an intellectual—what matters is what you look like. The fashion show reinforces the widely speculated idea that men only care about the way a girl looks, but not about her personality, intelligence, or interests. Young girls already are constantly reminded of this everyday through billboards, magazines, television shows (etc…) and the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show comes around to prove that this point is true. We live in a world that currently sexualizes women ALL the time. There is a stigma in current day society that all a girl is good for are her looks. Women are constantly being sexually objectified in advertisements for clothing, perfume, or even for food. This sexualization of women in the media is a huge reason why young girls commonly develop body image issues, eating disorders, and distorted views of themselves. As a societal community we need to change this ideal and show women everywhere that looks are not all that matter—or the only thing that will get you places in life.

 

 

Advertisements

Project Safe and Power-Based Personal Violence

header-ps

Project Safe is a program on Vanderbilt University’s campus that provides help, support, and information for students, in regards to sexual assault. A few weeks ago, two of Projects Safe’s leading staff members: Cara Tuttle Bell and Wanda Swan came into class to further explain to us what they do at Project Safe, how they do it, and why they do it. Cara is the Director of Programs for Project Safe and Wanda is a Prevention Educator and Victim Specialist. The whole point of this program is to further spread information about power based personal violence (which includes sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking) to the Vanderbilt community and act as a safe space for students (who are experiencing any of these things or know someone experiencing them) to go to. Project Safe also supplies information about what defines consent, healthy relationships, and how to maintain a healthy sexuality—to Vanderbilt students. Project Safe works specifically with people who have been affected by some sort of power based personal violence and helps them through their experience by reaching out to other Vanderbilt resources. These resources include the Psychological and Counseling Center, Student Health, the Equal Employment, Affirmative Action and Disability Services Department, and the Vanderbilt University Police Department. Cara and Wanda work with these victims of power based personal violence and outside recourses to come together and create a safer place for students to feel comfortable in and more protected.

52d6cff4511e7.image

In their class presentation, Cara and Wanda explained how they have recently written a twenty-three paged paper defining what sexual assault really is. The document is called the 2014-2015 Vanderbilt University Sexual Misconduct and Power-Based Personal Violence Policy. It outlines Vanderbilt University’s “principles of equal opportunity” and it “seeks to establish and maintain a safe and healthy environment for all members of the University community.” It provides information on steps that students should take for prevention, education, and training—all in relation to power based personal violence. The lengthy paper works to provide an elaborate definition of what power based sexual assault is and all of the aspects that go along with it. The document touches upon where to seek immediate assistance and ongoing assistance, all the different types of offenses (within power based personal violence), how to report an incident, how investigations (of sexual assault) work, and additional information for students, faculty members, and staff members.

While this document specifically touches upon multiple different aspects of sexual assault and is very descriptive—realistically… not many people are going to read it (especially students). I see this as a pretty big problem. Young people, specifically students, need an accessible definiteion of power based personal violence in order to fully understand what it is. While working on my final project, it became clear to me that very few students on Vanderbilt’s campus are actually aware of and could explain what power-based personal violence is—and what it involves (after reading survey responses and listening to interviews from students). Most students were either unaware of the rape culture Vanderbilt has, could not definite what rape culture or sexual assault is, they had no idea what any of the bystander programs are or do, and just in general—knew very little about the topic overall. Students have an unclear definition of sexual assault and many just do not even know what it is or what qualifies as sexual assault. Obviously somebody needs to inform Vanderbilt’s student body of the issues our campus is facing and about the issues themselves. Students need to be knowledgeable about sexual assault, power-based personal violence, and the resources available to them (such as Green Dot and other bystander programs). If we can somehow reach the younger generation in an accessible way (unlike a twenty three page long document) there could potentially be a lot of positive outcomes. If students actually understood what power based personal violence is and how to protect themselves and combat the issue, Vanderbilt’s community could grow to be a much safer place. Once students become truly education on the topic of sexual assault, only then can we see improvements in community life and perhaps a decrease in sexual assault on campus. It is very important students gain awareness on the matter in order to be able to keep themselves and their peers protected. Along with this, all victims of any form of power based personal violence should feel safe enough to come out and tell people what happened. No student should ever feel ashamed or embarrassed. Victims should be informed enough about power based personal violence and all of the bystander programs available around campus. That way, if a student is affected by sexual assault they know about the resources they can go to for any type of help they may need. Overall, Vanderbilt University needs to work towards finding a way to easily, but affectively, inform students on Vanderbilt’s campus in order to generate a safer and all around better campus environment. There may not be an easy solution, but it will be worthwhile (and save young people) in the end.

 

Do you think project safe does a good job of living out its mission statement? How do you think it could be more affective in helping Vanderbilt students? Do you think the Vanderbilt Community is aware of and uses Project Safe as a resource for those who have experienced sexual assault? How do you think we can help Vanderbilt students to better understand the definition of sexual assault and what it really entails?

 

 

 

What’s Sex got to do with….The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show?

It’s that time of year again! While most people and families are celebrating all the gifts that we are fortunate to have in our life, gathering around beautifully garnished tables or decorating Christmas trees, much of our nation will be tuning in to watch scantily clad woman on the catwalk. Yep, that’s right! It’s almost time for Victoria’s Secret Annual Fashion Show.

Continue reading

Double Standards- Reflection

The most influential concept to understanding the relationship between sex and society is the double standards. We make sexual decisions both male and female based off out morals. And theses morals are made though what society’s standards called double standards. There are things that males can do that females can’t do and there are things that females can do that males can’t do. There are more things that females can’t do compared to the things that males can’t do. Males can do just about anything they want. Their sexual activity is encouraged and they are ask to be as sexual as they can. On the other hand, females are asked to stay in a box and not be very sexual because they will be labeled as a “slut” or “hoe”. I find this unfair because females are being monitored by people they could really care less about but because it’s a judgment made by society, it’s a hard line to cross or their reputations will be bad. Do you agree? If so, do you think it is important for a girl to just keep her sex life on the down low?

You think girls aren’t really required not to have sex but to keep their sex life a secret? Will that change things? At the end of the day, it would be wrong for her to say she is a virgin. Or is it? Her lying about her sex life to keep a good reputation shouldn’t hurt anyone right?

If a girls has sex with 12 guys and a guys has sex with 12 girls and these two meet, but she tells him that she is virgin, will that be immoral? I find it fair considering that she has to choose between having no sex life to having one but hiding it.

Sex and society lives off the double standard. People make decisions when it comes to sex based off the double standards. Me being a Christina, I feel as though I’m in a constant compete with the double standard. Am I waiting till marriage or am I not trying to break the double standard code? Race, religion, and culture all help to make up someone’s morals when it comes to sex. Society just seems to push against those morals slightly because at the end of the day, we all (most) want sex. No matter who you are, we all (most) want sex in some shape, size, or form. We all want to be pleased and appreciated. “We all want love.”

Is there a way of breaking the double standard? If not, why do we creep around it? No one wants to be judged but we all want to be happy and make our own decisions so we can have our own identities. Sex and society live off the double standard whether we see it or not.

 

What’s Sex Got To Do With… Video Games?

For years, video games, particularly fantasy games, have been a “boy’s club” of sorts that operates in an environment where many women feel unwelcome to join. If any women at all exists as characters in these games, they are either presented as a “damsel in distress” that needs rescuing, or as a hyper sexualized commodity, or both. While male characters in these games get to wear full sets of body armor, warm underclothes, and well, clothing that seems relatively plausible in the context of the game, female characters are too often portrayed as having an incredibly small waist, disproportionate breasts, and, as Stephen Colbert puts it “armor that barely covers their nipples.” Needless to say, women who would otherwise play these games are feeling shut out and some are starting to raise their voices against this obvious sexism.

Enter Anita Sarkeesian.

Lauded as a hero to many female gamers who so often feel silenced in the male dominated sphere of internet gaming, Sarkeesian, founder of “Feminist Frequency” has received a never ending stream of rape and death threats since starting her crusade. If you are feeling brave, take a look at some of the posts on reddit.com defending the “rights” of some men to blatantly sexualize women in some gaming universes. Sarkeesian’s actions and the backlash that has been created from it is clearly a manifestation of rape culture. Internet users, who are often protected by anonymity, degrade and threaten assault to women who are pointing out the sheer grossness of their social sphere. There is a currently trending quote that has been circulating online recently that I think can be applied to what is happening in the video game world.

“Woman speaks out against misogynistic abuse and is met with misogynistic abuse from men who believe misogynistic abuse doesn’t exist ant that she should stop making them look bad.”