Social Expectations of Women Cause Harm

Ryley Douglass, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Girls are told that their shoulders are distracting, that the mere presence of their bodies is the object of sexualization. Girls are told from a young age that they need to cover up their bodies just to make sure boys aren’t distracted. But in turn, it has become a trend for boys to wear t-shirts with graphics of women in bikinis on them. The double standard really reveals how common and accepted the objectification of women has become over the years. 

Playboy, for example, has remained popular ever since its first publication in 1953 by its founder Hugh Hefner. On the cover was a highly sexualized photo of Marilyn Monroe. The brand benefited from the dehumanization of women’s bodies and then passing judgment upon them based on their figure. 

The Playboy Club closed after years of sexualization and shackling women to the idea that they will only go as far as their chest size. Or that they could only be as successful as their waist is small. However, Playboy’s impact on society is still a lasting one in the U.S. today. 

Even to this day, women are pressured to have the perfect body, which was a blueprint made by men like Hugh Hefner. Sometimes it still seems as though a woman’s worth in society is determined by their ability to fit the image that men chose for them. It seems as though worth is determined by one’s proportion to the perfect blueprint. 

If a woman wasn’t skinny enough, she’d be called fat. If she was too skinny, people would joke to her about eating habits.

In addition to the standards that women had to meet physically back in the 1950s, they were expected to meet a certain amount of requirements in a home or in a community.

According to “A good wife’s guide” from Housekeeping Monthly (an American magazine published in the 1950s), a wife should “take 15 minutes” to prepare herself to look nice when her husband comes home from work. Additionally, written in the last “rule” of being a good wife is, “a good wife always knows her place.” 

I am not shaming housewives, because I believe that managing a household and raising kids is a full-time job. However, this expectation of women to be housewives still reverberates in society today. Often I’ve heard boys call girls “dishwashers” and tell them to “go back to the kitchen” during school. These are stereotypes that are harmful to women. Even though women are encouraged to go to college and follow career paths these days, they are often marginalized in most fields, especially S.T.E.M. fields. With the constant pull of two sides, one pulling women to be housewives and the other pushing them to go to college, the box that society has created feels all the more oppressive to women. 

Society not only demands that women look perfect, but it demands that women must act a certain way. If they are too outspoken, they are told that they are bossy, but if women are not outgoing enough, they are considered antisocial and hostile. If they are too welcoming, they’re fake. These unspoken social laws paired with the normalization of objectifying women to appeal to the male gaze must come to an end. 

To reiterate the impact that the Playboy Club has on the world today, the Playboy logo is quite a popular one on clothing. People have started to wear the logo that supports the objectification of women. Specifically the store, Pacsun has a deal with Playboy. Pacsun also has a deal with Brandy Melville, a one-size-fits-all brand, which is reportedly misogynistic and size-ist. 

The Playboy logo is everywhere, in storefronts, on t-shirts– everywhere. 

As a woman, I am sick of my body being objectified and I am sick of people who claim to be allies in this fight against misogyny supporting the people who sexualize women without hesitation.

Things need to change and that needs to start with bringing light to ignorance.