Harm men face from viewing women as legs
Do you know how your actions affect me and you? Will I ever be viewed as more than parts but someone who has a brain and a heart? These questions may seem puzzling since their root is invisible to society. Privilege. This term is what established advantages and rights for members of a class or sex and made those who did not belong disadvantaged. The readers of Forbes magazine exhibit a privilege that separates them from society based on class, gender and economic status. Based upon a fall 2013 demographic analysis of the magazine, 73% of the readership identified as male. In addition, the readers ranked into a high income bracket of $100,000 or greater. Thus, the audience is predominately male, businessmen, in the upper class. Now, what privileges do they have that the middle and low classes don’t have access to? Compared to the lower class, their access to higher education provided them with a greater knowledge of business. Due to earning an advanced degree, their income bracket is significantly higher than those who do not earn a degree. According to a Pew Research Center analysis, “college graduates ages 25 to 32 who are working full time earn more annually – about $17,500 more – than employed young adults holding only a high school diploma,” (Pew Research Social & Demographic Trends 2014). Hence, a majority, if not all, of these readers have more privilege in society to live more luxuriously than members below them whose paychecks are much lower. But privilege is typically ignored throughout society because those who have privilege did not ask for it or earn it any more than anyone else. So how does the advertisement in the summer 2014 Forbes magazine demonstrate this idea of privilege. Well, at first glance the ad seems to be selling the idea of summer clothing that “can make a splash”. The first page of the ad contains a baby blue background to set a mood that is tranquil. All the members of the ad are looking toward the viewer as a means to draw them into the page. With further analysis, one may notice the hidden message on page two.
This page is set against a pink, orange and red background. These colors can evoke feelings of lust and hot weather. The woman, who was present on page one, has become legs and the men are looking toward the legs with amusement. This shift in orientation, from looking at the reader to looking at legs, shows the privilege men in society have to look at parts of a woman with lust. This privilege is apparent in the punch line: “Sometimes a swimsuit can make a splash… [flip the page] … especially when it comes off.” Clearly, this advertisement appeals to men by degrading a woman to legs or a torso but, women and men are negatively impacted. Women are denied equal voice in public dialogue due to power of the privileged, hegemonic group. Still, men receive a false sense of power over women which can lead to a stereotyped image of a woman. Men come to see each woman for her body’s worth instead of how she contributes to the workplace and thus perpetuates the hegemonic idea that a woman’s worth is to serve the man and her family. But, this attraction violates a widespread religious belief. In Matthew 5:28, it states “but I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart,” (Holy Bible). The privilege men have established to objectify women is so common in the media that it is difficult to separate the media’s fantasy from real life encounters. Men have to differentiate these two realms before succumbing to adultery for once one man has committed it, the media’s depiction is seen as just.