Week 5 Day 2 Discussion Question 4

According to Anderson, how are women hypersexualized in post-feminism?  Can you give an example?  How is the hypersexualization of women in post-feminism raced and/or classed?  (See Anderson, p. 18.)

5 thoughts on “Week 5 Day 2 Discussion Question 4

  • March 14, 2022 at 2:18 pm
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    According to Anderson, women are being hypersexualized through “choice” and consumerism/marketplace. The word “choice” has been transformed to mean or used for sexual self-objectificiation, in other words, it’s become a choice to sexualize oneself. Likewise, the hypersexualized marketplace has reinforced hot young women behavior and punished women perceived as an uptight feminist through selling t-shirts that say “unbelievable knockers” or sweat pants with the word “juicy” on the butt according to Anderson.

    Anderson further states that the hypersexualization of women in post-feminsim has become raced as well as classed. She hightens her argument through discussing “Pimp and Ho” parties, where it seems white men and women perform the Pimp and Ho roles. She states that these parties play-act race along with gender and seuxality, and they culturally cast working class (black) women as whores. Anderson further explains her argument by explaining the historical conceptions of they hypersexualized black women (i.e. slaves can’t be raped as African American women are inhearly sexual and immoral) and its current-day implications.

  • March 13, 2022 at 9:11 pm
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    In probing the hypersexualization of women in post-feminist culture, Anderson challenges the belief that because women have made such strides toward achieving gender equality, they should now be free to choose to be sexualized if they want to be. Anderson argues persuasively that although this rise of hypersexualization is framed as a choice, it has actually resulted in a culture in which women are more the object of someone else’s power rather than the subject of their own sexuality. In this post-feminist world, aspiring to be “sexual” has been swapped for being “sexy”; women are focused less on their own sexual empowerment or prioritization of their own sexual desires and more on looking sexy according to society’s standards. In the post-feminist world, therefore, women are ironically pressured to participate in their own objectification. One example that Anderson offers of the prevalence of hypersexualization is the increased popularity in pole dancing exercise classes (which are often frequented by suburban housewives). Such classes are marketed as sexually empowering, and yet the pole-dancing — which is invariably done in “sexy” clothing such as heels — is less about sexual liberation and more about looking sexy for the benefit of others. As a final matter, Anderson points out that the hypersexualization of women in post-feminism is definitely both raced and classed. An example of this can be seen in the glorification of “pimp” and “ho” costumes and personas, which is fundamentally exploitive and yet is often viewed through a playful lens. The popularity of the “pimp” and “ho” dynamic, which is an outgrowth of the mainstreaming of the sex industry, not only ignores all the racial baggage attached to those terms, but raises serious issues of classism. For example, a White, economically-privileged woman who is play-acting the role of a “ho” is likely to be viewed in a completely different light from a Black, working-class woman dressed in the same way.

  • March 13, 2022 at 8:30 pm
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    Anderson makes the argument that in post-feminism, women are hypersexualized in media and society under a false guise that their own hypersexualization is a form of individual empowerment. She argues that the earlier feminist movements work towards focusing on a woman’s right to control her own body and sexuality, has morphed in post-feminism into a societal acceptance and presence of sexual liberation and sexual self-objectification as a means of presenting women’s liberation. Because women can and do make the choices to display their bodies, their objectification and sexualization has become commonplace practice by men, corporations, media, etc. Women are made out to be this new standard of sexualized femininity.
    Anderson specifically talks about “confusing sexual objectification with empowerment” in the setting of women’s sports. Anderson emphasizes the differences between the focus of mens and women’s sports. Male sports are focused on a display of power, athleticism, strength, and masculine. Whereas women’s sports are used in media especially to highlight the femininity and adherence to traditional gender roles of female athletes. For me, what comes to mind in reference to this discrepancy is uniforms. I grew up playing lacrosse and field hockey and as a child could not understand why the uniforms of both of these sports were skirts when shorts were obviously easier to move, run, and play in. Why when shorts were the clearly athletic choice and what was portrayed in media as the uniform for truly athletic figures, were we being forced to wear short skirts that flew up at any physical contact or fall? These uniforms are an example of what Anderson emphasizes as the goal of enforcing traditional female roles and femininity, even in sports. The uniform skirts are an important differentiator between female and male athletes and show the traditional difference between their roles in society and sports.
    This example also shows the raced and classed aspects of the hypersexualization of women athletes specifically. Anderson claims that “the process of feminizing” female athletes occurs “for white women athletes more readily than black women” resulting from historically different definitions of femininity of white and black women, with black women being seen as more conventionally un-feminine and more masculine. The sports I gave as examples with skirt uniforms are not traditionally or today very diverse sports. With the majority of those with access to lacrosse and field hockey being upper or middle white class girls. So, the femeninization of those sports portrays the focus on the hypersexualization of white and upper class women who Anderson explains fit into the mold of “conventional (white) femininity”.

  • March 13, 2022 at 2:54 pm
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    Women are hyper-sexualized in post-feminism, as post-feminism enforces the idea where “women’s sexual freedom manifests in porn culture and the hyper-sexualization of women and girls”. Post-feminism sent out the message that women can now choose and give permission to be objectified. There was this sense of so-called empowerment that women could retain once they objectify themselves. Post-feminism enforced that to achieve this sense of empowerment, women must look feminine and look like “porn stars”. An example of this hypersexualization upon women in post-feminism is the depiction of female athletes. Post-feminism encourages women in sports to look feminine, succumbing to old gender norms. There is a sense of masculinity tied to sports, however, the media portrays women athletes through the lens of femininity. And so, “women’s athleticism is rendered unthreatening and feminine whereas men’s athleticism is the real deal — masculine and strong”. I am a female athlete myself, as there is this notion that women can not be “too muscular”. There is this goal of demasculinization in sports for women, as some female professional athletes wear makeup and present themselves in a feminine way. And yet, male athletes strive to achieve a muscular and robust physique. This depicts the gender divide and its impact upon sports, and inevitably in society. Additionally, such hyper-sexualization of women in post-feminism is raced. For instance, using the example of sports, the goal of becoming feminine in sports usually pertains more to white female athletes, more than black female athletes. “African American women have been historically denied access to full-time homemaking and deprived of sexual protection, black womanhood has not been tied in the same way as white womanhood to activities and attributes defined as distinctive and different from masculine attributes… African American women historically have been located outside dominated conventional white femininity” (17). Therefore, black female athletes tend to be accepted more as a “conventionally” (pertaining to masculine) athlete. This is sadly due to the fact that a black woman’s masculinity does not go against “traditional” aspects of femininity as much as a white women’s masculinity would.

  • March 12, 2022 at 3:40 pm
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    Anderson argues that women have become hypersexualized in recent decades, most prominently in media (magazines and ads). She believes that people who support this hypersexualization believe that engaging in provocative ads allows their bodily autonomy. As a result of feminism, women are now allowed to display their bodies and be sexualized – by choice. Women now believe they can regain control over their bodies for their own personal pleasure rather than pleasing a man. However, Anderson does not buy into this idea because objectified and sexualized women are being taken advantage of to gain a man’s attention. Large corporations commonly do this, ranging from luxury brands, cars, alcoholic drinks. Growing up, I always saw women in bikinis be featured on magazine covers or ads that targeted men to purchase beer or a new sports car. All of these examples usually portrayed white women who embodied a higher-class attitude. Initially, the hypersexualization of women in post-feminism was done amongst African American working-class women. Even now, we see younger African American girls be hypersexualized compared to their white peers of the same age. Thus, there are two different types of the sexualization of women being used, one to put down an entire race and label them as “exotic” and another directed towards a male consumer.

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