Instagram has become a very popular social networking site and I’m sure you are all aware! However what has become more apparent to me whilst using my personal account, is the number of images I come across that seem to show women and girls being objectified or self-objectifying themselves. It’s all over Instagram now, women and even young teenage girls are being sexualised or taking very revealing images, wearing next to nothing and showing themselves off in a sexual way themselves! But why is this? What are the effects of this? And where is the line between objectification and liberation?
I would like to think that girls posting such provocative images is simply an expression of freedom and liberation, in 2015 women should not be conforming to stereotypes set by men, however this isn’t exactly true. In the digital age that we are in, social media sites like Instagram provide a platform for women to present their views and this could then be the reason behind women posting revealing photos, as a way of expressing themselves and showing that they are happy in their bodies? In some cases I do believe that this is the case, what’s wrong with girls choosing to expose themselves and present themselves in a sexy and feminine way in a bid to show people that they can do whatever they want!? Girls are simply showing liberation through presenting themselves in these ways…or are they?
Some feminist theories suggest that this type of self-objectification is due to women simply conforming and subconsciously giving into the theory of the ‘male gaze’. This is the idea that pictures and films in the media are taken through the eyes of males, leaving women objectified. Unfortunately, I believe most of these revealing images we women posting are because they have in fact absorbed the male gaze and are therefore putting themselves into a very stereotypical box where they are objectifying and sexualising themselves in order to fit in.
Unfortunately the issue of self-objectification is a growing concern for young women and this is not being helped by men using Instagram as another platform to sexualise women, just like lads mags. Take this account for example, I came across the ‘DANBILZERIAN’ account after a few of the guys that I followed had liked a few of his images, shocked, I took a closer look as the account. It’s a public account so anyone can see the images posted onto it. Looking through the posts its clear that the girls in these posts are being completely objectified and presented simply as sexual objects, the women are never fully dressed and are always presented in a way that they look like they are this mans ‘sexual slaves’. Undoubtedly all the girls on his profile are beautiful with amazing figures that would make any girl jealous, however what I am certainly not jealous of is the way that these girls are presented as property to this man. It is accounts like this, where women are being so blatantly sexually objectified that causes women to conform to this male gaze approach when posting photos and girls probably think that they have to post revealing photos in order to get attention on Instagram and for people to think they are beautiful. This should not be the case! This needs to change, men should not be objectifying women in this way any more, and women should be presented as equal to men. Young girls seeing these images are so easily influenced, its no wonder girls are self-objectifying themselves. Self expression and liberation is fantastic but make sure before you post your next ‘selfie’ that you are doing it for the right reasons, don’t be sucked into the male gaze!
In our culture, we are obsessed with female appearance and the effects of girls and women being exposed to images presenting women as sexual objects causes these young girls to self-objectify and look at themselves through other peoples point of views, unconsciously absorbing the idea of the male gaze, looking and judging themselves through a male’s perspective. Instead of doing it for themselves girls are now spending time and money trying to constantly look a certain way, because of the pressure of the male gaze. We need to break this cycle and it starts with you, don’t subject yourself to conforming to this way of thinking, do things for yourself, and don’t look at yourself though others eyes. Women are more than just bodies, so prove it!