The sexual commoditization of women in the US is a sickening disease that destroys us all. If there's any hope for positive change, it's something we need to start seeing.
A thought experiment goes like this:
Imagine a world, in which everyone was covered in blisters and boils. Every single human being, across the whole Earth, without exception, has a disease that causes these blemishes all over their skin. Everyone has this disease. What would you think? What would you see? What would you believe? The truth is, you would think it’s normal. You would be so thoroughly accustomed to it that you wouldn’t even see it. To you, the blisters and boils would be, effectively, invisible. If a human who had clear skin came, you would think them funny-looking. Even after being told blisters and boils aren’t normal, you wouldn’t accept it. You wouldn’t believe it. To you, people with clear skin are just not normal.
If you’ve seen this video, you can glimpse the way this works. It appears as though in Algeria, a Muslim-majority country, a man beats his wife, and that’s just normal; he’s not a real man if he doesn’t.
But flip this around. What many Americans fail to see is that for all our judgment rendered against Muslim-majority countries over their brutal suppression of women, those same people don’t see America – and by extension all of “Western” culture – as having any kind of moral high ground when it comes to women’s basic human rights.
There’s a reason for that.
In American culture, a woman has no value if she’s not sexually attractive. If she is sexually attractive, she has value. That’s all there is to it. Factors like intelligence, integrity, honesty, talent, skill, or basically anything else, are moot in that equation. She’s good if, and only if, she’s hot. This is a subtle, ubiquitous, psychological oppression of the lowest form, and it’s reinforced in every TV show, movie, music video, Instagram feed, or on the magazine rack at the grocery store when you’re about to check out. It’s present in the Disney “Classics,” like Snow White whose virtue was how fair she was, or Beauty and the Beast, and it manifests both in the way young girls dress and act, and in the way boys view girls, and in the way boys treat girls.
Just ask yourself: is the reason you clicked on this article because of the pretty girl?
On the surface, it may appear as though it’s changing. In the past, a woman had to be skinny, whereas now, we have “plus-sized,” and “thick” is no longer a bad thing. But is it really? The standard for beauty may change from one thing to another, but the problem isn’t the standard for beauty; it’s that she has to be hot in the first place.
This disease is not innocuous. It’s had a devatsating impact on our culture, on our society, on our country, and it’s been like that for decades. We’ve seen some of the most grossly unhealthy industries pop up and grow into industrial powerhouses, and we’ve seen the incredibly ugly impact it’s had on our young girls as they try to grow up. Beyond that, it has destroyed the way men view women, the way men treat women, and I believe, has played a major role in the perpetuation of some of the most nefarious acts we see.
Muslim women, by contrast, wear a hijab, a covering. Contrary to what most Americans believe, the Qur’an doesn’t give much in the way of specifics, beyond instructing women (and men) to dress modestly – basically ‘don’t try to get that kind of attention.’ For them, the hijab is a liberation from the sexual objectification so pervasive in Western culture.
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For us, it’s oppression – it’s just not normal.