As we move out of the early years, through the middle years, into the teen and young adult years, I wonder how the objectification I wrote about years ago will impact my children. As they move from hearing stereotypes like “Mixed kids/babies are SOOO cute!” (I’m sorry, but they’re not all cute) to “Mixed guys/girls are so HOT” (or exotic or striking), I wonder how to prepare them for the harsh reality of interracial dating, which will be much different for them than it was for me. I think it’s obvious in “Post Racial America” how deeply stereotypes are imbedded in our subconscious; when you couple that with a pop culture that objectifies women in general, particularly women of color, and romanticizes abusive relationships (from cliques to intimate partner abuse to domestic violence), I find myself worrying more about teen dating violence than teen pregnancy.
As our children grow older, and going beyond the social interactions of elementary school, what do relationships look like from junior high through adulthood, if our children don’t feel comfortable setting boundaries?
Thinking specifically about my children’s African ancestry, I’m reminded of an article I read titled Trying to Break A ‘Culture of Silence’ on Rape: Group Part of Movement Tailoring Recovery Efforts to Minority Women where psychologist Carolyn West explains,
Going back to Does Anybody Else Look Like Me?, author Donna Nakazawa writes,
Biracial girls are often considered beautiful objects of curiosity because of their exotic looks, this attention does not necessarily translate into dating partners.
I have been meaning to ask a dear friend to crosspost as a guest blogger for some time, and the only good thing about the Reebok ads is, they provided a golden opportunity I couldn’t pass up. So, uh… thanks Reebok. Sorta.
I have always preferred Nike running shoes and athletic gear, but I have owned a few things from Reebok in the past, such as swimsuits and a few outfits and pieces of clothing. Not anymore!
As of yesterday, Reebok will no longer be getting any of my family’s hard earned dollars. Here’s why:
and the worse one yet:
I am so disgusted, I can barely string a coherent sentence together. Why (someone PLEASE tell me why), a commercial for athletic shoes needs to be sexualized like that?
Why is it OK for Reebok to tell my daughters that the “real” reason for exercising is so a man can appreciate their assets?
Why is it OK for my son to absorb the message that he should ogle women and only value them for physical appearance?
I have no problem with a shoe that helps tone the butt and thighs. That’s a good thing, really, and with a smart marketing campaign I might have been interested in these shoes.
I am definitely not interested in contributing to the misogynistic view that women are nothing more than bodies to be objectified, and that the only reason to be fit is to be sexually appealing to a man. What about good health? What about strength? What about endurance, self-esteem, and pride?
So, Reebok, you have decidedly FAILED in my estimation. I am sure there are many men who appreciate these “commercials” you have created. I’d be willing to bet there are plenty of women who see “nothing wrong” with wanting to look sexy so men will notice them.
I want to look attractive for my husband, too, but for more than my body! I hope he is attracted to my intelligence, my humor, my personality…as well as my physical appearance.
The real problem with these ads is that they feed into an already warped sense of value in America. Media images such as these lodge themselves in the minds of young children (and adults), and continue to perpetuate the dysfunctional idea of women as mere sexual objects. Girls begin to believe the message and their self-esteem becomes wrapped up in how sexually appealing they can be. Boys continue to embrace the message because it lets them off the hook in regard to their behavior and having to respect women as equals.
These might seem like “just commercials” to many viewers. But what does it say to us, as a society, if it can be so blatant, and yet we sit around asking, “What’s the big deal?”
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” Matthew 6:22-23
Many thanks to Cyndi for alerting me to these “ads.”
I thought the commercial I saw the other night was bad enough… but this one is even worse. Get your barf bags, peeps… it’s another totally offensive Reebok Easytone commercial.
I’m not one who normally cares about a particular brand… but I can tell you that I will NEVER spend a dime on a pair of Reebok’s.
And I have three kids who play in club sports. That adds up.
Reebok, I don’t normally get this crude on my blog but…
This broke my heart… how many Sara’s will we lose to the sexualization and objectification of women?
In response to the constant objectification of women, the recent gang rape of a 15 year old girl in Richmond, CA, the unjust incarceration of Sara Kruzan and even the highly publicized violence faced by Rihanna, conscientious rapper and activist Jasiri X has put out a track that discusses the injustice and inhumanity of these crimes.
you can find the lyrics at Beware Young Girl. – Feministing.