Sexual, Addiction, and the Missing Peace Podcast: Sexualization and the Media


In this episode of Sex, Addiction, and the Missing Peace, host Ken Donaldson shares research about sexualization and the media. He references one primary piece of research, entitled “Media and Sexualization: State of Empirical Research, 1995-2015. This comes from The Journal of Sex Research in which was published in 2016.

The primary purpose of this subject matter is to give some background and history as to why we’ve had such increasingly high rates of sexual addiction over the last several decades.

Ken references, in great detail, some of the findings of this research. This includes identifying what sexual objectification really means (i.e. treating women as objects instead of people) and the negative sociocultural impact sexualization has.

There is a clear distinction between sexualization and sex or sexuality, in that sexualization is a form of sexism.

The research shows some specific numbers and percentages of the amount of advertising, for example, that uses sexualization. Specifically, 22% of TV commercials that featured women in them had clearly identified sexualization of the women.

Furthermore, about 52% of magazine ads featured women as sexual objects (a.k.a. sexualization). Plus, even though most video games do not feature women, when women are featured they are more highly likely to have sexually objectifying features.

The impact on young men who view sexually objectifying images is that they have more discomfort with their own bodies.

They also have lower “body esteem.”

One of the conclusions included that when young men see sexually objectifying images of women, their brains put women more into a process that’s typically for objects, and not for humans, and thereby are more likely to treat women as objects instead of humans.

Additionally, this sexual objectification exposure tends to influence men to put more blame on rape victims. Plus, it cuts down on their normal empathy responses. Plus, it tends to lead to more gender harassment and a higher likelihood of engaging in sexist behaviors.

In closing, the study also researched pornography, as it is very much in mainstream media today. Specifically, how pornography correlates with young men’s exposure to men’s magazines and reality TV. The findings and found that this combination predicted a higher likelihood of acceptance of violence against women.

All in all, it’s not a real pretty picture. But as Ken states, it’s up to each one of us to use our voice to make change.

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