The bodies of famous women are far too policed. From women like Janet Jackson to Chloe Bailey, we’ve seen how the objectification of women can plague their careers. Women, including celebrities, are in charge of their own bodies. They don’t need the criticism nor the sexualization from others.
The history of objectification of female celebrities’ bodies is long and dreadful. Celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe were oversexualized right at the jump of their career. Monroe was seen as a sex symbol and the epitome of beauty. However, because of this, she had her body were constantly policed and watched by the public. Sadly, this type of objectification continues today.
Even in the early 2000s, the public witnessed Janet Jackson have a wardrobe malfunction in which her nipple was visible at the Super Bowl. This simple wardrobe malfunction completely tarnished her career — even though it was not her fault at all, it was Justin Timberlake’s. She was objectified on national TV, then blamed for it for the rest of her career. She wasn’t allowed to govern her own body due the fact that Timberlake and the male gaze felt as if they had control over it.
University of King’s College student, Jessica MacIsaac, wrote in “Nipplegate and the Effects of Implicit and Explicit Sexuality in Pop Music Performance” that “Black women’s images are often produced and controlled by corporate entities that seek to commodify Black women’s bodies.”
This very statement could apply to almost every woman in the public eye. The way that media can sell this idea of hyper-sexual women yet simultaneously shame these same women for being sexual (whether it was on purpose or not) is infuriating to me. Women can’t even be accidentally sexualized without all of the blame being put on them rather than the public that chose to sexualize them.
The most recent situation of the public policing female celebrities’ bodies is with ChloeXHalle’s Chloe Bailey. Chloe Bailey is known for her beautiful vocals as well as her curvaceous body. At the beginning of her career, she chose to dress more modestly. This led to the public pressuring her to loosen up when it came to her wardrobe. But even in her modest clothes, she was still over-sexualized. This went on for a few months until Bailey herself felt comfortable showing more skin on her own. She ended up posting a viral dance called the “Buss It Challenge” in which she switches from wearing home clothes to dropping it low and bouncing in a cute outfit.
This video was met with both positive and negative responses. The negative responses, however, were centered around how Bailey supposedly has “no respect for herself” and was promiscuous. It was surprising to see the public go from begging her to show some skin to shaming her the second she felt comfortable doing so. Bailey was met with severe bullying online from both men and women who were policing her body.
This bullying led to Bailey going on Instagram Live and essentially breaking down over the stress from the bullying. She felt as if her body was over objectified and she couldn’t have some fun without being met with criticism.
These stories of women being over-sexualized for embracing their own bodies are not new, nor are they even close to going away. Famous women deserve respect regardless of how much skin they show. The public has no authority over that nor should they have a say in what a woman does with their body. Women are not to be blamed for them being sexualized, the public is.
This is the opinion of Aker Ajak, a freshman political science major from Omaha, Nebraska. Email comments to email@example.com. Follow and tweet comments to @LALoyolan on Twitter, and like the Loyolan on Facebook.
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