Every morning while making the bed, I catch my reflection in the mirror and lift my shirt to assess my midsection. Turning to the side, sometimes I think, “Not that bad.” But often my eyes linger on the slight bulge of my tummy. Remembering a dinner incident or skipped workout, I vow to be more vigilant.

My routine went largely unchecked until a few weeks ago, when I scrolled through Facebook and clicked on a nutrition headline. But instead of digesting the usual fare of surprising tips, I had a visceral reaction to the body parts selected for the story: Torso behind hands holding a salad. Legs crossed over a couch. Two torsos tanning on pool chaises. Lips lacquered like a cherry red pick-up truck. Torso flanked by a spandex bra and shorts.

Feeling overwhelmed, I started doing my chores and again caught myself in front of the mirror, unwittingly lifting my shirt to check out—yes—my torso!!!

I remember seeing the Fair and Lovely advertisements since my childhood and the message delivered is the same. Nothing has changed in the past 20 years. In one of their ads, a young middle class girl who has flair for cricket commentary practices at home with a mike which is replaced by a ‘Fair & Lovely’ tube by her mother. The next part is the girl’s instant selection as a television cricket commentator where her radiant skin tone becomes the center of attention for co-commentators and the television audience. Such campaigns has domesticated the narrative of a woman’s success—personal or professional, as if being independent depends on physical parameters like skin color.

Another example- Playboy magazine with the sole aim to publicize ‘a woman’s beauty’ features only a small group of women who are exceptionally pretty and have a flawless skin with a perfect figure. That’s not all women look like. Many women have scars, stretch marks and pimples. Those women have to live and fight with these facial marks every day. None of them get up in the morning looking like a beautiful god’s gift to the mankind.

These ads set unrealistic standards of beauty and society has set the expectations way too high. Women are expected to be tall, slim, and pretty. These ads have made women insecure to the extent, that they can’t even look at themselves in the mirror without grimacing at their reflection. These ads depict that women are just the sum of their body parts and yes, this isn’t a new thing — women have been objectified on canvas for centuries.

By objectifying women, these ads are basically teaching young women that how you look is more important than who you are, how you feel, and what you can do. And young men are getting the message that girls are only to be looked at– objects, nothing more.

When women and girls are targets of objectification, they begin seeing themselves through others’ perceptions. Self-objectification breeds shame and anxiety, draining mental resources, and even compromising physical abilities.

Because of this objectification many women disguise the thought that they are an object to be looked at and start comparing themselves with one another or with the “woman on screen”. They find themselves trapped in the callousness, thereby having lower self-esteem, depression, feeling of discontent with self and other psychological disorders.

Over the last couple of years, several news articles have come up on some of the sites that demean and objectify women. These news articles comprise instances of “nude photos leak online”, “celebrity side boob”, “celebrity wardrobe malfunctions”, and “Controversial Sexting Scandals”. These articles rarely report newsworthy information, rather focus on the bodies of the women which actually should not be the point of discussion. What do you think this does to young women when they see such articles? Do they feel valued by the society? Do they feel equal? Are they appreciated for their intellect? 

Contrary to what society and some ads teach us, women can be active, desirous, intellectual, in short, all the things that do not make women just an object.

This is 2017 people! Stop objectifying women and ladies stop accepting this objectification.

The article was published on sheroes.com