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The Origin of Sexual Objectification

We can't address the need for modesty without understanding the origins of sexual objectification & the spiritual war that's surrounding us.

Sexual objectification is the act of treating a person solely as an object of sexual desire. Objectification more broadly means treating a person as a commodity or an object without regard to their personality or dignity.

First, sexual sin is no stranger to the human race. It is understood that sexual sin has had its deep roots in our society since the beginning of time. Sin is our general issue, the ways in which we practice sin only further & deepen the condition. Sin causes us to mistreat God, other people, & ourselves. So in the context of sexual sin, we bring harm to ourselves (1 Cor. 6:18), harm to the recipient (1 Thess. 4:6), & ultimately offend the Holy & Most High God. (1 Thess. 4:8) these scriptures address sexual immorality, which involves two people joining together for intercourse outside of marriage.

What do sexual immorality & sexual objectification have in common? They are both sexual sins. One could say the latter (objectification) leads to the other (intercourse). How is that? Because Jesus teaches that adultery starts in the heart, "when we LOOK with lust at someone we commit adultery in our heart" (Matthew 5:28) & also "if our EYES cause us to sin, pluck it out" (Matt. 5:29) Objectifying someone is imagining or looking at them in a way that reduces them to lustful desires.

I am led to believe that sexual objectification is a fruit of sexual immorality. When we indulge in this sin, we harm others because we are taking what does not belong to us (their body), & using their body only as an object to please ourselves. In turn, this causes us to see other people as an object of our pleasure & a way to get our needs met.

Sexual immorality causes us to see other people as an object of our pleasure & a way to get our needs met.

It is self-seeking. Their name, personality, soul, & purpose don't matter when you are only thinking of yourself & that moment. You might say, "Well, my boyfriend loves & cares about me." But if only y'all knew how damaging it is to indulge your bodies in what doesn't belong to each other. Someone who cares about you wouldn't want to hurt you in this way. If He knew Christ, he would see you & love you like Christ.

Pearl Tobacco Sexual Ad 1870

This leads to the next point, sexual objectification in advertising, media, and propaganda, 'doesn't matter' because you are only trying to increase sales or get a message heard. The person behind the camera doesn't matter, only the photos. The first signs of sexual objectification appeared in the 1870s when Pearl Tobacco decided to put a naked woman on their cigarette box. By the 1880s, they were the leading brand in cigarettes & other brands started catching on to their tactics (1). Sexual Advertising in the 1900s continued to trend with subtle imagery & catchphrases until now in the 2000s, it's super blatant & deemed a social norm.

Today, it is normal to see a Victoria's Secret commercial AND fashion show live, when around the 1930s - the 1960s they were adamant about censoring nudity & sex in film & TV (2). Statistics show that this has led to a heightened sex appeal in men & women, and I'd beg to differ that this has contributed to misogynistic lyricism in hip-hop, uncensored television, increase in pornography, increased occurrences of sex-trafficking, & I'm sure there are plenty more shameful things unmentioned. Sin has no boundaries, it keeps going on & on & on.

This plays into the record low self-esteem that women & men deal with because of sexual sin being rampant. Take a look at these ads from back when... because we see others as objects of pleasure, ads like this became another way to sell more products. Not only did we learn how to increase sales with nudity & sex appeal, but we also learned how to play on society's emotions for consumerism.

"We've cracked the code! Push the imagery & the messages to the masses, so that people will emotionally respond & buy our solutions to their problems. Tell her she is nothing without this look & she'll go buy it. She'll destroy her body & health to be accepted because we told her she wasn't good enough."

In ending, "Be not conformed to the world systems & customs, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is the good, acceptable, & perfect will of God." (Romans 12:2) It is not God's will that we harm ourselves by self-objectifying which leads to low self-esteem & exploitation. It is not God's will that we hurt others by only seeing them as their body & meeting our needs. It is not God's will that we offend Him with our sinfulness, but that we have a restored relationship with Him through His Son Jesus Christ. Renew your mind & relationship with Him today.

References: Psychology For Marketers, (1)

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