Women: Lost In Our Youth? Infantilization Of Women

13 Nov

It is nearly impossible to flip through a magazine or watch television without running across objectified images of women and lately children. We have learned to overlook the objectification of women and as of lately even children. Advertisers are getting more and more blatant with these portrayals too. And unfortunately we are too socialized into accepting these images into our culture that we don’t even notice.

Recently many images have been surfacing with this portrayal of women as being “babies” also known as infantilization. This means to treat someone as a child or in a way that denies their maturity (dictionary.com). The rise in these images of women being shown in childlike poses or acting childish stems from the idea that women need constant care of a man, starting from childhood throughout adult hood. This is a direct result of the system of patriarchy! Men are almost always portrayed as the strong, active, dominating father figure which has become the ideal model for masculinity. And in contrast, the ideal model for femininity has been shaped into this submissive, powerless, dependent mother figure that is bashful and childlike, even in her old age.

This new image arising portraying women as children plays into the idea that women need to be taken care of by a big strong man. This is not a new occurrence. In earlier years, men were required to ask a woman’s father for her hand in marriage prior to even asking the woman. And ceremonially at weddings, we still have our fathers hand over their daughters to the new husband. This just feeds into the cycle passing along women from the hands of one man to another strengthening this patriarchal mindset.

If you don’t think images like this are affecting our society just look at how our youth and children are now being portrayed in advertisements. Younger women are being made to look older and older women are being made to look younger. It’s like we can’t make up our mind how we want to see women in our society. We want our young girls to dress up like adult fashion models and walk the run ways and then we want older women to do whatever it takes to maintain their youth to stay looking young. We need to make up our minds! This link of womanhood to girlhood is absurd. This is ruining the way young girls identify and see themselves.

With that, I want to end with a quote from Susan J. Douglas’s book “Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female With the Mass Media,” just to give you a little something to think about the next time you turn on your television or flip through a magazine.

“the mass media raised us, socialized us, entertained us, comforted us, deceived us, disciplined us, told us what we could do and told us what we couldn’t….they played a key role in turning us into…many women—a pastiche of all the good women and bad women that came to us through the printing presses, projectors, and airwaves of America. This has been one of the mass media’s most important legacies for female consciousness: the erosion of anything resembling a unified self.”

Also here is an excellent video I saw on advertising and the effects that they have on us and how they ultimately shape the way we “do gender.”

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One Response to “Women: Lost In Our Youth? Infantilization Of Women”

  1. Rodrick Disorda November 25, 2012 at 12:05 am #

    Hello from across the ocean! This is just what I was hunting for, and you did it well. Thanks very much

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