Do Women have Sovereignty over Their Bodies?
There is a question in America about whether or not the bodies of women have been over-sexualized in recent years. This prevents mothers from feeling safe breastfeeding in public, and hurts the self-esteem of those who don’t look the same as the models they see in advertisements. (Photo provided by Pixabay.)
As a woman in America, I take advantage of my rights and I understand the history of our challenges. Even with previous disadvantages and economic injustice, we have accomplished many rights throughout the last century.
Our grandmothers have fought for our rights, and under American law, women won the right to vote on August 18, 1920, which opened many doors for our future. Instead of being the secretary, we became the boss.
Women in America were expected to stay home with the children, cook for the family, and raise the children to be good citizens. That archetypal concept, however, has drastically changed in the last few decades. Stay-at-home dads became more popular, and mothers received an education and the means to follow a career and be successful in a professional field.
Even though women have faced inequality during the last century—and have fought through it—gender gap still exists in America and throughout the world, especially in the workforce.
Women generally earn 79 cents for every dollar men earn for exercising the same jobs.
According to Women’s Law Center (CWLC), African-American women in 2014 were paid 60 cents for every dollar white men earned, while Hispanic women only earned 55 cents.
Women’s rights have started to progress, but the question remains: Have women taken sovereignty over their bodies?
From my viewpoint, popular media still limits women’s role by including an intense scrutiny and emphasis on their looks. America has oversexualized the female body and praised men for their work ethic, discipline and overall professional attitude.
In a social experiment video on YouTube, two different women were observed. One, a breastfeeding mother, received bad looks and mean comments such as “shame on you” from those passing by her. The second, a young woman wearing an extremely cleavage-bearing shirt and tight-fitting clothes, was praised by men for how beautiful she looked. She received a positive reaction, even though she exposed the same amount of skin as the mother did, who was sitting quietly and feeding her infant.
Mothers have the right to breastfeed in public and shall be excused from jury duty upon request, according to the Oklahoma State Law.
It’s conflicting to see people shaming mothers for feeding their infants in public while they have the right under the law to do so. The same people that despise women’s right when it comes to breastfeeding, take their children to the mall, and let them see photos of Victoria’s secret models who are often showing more skin.
I long to see the day where women and men will be equally respected and admired by society—a day where women will be admired for her efforts to better the society, instead of her looks and extravagant eyelashes. After all, equal means equal, right?