Objectifying girls’ bodies creates dangerous environments


Bartram Trail High School Yearbook

Photos of young girls at a high school in Florida were edited to cover what was viewed as “revealing”

At a high school in Florida, female students’ yearbook photos were edited after being deemed “inappropriate.” The students reported that they felt that their bodies were being objectified since the edits  focused on covering and concealing girls’ chests and shoulders. Many of the young ladies felt embarrassed and ashamed that the administration would even be thinking of their bodies in that way.

When I first heard about this story, I was not surprised. The bodies of young girls and women have been, time and time again, sexually objectified. I’m sure there have been times when you or someone you know has been the subject of catcalls, derogatory comments and the like. Instances such as these all contribute to one major issue: by objectifying women like this, girls are taught from a young age to be ashamed of their bodies.

Sexualizing a young woman’s body at an early age creates false narratives that are extremely harmful to them when they become adults. When girls are treated as objects, they perceive their bodies as such, leading them to have body issues. These body issues negatively contribute to a young woman’s self esteem and self worth. 

To allow these behaviors towards girls to continue, we also send a message to young men about how they should view and treat their female counterparts. When attention is drawn to a girls’ chest, much like it was in the Florida high school issue, we teach boys that they can and are allowed to look at these areas. We also teach them that because society views women as objects it’s perfectly okay for men to objectify women they hold relationships with. 

We must dismantle these kinds of perceptions and societal views. In our own schools, we should be encouraging growth from female students not worrying about the clothes they wear and whether or not they are “appropriate” because chances are, they are. This is nothing new but it’s time that we start treating girls as individuals and not personal property one can control.