Censorship of Women's Bodies Mora Mundt

Women’s nipples, body hair, and other natural attributes are often censored from the public and thus perceived as shameful. This suppression of women’s rights only furthers us from gender equality and often justifies misogyny. Women should be able to openly express their bodies the same way men can. In our modern day this shielding of women’s natural form is not only primitive but harmful to the well being of women everywhere.

These ideologies are force fed to us constantly by the media we surround ourselves with. This problem with the western world’s fear of female anatomy lies within the fact that we eroticize breasts to be more about sex than their sole purpose of feeding children.

The way media portrays women, masking truths and sexualizing them, results in unrealistic expectations of women's bodies. Natural occurrences like menstruation or body hair are then widely perceived as shameful because they don’t fit into this glorified image of a woman that has been so normalized.

This thinking can have harmful outcomes, making a lot of people uncomfortable with talking about women’s health. Many women are not properly educated about menstruation, sex, and their bodies all because of this societal fear of our anatomy. Health complications that could’ve been easily avoided often occur -- signs of breast cancer, for example, can be detected by doing a simple monthly self breast exam, but without this awareness no precautions are being taken. Not to mention the millions that suffer from body dysmorphia or eating disorders. This widely accepted outlook on how women and their bodies are meant to be displayed “encourages us to despise biological truths".

We are so conditioned to seeing overly sexualized women in commercials for a fast food restaurant or to sell a car, on a daily basis. But when the content is intended to empower and represent woman, it is often censored. It’s perceived as inappropriate when a nude woman is painted or photographed for the sake of art, but otherwise we don’t think twice.

When a man wants to take his shirt off in public, he is free to do so. But women could not do the same for in 17 states it's illegal for a woman to go topless in public, and in 2 it is illegal to breastfeed in public. Even in states that allow women this freedom, they are all too often harassed and ridiculed for even less exposure of their bodies. Catcalling and rape are serious problems that arise from this ideology that affect women everywhere, every day. There are laws that ban women from exposing their nipples in public, sexual assault and catcalling happen far too commonly, even state officials actively try to take away women’s rights to their bodies.

Laws that attempt to take away the rights women have to their bodies are furthering us from equality. A woman should be able to breastfeed her baby whenever they need nourishment without being harassed. A woman should be able to wear what she wants without the fear of being assaulted or shouted at.

Educating and normalizing the public about the female body seems like a no-brainer, but it’s something important we need to push toward achieving. Our country needs to accept it's discriminatory habits and gradually lift it's harmful censorship of the female body.

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