Here is the full transcript of Caroline Heldman’s TED talk on The Sexy Lie at TEDxYouth@SanDiego.
Listen to the MP3 Audio here: The Sexy Lie by Caroline Heldman at TEDxYouth@SanDiego
Caroline Heldman – Professor at Occidental College
Good afternoon. Are we having a transformative afternoon so far? Well, I am here today to talk about a lie – in specific, a sexy lie. I know there are lots of lies, some of them are sexy, some of them are very unsexy. But I’d like to talk specifically about the lie or the idea that being a sex object is empowering. And I’d like to convince you that it is not empowering. First by talking about what sexual objectification is and then moving on to theoretical and data-driven analysis of why it’s damaging, and lastly, provide you a plan of action so that you can both navigate objectification culture and change objectification culture.
So let’s jump right in. What is sexual objectification? It’s the process of representing or treating a person like a sex object, one that serves another’s sexual pleasure. And what’s so interesting about sexual objectification is we used to have a vocabulary for it. In the ‘60s and ‘70s, we were concerned about sexual objectification and its harm on girls and women. In the ‘80s, ‘90s and today, we’ve actually been relatively quiet when it comes to public discourse. And so even though our sexual objectification culture is more amplified we see more images, and 96% of them are female, of sexually objectified bodies, we don’t have a vocabulary to talk about it.