Sofia Jawed-Wessel – Sex researcher
We’re going to share a lot of secrets today, you and I, and in doing so, I hope that we can lift some of the shame many of us feel about sex.
How many here have ever been catcalled by a stranger? Lots of women. For me, the time I remember best is when that stranger was a student of mine. He came up to me after class that night and his words confirmed what I already knew: “I am so sorry, professor. If I had known it was you, I would never have said those things.”
I wasn’t a person to him until I was his professor. This concept, called objectification, is the foundation of sexism, and we see it reinforced through every aspect of our lives. We see it in the government that refuses to punish men for raping women. We see it in advertisements.
How many of you have seen an advertisement that uses a woman’s breast to sell an entirely unrelated product? Or movie after movie after movie that portrays women as only love interests? These examples might seem inconsequential and harmless, but they’re insidious, slowly building into a culture that refuses to see women as people. We see this in the school that sends home a 10-year-old girl because her clothes were a distraction to boys trying to learn, or the government that refuses to punish men for raping women over and over, or the woman who is killed because she asked a man to stop grinding on her on the dance floor.