Defy Sexualisation——Sexualisation Defined

Recently, following criticism of his latest film, Age of Ultron, director Joss Whedon deleted his Twitter account. He quit Twitter as some think his portrayal of assassin Black Widow by Scarlett Johansson is sexist and have said a lot of things about him. I think it’s unfair to the director first of all because it’s very difficult for anyone not to sexualize Scarlett Johansson, to who being sexy and glamorous is as natural as breathing. That’s her credit and as far as I know something she hasn’t really been trying to shun anyway. So if the girl is OK with that, I don’t think anyone is in a good position to point fingers at the director for having done a good job.

Look at her and tell me how to “de-sexualize” her.


What’s more as a fashion practitioner, I am also interested in the debate because the nature of fashion sometimes is at loggerheads with what activists and feminist believe to be the right way to portray women. Fashion is, to me, about bringing out the innate feminine beauty. But beauty is abstract. Beautiful clothes are not. Then of course they will be standards: big breasts, wide hips, long legs, curly eye-lashes, fair/healthy/tanned complexion. The list goes on and on. It’s not to say that anyone not meeting the bar should not be respected and enjoy her self as much as others. But if a director should be criticized for portraying a woman as too womanly, shouldn’t all designers be hanged for sewing things only the skinniest model can fit in? Is Channel anti-women for designing clothes whose waistlines are smaller than that of an average American woman?

What is sexualization anyway? I looked it up in Wiktionary and it says it’s “the act or process of sexualizing .” Then I looked sexualize up and it says it’s “to make sexual”. I didn’t have to look sexual up because I think I know all the dimensions of the meanings of that word. So for me the only way no to sexualize a woman is not to depict her at all. Otherwise you run the risk of being scolded for being a sexist, chauvinist, or even a pervert. By this standard, all Renaissance nude paintings are sexualizing and all Megan Foxes in all those Transformers and Fast and Furious-style movies are just useless, objected babies. Maybe they are. But as long as not every American girl is legally obliged to be like her, and as long as average American girl keeps having McDonald’s the way she does, there is no worry that a wonderful, red-haired Black Widow will make any of them anorexic.


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