MAXIMum Exposure

If any of you are familiar with the Web site,, you’ll know that it is a place for students in and out of college to chat, meet new people, check on news and find out about interesting things going on.

During the Christmas break, I found an editorial from a student from Tufts University in Massachusetts, writing about how he thinks women like to be perceived as sex objects. He stated that many women have complained about the popular men’s magazine Maxim degrading women in photographs throughout the publication. Drew Shelton, the editorial writer from Tufts, wrote that if women have a problem with Maxim, they should start by eliminating the magazine Cosmopolitan.

In his editorial, he often ponders the question, “Why don’t women like Maxim?” Most critics would say maybe it’s the fact that the magazine basically displays half-nude photo spreads, which encourage boys and men to perceive women as sex objects–commodities to be chased, used and discarded.

He states from paragraph to paragraph that American women are also taught to objectify themselves all of their lives. He explains that magazines like Cosmo, Seventeen and YM have taught generations of women to obsess over their appearance, to buy expensive clothes and makeup, and to worry about what men think about them.

He wrote that he personally had no problem with either magazine, but hoped that anyone over 20-years-old, would have enough common sense to be set in their ways and not be swayed by both magazines.

“If you respect women, is Maxim really going to turn you the other way?” he asked.

Personally, I like Maxim. It’s pretty darn funny, and it gives you insight on how guys think. I don’t own a subscription, but whenever I’m walking through the magazine aisle in the grocery store, I often pick one up and thumb through. I mean, come on, which article sounds more enjoyable to read? Maxim’s, “Is sex with twin Swedish stewardesses cheating?” or Cosmo’s, “How to tell if he’s really into you?”

Now, to address the point that some women think Maxim degrades women, I want to offer a different explanation. A student I talked with yesterday said that women want to perceive themselves as sex objects in different industries.

You have Christina Aguilera wearing dental floss at the MTV Video Music Awards and Britney Spears wearing a teeny-tiny shirt on the cover of Rolling Stone. When DON’T we see Jennifer Lopez’s butt or breasts hanging out of her clothes? It’s a part of the whole music/actress attire.

Now take for instance, a woman working at a bank. She might dress in suits everyday with her hair pinned into a bun. Do we see her as a sex-goddess? No, we don’t.

Yes, women do (sometimes) want to be perceived as sex objects. Why would we get ourselves all dolled up just to go to a sport’s bar or to the basketball games? Why do we wear little bitty skirts, stiletto heels and see through shirts when we go to the club? We know we have it. Like one of the guys on Word on the Street implies, women do use their bodies as an asset.

In some cases though, we do want to be perceived as intelligent, hard-working, classy women.

Males and females will never understand how the other works, but in time, hopefully they can each come to an understanding they can both agree upon.

Just because a woman might choose to present herself in one way or another, does not necessarily mean she wants or desires to be viewed without respect.

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