Sex sells, even when it's irrelevant. Watching commercials during the Super Bowl underscores this interesting point. Advertisers and companies use sex to sell things that really have nothing to do with human sexuality, like web hosting or restaurants. We're a sex-crazed people and it needs to stop.
Many people decry the incidence of sexual assault on college campuses, as they should. At the same time, they buy tickets to see "50 Shades of Grey." They complain about a hook-up culture, but then demand that contraceptives be provided free of charge in vending machines. Some complain that women aren't respected the way that they should be, but then call the consumption of pornography "free speech." If we really want to address our societal issues, we're going to have to take a collective hard look at the lower level problems that are contributing to this overall tone. We have to be willing to make serious changes in order to have a society that respects the dignity of all people.
First, we must marginalize and eradicate organizations that are implicitly hostile to the dignity of women. It's challenging to make a case for the benefits of having Greek Life on college campuses when we can't make it through an entire semester without a national headline about sexual assault, illegal activity, or even death on some college campus at a particular fraternity or sorority house. Common knowledge holds that the raucous parties lead to excessive drinking and sexual assault. Few charges are ever brought and the perpetrators of these felonies are never brought to justice, leaving them free in society to attack again. Criminals must be held accountable for their actions and removed from our society. We must go after the institutions that protect them.
Next, we must stop using women for business gain. Sex sells, so we have to quit buying. The porn industry would wither away if people stopped clicking on their links and paying for their content. Human trafficking and the prostitution that goes along with it would shutter its doors if people stopped soliciting. The fantasy given to us is that these women are all willing participants and yet, many aren't. The reality is the incidence of drug abuse, suicide, and depression is significantly higher among porn actors than it is among the general population. Even if someone is a willing participant at the time, few walk away without guilt, regret, and shame. By supporting these types of industries we support the institutionalized denigration of women and that's wrong.
Finally, we have to stop telling women that they're only valuable if they're men. Women have the awe-inspiring ability to support and nurture life within their bodies, and that fact alone merits great deference. Women have every right to enter into the workplace, make valuable contributions, and be compensated commiserate with their performance. They shouldn't feel compelled to act like their male counterparts in order to gain the respect of their company and equal consideration for advancement. Women have a unique perspective to offer the world. We don't need more men, we need more diversity of opinion.
If we want to live in a world where both men and women are respected and valued as human persons with dignity, we need to address the underlying issues. Women especially are victimized and used for profit and, as men, we need to withhold support from people, companies, and industries who base their profitability on the denigration of women.