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EDITORIAL: From celebrities to female Marines

Sexual shaming in recent media targets women everywhere


The female sexuality is under attack. And this attack was partly concentrated within the United States Marine Corps and its recent scandal.

A private Facebook page named Marines United posted possibly hundreds of sexually explicit photos of female Marines and service members, both former and current. This page sent out emails to males to join and view the Google Drive folder that was linked within. Members of the page were leaving salacious and crude comments about the female Marines depicted. The photos themselves even included personal information about the women, including their name, ranks and even access to their social media accounts.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service launched an investigation into the page and its posts and apparently, even one person has been “disciplined” for these actions. But the damage has already been done.

It was not until January of this year that the first female infantry Marines joined a unit. This means that before this year, there were no women who served in infantry military occupational specialties. And with the release of these photos, it is possible that not many women would be as motivated to join these positions in the future.

It is no secret that women are in danger within almost all service branches of the United States, and that danger is not always from the enemy lines — it can come from their fellow members of service. It is ironic that the women who risk their lives to protect the nation cannot even be guaranteed protection of their own — from their own male counterparts. In 2014, about 8 percent of women in the Marine Corps were sexually assaulted. This gave the Marine Corps the highest rate of sexual assault for female troops. And for female Marines to already feel targeted, this recent incident does nothing but deepen their fears. Rather than accept them as their equals and counterparts, some male Marines have chosen rather to humiliate the women and motivate them to steer away from participating in these male-dominated areas.

This is not the only place where the female sexuality has been challenged with humiliation. Because of a recent photo with Vanity Fair, the "Beauty and the Beast" actress Emma Watson has come under some backlash from the public and media. The photo features Watson posing in a top that exposes most of her chest, and some people are deeply upset by this, stating that her photo rebukes everything Watson has ever defended about feminism. A lot of this stems from the perspective that feminists are supposed to be unsexy and defeminized beings. When a feminist is sexy or poses in a sexual way, it breaks down further arguments about feminism.

The fact that there are so many people who are negatively responding to Watson’s photos shows that there is a widespread belief that women cannot both be smart and sexy, or that they cannot be feminists and show off their bodies at the same time. Most people would feel sympathy for Watson, however, others have stated that because of her comments in 2014 stating that in Beyoncé’s album the camera felt “very male” and showed “such a male voyeuristic experience of her,” this sympathy has wavered. She recently explained that this is not what she meant, but there is a deeper underlying problem with her bringing this up in the first place.

Women are being shamed for their sexuality, whether they are the ones flaunting it — in Watson’s case — or someone else is flaunting it for them (i.e. the photos of Marines). The world needs to wake up and realize that it is the 21st century and that rather than having both men and women bar women from being themselves, they should be embracing and encouraging them. Whether they are celebrities or Marines, their rights to be themselves must be protected.

The Daily Targum's editorials represent the views of the majority of the 149th editorial board. Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.

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