Errice Alicia on Instagram. Picture: Instagram

Mbalenhle Sithebe wants to know why many women “self-sexualise” themselves on social media if they don’t want to be treated like sexual objects.

When I saw the headlines about the ANC swimsuit picture that caused a reaction on Twitter this week, it got me thinking about a recent conversation I had with friends on Facebook about what women think of themselves.

Yes, the ANC swimsuit was reportedly a marketing strategy that went wrong, but honestly, the world is full of women who believe that their bodies are the only key to success.

I do agree that a political party as influential as the ANC should not associate itself with portraying women as objects because it contradicts their anti-sexist policy.

The picure may serve to confuse people as to what exactly would be offensive and not offensive to women, due to the overtly sexual portrayal of the model.

Over the past five years, as social networks have dominated in our societies, its main use in my opinion has been “self-sexualisation” by women.

So tell me, if a feminist movement is against sexualisation of women and women seen as sexual objects, why do we see most women self-sexualising themselves?

In the world we live in today women identify themselves as sexual beings before their personalities and strengths but when men follow that lead, they cry foul.

I am still searching for clarity as to why women expose themselves to vulnerable situations and react as victims to the results that come out of these situations and I have yet came to a conclusion.

I am not condoning the current portrayal of women but if I as a woman send a confusing message on how I want to be seen and portrayed, how will the world know any better?

It is time women decide on what they want. Being sexy is not a talent and I don't think it will ever be.

Therefore if you portray yourself as sexy, that is what the world will see.

We simply can't expect the world to lie to us and call us brave and talented when all they see us in is underwear.

When women speak about self-sexualisation they tend to be more defensive compared to when other people sexualise them.

Although women feel they do not have to answer to anyone, the fact is that self-sexualisation attracts attention to their appearance.

Most women who are confident enough to reveal their bodies appreciate being complimented as 'sexy' or 'hot', but sometimes contradict themselves, saying that they do not want to be admired only for their bodies although they enjoy being sexually admired by men.

Is it possible to pick a side? Do we want to be seen for our bodies or not?


* The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.