These days, I recognize the huge difference between sexual desire and sexualization. Sexual desirability is something that we all hope to have to some extent. When other people express their sexual desire for us, it can be extremely empowering, so long as such expressions are reserved for the appropriate time and place—i.e., from the right person and when we have signaled our openness or willingness to reciprocate. Sexualization, on the other hand, has the opposite effect: Rather than empowering the person, it’s used to leverage power over them. This can be seen all the time in the media, where women often appear not as fully formed human beings with their own thoughts, feelings and opinions, but as purely sexual objects used to sell cars, beer and other commodities. Some might naively argue that these women have power—specifically, the power to lure men—but it’s a power that only serves heterosexual male interests. After all, how much power is there in being a carrot on a stick dangled in front of someone?
— Julia Serano “Whipping Girl”