4
   

What does "objectification of women" mean, and can men be objectified?

 
 
spendius
 
  0  
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 06:45 pm
Well-I think if a woman appears in my sight line who looks like she has tried to look like a piece of ass, breast padding, cleavage, split skirt, short skirt, high heels, & Co I think it is my duty to treat her as a piece of ass because she would obviously have to go home dissapointed if I didn't.

It can be a very onerous duty what with all these women around who are undecided on whether they are a piece of ass or not.
aidan
 
  2  
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 07:34 pm
@spendius,
So you can only be considered a piece of ass if you have big boobs and wear uncomfortable clothes?

Because what you're saying is that the way a woman dresses determines your reaction to her. Really? Do you only treat her like a piece of ass when she's dressed like that? How about if the same woman is dressed in baggy overalls when you see her out gardening the next day? Is she still only a potential piece of ass then? Or do you focus on any other aspects of her being?

Because I'm trying to apply this standard to how I view men. If I see a man in tight and revealing clothes or a bathing suit it doesn't have any more bearing on how I view him sexually than if I see him in a suit and tie - if he's attractive and sexually appealing to me - it's that and not what he's wearing that makes me look at him as a potential sexual partner.
But I'd never be able to comfortably approach him in a sexual way at work no matter what he was wearing.
And I think that it's fair to assume that everyone (unless they're asexual) wants to be considered a piece of ass by someone sometime - but just because that may be true it doesn't mean they want to be considered a piece of ass by everyone all the time.

ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 07:50 pm
@ebrown p,
I think objectification goes on all the time. It is arguably the nature of celebrity. (Not that I'll argue it, as that can be complex). But, with some people it can take over. Let me guess it can with some abused, and when the abused learn to employ that - but I'm not implying my friend was, very much doubt.
Men were over her like bottleflies when she was just sitting there talking.

"I don't think having admirers would be a problem. Boorish behavior would be a problem, but it would be the behavior (not the "objectification") that would be the problem."

Sometimes behaviour is boorish, sometimes it is more controlled. It was ostensibly boob central for anyone interested in her. None of the rest of us girlfriends were 'dogs', and none of us envied her. It was a real problem for years.


0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 07:51 pm
@spendius,
My friend did not try to look like a piece of ass, no padding.

I figure spendi's hell will be life as a big breasted woman.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 07:56 pm
@ossobuco,
Let's see if ebrown changes his tune if I say my friend is mexican american.
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Feb, 2010 03:12 am
@ossobuco,
Quote:
Let's see if ebrown changes his tune if I say my friend is mexican american.


Cute Osso. I get your story and I understand your point.

Sexism is analogous to racism, and I am not at all saying that sexism isn't a problem. If I have a stereotype of women of a certain body type (or of women in general) that affects the way I act or treat people, this is sexism. If society has policies or practices that discriminate against women, that is even worse. If your friend were having problems finding a job or being accepted to college or getting equal pay, I would be full supportive of her. A story about romantic relationships seems fundamentally different.

Let's call sexism and racism as they are, and let's work to change policies and practices to make our society more just for all.

You are not addressing my question about "objectification", particularly why is it significant, and what as society we should do about it.

If "objectification" means the same thing as "sexism" (i.e. discriminatory practices against women based on prejudices) then the answer is clear. I fully support equal, and strict enforcement of sexual harassment laws.

I support frank discussion about the images of women as they are portrayed, as long as the discussion is direct and honest. The term sexism is clear, honest and is not misleading in any way. If you claim something is sexist, I may disagree, but at least we both know what we are talking about and can have a direct conversation. The term "objectification", and the resulting discussions, are neither clear nor honest.

When "objectification" means "sexual attraction", it is a completely different situation. It is very difficult to see how sexual attraction can be sanctioned. I can't imagine that anyone wants to remove sexual attraction from society.

The problem with the term "objectification" is that it refers to too many things. Sometimes it means "sexism", sometimes it means "sexual attraction". This seems manipulative. And, it certainly doesn't lead to a direct, clear discussion over real issues.

Sexuality is part of human experience and is something to be enjoyed. Courtship involves physical attraction which can be expressed in appropriate ways. There is such a thing as wanted attention, and there are socially accepted ways to do this. Surely we all understand that what is appropriate in a dance club is different then what is appropriate in a workplace.

Many people enjoy sensual images from Hollywood to romance novels to adult entertainment. There is nothing wrong with this, and it doesn't imply that you will treat friends or co-workers or even lovers any different.

When "Victoria's Secret" -- a store that that appeals to romance, sensuality and fantasy -- is being referred to as "objectification" (with all of the negative connotations that is attached to "sexism") doesn't make sense. It certainly doesn't have anything to do with real issues, such as the victory of the Lilly Ledbetter act or the travesty of the failure of colleges to address rape.

Let's talk about real issues directly.
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Feb, 2010 06:42 am
Apparently, "objectification" means treating a woman as a "sexual object." The idea is a total crock. Men are attracted to attractive women. In such cases, they view them as "sexual objects." Not necessarily only as sexual objects, though. Big deal. That's the nature of life on Earth. Deal with it.
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Feb, 2010 07:00 am
@Brandon9000,
I think the problem I have is being viewed as an 'object' - sexual or otherwise. I don't mind being thought of as being a sexual 'being' - that's what I am- that's what most people are - but I don't know about you, but an object is something for me to use. I don't really interact with objects - I use them as a means to an end...get what I'm saying?

But the truth of the matter is that a lot of people objectify themselves. They present themselves as an object - as nothing more than a tool to achieve a means to an end. If that's what they want to do - I say go for it for themselves- but when that behavior or philosophy becomes so widespread that even women who don't choose to objectify themselves are looked at as objects- that stinks.

I've been thinking about this lately as my daughter is a teenager and pretty. She's taking photography, so she models for her friends who are also taking photography and they model for her and I'm constantly looking at these pictures taken on my camera and downloaded from my memory card and the common theme is this very put-on and posed come hither expression - girls hanging all over each other, smirking, etc...I told her, 'You guys are all just a bunch of poseurs. Every single picture of any of you is so contrived and predictably posed to present your sexuality, as if that's the only important or valuable thing about you. None of you exhibit a sense of humor or fun - you're all dead serious vamps....I'd never choose to hang out or be friends with any of you if I were to go by these pictures.'
I blame it on the fact that they've come up in a time when their every minute is recorded - for myspace, facebook, on their phones...they can't go one day without being photographed and presented as an object to themselves and each other.
I can't see it turning out to be good.

And the thing that really got me steamed is that my daughter is interracial (black/white) so she has sort of medium caramel colored skin. Well in one picture they had a white girl, an asian girl, and I guess they needed a darker-skinned black girl, so they actually applied blackface to my daughter and teased her hair all up so she looked like this animalistic version of a sexy puma or something- and of course THAT'S the picture that got chosen to represent the school's photography program in the village paper. I blew a gasket...I said, 'How could you allow yourself to represent the token black girl like this?' Talk about objectifying oneself. She saw nothing wrong with it- I don't get it so I just asked her not to show me anymore of pictures that depict her like that.
It's complicated.
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Feb, 2010 07:36 am
@aidan,
Quote:
So you can only be considered a piece of ass if you have big boobs and wear uncomfortable clothes?


I didn't really say that Rebecca. I said that if she looked like she had taken some trouble to look like a piece of ass I feel it my duty to respond towards her as if she is a piece of ass. I can't see why she would have taken the trouble if that was not what she wanted me to do.

It is interesting that it is only the human species which requires the female to display such signals. It is the male in the animal world who is required to display his attractions. That is why I think evolution should only be taught to animals and is inconsistent in schools for teaching humans as it could well lead, and perhaps it is intended to, to the female ceasing to try to look like a piece of ass and putting the onus back on men to become dishy. Feminists are solidly in the evolution camp.

And there is evidence in the recent Christmas advertising frenzy that that is exactly what is happening. There were products advertised for men which no Christian male would ever dream of using on his person. Scientists claim that the sperm count is declining.

At the same time there is a noticeable neglect of the tradition that females should try to look like a piece of ass. More and more look more like sacks of potatoes. This is accompanied by something also relatively new which is that females now use obscenities at least as much as men once did. Some men have stopped using obscenities as they feel it is effeminate to do so. There are even refuges for battered men and we are encouraged to show our feelings and to not be afraid to weep when we don't get our own way.

And yet, history shows, a fact that many historians such as Setanta have on Ignore, indeed can hardly afford not to have on Ignore, that when such reversals of the roles of the sexes takes place, as it did in Rome in the century before the birth of Christ, our Saviour, it presages the replacement of the republic by dictators and emperors. In that period women demanded and demonstrated for certain rights, and got them, and dictators were delivered soon afterwards. Homosexuality, whoring and luxury spending were on the increase as was corruption in the administrative centre. And poisonings, which are a quinissential female art form.

It was not an accidental slip of the tounge when Mr Bush pointed to the difficulties over the banking crisis being easier for him to deal with if he had been a dictator.

So however much all the thrumming indignation is justified by the crass uncouthness of the male in judging the merits of a piece of ass by the efforts to be a piece of ass it should not be forgotten that it might be ushering in dictatorships under which our children and grandchildren, who we all love so dearly, will have to learn to endure. Possibly in one of farmerman's "re-education" camps.

ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Feb, 2010 07:43 am
@aidan,
Quote:
I think the problem I have is being viewed as an 'object' - sexual or otherwise. I don't mind being thought of as being a sexual 'being' - that's what I am- that's what most people are - but I don't know about you, but an object is something for me to use. I don't really interact with objects - I use them as a means to an end...get what I'm saying?


No I don't get what you are saying. What does it mean to view someone "as an object" that is different from normal human interactions?

Let's propose a couple of case studies (and I think it would be very illustrative if you could present one or two as well)

1. Consider the guy behind the counter in the 7-11. You probably don't know his name. You almost certainly don't know what his aspirations. You may (as some rote politeness) ask him how he is doing. But if he is having a difficult personal problem, you certain don't even want to hear about it. You want him to take your money, give you change and let you leave.

There is nothing here (including rote politeness) that can't be done by a vending machine.

Is this an example of viewing someone as an object?

2. Someone is flirting with you in a bar. In this case you don't know his aspirations; whether he really expects to get you into bed, whether he is justing having fun. He obviously has selected you from all the other women their, so you are attractive in some way.

Let's say he is just flirting (not expecting anything to really happen), is this treating you as an object? What about if he really hopes to sleep with you? If you are interested, does it make a difference?

3. A couple goes to the ballet to watch skinny women twirl around on their toes. This couple gets pleasure from seeing what they consider to be fine art and honestly enjoy watching the performance-- even though they have no interaction with the dancers.

Are the dancers on stage anything other to the couple watching then objects?

4. A man goes to a dark club to watch women take off their clothes and twirl around a pole. Afterward the women come over to the man to strike up a conversation. There are pleasantries exchange and often a conversation about current events. Afterwards the woman suggests the man join her for a private dance which involves intimate touching. Then the man pays her and goes home. Are these strippers being treated "as objects", or does the conversation and human contact (quite a bit more than watching ballet) make this not objectification.

It is interesting you used the phrase "sexual or otherwise". If you consider a non-sexual example (as my first example above) then objectification is a pretty common form of human interaction.

I would like to know what make you feel as if someone is viewing you as an "object", and how you think this understanding would help us treat each other better in any practical way (I am assuming that you are suggesting that we ban flirting).
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Feb, 2010 07:54 am
@aidan,
Aidan, I just wanted to say (in a separate way) your story about your daughter hits home (as I am a product of an interracial family and now have my own interracial family).

A lot of this is about identity, something adolescents stumble through and parents choke over. My sons (who look their Latino roots) do the "gang thug" look on their Facebook pictures... something that is nothing like who they are. You can imagine given my worry about racial stereotypes that this bothers me. But adolescence is what it is (in my opinion it is much harder on parents then on teens).
spendius
 
  0  
Reply Thu 25 Feb, 2010 08:11 am
@ebrown p,
Quote:
My sons (who look their Latino roots) do the "gang thug" look on their Facebook pictures... something that is nothing like who they are.


Well eb--some people would say that choosing a picture out of the billions available is a statement about who they are exactly, or at least who they would like to be. Your statement that it is something that is nothing like who they are is wishful thinking in the face of the objective evidence you say your sons have provided.

"Come mothers and fathers throughout the land,
Don't criticise what you can't understand."
0 Replies
 
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Feb, 2010 08:16 am
@spendius,
Quote:
I didn't really say that Rebecca. I said that if she looked like she had taken some trouble to look like a piece of ass I feel it my duty to respond towards her as if she is a piece of ass. I can't see why she would have taken the trouble if that was not what she wanted me to do.

I was just joking - I was tempted to add that if you had to have big boobs and wear uncomfortable clothes in order to be considered a 'piece of ass' that's probably why I'm never treated like 'a piece of ass' - I can't bring myself to pad what nature didn't endow me with Laughing Laughing (actually I've always been happy with what I've got for various reasons I won't go into here.)

But as I said in my statement above - I think it's safe to assume that everyone has moments when they'd enjoy being treated like a piece of ass by someone they find attractive- male and female. Sometimes I wish I could treat and present myself more like a piece of ass - but I know I don't have the emotional make-up for that. It'd end in tears for me and I'd hate myself.

I just find it interesting that men take the clothing in and of itself as a signal or cue in terms of willingness to objectify oneself instead of more of a statement of alignment with current social and cultural mores, or even just to do the more traditional thing, and attract a potential mate. I'd have to pay at least as much, if not more attention to the behavior over several encounters instead of basing my treatment of someone solely on the way someone chose to dress themselves and fall into my line of sight one particular evening.

Quote:
And there is evidence in the recent Christmas advertising frenzy that that is exactly what is happening. There were products advertised for men which no Christian male would ever dream of using on his person. Scientists claim that the sperm count is declining.

Yeah, I read that that's due to all the estrogen ( from birth control pills) being introduced into the water cycle- apparently men are drinking female hormones with their tap water.

Quote:
So however much all the thrumming indignation is justified by the crass uncouthness of the male in judging the merits of a piece of ass by the efforts to be a piece of ass it should not be forgotten that it might be ushering in dictatorships under which our children and grandchildren, who we all love so dearly, will have to learn to endure. Possibly in one of farmerman's "re-education" camps.

You couldn't pay me to trade generational places with my children or grandchildren.
And if you did read my latest post - I put the onus firmly on the women who choose to objectify themselves and even gave them permission to do that if that's what they feel led to do. Unless they're raped- it's a choice.
0 Replies
 
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Feb, 2010 08:28 am
@ebrown p,
Quote:
If society has policies or practices that discriminate against women, that is even worse.


Blimey--we've had it. We are totally goosed. Women hold all the aces eb. If we didn't have practices to hold them down a bit they would take over and that would be the end. You're all sold out in the interest of being Mr Nice Guy and without any reference to the future. And it would be against the interests of women more than that of men. Men can take care of themselves even in the endtimes. Women can't.

How many men have signed up for massive loans in order to please women? And there is not a significant writer I know who thinks other than that their pleasure is insatiable.

If you wish to wave the white flag at least have the decency to do it in private. By doing it in public you give the impression we men are all doing it.

Uxoriousness is a private matter.
0 Replies
 
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Feb, 2010 08:28 am
@aidan,
aidan wrote:

I think the problem I have is being viewed as an 'object' - sexual or otherwise....

I don't agree. Sex is good. It doesn't have anything to do with respect or disrespect. You're too sensitive, and I'm not particularly sympathetic about what you've presented as a problem.
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Feb, 2010 08:33 am
@ebrown p,
Quote:
1. Consider the guy behind the counter in the 7-11. You probably don't know his name. You almost certainly don't know what his aspirations. You may (as some rote politeness) ask him how he is doing. But if he is having a difficult personal problem, you certain don't even want to hear about it. You want him to take your money, give you change and let you leave.

There is nothing here (including rote politeness) that can't be done by a vending machine.

Is this an example of viewing someone as an object?

It could be if you're rude and brusque and uncivil. I tend not to treat anyone that way though - even the people who scrub the toilets in the airport. I understand they are people doing a job and as such completing a cycle of means to an end, but I also keep fairly cognizant that they are people with feelings and due respect - moreso than a vending machine.

Quote:
2. Someone is flirting with you in a bar. In this case you don't know his aspirations; whether he really expects to get you into bed, whether he is justing having fun. He obviously has selected you from all the other women their, so you are attractive in some way.

Let's say he is just flirting (not expecting anything to really happen), is this treating you as an object? What about if he really hopes to sleep with you? If you are interested, does it make a difference?

No, I'd say that's showing an interest in me as a person- for whatever reason.

3. A couple goes to the ballet to watch skinny women twirl around on their toes. This couple gets pleasure from seeing what they consider to be fine art and honestly enjoy watching the performance-- even though they have no interaction with the dancers.

Quote:
Are the dancers on stage anything other to the couple watching then objects?

Yes, I think they're people who are recognized to have developed their talents to the extent that people will pay to see what they can do.

Quote:
4. A man goes to a dark club to watch women take off their clothes and twirl around a pole. Afterward the women come over to the man to strike up a conversation. There are pleasantries exchange and often a conversation about current events. Afterwards the woman suggests the man join her for a private dance which involves intimate touching. Then the man pays her and goes home. Are these strippers being treated "as objects", or does the conversation and human contact (quite a bit more than watching ballet) make this not objectification.

I'd put this on par with the ballet dancers. These women are people who have discovered what they can or want to do to make money. They've found people who will pay them for it. Quid pro quo.

Quote:
It is interesting you used the phrase "sexual or otherwise". If you consider a non-sexual example (as my first example above) then objectification is a pretty common form of human interaction.

The only problem I have with any human interaction is when one's personhood is forgotten or undermined by the other.

Quote:
I would like to know what make you feel as if someone is viewing you as an "object", and how you think this understanding would help us treat each other better in any practical way (I am assuming that you are suggesting that we ban flirting).

What? Ban flirting? No - the charged interaction and differences between men and women have provided me some of the most wonderful moments in my life. Ban flirting? Oh hell no.

As long as people remember that other people are people - I don't have a problem with any sort of interaction. The word 'object' just signifies, to me, that in a human context - that fact may be forgotten by one of the participants. I can't say that I've ever been treated like an object by anyone that I can think of - except my kids sometimes- who see me as a maid- their means to an end for clean clothes, and warm beds and food.
But I'm sure men feel that way all the time - having to be the major breadwinner, etc.



0 Replies
 
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Feb, 2010 08:36 am
@Brandon9000,
Umm, I don't know how wishing people to be viewed as people instead of objects could be construed that I don't think sex is good. I think sex is great. I wouldn't want to live without it. I just want to be treated like a person while I'm having it. Is that being too sensitive? If so - so be it.
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Feb, 2010 08:38 am
@aidan,
Quote:
I can't see it turning out to be good.


Neither can I Rebecca. It sounds wierd. Photography is not a subject. It is piss-balling about. You were right to blow a gasket. A serious narcissist is being conditioned and when she runs into competition with a few million other serious narcissists the **** really will hit the fan.
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Feb, 2010 08:39 am
@ebrown p,
Quote:
But adolescence is what it is (in my opinion it is much harder on parents then on teens).

Yeah - it's a learning curve and I'm slowly getting it.
0 Replies
 
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Feb, 2010 08:42 am
@spendius,
Quote:
Neither can I Rebecca. It sounds wierd. Photography is not a subject. It is piss-balling about. You were right to blow a gasket. A serious narcissist is being conditioned and when she runs into competition with a few million other serious narcissists the **** really will hit the fan.

EXACTLY!! You couldn't have spelled out my thoughts on the subject more clearly if you'd been reading my mind.

And what kind of education is it providing? She knows how to click a button and manipulate photo shop ...I just have to detach about the whole issue or I'll lose it all over again.
 

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