Word of the day: Objectify *soapbox warning*

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Word of the day: Objectify *soapbox warning*

Post  Dinahkin on Wed 19 Sep 2018, 2:26 pm

Word of the Day: Objectify 

"degrade to the status of a mere object."

"When you treat a person as an object for your enjoyment."

Not a positive thing to do.

Ok.. this is a post to organise my thoughts regarding something I feel strongly about. 
No names, no pack drill, just my random musings. 

People are quite rightly quick to raise complaint when a man is seen to objectify a woman, or when the writers of magazine articles or any other media focus more on someones "bikini ready body" rather than their achievements, or make fun of "celebrities that have let themselves go" or whatever noxious phrasing is used as text alongside pap photographs. 

I've seen this objectification challenged by both women and men. I think everyone should be clear that that type of objectification belongs in the dark ages.  Everyone should be clear that women should be treated as equals to their male counterparts and their achievements lauded, rather than as objects for (usually) male judgement or enjoyment. 

That 'women should not be described in articles in terms that reduce them to being a combination of limbs, age and bust measurements when in the same situation their male counterpart is lauded for his intellect or proficiency in whatever field is being discussed', should be a given. 

Too often a man is praised for the woman he has on his arm, as though she were a particularly sparkly bracelet, an adornment that shows him in a good light, or depicts his prowess in whatever field he is in. The phrase "trophy wife" springs to mind. Women in turn are pressured to comply, to be the sparkly ornament, to make sure they are not "too fat", "too old".. in other words, to comply with the stereotypical norms of society. 

Rarely is a man seen as being the ornament on a woman's arm, but it happens, and often scorn is poured on the woman for "needing a gigolo" or "having a toyboy" rather than it being thought a negative for the man concerned. In such cases, the mans feelings at being objectified are dismissed as irrelevant, or not even considered as a possibility, because the focus is on the perceived shortcomings of the woman seen as seeking reassurance of her sexuality. His feelings get lost under a haze of "phwoar, good on you mate" innuendo or flat dismissal that he would have an opinion at all, let alone that he may be feeling abused.

(don't get me started on society and the negatives associated with women daring to be sexual beings, that's a whole 'nother essay Smile

We live in an age where beauty standards are being tested, but the old stereotypes persist, largely supported by the media, which in turn feeds society.

We've all seen the descriptions.. so and so female celebrity, age xx, showed off her cleavage/ lithe legs/ petite frame or *shocked tones* showed off a weight gain.. when she appeared on the red carpet to launch her new film or when relaxing on the beach, or shopping at whatever the local equivalent is to Tesco .. wearing a *insert description of gown/bikini/top* and a link to where it can be bought from, because after all, in the eyes of the media, all women *love* shopping, bless their little hearts.. don't they?

Describing women in terms of their constituent body parts is facing a growing backlash from those who see it for the objectification that it is. To me, that's a positive, the more women and men stand up and call out the media on their casual objectification, the better, because that's how society changes. 

We have come a long way from the saucy "nudge nudge wink wink" humour of the Carry On films in the UK, where so called "dolly bird" actresses showed off their cleavages and giggled in reply to saucy innuendo to the delight of the male cast and audience. When descriptions and innuendo about bust size and figure of an actress was literally written into the script and where one portrayal of such a stereotypical character could typecast a talented actress for the remainder of her career.

Those films now are looked at as an oddity, but when first released they were very much a reflection of their time, and that shows to me how far the depiction of women has come, even though there is still a long, long way to go.. 

There are established double standards, men are able to "get away with" behaviours towards women that are rarely challenged, where the reverse is not always the case. 

The disparity is even immortalised in song, in the musical "A Chorus Line" there is a song called "Dance 10, Looks 3" about a dancer who failed at auditions until she saw the scorecard where she had been given 10 for her ability, and 3 for her looks, and took it upon herself to change, rather than change the system.. 

In the lyrics of the song:

"Left the theater and called the doctor
For my appointment to buy
Tits and ass
Bought myself a fancy pair
Tightened up the derriere
Did the nose with it, all that goes with it

Tits and ass
Had the bingo-bongos done
Suddenly I'm getting national tours
Tits and ass won't get you jobs unless they're yours"  



The song is presented as a positive, it normalises the idea that the female dancer singing the song should undergo surgery to conform to what society considers normal in order to succeed, rather than society changing to accommodate all body types.


But what if it's the man being objectified, by a woman? 

What if it's a woman commenting on a mans chest / legs / six pack? 

What if the sexual innuendo is directed at a man by a woman? 

Does that make it "acceptable"? 

Is it seen as gender based "payback"? 

In those circumstances, todays' audience is more likely to respond with giggles and nudge nudge comments at her audacity, to react with astounded shock at the remark and cover it with laughter.. but that's not right either, in my opinion. 

Both women and men have the right not to be judged by their appearance, have the right not to be seen as trophies to be paraded around on the arm of a more well known celebrity or CEO or person in a position of power of whatever gender. 

Whether it is in the media context of a known couple, or a pair of news anchors, or other colleagues at work or two individuals in the same field, objectifying one to show the other in a good light is not acceptable in my view. 

Neither is it acceptable within any of those pairings. Objectification of a person by their "counterpart" to their detriment, says more about the person doing the objectifying than anything else, in my opinion. 
Such behaviour, is selfish, self serving and narcissistic, bordering on abuse. Strong words perhaps, but coercive control has many forms. 

The dinner party guest who says of their partner.. "so and so can't cook, don't be silly" when it is known that "so and so" is a cordon bleu chef , may sound like a joke comment to some, but to the person being belittled, that is abuse. 

The CEO who obnoxiously says of their partner "so and so has a great rack / looks great in mini skirts / has great abs" or refers to the body of their partner in some other less obvious way.. Is that a funny comment, or a manner of objectifying a person to make them less, and themselves more?

Whether the person is female or in rarer instances, male, no one should be made to feel objectified by the content of media articles, or comments and innuendo about their bodies in my view. 

Alluding to a woman "spilling out of her costume" on the beach or making comments about a man's sexual ability, or media comment that someones' body is "too fat" or "too thin" or other judgemental comments, are norms that are out of place in an inclusive, equal society.

How much ownership of this do we as society take? How much is our responsibility in demanding the salacious pap photos, or the sparkly red carpet parade? How much is "supply and demand" driving inequality?

I've generally used "women" and "men" in my musings, but to me, that includes anyone who identifies as either of those and anyone who identifies as anything else. Equality and fairness should apply to any and all genders, whichever anyone identifies as. My bottom line is that no one should be objectified. 

No matter who an objectifying or derogatory or sexist comment is made by. 

No matter what circumstance. 

No matter what forum it is made in. 

No matter towards whom it is made. 

We are all humans and we all deserve respect. 

Objectifying? Not a positive thing to do. To anyone.

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Dinahkin
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