Objectification of women - how does it work?

Discussion in 'Off-topic Discussion' started by HereAndThere, Sep 29, 2018.

  1. HereAndThere

    HereAndThere Fapstronaut

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    I guess the most obvious definition of objectification is treating/considering women as primarily sex objects. But i think it is considered to be more than that, that many other behaviors and beliefs are considered objectifying. I would like to better define this term to better recognize it and deal with it better in life.

    Porn
    It is argued that women described in sexual context as in porn is what directly contributes to objectification. But exact mechanism is not clear to me. I always considered porn a job and could compartmentalize women doing that job vs that same woman being a whole person doing that job. Does objectification happen when compartmentalization fails? Does this mental imagery cause objectifying patterns by influencing subconscious? Or is objectification just an excuse to prevent abusive deals women often get in sex industry?

    Machismo
    Objectification of women is often part of mainstream(precisely cultural, local, not global mainstream) definition of masculinity. Man is often expected to have, and express objectifying view of women. Even rebooting process can have a consequence for a man to fulfill this cultural definition, its easy to see how abstaining can cause focusing on purely sexual component of female, at least in medium short term. Is any definition of masculinity conductive to objectification just "wrong"? How to distinguish harmful objectification vs "normal" male sex drive during rebooting?

    Feminism
    Objectification of women and feminism are two very intertwined concepts. I would say objectification is one of the pillars of third wave feminism, and feminism is what shapes definition of objectification. I would presume that it is in feminist interest to keep definition of objectification as wide as possible, going as far as merging it with PC, making certain words and thinking "forbidden". Is there a way to detach ideology from definition of objectification, or is that detachment just impossible cause both are intertwined so much?

    Aesthetic
    Beauty appreciation is ancient business, and in practice its definitely often objectifying to women. Many works of art had been classified as objectifying just recently, due to changing definition, but still, in its core there is still this appreciation of female form. I guess there are limits to where art goes too far, but where is it? Where is this line between art and porn?

    What bothers me subjectively is that im having trouble reconciling this hypocritical mainstream stance about objectification vs what i know is right. Mainstream definition seems like it wants to turn woman into this purely ethereal being, where her mind and personality is what you should mostly concentrate on, and having thoughts otherwise makes you into this inferior felonious sexist being. Which is in line with the process of gender equalization, but much less in practice than in theory. And at the same time i know thats mostly in service of ideology. Real people are much less perfect and i like it that way.
     
  2. AngelofDarkness

    AngelofDarkness Fapstronaut

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    If someone's job consists of being an object to use for sexual pleasure, then there is absolutely no regard for any personal value in that job and therefore there is nothing to compartmentalize.

    Staring at a woman and fantasizing about her being an object to use for your sexual pleasure is harmful objectification to me. Looking at a woman and noticing that she is attractive which leads to momentary feelings of sexual attraction is "normal" male natural instinct behavior to me. Acting on noticing and feeling that sexual attraction by staring and sexually fantasizing would be active objectification and therefore wrong, because avoidable through willpower.

    The (naked) female body can both be aesthetically attractive and sexually attractive. I believe proportionality/harmony is part of our innate definition of beauty, which can also be applied to the female form/face (and male, for that matter). However, it is still a male natural instinct to also be sexually attracted to a (naked) healthy female body, so I don't think appreciating the female form with one's eyes only (as in art) is possible, there will always be a sexual component to it and the longer one focuses/has to focus on it, the more it will lead to sexual objectification.
     
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  3. HereAndThere

    HereAndThere Fapstronaut

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    Rarely any job values a worker for its personal value. Worker is valued for its performance and time(that also can be considered personal value, in which case there is no argument, sex work utilizes personal value in that case). But i see you put sex worker job in a separate(morally forbidden)category so i understand your point taking that into consideration.

    Hmm, so the difference is in acting or not on objectifying thoughts? I guess primary concern here is female safety. I want to point out that male is definitely expected to act out that sexual thoughts in some way, i guess your point is that it should "feel safe for woman"?

    So, there will always be objectification in some areas of life but we should just not focus on it? W
     
  4. AngelofDarkness

    AngelofDarkness Fapstronaut

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    That and actively staring with lust.

    Maybe I misinterpreted your use of the word harmful. I was thinking harmful in the broadest sense. I would see it as harmful and disrespectful to my self-worth if I was being viewed as a piece of meat. And I would consider it harmful on the male's part to sexually objectify a woman, especially when it comes to non-sexual social interactions/relationships.

    But are you not in control of your own thoughts? If you don't actively expose yourself to sexual triggers? (which you are also in control of; hence the difference noticing and staring)

    I thought you were talking about art, as in a picture of the (naked) female body. But besides that yes, avoiding sexual objectification by avoiding sexual triggers (exposing yourself to porn or focusing on a woman's body parts) is always in your own control.
     
  5. AngelofDarkness

    AngelofDarkness Fapstronaut

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    Also that is true, but with porn, a worker becomes both a product to consume and a means to create that product through physical performance.
     
  6. HereAndThere

    HereAndThere Fapstronaut

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    Yeah, i figured. I was just trying to make sense of it for myself.

    Yes, that difference again falls between thinking and acting in the end. But youre still going beyond, into thinking area. And under "harmful in the broadest sense" context i understand.
     
  7. I agree with Angel, but I will chime in with my own thoughts as well, because this is a good topic to discuss.

    I would take the word sex out of that equation. I mean yes, that's primarily what happens, but it doesnt have to be sexual in order to be objectification. If, for example, a man expects his wife to serve him 24/7 and meet his every need, that's still objectification, but its not necessarily sexual.

    I think this is the problem. When you watch porn, sure, if you were to stop and ask yourself "is this woman a whole person and worthy of respect and fair treatment?" Then yeah, sure, you might be able to acknowledge that she is. But come on... nobody is doing that when they're watching porn. Of course they arent stopping to think of the woman as a whole person, and the same goes for men in porn as well. When we watch porn, we are using the people on the screen as objects in our sexual fantasies for the sole purpose of illiciting arousal for our own sexual pleasure. There's nothing deeper than that. Nobody is sitting around watching porn and thinking, "man, look at this beautiful, strong, independent woman, going after her dreams and working hard at her career. I really admire her for that!" You might be able to "compartmentalize" that when your mind is thinking clearly, but not when you are actively engaging with pornogroahic material.

    I'm not really sure what you mean by this. Man might be "expected" to objectify women by other men who are not very good people, but where I'm from, nobody expects men to objectify women. We would consider that a bad thing, and we would expect men to grow up and be better than that.

    Well, I would argue a lot of that is not just the act of abstaining, but the fact that not everyone here has been pouring sexual material into their brains in copious amounts and it now removing that. I dont think the level of obsession most of the men here have with sex during their reboot is "normal." Obviously its completely normal to want sex, but I'm just saying, I think it would be a bit tough for you, in the position you are in, to really know what is normal

    Also, another thing to consider is, does "normal" = "good" or "right"? Not always. Its completely "normal" for people to watch porn all the time, but clearly we know that isnt good for us. It's also completely normal to eat processed food and junk, which also isnt good for us. So just because it might be normal, or average, for men to objectify women, doesnt mean that's a good thing or some biological instinct you cant change.

    Well, during rebooting, I'm not sure if you fully can distinguish between those yourself, because you've basically actively screwed up the way your mind works and thinks about sex and women for a long time (that's not a judgement, just a statement of fact). So it will be difficult to change that.

    But I would say that a normal male sex drive that isnt falling into objectification territory would be to see an attractive person, feel attracted to them, maybe even including an erection if you get those easily, and admiring their attractiveness for a brief moment.

    I feel like, for myself, its really easy to tell what is objectifying and what isnt. I mean, if I see a guy or girl and I'm like "oh wow, that person is gorgeous," and I blush a bit or feel flirty or nervous because they're attractive, that's normal. When I say "damn, look at her ass in those pants." That's slightly closer to objectification, but I think also still normal if it's a fleeting thought and ends there. If I were to think...

    "damn, look at her ass in those pants." And then start imagining what her butt would feel like and squeezing it and what she looks like naked, etc.

    .. that's objectification, and yes, it is ALWAYS wrong.

    Of course. This is a very problematic way of thinking, to be unable to separate an idea from whatever ideology or label happens to go with it. That's a huge problem in our society right now, honestly. People hear something that sounds a bit like feminism and they turn their ears off, because they cant accept that anything that sounds "feministy" might actually be true and worth talking about. That's very close-minded thinking, and it needs to change. People do the same with politics and religion and any other group like that.

    To me, asking if objectification of women can be dissassociated with feminism is as silly as asking if you can be pro-life and still not be a Rebublican. Of course you can. Your mind is too wrapped up in the labels.

    This is a difficult question, and I think it's honestly pretty subjective. I'm not sure there is an overarching objective answer to that.

    But I will say, I feel like if I'm honest with myself, I can tell the different between when I am objectifying someone or admiring their body as something aesthetically pleasing. And I think you probably can, too. The problem is that I think a lot of people ARENT being honest with themselves. They're making excuses and using the "aesthetics" argument to justify their objectification, and I think deep down, most of those people know what they're doing, they're just in denial or lying.

    Well, then stop worrying about what mainstream media is telling you, and do what you know is right. But be honest with yourself, and dont pretend that men have no control over themselves and cant possibly ever stop objectifying women because "testosterone." There is a line between being a normal, sexually active male, and being a pervert, and I think most people know, deep down, when they are crossing that line. They just need to be honest about it and not make excuses.
     
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  8. Yep, i pretty much agree word for word. Well said.
     
  9. Damn, you give responses! I know i said this before, but really, your answers are always so well thought out and written that i feel like i'm reading the opinions of some expert in the field lol. If you weren't already a writer i'd say you need to write a book...just sayin. :)

    Really, you don't do that? Thats always my first thought when watching porn...not ;)

    I agree, people justify sex and sexual thoughts as a 'normal' and 'natural' thing, but i think it is only in moderation. Liked you said, we aren't supposed to be constantly thinking about it and craving it. Its overdone, degrading, and unproductive.

    I agree there is a lot of value in certain feminist type views and opinions, but i will say that the 'movement' (so to speak) sort of did it to itself. It went so overboard on feminist notions and so out of its way to shove its opinions in everyone's face in the last few years that people have grown weary of those kinds of views. Even me, and i've never considered myself close minded or macho in my thinking, but its just gotten stale. Again, i'm not saying all of it is, but the annoying views and comments are taking away from the ones that really matter.

    Again, i agree. I never get 'turned on' by naked paintings at an art museum, but i can enjoy the workmanship and the skill of the artist. But i don't think it works in real life as much the way people claim. You can't stare at a girls ass and say "i'm only admiring the art form"...yeah right. I do think there are levels of sexualizing though, some people can look at a girl and drool like cave men and have all sorts of dirty thoughts, while others might just look and admire and think she's attractive.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 29, 2018
  10. HereAndThere

    HereAndThere Fapstronaut

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    I agree but we dont talk nearly as much about guys being objectified, at work,military or elsewhere, and used as slaves which many are. I presumed sex played a role in that discrepancy.

    Hmm, i cant really say that i think of them as objects either. I dont think about them at all, for me porn is the way pixels are arranged, not people. I have people in fantasies being objectified. But thats a slippery slope. When does sensory input become responsible for my personal views?

    Most of Africa, South America, Middle East and good portion of Asia would disagree. Im not from either of those btw. I heard this saying once: "men dont grow up, we just get older",lol.

    Good argument. Though i wont wait till men and women agree which is good or bad.

    Ok i agree mostly. I wonder where does "normal" response comes from then. Is it some biological instinct we cant change or should it be encoded in how boys are raised? Who does write that response if its to be ingrained in boys?

    Eh, being pro life has a more or less clear definition even without political base. Objectifying material doesnt. Its problematic as difference between art and porn.

    I dont. I just think that what is right is not working best.
     
  11. AngelofDarkness

    AngelofDarkness Fapstronaut

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    This is an interesting point and I reflected on it (also in regards to being valued as a worker) and came to the conclusion that maybe using a person for their performance isn't necessarily objectification. If I was used by a man to be their personal cleaner and cook, that doesn't really turn me into an object to be used, as in a piece of meat to get physical stimulation from. It just uses my personal abilities/skills for one's own personal gain (which doesn't make it any better than objectification, of course). Sorry if this is too much hairsplitting or something, I just thought that might be a subtle difference for defining the term objectification.
     
  12. Interesting, you made me have to look up the word objectification and this is what i got..."the action of degrading someone to the status of a mere object." So, i would think anytime a woman (or any person) is not treated as a human being whether it be using them solely for sexual gain or for other forms of gain such wanting them for a personal servant only, it seems like objectification.
     
  13. I’ve always view objectification is when we divorce the personhood from the person; we focus on a part instead of the whole.

    I believe most people, with a properly formed conscience, know when they’re doing this to someone and they know it’s unfair/wrong. That’s my hope anyway. I tend to give humanity too much credit.
     
  14. HereAndThere

    HereAndThere Fapstronaut

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    Its not exactly clear cut is it. I agree with this definition:
    But i alvays though that how women are objectified in porn requires some sort of reaction, even if coerced. That makes it more akin to being a slave.
     
  15. AngelofDarkness

    AngelofDarkness Fapstronaut

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    But when I go to a restaurant for example and I eat good food, am I not divorcing the cook's abilities to satisfy my needs from his whole personhood? Does that mean I am objectifying the cook? Or maybe the difference is that when we already know and appreciate a person for their value in terms of having individual thoughts and feelings, we shouldn't reduce them anymore to their performance only?
     
  16. AngelofDarkness

    AngelofDarkness Fapstronaut

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    But isn't porn triggering your sexual arousal? That's because nature designed you in a way to be sexually aroused by seeing people, not pixels. If I see a picture of food, it will still trigger me to feel hungry, even if I'm aware that it's just pixels, not actual food.
     
  17. No. Do you still believe the cook is a person with individual thought who has inherent worth as a person? If so then you’ve done enough with the knowledge you have to not objectify them even though you don’t know them personally.

    I don’t have to know people personally in order to not objectify them. I know people are more than cooks, more than artists, more than insert profession. People are more than heterosexual, homosexual, pan sexual, insert sexuality.

    We are more than our material parts, so the true appreciation of a person is body and soul. I know, I know people don’t want to talk about souls but you’re not going to be able to arrive at working definition of objectification until you do since the topic deals with concepts such as justice which exist solely because we have souls. Justice isn’t a quality found in nature/animal kingdom. It arises from an awareness that we are more than flesh and bone, more than talents and performances.
     
  18. HereAndThere

    HereAndThere Fapstronaut

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    I thought about it, this is purely subjective, i cant link it with something outside of me. But i realized i mostly get off from porn induced fantasies, not porn directly. I do enjoy it more when its aided by porn but adding a layer of fantasy makes the whole thing being even more supercharged. Its a sick mental trick i guess.
     
  19. This is getting complicated lol. In a way i guess you'd be right, we should think about our cooks and waiters as people. In fact, the world would be a better place if we saw everyone as human beings instead of servants filling needs. We see a waiter or waitress and we get upset when they take to long or when are order is messed up, we don't think "maybe they're having a bad day, i hope everything is alright". And when it comes time to tip most people penny pinch, we don't think "Maybe they could use a little extra money, its hard to make ends meet on a waiters salary". So yeah, thats actually an excellent point.
     
  20. AngelofDarkness

    AngelofDarkness Fapstronaut

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    That is true. I guess porn really does teach people that women are nothing more than sexual objects. The question would be why. Why are people aware that a cook/waiter/etc, whose abilities are used to satisfy people's needs, is still an emotionally valuable individual outside of their work performance, but with porn, people - even outside of porn - think of women as nothing more than sexual objects. Maybe it's the natural instinct aspect with porn, which momentarily takes over the mind, without being aware of anything else but hardwired sexual objectification. Which is basically what Castielle already said.

    (Sorry if I went off topic by going full philosophical)
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2018

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