Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Meaning of Sexual Objectification

The Meaning of Sexual Objectification

According to the Wikipedia

Sexual objectification is the act of treating a person merely as an instrument of sexual pleasure, making them (sic.) a ‘sex object.’ Objectification more broadly means treating a person as a commodity or an object, without regard to their (sic.) personality or dignity. Objectification is most commonly examined at the level of a society, but can also refer to the behavior of individuals.

The concept of sexual objectification and, in particular, the objectification of women, is an important idea in feminist theory and psychological theories derived from feminism. Many feminists regard sexual objectification as deplorable and as playing an important role in gender inequality. However, some social commentators argue that some modern women objectify themselves as an expression of their empowerment over men, while others argue that increased sexual freedom for women and for gay and bisexual men has led to an increase of the objectification of men. The idea of sexual objectification has also been an important area of discussion and debate in the area of sexual ethics and the philosophy of sex."
You can generally count on Feminists to use a plural pronoun with a singular antecedent, even in Wikipedia.
If you search "sexual objectification" on the website of the National Organization for Women, you will find lots and lots of articles, but no definition.
In discussing the issue with some actual Feminists, we arrived at an accurate definition:
Sexual Objectification: a term that means whatever a Feminist wants it to mean.  Generally, a statement, an image (that may include representations of females or female body parts), or anything else that may cause sexual arousal or titillation in heterosexual male viewers, and which the Feminist finds objectionable.
If the Feminist does not find something objectionable, then it is not "sexual objectification."

As an example, I am certain that Feminists everywhere would declare this piece to be a hideous example of "sexual objectification":

by which they mean that they object to it.  But, by denouncing the picture as "sexual objectification", they are projecting their own objections elsewhere: onto the photographer, the model, and especially the male viewer.    The Feminist isn't at fault for objecting to it: rather, the male observer is committing the offense of "sexual objectification" by looking at it, admiring it, and gazing upon it.  The Feminist who objects is now divorced from the process, leaving everyone else (in her mind) at fault.

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