Thursday, April 12, 2012
The 'Conversation' About Female Objectification
I've mentioned before that feminism seems to be the biggest objectifier of women out there, and this Ashley Judd bullshit provides me with a convenient way to explain my reasoning to the uninitiated. At its heart, objectification is a denial of personal or moral agency. Agency is the idea that the things you do have an affect on the world and on yourself. That your action A will result in outcome B or C or D, that the outcome actually depends on your action. When people are seen as objects, they're seen as incapable of effectual decisions or actions--actions that actually lead to outcomes. It's basically like saying "nothing you do matters, because shit just happens to you".
Feminism posits that objectification of women is a process that originates in men's brains and dicks, rather than partly in women's decisions and actions. They completely remove women as a causal or interactive factor in this phenomenon. A man's decision to objectify a woman is a decision that originates spontaneously within himself, based on nothing but his piggishness.
I mean, to someone like Ashley Judd, being in the public eye should have no bearing on how anyone sees or thinks of her. She may be making a living cashing in on her sex appeal, but at the same time she lives in a universe where even as she exploits her sexuality, she denies it has, or should have, any effect on anyone, and woe betide the evil man who might fap to still images of her looking coyly into the camera with an acre of boobage on display because he's not acknowledging her as a human being. Perhaps he is allowed to fap to an audio track of her talking about feminism with her voice electronically altered to conceal her gender, but I wouldn't bet on it. Masturbating to thoughts of anyone you do not know on a deep, spiritual or intellectual level is the purest evil there is.
Unless you're a woman rubbing one off to images of David Beckham.
Which brings me to the other half of the sexual objectification equation. You know, the one feminists have never heard of or thought about because they're too busy admiring their own vaginas in a completely non-objectifying way, unlike you disgusting men who are only interested in SEX.
So let's look at the whole picture, based on the criteria of sexual attractiveness with respect to men and women, and the intellectual dishonesty in people like the commenters at RhRealityCheck and Jezebel.
Women spend hours a day sometimes turning themselves into beautiful and sexy objects. They wear high heels because small feet correlate with high estrogen levels and fertility, and feet look smaller in high heels. Legs also look longer, which correlates with youth, and because those high heels cause the lower back to arch they make a woman's bum look more alluring. Women wear lipstick because women's lips are naturally darker and fuller than mens to mimic women's genitals and lipstick enhances that effect. They dye their hair to hide greys and use wrinkle creams that give the illusion of youth, and agonize over acne because clear skin indicates health and good genes to potential mates.
They may not do any of this consciously knowing why it works, but they do it because they know it's sexy.
And they're MORE likely to do all of these things when they go out in the world where there are LOTS of men to attract, and then live in sweat-pants and yesterday's make-up around their significant other (the man they supposedly want to be attractive to) or when they're alone at home. So, they are indeed doing it for the male attention, and not to just "feel" sexy. It's basically like putting out a broadcast, but hoping only the most fit and acceptable guys will receive and act on the signal.
This is an action, ladies. And it results in an outcome. The outcome is that you are now MORE sexually attractive to men you don't know and who don't know shit about you as a person, and contrary to what you'd like to believe, that IS the outcome you were going for.
And the retarded idea that men aren't objectified and judged based on sexual criteria...it just shows feminists have NEVER been able to put themselves in men's experience, or even understand how their own brains work.
What are the "sexy poses" for women? The ones that show superficial indications of qualities men find attractive--poses that emphasize curves (fertility and child-bearing capability), facial expressions that are coy or coquettish (pleasant disposition), angles that display beauty (good genes), clear skin (health), and long legs (youth). The nakeder the better, because a man's visually detectable criteria for what is sexually attractive in women is based on her body.
What are the "sexy poses" for men? Action poses. Strength and power poses. Work poses. Rebellious or defiant poses. And if those men are all the way naked, then you can't see that they can afford that Hugo Boss suit, or what kind of work they do, or whether they're in some kind of uniform, or what kind of social status they have, can you?
Men are sexy to women because of what they can bring in the way of protection, social status or resources. The poses reflect that, and just because they are all based on what men can do or have or can get or earn doesn't mean they aren't objectifying, and it DOES NOT mean that men aren't judged based on those visual criteria. I read once that a woman decides within five seconds of looking at a man whether she wants to get to know him better, and a lot of the time the decision is based on things like the quality of his shoes rather than how nice his smile is.
And while it might suck to be objectified based on your looks when your looks aren't something you can easily change, it must also suck to be objectified based on how much you bring to the table in performance standards--essentially, objectified based on your utility to a given woman.
Now, you don't hear the kind of moaning and caterwauling over the sexual objectification of men that we ALWAYS seem to hear over the slightest hint of the sexual objectification of women. And the difference not that men have male privilege--it's that men who are UNable to be seen as sexual objects by women because they fail to meet the criteria are seen as losing out, while women who ARE objectified usually feel threatened.
And THAT can be attributed to the differing biological costs and benefits of sex depending on whether you're a man or a woman. Now, for the sake of argument, let's just pretend that we're living 20,000 years ago, before the pill and abortion and slutwalks and the sexual revolution and all that, because 20,000 years ago is the environment our instincts think we're living in.
Unwanted sexual attention--that is, sub-par men or men who haven't been vetted ogling a woman--feels threatening to a woman because the biological cost (pregnancy) of that attraction carried too far (rape) is extremely high.
Getting pregnant by a sub-par man was a biological disaster for a woman. She'd waste one of her finite, timed shots at the reproductive target, risk her health and life, and might have 4 years of decreased fertility from breastfeeding before she'd be able to try again, all of it thrown away on a sub-par child, sired by a man who at the very least had not proven to her in advance that he'd stick around and help her raise it.
That's a HUGE set of risks and costs, so *unwanted* sexual attention from a man she feels doesn't measure up makes her uneasy. But she can't get any sexual attention at all, even from the men she does want, unless she presents herself as a sexually attractive woman, can she? So when she's applying all that make-up and pulling on that snug t-shirt, she's instinctively (but maybe not consciously) aware of why she's doing it--to be attractive to an awesome guy, which will make her feel sexy--but when non-awesome or non-vetted men express unwanted or premature interest in her, she's made uncomfortable and she buries the agent/object conflict under an illogical tangle of rationalization wherein she deems men should NOT objectify her even when men objectifying her was her goal, and wherein none of it has anything to do with HER or anything she is or does--it's all the fault of those men and the dicks they're led around by.
This is one of the reasons why male behavior around women was always bound by strict rules of courtesy, and why even as recently as my grandfather's time, a man could get his lights punched out for offending a woman by using vulgar language in her presence. And it's why women are still the group with the most power to control discourse and rules of politeness--they set the limits of what is acceptable speech and behavior, and pretty much everyone caters to their lowest common denominator of comfort level.
Because of those female costs and risks, men have to compete and perform in order to get a shot at reproducing. But 20,000 years ago, if HE had sex with a sub-par female he wouldn't be interested in hanging out with long term, he lost nothing but a few million sperm that regenerate constantly. He could--at least until recently--just walk away, no loss no foul, and try again with someone better the moment he could spring another boner.
And for him, being objectified is a GOOD thing. He has to compete for females, remember. Being objectified is success, and success makes him a winner, even if he doesn't end up having sex with any of the women making eyes at him across the cave.
So he doesn't make a big deal about being found sexy. Being found sexy by many women costs him nothing, and can only pay off more the more women objectify him, because then HE might actually get to have his pick of women rather than the other way around. And none of this means that men want sex all the time, or from many different women, or anything like that. It just means they aren't going to have that visceral, instinctive uneasiness around an appreciative gaze from a woman they don't know.
And even if he has no interest in women or sex or reproducing, the things that make him a sexy object are things that will make his life awesome as an individual--money, self-sufficiency, respect, physical fitness and the admiration of others. Even if he doesn't EVER want sex, any of women's sexual criteria he meets are of benefit to him as an individual. Up until very recently in our social and legal evolution, he did not face the conflict that what makes him valuable sexually is also a HUGE potentially life-ruining or even fatal liability if his sexual judgement led him astray, or if a woman took advantage of him.
Women have always had ALL the power in the sexual equation, but up until an eyeblink ago it was a power that could utterly destroy them if they weren't able to exercise total control over it, and even if they don't consciously understand that, their instincts do. Men have always had to earn their sexual power, and it was a power that, once they had it, cost them nothing. It was the getting it that used to cost them a fuck-ton--often their lives as they performed their way into proving themselves valuable enough to lease a woman's uterus.
Now what really gets me is how completely oblivious most feminists are to things like this, how they will deny the agency women exercise when they objectify themselves by shifting all the onus onto men to effectively gouge their own metaphorical eyes out or else they're being pigs, rather than acknowledging the part women play in the game of sexual attraction. And the cognitive dissonance of saying something like "men will not be treated like meat. Period," EVEN WHILE THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT MEN LIKE THEY'RE PIECES OF MEAT.
It gets me that instead of understanding that their problem with the problem of sexual objectification of women originates in instincts that served women in the fucking cave but have nothing to do with the social, legal, technological or economic realities of today, feminists will perform the pathetic intellectual gymnastics required to blame their own double standards on the collective delusion of male Privilege so they don't have to admit that women are instinctively cautious about sex and men instinctively cavalier about it.
And what I find most hilarious is the denial that women objectify men based on criteria they can determine with their eyes alone--all the cues and signals so obvious in sexy images of men that showcase their utility to women, and that can be as simple as the way he's standing when the shutter clicks.
If women are objectified as ornaments, then men are objectified as appliances. And the difference between an ornament and an appliance is that ornaments are coveted objects prone to theft by the unworthy, while appliances that no one wants get hauled to the dump. A woman objectified by the "wrong man" feels uneasy because once upon a time, her reproductive costs and risks could cost her everything, while a man objectified by women was actually deferring his disposability.
And I can even see that little nugget of truth in the lament of a 50 year old attractive businesswoman who laments that it's been ages since a strange man gave her "the look". “Leering hasn't happened in years,” she says wistfully. Of visiting Italy 20 years ago with friends, she says, “we were furious that the Italian men pinched your bum. When we went back, in our early 40s, we were furious that no one was pinching our bums.” She's now discovering what men understand right from the get-go--that being objectified by others is proof of your market value, which is why young women go to such lengths to make themselves beautiful even as they scold the men who dare to notice.
And though none of this instinctive bullshit, as I've presented it, can be changed on the fundamental level of limbic hardwiring, I really think knowing what the fuck we're dealing with here, and why it exists, is the first step to dealing with the issue. If women WANT to be seen as sexual agents in this age where most of the reproductive risks and costs to them have been mitigated by modern technology, they have to stop denying they have sexual agency, and they really need to grow a pair and talk themselves out of behaving like they live in the goddam victorian age, where women were so at the mercy of their biological vulnerability that a double-entendre from the wrong man could earn him a beating.
It might come as a shock to a lot of people, but WE DON'T LIVE THERE ANYMORE. In this reality, in this environment, with women's fertility on total lock-down if they so desire, and men facing legally enforceable $100,000 baby mortgages when they have an "oops", our instincts are actually diametrically opposed to our current relative risks and costs.
And all this female kvetching over a few appreciative glances or the thought that a guy you wouldn't have anything to do with might be jerking one off with an image of your tits in his mind, really needs to stop.
If feminism wants women to be taken seriously as men's equals, then it's women who are going to have to do the adjusting for a change. And that means not calling for her smelling salts whenever some guy tells her she's pretty.