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  1. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Objectifying the human body

    Discussion in 'Debate Room' started by Lea`Brooks, May 10, 2016.

    I'm having a small crisis because I just realized I may be a huge hypocrite. Let me explain.

    In last week's episode of Game of Thrones, we got to see a naked Jon Snow. Not full frontal or anything. Just a little butt crack and side-body action. Well Buzzfeed posted an article about it. "We Need To Talk About Jon Snow's Butt," were the exact words. At first, I just smiled and thought, "Haha, yeah... Jon's butt....." It wasn't until I looked at some of the comments that I realized, wait.... should I be laughing at this?

    So I'm at a place I'm unfamiliar with. Feeling that I objectified someone. But at the same time feeling that I didn't. I would never in a million years want to treat someone as an object. I've got in many fights with men who do that to women. So I would never want to do it myself. But Kit Harington is an attractive man. Of course I'd like to see him naked! Is that really objectifying, or just finding someone attractive? Have I become the very person I regularly yell at?

    Which is what led me here. What's the difference? When does "finding someone attractive" cross the line into "objectifying?" What is appropriate and what is not? I used to think I knew. But now I'm not so sure.

    What do you think?
     
  2. Megalith
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    Megalith Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think Kit Harrington is particularly embarrassed about people going crazy over his butt. If we were talking about a female models butt, with similar reactions, suddenly it starts having this negative vibe of perversion, even if the model is proud of how many guys go crazy over her butt. When I think of girls going crazy over a guy's butt I don't really see them in the same light as men doing the same thing, so there is a double standard. But on the other hand, is either instance really objectification?

    Well it is, but I think categorizing it as such takes away from the larger problem at hand. I'm not trying to hijack but this might be what we need to talk about. Is objectifying the opposite gender inherently bad? I think it's not. It's figuring out what is crossing the line, and what defines that line. That's a tricky question.
     
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  3. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's exactly how I felt. That when girls do it, it doesn't feel the same as when men do it. And that's why I feel so awful about it. Men are capable of feeling objectified just as much as women are. So why is one "okay" and the other is not? For instance, if that article about Jon's butt was about a female instead, I would probably be pissed. But because it was a man's? It felt like no big deal.

    Could it just be the history of women that make us feel this way? Is it ingrained into our consciousness that women have been objectified for years, and as such, even the smallest level of it becomes unacceptable? Or is it total hypocrisy: when men do it, it's bad, but when women do it, it's okay?

    I'm very confused. I hear my brain arguing two different sides and I don't know which part to listen to.
     
  4. Megalith
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    Megalith Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think it partly should have to do with the intentions and environment of the person who is objectifying. Are they getting into a relationship? Are they looking for the subject of their next art piece? Are they roaming the mall for eye candy? Are they looking at a picture or in their own home? And even if a double standard does exist, that is also not inherently a bad thing either. I know gender equality should be our M.O. but there are some difference that we will probably never be able to overcome, and that may be for the better. Have you seen this video? It's not without it's bias, but it's a good start to really tacking this, and it's in no way easy. Your fringing now.

     
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  5. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    Replace "objectified" with "admired." Do you still feel as bad?
     
  6. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    I guess not....
     
  7. Megalith
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    Megalith Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's a really good distinction actually. If a guys says, "Man I'd love to tap that ass" is he still admiring?
     
  8. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Women lack the same level of power as men, historically, in a patriarchal society, and you have a long history of women being objectified, and being judged primarily in terms of their sexual attractiveness to men. It's also much more common, still, to objectify women. I think you can make a good argument that such objectification of women is yet another instance among many, and across a lot of years, and given how society still views the female body in many ways as being more defining of the person than for a man, the negatives associated with yet further objectification of females simply doesn't exist with respect to men.

    You may objectify this one actor, for a moment, but showing him nude doesn't perpetuate objectification of an entire sex because that historical basis isn't there.

    It should be noted, too, that not all presentations of the nude human form, of either sex, are objectification. But I think an article about this guy's butt has a much different effect in society than would one entitled "let's talk about Danaery's tits." Or butt. The latter would be received less well.
     
  9. Megalith
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    Megalith Contributing Member Contributor

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    well said. It really shows that even the little subtle difference in how genders are treated can have appropriate reactions even if the inter-workings are complex and not understood.

    It reminds me of the saying which I love, "We stand a top the shoulders of giants."


    EDIT: Changed sentence slightly to remove possible misunderstandings of what I meant.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2016
  10. Lewdog
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    So... lets chat about Scarlett Johansson's ass!
     
  11. Megalith
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    Megalith Contributing Member Contributor

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    maybe not sexual objectification, but it's still objectifying. Even students drawing a nude model can be considered to be objectifying the model. Businesses objectify their employees and science objectifies their members as simple data. I just wish their was a better word which could describe the distinctions we've made in this thread more clear. It would make the whole feminist movement much less confusing, even to themselves, methinks.
     
  12. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Maybe a distinction between problematic objectification and non-problematic ones. I think the purpose and context come into play here.
     
  13. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    Why is admire not a good word here?

    admire
    play
    verb ad·mire \əd-ˈmī(-ə)r\
    Popularity: Top 40% of words
    Simple Definition of admire
    • : to feel respect or approval for (someone or something)

    • : to look at (something or someone) with enjoyment

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/admire
     
  14. Steerpike
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    Because that word ignores the greater context (and effect) of sexual objectification and focuses only on the subjective intent of the individual viewer.
     
  15. Lewdog
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    But I thought we have already settled on the fact that when you look at someone's body you aren't always having sexual thoughts? I've looked at women many of times and just thought to myself how beautiful their hair is... or other things like that, and not, "Hey I'd love to get up on that and pull her hair..."

    So it would just be the same as a art student drawing a nude model and admiring the curves of the body and definition of the muscle.
     
  16. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Again, you're only looking at your subjective thoughts here. The prevalence of sexual objectification of women is problematic because of its larger, societal consequences, not because every single person who views that woman does so with sexual thoughts.
     
  17. Megalith
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    Megalith Contributing Member Contributor

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    It should, but that is not inherent. Otherwise this thread would never exist. If the word added the purpose and context we wished, then it would simply be a much better word to describe this problematic objectification. Then maybe we get less confusion on both sides of the fence.
     
  18. Lewdog
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    I understand that there is a societal problem with it, BUT it's like throwing every tool in the same box, and that's a troubling issue. In fact it's what I see is so negative about feminism. To me (my opinion) they always see the woman as the victim and the man as the perpetrator.

     
  19. Lewdog
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    I'm not sure if this video is staged or not, but I think it shows a more significant problem, that it is acceptable for a woman to objectify or harass a man, and in some instances even encouraged, whereas it is extremely intolerable when the roles are reversed.

     
  20. Steerpike
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    I think it is a question of magnitude. It's an easy answer, and in my view a cop out, to point out that sometimes women engage in problematic behavior toward men. That behavior doesn't have nearly the same level of effect in society, and so pointing it out usually serves as a derail or distraction. To me, if you won't take the legitimate concerns of feminists seriously because you see that there are some instances where the situation is reversed, then you're simply using that as an excuse to take the legitimate concerns of feminism seriously. The two things aren't mutually exclusive, and there's no reason you can't acknowledge the valid concerns feminists have, even if you don't agree with everything or think they're missing some behavior going in the other direction. But instead, you allowed this to cloud your entire view of the issue (you see it as "so negative about feminism"), when it really isn't reasonable, in my view, to do that. You're taking one critique, relatively small in magnitude, and using it as an excuse to ignore the entire problem.

    Also, I should point out that there is plenty of feminist writing on the harms to men in patriarchy, so another part of the issue here may well be that you don't know enough about the various schools of feminist thought (it's not a monolithic area). Your criticisms sounds like the sort of thing you might hear from a talk radio show or posts on an internet forum, where you're inherently dealing with a superficial look at the entire subject matter.

    I'd say keep a more broad view of the issue, rather than a narrow focus, and also realize that like any such subject, the fact that you can make valid criticisms of one aspect or another doesn't make it reasonable to throw the entire line of thinking out the window. Feminists have engaged in some epic criticism of one another within their own circles, but they don't throw out the entire social movement because there are things to nitpick.
     
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  21. Megalith
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    It's not like you have nothing to complain about. If you see a women's ass and think, "That is a beautiful ass." I'm not going to hold that thought against you. So what, you are now condemned to forever hold in your thought, never to express what you thought of that ass? Lest you be attacked be feminist? There is still more to discuss here actually.

    At what point does our sexual objectification of a women cause damage on a social scale? Is it posting it on facebook? Creating an article? Chatting among your friends? At this point we conclude that no sexual objectification of a man is going to have negative effects on a social scale. But I imagine measuring this damage isn't easy, if possible.
     
  22. Lewdog
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    No, you are missing what I am saying. I totally believe in equality, but as of recently, especially when dealing with Hillary Clinton, the pendulum is swinging past center.

    Take for example Madeline Albright's comments, or Gloria Steinem's. They went to far overboard in the type of progress they want to make. To me it should be about the attributes and qualifications of an individual, and not the gender. Sure we've never had a female President, but we never had a black one either, and now we have. But look what has happened with that. We ended up with the first black President of the United States that many now look back and think he was under-qualified. He was a junior U.S. Senator, whom really didn't have a lot of experience other than being a good orator. Now we have Hillary Clinton who feminist are getting behind and pointing out that she is a woman first before even stating WHY she should actually be President. That's the reason I have a problem with a lot of modern day feminism.

    I have read a lot about the original movement of feminism in my Alcohol and the Law course this semester. Women were the driving force behind prohibition. Basically the 18th and 19th Amendments went hand-in-hand. The Prohibition movement by the Women's Christian Temperance Union and the Anti-Saloon League drove the masses of women who were dealing with the depravity of drunken and abusive husbands to hit the streets and fight for their voices to be heard. They didn't ask for preference, they asked for equality. They didn't demonize men in order to climb the ladder, instead they showed their own strength and abilities to get things done. If not for such causes you would have never heard of a national hero like Susan b. Anthony...

    So I really think you are taking my argument out of context and pigeon holing me in a group I'm not a part of.
     
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  23. Lea`Brooks
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    No fighting! *twitch* o.<
     
  24. Steerpike
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    En garde!
     
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  25. GingerCoffee
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    Objectifying women is not about liking a hot body and most men and women like feeling attractive. Objectifying women is what Donald Trump does, it's the definition of objectifying women. He does it to such an extreme, he even publicly objectifies his own daughters.

    Objectifying a woman is yelling out "nice boobs" when a scientist is giving an biology talk.

    Appreciating vs. objectifying the man meat
    Since very few men are reduced to being just a body, or if they are, they chose that route, it happens but it's rare that men are objectified. Women, on the other hand, are often objectified. And it's not just beauty and admiration. When a woman is dissed for being fat or ugly or even flat chested as if that's the whole of their being, it's the same thing. Men are more often objectified for being unattractive.

    A lot of women might like Brad Pitt or George Clooney because they are hot, but they don't miss the fact there is more to these men than their looks. But who knows much about Pam Anderson except that she starred on BayWatch?
     
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