No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. – Eleanor Roosevelt
Feminists of nearly all stripes are always blathering about the “objectification” of women, as if society, the media, the magical “male gaze” or whatever had the power to literally transform women into inanimate objects like the aliens in a certain memorable episode of Star Trek. To any reasonable person, the very idea is absurd; women are not passive “things” and cannot be transformed into such by any process known to modern science, nor are humans machines to be programmed by “society” or “The Patriarchy” (or whatever other devil one cares to conjure) into treating other humans in any particular way. To be sure, the weak-minded are subject to considerable social pressure which colors their thinking about others, but only the most completely brainwashed (who are and always have been a small minority) are wholly unable to see individuals as individual.
This is why the process of demonization works so well in maintaining hostility toward minority groups; the average person doesn’t deal with members of any given minority nearly as often as with members of the majority, and if hate or fear toward that group can be maintained he isn’t likely to have an intimate enough relationship with any of its members to learn that the prejudice and propaganda are false. If black people or Jews are segregated into ghettos and prohibited from frequent interaction with the majority, members of that majority don’t get the opportunity to learn the truth about them; and if homosexuals and whores are criminalized they are afraid to expose themselves to the majority. But women are not a minority; we are, in fact, a slight majority, and it’s a rare human who is not on intimate terms with at least one of us. Contrary to feminist propaganda, it is impossible to truly convince a majority of the population that women are something other than we are, because most of the population are women and the majority of the men are in the position to observe plenty of examples of individual female behavior.
The word “objectification” derives from the concept of a “sex object”. But sexual desire is transitive; it requires an object. The word “object” in the phrase “sex object” is therefore used in the sense of “object of the preposition” or “object of one’s affection”, not in the sense of “inanimate object”. Women ARE sex objects for heterosexual men, and anyone who doesn’t like it needs to take it up with Nature (and find another way for us to reproduce). Furthermore, the human body is an object in the concrete sense; it’s a physical thing which can be touched, takes up space, etc. Only the will or spirit animates it, and even then the body is merely a vehicle for the self. So I have a lot of trouble with people who decry the “objectification” of something which is already an object, in both senses of the word. I reckon what radical feminists are trying to get at is that men or “society” ignore women’s personalities, but that is nonsense; the fabric of society is largely woven and maintained by women, and (outside of some extreme areas of BDSM) the personality of a female “sex object” is just as important to the average male observer as her body is, despite what some feminists would like to believe.
OK, so what about graphic art? Women are a popular subject for both male and female creators and beholders of visual imagery, and even moderate feminists often decry the “sexualized images” of women they perceive as increasingly common. But what is an image? It’s a collection of tiny dots (electronic or paint) on a surface, which the human mind chooses to shape into something familiar. But the image is not the thing; this is what Magritte is telling us when he paints a pipe and labels it, “This is not a pipe”. It isn’t; it’s a picture of a pipe. And images of women – whether in advertising, porn, “feminist” art, medical illustrations or paintings by Flemish masters – are just that, images. Any “message”, sexual or otherwise, exists in the mind of the observer, and judging by some of the sexual “interpretations” I’ve heard applied by some feminists to pictures I see as innocuous, their minds are very dirty indeed (if not highly disturbed). I’m not trying to be difficult or facetious here, but rather to help you recognize that the “sexiness” of an image really is in the eye of the beholder. Would you be turned on by a photo of two dogs coupling? How about two monkeys? Two chimpanzees? Two really repulsive people? How about a poorly-drawn sketch of a nude woman? An artistic nude painting? A black-and-white photo of a nude woman wholly without sexual context? What if it was a nude man without an erection? A photo of a clothed man in some situation that appeals to a kink you don’t share? Some modern fanatics want to keep people from taking photos of fully-clothed children in public for fear that pedophiles might masturbate to them, and overzealous Victorians draped the legs of tables to avoid arousing the easily-aroused.
What I’m getting at is, people tend to see in a picture whatever it is they’re predisposed to see; I wouldn’t call a picture of a cop beating a man “sexual”, but an extremely sadistic or masochistic gay man with a uniform fetish might conceivably find it so. Pictures, like attitudes, are powerless to “objectify” women; that can only happen in the mind of individuals, and even then only in those who are predisposed to perceive such content everywhere they look.
One Year Ago Today
“January Q & A” answers questions about oral sex, electrolysis and the “Video Vigilante”.