RSS Feed

Objectification, is it ever acceptable?

Okay, I don’t know where I am going with this, but it’s a process that’s been doing the rounds in my head for a couple of weeks now after an unpleasant afternoon in a group I attend.

There was a discussion between 2 women about a recent class they’d been attending at our local swimming pool, run by a young guy who they both talked about in derogatory terms. One of these women is older than me (I am 59) and the guy they were discussing was probably mid 20’s I am guessing. Later on in the afternoon the subject came up again and I was unable to keep my big mouth shut and questioned the assertions being made and wondered how and if this was okay. I angered the 2 women with my question and was met with varying reasons why is was okay, just a bit of fun, tongue in cheek etc and I realised that I was wasting my breath. (I often have different ideas and thoughts to the rest of a group, so no change here).

Over the last couple of weeks I have noticed more and more the photos being shared on social media of naked or half naked men, along with comments we all expect to see. It makes me wonder, is it okay to objectify men? I am not sure I have the correct word, or that I am expressing myself well, but is it okay? We have spent decades complaining about how women have been treated in the media, have been used in advertising, are plastered over men’s magazines and generally seen as sexual objects, yet we don’t appear to want to see the double standard.

When we want to educate and inform our children, we understand that modelling the type of behaviour we expect from them is as important as the words we say. Yet, I see on a daily basis that we don’t seem to be modelling to our menfolk how we would like to be treated ourselves. How can we expect them to understand what is not acceptable to us if we do it to them?

Back to the group 2 weeks ago….imagine if this had been an old man in his 60’s talking about the young swimming coach in the same vain. Would we have all sat and laughed along with the conversation? Really? I can postulate that we might have been concerned he might act on his fantasies and reacted very differently.

I believe I have some rather extreme reactions to what seems like fun and ribald humour, and that is seems OTT and yet I have to ask. When is it acceptable to objectify another human being?

Advertisements

About kathythesane

Lived in Kent, then Devon, now France. Trained as a Mental Health Nurse in Canterbury, then at Training South East (Sandhurst) in Transactional Analysis with Alice Stephenson (dec'd) , Suzanne Boyd and Mellie Lewin. Managed a Private Psychiatric Nursing Home for very mentally ill patients in Devon for 3 year before retiring to France in 2006.

One response »

  1. I know this is an older post but just wanted to share my two cents. I agree that many women don’t see the double standard but on the other hand it’s a pretty big leap from depicting men that are modeling willingly to act in a derogatory in manner. Those women had no right to talk about the pool guy like that, this form of objectification is definitely not ok. At the same time it should be ok to find a guy attractive or not, as long as you treat him well. The same goes for male attraction to women of course.

    As for double standards…yup, technically it would be, but I’d be more worried about poor treatment that could hurt him if he know. I mean, if the other women were to speak of his nice torso that would still technically be objectification but at least it’s far better to compliment people. My personal story is another example. I work as a male waiter in a club and two times a month we do ladies nights with the male waiters being shirtless. Since the manager and club owner is a woman and there’s no equivalent gig with scantily clad female waitresses one can argue that she’s imposing double standards but on the other hand it’s actually a very friendly climate in our club during our ladies nights. The majority of our audience behave well and the few who don’t are shown the door and we have a good time at work in general. What matters most in the end is treating people well.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: