Women : Just a sexual object

You often hear the term “objectification” to describe media depictions of women, but it also comes from a less expected source : women themselves over the course of their lives, there are many subtle ways in which women are taught to view themselves as object. This internalized objectification can lead to low self esteem, body image issues and lack of awareness of one’s own autonomy. After encounteing various obscene comments or reactions about women, I realize how important it is to elaborate on the subject of how men view women. While it may seem like “objectification” is something entirely separate from say, which wage inequality, it is really at the heart of a lot of feminist issues. If you look at misogyny in all its myriad forms, it usually comes back to the idea that women are objects, not subjects. By “object”, I mean something that exists to fulfill someone else’s desires and by “subject”, I mean somebody who has their own desires. “Objectification” specifically means reducing someone to complete objecthood. If you are socialized as a woman in the form of an object the it not only marginalize women but also denies them their subjectivity or agency. Some of the subtle means of objectifying women are patronizing rape culture language, body shaming or criticism of their bodies, trivialization of sexual misconduct, nudity double standards, encouragement of unnecessary beauty rituals, and prioritization of make pleasure. For instance, Irrfan Khan did a film called blackmail which had multiple masturbation scenes, it was a running joke throughout the film where Irrfan goes to the toilet to pleasure himself. There was no outrage at all. But now people have an issue with women doing it in the film veere di wedding. However, there are many loopholes regarding the misogynistic approach of the film but vulgarity or nudity is definitely not one of them. This showcases the narrow-minded or orthodox mindset of the male dominated society where wearing revealing clothes by women is seen as an invitation to treat her as an object of men’s sexual desires. Moreover, the appearance of women is being obsessed over to an extent that it gets tied with their worth in the society. Women hardly have any say in whatever happens to their bodies, maybe, because it is not really theirs. Also, the way sexual assault, harassment, rape, voyeurism and other forms of misconduct are depicted in the media and discussed in real life gives off the impression that “boys will be boys” and it is always women’s fault which makes her fall into such situations. This attitude makes women into objects by teaching them that violating their consent is not that a big deal. Furthermore, in both the bedroom and other areas of life, women gets the message that they exist to please men. This reflects the idea that male pleasure is mandatory while female pleasure is optional. Put all this together, we get an overall picture which discourages women from learning their own bodies, instead of encouraging them to view their bodies as instruments to please others. Apart from all of this, there is certainly no problmr with women who decide to undergo hair removal, plastic surgery and other procedures aimed toward beauty. The problems is not that beauty rituals exist; it is that women are constantly toldthat they must partake in them. Furthermore, it is telling that men are encouraged to do for less of this. For example, women are ridiculed for not shaving their legs, while men are not even expected to put a razor anywhere near their legs (although of course, they can and many do – again, it is about societal expectations). The fact that we tell women they are “supposed” to wear make up, remove body hair or diet starting at a particular age sends the message that how their bodies look, feel and smell to others is more important than how it feels for them to be in their own desires. Women are made to feel less or inferior if they don’t act or follow the feminine norms established by the society. Many pop-psychology theories about male and female sexuality,men are more visual, women are more submissive or less sexual etc – are suspiciously similar to justification for objectifications. A lot of this science is dubious, and to the extent that legitimate findings confirm stereotypes, they could very well have been found due to socialization. Contrary to what society and some strains of science teach us, women can be visual, active, desirous in short; all the things that make you a subjectand not just an object and we need to stop denying that.

 

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