Just look at the boobs on that!
As I got thinking about it further through the day, I felt yesterday’s post would be not be complete without today’s.
Because it can go too far. Anything can always go too far.
Just look at the boobs on that!
Women can become seen as objects of desire. Objects. The language reinforces it – ‘on that’.
And when a person becomes an object, they are dehumanised.
And when a person is regularly dehumanised, they start to lose a grip on their humanity.
Show us your tits!
A group of young men drive past and one shout out of the window to a young woman walking along the street.
How does that young girl then feel? Cheapened. Threatened. Humiliated. Objectified.
Give me a rate…
So she may go home and jump onto Facebook to look for some reassurance. Reassurance that she is not just a body. That she has a face too. And she wants to know that others find her face attractive too. This whole rating thing that is so popular amongst younger people just feeds into this dehumanising though. When you ask for a rate. you become complicit in dehumanising yourself. You are openly asking for others to judge you on how you look. Which may be affirming on the odd occasion – more often that not, the nasty comments can drag you down.
Society has got better at restraint in this area in general – advertising has become less dehumanising of women’s bodies. Even this week, the new Mayor of London has announced a crackdown on body image adverts on the Transport for London network. It ties into this point, although is more about unhealthy or unrealistic body images. These body images are seen to create body confidence issues (as does being asked to give someone a flash of your tits outside McDonalds).
As the father of two teenage girls, I am extremely concerned about this kind of advertising which can demean people, particularly women, and make them ashamed of their bodies. It is high time it came to an end. Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London
It’s a great step in the right direction, of course, and should be praised as such, but does little to change what goes on on the street corner or in the office or in the school playground.
Looking at someone else in this way dehumanises them.
But it also dehumanises the person doing the looking.
It affects both their souls.
And can I just say at this point, whilst there have been some changes in the way some men now look at women, us women have a long way to go. It has become less socially acceptable ‘in nice circles’ for a man to pass comment about a woman’s body, but it seems perfectly acceptable for us women to objectify men. It’s a kind of backlash, a payback, for all the years that women have been treated as less than human. Whatever it is, it is no more acceptable than the other way round.
You see, seemingly harmless little comments about the hero in a film or a new teacher at the kids’ school can lead to a throwaway comment like that – which actually means you would have sex with them, you would be unfaithful…you would jump into having sex with someone just because they’re hot.
We need to be careful, us women. Very careful.
So what can we do?
Well, stop making the comments for a start. Stop looking at people in that way. Be aware of when you’re doing it and stop yourself.
But there’s a difference between a healthy appreciation of beauty and a smutty objectifying that has underlying sexual meaning. We need to find a way to reclaim this appreciation of the human body. We need to show how this appreciation can be expressed appropriately. We need to create a language for this that is affirming and positive and teach this language to our children.
Bodies are meant to be enjoyed. Bodies are meant to be appreciated.
It’s how we do it that counts.