Objectification and Dismemberment

Women are objectified. Women are independent. Neither phrase applies to all women or their feelings. So I’m unsure as to what stance I should take on the objectification of women. For every woman who’s upset at being focused on as a sexual being, there’s probably a woman who’s using her sexuality to her advantage. I think that this ambiguity is the reason why women remain the brunt of a lot of harassment and shaming. It’s like punishment.

The sexual properties of a woman are what usually attracts a man to her, and well we want men, so we often subscribe to their standards of beauty. It’s a sketchy chain of events in my opinion because I could be irritated that a dude on the street made a comment about my derriere, but I’ll wear a booty accentuating outfit to attract or please the man I want. Do I love objectification? No. Can I hate it? Not even. Women cannot use objectification to their advantage and not expect drawbacks. It’s not only the guys I’m interested in who take notice of my physical attributes, it’s the guys I’m not interested in also. This doesn’t mean I should be harassed, but I’m definitely going to be looked at, and most of the time in a way that I don’t like.

Now, although I think I understand some of the nature of and my personal struggle with objectification, it’s dismemberment that upsets me. Dismemberment isn’t only the objectification of a woman, it’s a focus on one specific aspect of her body intended to be advertised or received as something sexual. This makes me feel as though women are being treated as though we have no brains. It’s like that awkward moment when a man is focusing on our breasts and not our face when we’re talking to them. When I learned about dismemberment I immediately recognized my role in its perpetuation. It is something else I struggle with. I often have an avatar photo of just my legs and even recently I had an avatar up of me in my favorite t-shirt, but I couldn’t get my face in the picture too so it’s a focus on my chest. I’ve had men respond favorably, BUT they were all men who knew me. Strange men haven’t responded directly to it but it could just be that they know better because of what the t-shirt says. What if it was a picture of my chest in a bikini top? On one hand, I may receive compliments about it, but on the other, I may not be respected. Why can’t the compliments and respect go hand and hand? This is control. Despite not physically harming or controlling my body, men are able to control how I display it based on their anticipated reactions. I could go against the grain, but then I would have to decide between going rogue and possibly being alone.

I don’t find women to only be the victims of objectification because I objectify men everyday when I discuss their physical attributes with other women, or even the men themselves. (Yea, I’m a G) I just believe that men don’t mind being objectified. I wonder what would happen if women took the power away by sizing up men first? Wouldn’t it be nice for once if men tried to live up to our physical and sexual expectations en masse? Women are judged heavily on appearance and are often excluded if they don’t meet certain societal standards. I see it everyday, especially when I go out. Then, not only are we subject to objectification, we’re being pit against each other. We’re being fooled and I don’t see enough evidence that we’re #winning #victorious as a result.

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