Sexual Objectification: A Non-Issue
No, we don’t have to take sexual objectification seriously. Sexual objectification is not the problem nor is it a problem. Nor does it exclusively affect women. The emotional assumption that sexual objectification causes problems or is somehow ‘bad’ distracts from genuine ills like obsessive consumerism, which is the direct result of capitalism and its complete inability to afford purpose or time to foster it. But instead of focusing on that, we turn our attention to something that is so obviously a non-issue.
Sexual objectification, as feminists and many others describe it, has always existed and is little more than a manifestation of the mechanism our genes use to motivate us to FUCK. It is as simple as that. Our penchant for viewing and thinking of others as sexualized bodies is not only usual but necessary for our survival as a species. More than this, even non-sexually speaking, it is not necessary to consider the inner lives of everyone around us in order to respect or interact with them successfully. In fact, the notion that we should arbitrarily respect anyone or automatically care about their aspirations is bosh.
Mainly, sexual objectification in markets is a byproduct of consumerism and the process of sales. It is a means, not an end, and it works well because it comes naturally to us. We will almost always find someone sexy before we find them interesting. Face first, thoughts later. Even innocence in the court room may depend on how handsome you are.
So let’s break this concept down and the reasons why body culture and S.O. exist and examine whether they’re as inimical to society as some people (mostly feminists) propound they are.
Marketing vs. Sexual Objectification
The most obvious example of this supposed problem is featured ubiquitously in glossy rags. They aren’t the only ones however, for even the more intellectual of periodicals attempt to digitally nip and tuck away physical imperfections. This is presumably done because we prefer to look at attractive people, in other words ‘sexy’ people. Again, sales.
If we’re talking about featuring people on a magazine then this also means we are selling a product which needs to be appealing in order to be bought. The product is the magazine but the person on the cover, or the feature, must inevitably become a product as well because their image is also being sold – in fact it is often used as the reason for the purchase. Buy me because inside there are intimate and equally inane details about the life of Madonna or Justin Bieber. In fact, any time we create art, videos, advertisements, or anything to be consumed with ourselves in it, we perforce turn ourselves into commodities. This includes blogs and youtube videos.
Sexual objectification is just a tool used in the process of commodification; the turning of something into a commodity to be sold. It is not always necessary but is often one of many techniques used in selling a product that features people. Aside from using the attractiveness or sexiness of one’s body we might also use a catchy title, one that is frighteningly misleading. It is also likely that the product promises some secret or insight into how to live better, or even something like an improvement upon one’s education such as tips on business savvy.
When people talk about Forbes and use it as an example of how men aren’t sexually objectified they are off-base and casuistic for two reasons: Forbes is selling information about business; and the people featured, while made to look as attractive as possible, are there for their financial success and not their bodies. But this doesn’t mean you can’t include that if said person ALSO has a nice bod.
Alternatively, Vogue sells fashion which is inextricably attached to body image, fit, physicality, and general appearance. Of course the women in Vogue need be sexy and sexualized because we dress to impress and sexiness is impressive – it speaks to the most base, primitive, and largely subconscious part of our psyche. Not all products use the same techniques because they are not always relevant. But even if they did it would not be because of a conspiracy to objectify women rather it would be because IT FUCKING WORKS! If selling hearts and minds was as effective, if people cared strictly about one’s hopes and dreams, our mags would have thought clouds littering the front pages as opposed to tits and pectorals.
So if you have a problem generally with how sexualized people are in editorials, film, whatever, or how unrealistically their bodies are portrayed, even if it isn’t strictly sexual, then your problem is with how capitalist culture’s marketing schemes exploit our biology. After all, products are always portrayed as better looking and more efficient than they really are, why should people be any different?
Inimical? Or not?
Sexually objectifying someone or something is not categorically bad for us. It can be bad for us, like eating too much or exercising too strenuously. But in and of itself, how could it be? It’s just a biological motive to fuck someone.
Markets exploit it, and individuals exploit it when they want to fuck or get fucked. When people dress in a sexually appealing manner are they hoping for their audience to wonder about their intellectual endeavors or are they offering a better view of their torso, waistline, tits, or biceps? It’s obvious.
I have nice arms and decent pectorals – I don’t wear tight shirts for my health, I wear them because I am aware of their effect on people and I receive compliments. Even if I am monogamous and taken, I may still enjoy being thought of sexually by those around me. It is invigorating to be wanted. Welcome to the warm-blooded side of the human fucking race.
Generally condemning sexual objectification is equivalent to condemning sexual attraction, it also exposes a remarkable ignorance of human biology and sexuality. Long before people exchanged thoughts and ideas our ancestors were fucking like crazy, entirely untouched by notions of mutual concern.
Feminists and those overly concerned and obsessed with S.O. could take a few lessons from Marx. The reality is their contention has more to do with an economic system and its effects than it does with anything like patriarchy. As usual they’ve missed the point and confused a human issue with a specifically female issue. And this, in turn, is why modern Western feminism accomplishes nothing because its explanations are so often little more than a series of emotional assumptions that are unfounded and unsubstantiated in reality.