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Objectified

by Zenaida

I guess I’ve been pretty sheltered, or oblivious in the past, but I’ve never really been much aware of feeling objectified by men until recent history. It really struck me in the last couple of weeks, when I’ve had some up close and personal encounters with men who are willing to make me feel like a piece of meat. It makes me wonder if a burka wouldn’t be a wise fashion statement.

Roommate has a “stalker” on ldssingles.net who sends her a 27 item list of his requirements from a girlfriend, ie. Don’t ever tell me I’m cute. Don’t expect me to tell you I love you. etc.

Minding my own business, and man on the street asks seemingly harmless question, but takes the opportunity to undress me with his eyes, completely unashamed and not subtle at all. Please keep in mind: I am wearing frumpy, sweaty, moving clothes, with no make-up, and fabulous nasty hair.

While hanging out with my boyfriend, asked if I’m still under warranty by random sleazy guy.

Friend’s husband overhears more than obnoxious comments made about his wife. Dismissed as “just the way guys talk.” This one actually offends me most because this woman was in a professional setting, modestly dressed and looking and behaving as a professional, while these men completely disregarded her talent and abilities, and reduced her to a sex object. Her children were within earshot (hopefully oblivious).

I don’t really even know what to say. It really takes me by surprise when these things are directed at me personally. A comment was made in Jessawhy’s last post that keeps ringing in my ears–that women are seen as sex personified.

One thing this has made me do is take a good look at my own closet. Living in California, my church-going attire consists of knee-length skirts and short-sleeved shirts. These are usually accessorized with sandal heels. I compare this to the long pants, white shirt, and tie that men are required to wear every Sunday, and I can’t help but think I should revamp my wardrobe. It also occurred to me that in most stores, the more formal the attire, the more difficult it is to find “modest” fits. When women dress up, they actually dress down.

But, I digress. I don’t actually think that modesty is the real culprit. Obviously it doesn’t help to have skin displayed, but as evidenced by the stories I related, you could be in a full burka, and still be objectified. And is the burka really the ultimate objectification? (That’s another post.) Is it really just “the way guys talk,” and something to be accepted as just the way things are?

Do you have any practical advice for dealing with objectification? How can we encourage our children to avoid objectifying another human being?

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27 Responses

  1. Azucar says:

    I refuse to alter the way I dress (which is fabulous, by the way) in order to make myself into less of an object in the eyes of the opposite sex. Why? Because I dress well, modestly, and I look fantastic.

    Which is why, the few times I’ve run into naked objectification I just call them on it. I make them defend themselves, accost them, and generally revist on the objectivist nine-fold. I know, it may not be retiring or the soft way, but they need to be served with their comeuppance. They only do it because they think they can get away with it. At the very least, I’d threaten to call their mothers.

    As for that boyfriend, wow, uh WOW, I would have destroyed his life; he would have found himself the object of derision to the point of shame.

  2. Starfoxy says:

    I think that objectification, (wolf whistles, cat calling, harassment, leering etc) happens for two reasons.

    First because the person feels threatened by you (or just bad about himself), and makes the comments with the goal of reminding you where you stand on the social hierarchy, that is below him. “Yeah, you may be successful and well-educated, but don’t you dare forget that you’re part of the sex class and I’m not.”

    Second it is a homo-social activity, where men impress each other through posturing and chest thumping.

    The way you dress and act has nothing to do with whether or not you will be objectified. Harassment is the punishment you get for the crime of being female in public. (About burkhas- a burkha, just like a bikini, is something distinctly feminine. Men never wear burkhas, and so wearing a burkha is about as good at preventing harassment as wearing a neon sign that says “Hey everyone look! A woman!”)

    If this behavior is going to stop it is because of actions that will be taken by men (especially calling their peers out on shoddy behavior as it happens).

    It isn’t a woman’s job to prevent harassment. But that doesn’t mean that she can’t do anything about it. Don’t let it change the way you carry yourself in public. Report it to whomever needs to hear about it, school officials, your boss, the bar’s bouncers, the police etc. A surprising amount of public harassment that many women just try to ignore is illegal and can (and should) be cited.

  3. Zenaida says:

    I just have a minute to make a quick clarification:
    My boyfriend was not within hearing distance at the time the comment was made, and he did feel awful about it. It was a little awkward because it was something neither of us had control of, but both felt degraded by.
    I had no idea how to react other than to ignore the comment.

  4. Jessawhy says:

    Your examples are so painful. I’m sorry that you are feeling this objectified. It does happen to a lot of women.

    It does remind me of a very strange event a few months ago.
    I’m sure I had been cooped up with my kids for too many days, hadn’t washed my hair in just as long: so I didn’t look great and I didn’t feel great. At night, I was filling up a 5 gal water jug outside a supermarket and some guys drove by and whistled at me.
    I can’t remember if I shouted back, but I thought in my head, “Thank you!”
    Somebody noticed me, and thought I was cute enough to shout at.
    (I know this is the opposite point that you’re trying to make)
    Anyway, that’s just the flip side of the coin. I was feeling so low, and I actually took the whistling as a compliment. (obviously this rarely happens, because I usually have my kids with me, and as Caroline has pointed out, they tend to prevent that kind of behavior in others)

  5. Beatrice says:

    An interesting read is Doris Lessing’s short story “A Woman on a Roof.” In the story a woman sunbathes on a roof while three men work on an ajoining roof. They see her every day for about a week. Each of the three men act very differently toward her. One is secretly in love with her, one becomes verbally aggressive because she ignores him (he feels rejected), and one wants nothing to do with her. The intersting thing about this story is that she doesn’t do anything (doesn’t respond to them), but each of the men makes different judgements about what kind of person she is. I think when people treat us the way that you describe we think, “Why are people treating ME this way?” “What am I doing or not doing to encourge this behavior.” Often we don’t think about the person who is cat-calling etc. and think about what is going on with them and why they are acting the way that they are. Often it has little to do with us and more about their own insecurities.

  6. EmilyCC says:

    Zenaida, great post!

    Beatrice, what a perfect story for the post…I’ll have to find it and read it now.

    I have noticed that some men will talk to my boobs instead of looking me in the eye. When this happens, I sometimes squat a bit so that they are suddenly looking at my eyes. It’s very effective.

    But, I must confess I’ve never been brave enough to do it with people I have a social relationship (though I have a friend who’s husband does it all the time!)–only people at in professional situations because really, you have some nerve if you’re checking out your teacher’s rack when you come to ask her a question about an assignment.

  7. Kiri Close says:

    In the words of James Brown:
    “This is a man’s world…”.
    Christina’s cover here (click or cut&paste):

    Add to that Donna Haraway’s & Wolfgang Schirmacher’s notions of getting rid of the human body entirely (goodbye current sense of animalia via sex & relenting human species and with it being ‘objectified’—maybe) leaving only the ‘sparks’ of energy/axioms/soma of the nervous system, etc. that do our feeling, thinking in this ever material, biological mess of a world.

  8. Roger says:

    I’m sure many of you won’t like what I have to say. I am a man. Now that that’s out of the way… The word “objectificaiton” suggests that a man who notices a woman’s atractive body is incapable of seeing her innate qualities, strengths, ambitions, fears, and even weaknesses — only a sexual object. Even for most cat callers, that is probably an unfair blanket classification. Language like “objectification” is designed to strengthen your position in an argument, but it doesn’t help increase understanding.

    Women have amazing bodies; men notice them. And for some of you, you don’t seem to understand how tossled and messy is adorable! (On some level you must.) Even the best men struggle in their own bodies to find a balance between the urges driven by their testosterone levels and their sense of decency. If you doubt this for a moment, search the experiences of women who for whatever reasons began taking testosterone. EVERY SINGLE ONE is overwhelmed by her sudden insatiable sexual urges. Men live with this daily.

    Controling our urges becomes habit. Unfortunately, not controling them does too. I fortunately am able to spend my free time with a great group of men. I’ve never heard one negative or degrading comment about our wives or women. And if any oggling occures, say a stray comment while watching women’s sports, other brothers will scold, “Hey!” I love these men.

    Unfortunately, I have had to work with some men whom I would not spend time with otherwise. Still, most of them are decent Joes. Do they openly see women sexually because they are insecure or scared? I don’t think so generally. Rather it strikes me as them letting their stomachs out. You know how men go around holding in their guts (particularly around women?) Well some men tire of keeping up the endless struggle to find that acceptable balance I mentioned. In some environments, around a group of men perhaps, they may feel safe to relax and let it out. I may not agree with oggling or cat calling, but I think I understand why men do it, AND I can unsderstand how it is perceived by women as always misogynistic. I just feel it has less to do with any need to insult or degrade (or with homo bonding) and more to do with some men deciding to be lazy and not quashing that inner voice.

    There may always be a disconnect between men and women on this issue. Behavior that men perceive as natural or possibly even complimentary may always be seen by some women as insulting and belittling. It nust be sad for those women. I do not mean to diminish the very real feelings women have, but I comfortably accuse many of being a little too cerebral on this issue and maybe way too quick to take offense. Attaching unintended meaning to behaviors does nothing to foster any kind of understanding. Most men are genuinely surprised to learn how hurtful oggling can be, and certainly surprised by the intensity of that hurt or anger!

    To the boyfriend’s comment about leering comments being “the way guys talk,” I disagree. I don’t talk that way; my friends don’t talk that way. I do however believe that it may be the way males THINK. Just consider that possibly, maybe, when a man makes a comment or behaves in a way that the woman feels is inapropriate, that he’s coming from a different place than she is. Sadly, my own sweet wife, who KNOWS how much I love, admire, and respect her, feels “objectified” when I smile and tell her how those jeans look on her. This issue is about both men AND women. I’ve heard and believe that offence is something that is taken much more than it is given. But if you are one of those looking for another thing to be discontent about, I guess this is as good as any.

    In a perfect world, women would respond in a matter-of-fact-non-attacking way about how behaviors and comments effect them. It is certainly hard to express one’s emotions unemotionally, but men would hear it then. And hopefully they would learn. But then again… I still tell my wife how she looks in those jeans…

    • CW says:

      “If you doubt this for a moment, search the experiences of women who for whatever reasons began taking testosterone. EVERY SINGLE ONE is overwhelmed by her sudden insatiable sexual urges. Men live with this daily.”

      Sorry, but this just isn’t true. I know a number of transguys who have definitely not been “overwhelmed” by “sudden insatiable sexual urges” when they started T. From what they’ve said, some of them have been aware of a heightened libido and more desire for sex, but others haven’t. Simply having a testosterone-based endocrine system does not make a raging libido an inevitability, and even if one is blessed/cursed with extremely powerful “sexual urges”, it is still up to the individual to ensure that his/her/zie behaviour doesn’t make other people feel uncomfortable.

  9. Beatrice says:

    Roger, I really enjoyed your comment. It is great to hear additional perspectives. Thinking about this topic some more, I think that we may be overgeneralizing a bit. There a lot of reasons why people engage in these behaviors (trying to show off for friends, trying to put someone down, trying to pay a compliment, trying to tell a let a girl know that you find her attractive, etc.) And there are a lot of different ways that women can react to these behaviors. Not all women feel objectified when someone pays them a compliment on their physical appearance. Most women really appreciate it. I guess it just depends on how the compliment is payed and who it is coming from.

  10. Azucar says:

    Also, objectification is different in my view than appreciation.

    I understand, being married to a man, how the way women look can affect men simply as a natural drive. I’m not looking to overturn the biological process.

    I DO have a problem with the reduction of my person into parts. For instance, a crude remark about breast size is in another world from a genuine compliment on appearance.

    I work in a male dominated industry, one where the men are often a little socially awkward. I understand how sometimes comments they make are not meant to be offensive, so the spirit of the intention can lead to understanding. They would be horrified with embarrassment if I ever took offensive at something meant as a compliment.

    However, the difference in a woman being divorced from her body as pieces of it are called out, or leered at, is night and day from honest appreciation.

  11. Starfoxy says:

    and more to do with some men deciding to be lazy and not quashing that inner voice.

    The freedom to be lazy about such things reflects a certain amount of privilege. One would never be lazy in this fashion to people who deserve respect (bosses, police, parents etc). Even if it is unintended, unconscious, or whatever such things *still* enforce a social hierarchy that puts the cat-caller above the cat-callee.

  12. Roger says:

    Hey Starfoxy, (Great name!) 😉 Concerning: “One would never be lazy in this fashion to people who deserve respect (bosses, police, parents etc).” The problem I have with that analogy is that there is no inner struggle there. You seem to be one who promotes the idea that any purely sexual comment made by a man to a woman automatically creates a hierarchy where she is both insulted and superior. (I understand the superior part — we are cavemen after all!) That helps me understand my wife’s reaction (sometimes) when I notice her awesome bottom.

    To Azucar, no to all ladies, men are hard wired to see your parts even when we know and respect your whole. As men grow, we learn to filter (hopefully) through the male examples in our lives which are as different as our individual experiences. All of that filtering can be considered artificial when you think about it. Thankfully it becomes habit with time, so it doesn’t feel so much like a juggling act between what we would do and what we actually do.

    I can get my head around the idea that women can feel lost as a whole, or divorced from their parts in these situations, but it’s NOT a fact, it’s a perspective, a point of view. Unfortunately, it is for some a very emotional point of view which makes it hard to have any meeting of the minds. (Keep in mind that one is very tiny in a thick skull!) It would be rare and wonderful if a woman could answer a crude remark about her breasts with, “Thank you, I do have an awesome intellect don’t I?” Take the compliment, teach the man, move on.

  13. Starfoxy says:

    You seem to be one who promotes the idea that any purely sexual comment made by a man to a woman automatically creates a hierarchy where she is both insulted and superior.

    I’m kind of baffled by this, especially the superior part and would be interested in having this fleshed out more.

    In the mean time, I’ll clarify based on what you might be getting at. First the ‘any purely sexual comment’ thing- I’ve been talking exclusively about cat-calling, a very specific type of sexual comment.

    I get the impression that you see sexual comments as being on a single continuum where one extreme is harmless and friendly (ie “you have lovely eyes” coming from a friend), and the other extreme is vile and rude (‘hey b**** show us your a**!’ coming drunken college boys on the bus). I’m more inclined to put sexual comments into two separate groups- the ones motivated by honest attraction, and the ones motivated by insecurity, or showing off for your friends. There is no way in heck that a group of drunken kids shouting at a middle aged woman from their car are doing it because they think she’s attractive. What do they expect her to do? Chase after them and say “I never knew you felt that way!” -The ones that are strictly motivated by anger, frustration, and impressing the guys are the ones we’re talking about- and these are clearly hurtful and threatening.

    It is not surprising that some women conflate essentially harmless but inexpertly given compliments with threatening harassment since many men themselves overlook the difference, and purposefully blur the lines between the two. At the same time I don’t think we can blame women for not seeing the harmless compliment for what it is. If you misinterpret me it is my job to make it easier to understand- and so if a woman feels threatened by an earnestly meant compliment then it is his job to learn how to give compliments properly, not berate her for her response.

    About the superiority thing, I’m at a loss. If you meant that women feel superior to men after being cat-called– nothing could be farther from the truth. Most often women feel scared, kind of violated, and worthless after a cat-call.

    If you meant that women are superior to men because men cat-call and women don’t, then I don’t think that is true either. I think that women behave just as badly as men when they have the luxury of feeling like they can get away with it. I think we see such bad behavior from more men than women because women frequently have less social power than men (ie generally men are the bosses, women are the secretaries).

    “One would never be lazy in this fashion to people who deserve respect (bosses, police, parents etc).” The problem I have with that analogy is that there is no inner struggle there.

    The problem I have with that response is it assumes that bosses, police and parents are never women. 🙂 More seriously, if you’re going to blame testosterone fueled sex drives for the internal struggle with making sexual comments to attractive people, then you must also consider the inner struggle created by testosterone fueled tempers and making rude comments to annoying people. And the same principles hold- one can generally control oneself around the people who one can’t afford to be rude to. When you stop making efforts to control yourself it is because the people you’re hurting don’t matter that much and are therefore below you on the hierarchy.

  14. Starfoxy says:

    I forgot to add (in my novel-length comment) that this:
    “Thank you, I do have an awesome intellect don’t I?” Is an excellent response.

  15. Douglas Hunter says:

    Roger

    I don’t accept the biology = destiny argument regarding women, so why on Earth should I accept it about men? So much of the discourse about sexuality relies on simplistic notions of what is “natural”, or part of “nature” etc. Human sexuality is far more interesting than that. The notion of male biology you are putting forward is a complete construction even if you can’t see it as such.

  16. Caroline says:

    Starfoxy, loved your novel-length comment. 🙂 And Douglas, I’m so glad you’re commenting here!

  17. amyb says:

    It’s been interesting to read through these comments. I think there is a high level of cultural influence and socialization that are a piece of the picture here.

    I live in a fairly diverse neighborhood. I basically know that when I walk down certain streets, men of all ages are going to whistle, catcall, honk at me, etc. And I know that when I walk down the next street, among the men more of my demographic, they are way to busy looking cool and getting their hipster on to even notice me. Like someone mentioned before, it has nothing to do with me and everything to do with where they are coming from.

    I don’t know what my point is in all of this, except to say that perhaps within our own circles of influence with families and friends we can teach and expect respectful behavior.

  18. Roger says:

    Starfoxy, thank you for commenting again. I totally misread what you wrote about the catcaller creating a hierarchy and read that it placed the callee above the caller. It makes much more sense now. Sorry about that.

    In a nutshell, what I most wanted to contribute was that I felt that some of the perceptions expressed about men’s motivations, should they ever “objectify” a woman in any variety of situations, are off base. I’m not trying to justify anything. I just want to drive home the point that when a man makes a sexual comment to a woman, he may not be trying to insult or degrade that woman in any way. I’m sure some jerks do, but I think even they would be surprised to discover just how hurtful their comments can be. I read these forums just to try to gain that perspective myself, and we just look at these things differently.

    I think you described my impression of what you called the “sexual continuum” well. I am very surprised you see your two generalized groups as more accurate. Do you really think the drunken group of college kids is insecure in their drunken state? Or have they just lost some of their already-too-little inhibition? Keep in mind that with a nice pair of beer goggles on, perception is changed as well. And why WOULDN’T a middle-aged woman be as attractive as any other? Are they showing off? Sure. So why take offense over it? I just don’t understand that.

    It is not surprising that some women conflate essentially harmless but inexpertly given compliments with threatening harassment since many men themselves overlook the difference, and purposefully blur the lines between the two. At the same time I don’t think we can blame women for not seeing the harmless compliment for what it is. If you misinterpret me it is my job to make it easier to understand- and so if a woman feels threatened by an earnestly meant compliment then it is his job to learn how to give compliments properly, not berate her for her response.

    There is so much in this parapraph! I’m unsure what you mean by “conflate” but it feels like a mixture of confuse and equate. I can understand that everyone colors the world with their own perspectives, but do you honestly believe that many men purposefully blur the lines between a loving compliment and threatening harassment? Wow! If so, why? And why on earth would you understand a woman equating the two? I assure you that any disconnect between me and my wife has less to do with my inexpert delivery than with her horribly- skewed body image! And I might add that I’ve never berated her for her reactions – another rather bizzare assumtion about men. I thank God every day that my wife is patient with me and is willing to help me understand her views.

    Nevertheless, I am intrigued by the idea of expertly given compliments. What constitutes an “expert” exactly? Where can I learn? Are there classes? Advanced degrees? I assure you that I emote well, am generally well-spoken, and want to learn!

    if you’re going to blame testosterone fueled sex drives for the internal struggle with making sexual comments to attractive people, then you must also consider the inner struggle created by testosterone fueled tempers and making rude comments to annoying people.

    I’m no expert on anything, but I have experienced a “testosterone fueled temper” so let’s take this example further. That inner struggle isn’t even remotely as strong as the sex drive, and more importantly, although we all meet our share of annoying people, how can you even begin to compare that to the bombardment of sexual imagery we wade through every single day!

    When you stop making efforts to control yourself it is because the people you’re hurting don’t matter that much and are therefore below you on the hierarchy.

    I’m not sure I understand your idea of the hierarchy, but I think that this statement can only be true if one knows that he (or she) is hurting the other. I know that sometimes guys just don’t have a clue.

    To Douglas, you offer nothing. So you don’t agree with tens of thousands of years of biological forces – powerful sexual drives which have selected the bodies (and parts) we have today. What you believe doesn’t change the fact that God put these forces in place to prepare the bodies we have today, and He warns us over and over to be aware of and martial those natural drives. They are there; I didn’t create them.

    To Caroline, You’re not glad I’M commenting here – just Douglas? (Because he made such a compelling argument?) I’m hurt. 😉

  19. Starfoxy says:

    Roger, I really feel I should preface this by clarifying again that I’m talking specifically about cat-calling and street harassment- where a woman who is generally by herself is addressed by a man or group of men she doesn’t know. As far as I’m concerned the things you say to your wife aren’t even on the same spectrum (in other words, I don’t think you should be taking this personally unless you have a habit of giving sexually charged compliments to women you don’t know that you see in public.)

    Do you really think the drunken group of college kids is insecure in their drunken state?
    Strictly speaking, yes I do. I just can’t see a secure, confident individual wanting to drink away their better judgement and hoping to not remember what they did last night. (Keep in mind I see a difference between drinking a lot in order to get drunk and drinking moderately for taste, or relaxation.)

    Are they showing off? Sure. So why take offense over it? I just don’t understand that.
    I don’t know that ‘offense’ is the right word there. I think ‘frightened’ might be better. And I think it should be clear why a woman by herself would have reason to be afraid of a car full of drunken boys.

    I would say that most of our society’s discussion of rape, and sexual assault creates a sub-current of fear of unknown men in most women. Whether or not this fear is justified or helpful is kind of beside the point in this discussion, the fact is it exists. This sub-current comes closer to the surface when a woman is by herself around men she doesn’t know. This fear causes what is often perceived as erratic behavior (ie taking offense at a harmless compliment).

    do you honestly believe that many men purposefully blur the lines between a loving compliment and threatening harassment? Wow! If so, why?
    I think the ones doing most of the blurring are men trying to excuse obvious harassment by claiming it was an innocent compliment. I also think some men (boys normally) believe that they need to be ‘edgy’ to get a woman’s attention, and end up inadvertently pushing their innocent compliment into the grounds of threatening harassment.

    About men berating women for their responses- this does happen. I’ve seen it myself, and heard other women describe it. A man leeringly commands a woman to smile, she ignores him, he shouts after her that she’s a stuck up b****.

    I think an important thing to remember is that, when you approach or address a stranger on the street you are infringing on that person. They didn’t ask you to pay attention to them, and if they perceive you as a threat or a nuisance then that is *your* problem because you are trespassing in their personal (emotional) space. Certainly it is great if a women can be magnanimous and explain charitably what went wrong, but cat-callers are not entitled to any such generosity.

    I think that this statement can only be true if one knows that he (or she) is hurting the other. I know that sometimes guys just don’t have a clue.
    But these guys have the *luxury* of not having a clue that they are hurting people, a luxury granted to them by virtue of their social standing. Lets say that I say something really rude to a coworker- my peer and equal- I am likely to find out very quickly that my coworker was offended by my comment and that I shouldn’t say things like that anymore. My coworker has the freedom to correct me like that. Now lets say my boss says something rude to me, I nod and smile because my boss has a volatile temper and I need to keep my job and so cannot risk making waves. So my boss ends up calling me toots for three years and never knows that I loathe him for it. It is the same with cat-calling, a woman by herself on the street has rather a lot to fear from a man or group of men, so she keeps her head down and just walks away. Those men could live their entire lives never knowing how scary they can be, an ignorance accommodated by the fear women feel around them.

  20. JohnW says:

    I was ready to be horrified by Roger’s first comment about what it’s like to be a man, but I have to agree that his assessment of what it’s like to be a man matches my experience.

    *shrug*

    And here’s Testosterone, an episode of This American Life.

    Stories of people getting more testosterone and coming to regret it. And of people losing it and coming to appreciate life without it. The pros and cons of the hormone of desire.

    The first two acts are especially relevant to Roger’s comment:

    Act One. Life at Zero.

    The interview with a man who lost his testosterone continues. He explains that life without testosterone is life without desire—desire for everything: food, conversation, even TV. And he says life without desire is unexpectedly pleasant. The man first wrote about his experiences, anonymously, in GQ Magazine. (7 minutes)

    Act Two. Infinite Gent.

    An interview with Griffin Hansbury, who started life as a woman, but began taking massive testosterone injections seven years ago, and now lives as a man. He explains how testosterone changed his views on nature vs. nurture for good. (17 minutes)

    It’s not possible that heavy testosterone injections would make a woman more interested in science, would it?

  21. Douglas Hunter says:

    roger writes:

    “To Douglas, you offer nothing.
    To Caroline, You’re not glad I’M commenting here – just Douglas? (Because he made such a compelling argument?) I’m hurt. ”

    These two statements may be related.

    Keep in mind that Caroline may have written that as a sarcastic comment, she may have found my comments to be curt, rude and antagonistic, and therefore what she might have been saying was “great, just what we need, another aggressive male trying to throw his weight around.”

    On the other hand she may have written what she did because of what I offer. This being a male voice that to one degree or another “gets its”, a male presence that does not need to be spoon fed, and led gently by the hand through different perspectives on gender relations or women’s experience. It could be that I offer a male presence that does not reduce the historical, psychological, social, philosophical, scientific and cultural constructions of sexuality to an over simplified notion of biology that does no service to women when it totalized their potentials and experiences in terms of child birth, child rearing, domesticity etc. And no service to men when it totalized their emotional lives, social interactions, etc in terms of sex drive, aggression, etc.

    Why not try googling biological determinism or gender determinism and see what happens?

    The original post asked if there are any practical ways for dealing with objectification and to encourage our children to avoid objectifying another human being.

    In my experience addressing difference, how it is used and described is of the essence. For example in the current pop. 8 debate going on here in CA. (an easy example) The difference between homosexual and heterosexual is being framed by some in terms of a threat. The homosexual other is that which seeks to take from us something we hold dear, it is said that the homosexual other poses a threat to society, to our families, etc. So examining how difference is understood and used is critical. It seems that difference and objectification go hand in hand that children need to be quickly shown on a case by case basis that difference can be used in a way that leads towards objectification and separation or it can be used as a starting point for exploring the humanity of the other and as the grounds for proximity.

  22. Caroline says:

    Hi Roger, Actually, I am glad you’re commenting. You bring a fascinating perspective – one that I’m not very familiar with.

    Douglas, no I wasn’t being sarcastic. 🙂 I think you’re comments are sensitive and insightful.

  23. Caroline says:

    oops, make that “your” in the comment above.

  24. Sheann30 says:

    I now get bad panic and anger symptoms all day remembering the comments and touching by men…so ENRAGED that men seem to be unable to exercise any self controll and when rebuked just laugh it off I LOATHE MEN now…they don’t deserve any respect at all!

  25. Roger says:

    To Sheann30,

    On behalf of men, I’d like to say I’m sorry. I’m really sad you feel so much hate for anybody. It sounds terrible for you. Anyway, I just happened to see your comment, and sorry.

  26. Zenaida says:

    It’s taken me a while to want to even look at this post again. I have to admit that I began to read comments and simply checked out.

    Starfoxy, _Thank you_ for having the rational conversation that I was not capable of.

    Douglas, Thank you for your comments! I really do appreciate them.

    To Sheann30 and others out there who have similar feelings, my heart aches, and I pray that you’ll find peace somehow.

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