I had the beginnings of a twitter argument last night, on a subject that is dear to my heart: Objectification.

@BigdaddyKeltik who is a trans man and a feminist said:

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‘Objectifying women = rape culture’.

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I find this view offensive, as a WOMAN! And Keltik is big on ‘calling out’ when someone says something offensive. Here I am. Calling him out.

First – if objectifying women is equal to and part of ‘rape culture’ how does objectifying men fit in?

Keltik has a lot of objectified images on his blogs. So his opposition to ‘objectification’ seems weak. Here are two, one of a woman one of a man:

http://keltik.tumblr.com/post/16808326143/billycastro-boxing-series-by-courtney-trouble

http://keltik.tumblr.com/post/16083412189/themadnessislaughing-brandiesontherocks

Mark Simpson has written recently in The Guardian, in defence of men’s objectification, and throughout his metrosexual theorist career.

So men’s objectification is as important as women’s but feminists never mention it!

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Second: Imposing the concept of ‘rape culture’ on me and all other people serves to ‘objectify’ us in a very bad way. Women are reduced to poor, helpless victims and men become nasty predators. I have written against the idea of rape culture at the good men project and other places.

Third: How does objectification prove ‘rape culture’ exists? As another person from twitter commented by email:

‘He [Keltik] is confusing causal links. In so-called rape culture, women would be objects, but if women are objects it doesn’t mean that we have/it leads to so-called rape culture. If it has been raining, the floor will be wet but if the floor is wet it doesn’t mean it has been raining – someone could’ve thrown a bucket of water out’.

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Maybe as a trans man Keltik feels able to disassociate himself from those nasty predatory ‘men’. And also from those poor helpless victims ‘women’. But I can’t. And I feel upset and judged by his words.

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If Keltik respects Mark Simpson then I hope he at least reads Simpson’s Guardian article before he rushes to accuse men of ‘objectifying’ women alone. Some men are homos for a start! And, as Simpson writes, metrosexuality is all about men objectifying themselves and each other

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I sent the above comments in an email to Simpson, Keltik and others. Following my email Mark responded to a comment on his blog, from regular QRG reader, Tim, about David Beckham’s now infamous superbowl ad. Mark said:

‘Amer­i­can fem­i­nists have sci­en­tif­i­cally proven that male objec­ti­fi­ca­tion doesn’t exist. Or if it does it is in no way com­pa­ra­ble to female objec­ti­fi­ca­tion because, er, it’s not about women. Even if it’s dif­fi­cult to imag­ine how a human being could be more (will­ingly) objec­ti­fied and com­mod­i­fied than David Beckham.’

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Here are some posts by  me on men, women and objectification:

http://quietgirlriot.wordpress.com/2011/12/05/5099/

http://quietgirlriot.wordpress.com/2011/12/02/girls-girls-girls/

http://quietgirlriot.wordpress.com/2011/10/25/miss-representation-how-feminism-misrepresents-objectification/

 

Comments
  1. I feel like I’ve lost sight of what “objectifying” even means anymore, and if it’s always such a bad thing.

    • Hey Olga good to see you! I think we talked about this a while back didn’t we?

      I agree. it is kind of a vague term, but also a political one. Used by people , eg. feminists as part of their political aims.

      • Shane says:

        I am also confused by the term, presumably objectification is related to sexual desire and therefore as a purely mental function, uncontrollable. People who use this term are in-fact accusing almost 50% of the human race of thought crime.

      • We might have talked about this before, but I don’t remember clearly. It’s a vague term for sure and used too often I think. Like that picture I posted on my Tumblr today and that you tweeted to someone, I’m sure a lot of people (feminists, etc…) would say that that picture was objectifying, but in a general sense all photography is objectifying. That’s the whole point. And although, some forms of “objectification” are definitely negative and perpetuate stereotypes and harmful attitudes, etc, I find it appealing sometimes. I think there’s a difference between aesthetically pleasing (i.e.sexy) and sexists.

        I don’t know what I’m trying to say here exactly, just that sometimes… I don’t know, like that new H&M ad with David Beckham… Is it objectifying? Sure, but is it wrong? I don’t think it necessarily has to be.

        I remember this one ad in adbusters that featured an attractive woman in a red dress who was being manhandled by police officers.. the whole scene had power play undertones, and although it was meant as a critical parody, I just thought it was fucking hot.

  2. elissa says:

    Oh oh! A CNN commentator suspended for making disparaging commentary about Beckham’s undie ads…

    “If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him! #superbowl”

    GLAAD – not amused!

    http://www.glaad.org/rolandsmartin

  3. [...] are ‘objectification’ and ‘sexual violence’. A dominant feminist ‘line’on objectification is that women are the ‘objects’ of a predatory, ‘male’ gaze. This gaze relates to sexual [...]

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