Objectification: The Standards They Are A Doublin’
I’ve been thinking a lot about double standards, lately. Specifically, double standards related to the objectification of people.
Let’s start with a quick Google search for the definition of objectification:
I think we can all agree that objectification is bad, right?
And yet, my Facebook and Twitter feeds tell a different story. Well, sort of. Apparently, it’s still offensive to degrade women to the point of being objects, but objectifying men is perfectly acceptable. Let me give you a couple of examples.
I have some female friends who alternate between filling up my Facebook timeline with outrage over the existence of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, and posting memes with pictures of shirtless hunks. The latter are usually accompanied by comments about the man’s washboard abs, or some similar expression of thinly-veiled lust.
During a recent press trip, a group of bloggers had the opportunity to interview some of Hollywood’s current leading men. After the interviews, photographs were taken and posted to social media. The comments on these photos ranged from benign (“He’s my favorite actor!”) to borderline crass (“Did you grab his butt?”).
Lighten up, Tim. It’s all in fun.
I can practically hear the eye rolls that some of you are giving me right now. But before you write this post off as hypersensitive overreaction, let’s do a little role reversal.
Quite a few of the posts and comments that I mentioned are coming from married women. From what I can tell, this is acceptable because the men being objectified are either unattainable or because they are in much better shape than the commenters’ husbands. Let’s consider for a moment what those same expressions would look like from a married man. I’ll use the examples from before.
I take to Facebook to express my disgust over Calvin Klein underwear ads. I follow this up by posting pictures of Victoria’s Secret models, and commenting on their “assets.” This is OK because the models’ physical appearance is obviously on a higher tier than my wife’s.
My blogger friend posts pictures from a recent press trip where he interviewed a popular actress. I decide to leave the following comment: “Did you grab her butt?” Being Facebook, I know both our wives (and possibly the actress herself) will see my comment, but it’s OK because it’s not like I’ll ever actually meet the actress or have the opportunity to act on my suggestion.
So, considering the examples above, what would you think of me as a person and as a spouse? I’m guessing I’d be labeled a hypocrite, misogynist, pig, and a pervert. My disrespect towards my wife would also quickly be called out.
What’s your point, Tim?
Judging by what I’m seeing on social media, there is a very real double standard when it comes to objectification of the opposite sex. If objectification is widely acknowledged as being disrespectful and harmful to society at large, it makes no sense to have the rules be so drastically different for different people groups and genders.
In closing, let me make a couple of quick statements.
First and foremost, the example with my wife was completely hypothetical and out of character. My wife is awesome, beautiful, and as close to perfect as any human being can get. The day I value a Victoria’s Secret model over my wife is the day I… nah, I can’t even come up with a valid analogy. That day will never come.
Second, this entire post can be summed up by a humorous meme I once saw:
Ahem.. ladies, my eyes are up here.