Let's Talk About "Romantic Objectification"

The sexual objectification of femme bodies is typically universally condemned by those in favor of gender equality. However, romantic objectification is a brand of idealization that most people neglect to think about. Romantic objectification happens when a person, usually identifying as male, not only idolizes the person he is attracted to, but views them through a solely romantic lens.

I have witnessed a few of my male friends fall into the same trap of viewing the person they like primarily as an object to be doted on and imbued with a whole host of romantic cliches. Romantic objectification strips away personhood and instead reduces a person to the happiness they can provide through their romantic affection. Granted, a large part of romantic relationships involves emotional support, but if a person solely places the emotional burden on their partner, the relationship will become toxic.

As a self diagnosed romantic, I can fully attest to the perils of desiring a person primarily in a romantic way, as opposed to viewing them platonically, especially at the beginning of my attraction. Romantic objectification can go across gender lines, and I believe that is a result of our culture’s obsession with romantic relationships. That special person who is “more than friends” should not bare all of the weight of your emotional and romantic expectations of them.

After people reach their late twenties, they are expected to pair off with a mate of their choice, and this relationship is traditionally more valued than platonic friendships. However, if people were less culturally inclined to view the monogamous partner as the peak of the relationship hierarchy, then perhaps romantic objectification would not occur as a result.