Objectification: Everybody Does it, But it is Not Okay

I recently heard a story about my boyfriend, who is a feminist – partly thanks to me – and while everyone laughed at it, I was disturbed. Deeply. I’ve felt that my boyfriend, like many straight men, unknowingly objectifies women. Like I said, he’s learning and he has potential; potential, in my opinion, everybody has. But misogyny, sexism, and objectification towards women are engrained within our culture so deeply that situations like the following go unnoticed and become a story to laugh about later.

When my boyfriend was a bit younger, probably around 20 years old and a bachelor, he and his roommates would use binoculars to see if “hot babes” were swimming in the pool in their complex. Then, after scouting the area, if a “hot babe” was down there, they’d decide it was a good time for a swim. The laughable part of the story was that my boyfriend was caught once, and to this day he and his best friend still laugh about it.

Okay – yeah, I do think spying on girls in bathing suits is creepy. They claimed ‘innocent’ because they weren’t being Peeping Toms, they were just looking to see if there were cute girls to talk to. Or, the way I see it, cute enough girls to talk to.

I wanted to say: So, if a girl was too overweight down in the pool you wouldn’t go for a swim? If she had tan, smooth skin, that’s sexy, right? So, she gets to have your attention. Her sex appeal must appeal to you and that is all that matters, and I’m guessing you as a reader didn’t even give the term “sex appeal” a second thought. ‘Sex appeal’ means that someone is sexy, right? And a ‘sexy’ person is someone you’d like to have sex with, right? Do you see what is wrong with this picture? I'm going to be blunt. Thoughts do lead to actions. One small step at a time. I don't give you consent to fantasize about having sex with me. Obviously, I cannot control your thoughts. But continuing to have and support these thoughts, continues the objectification of women, which ultimately leads to assault. 

Before I continue, I want to emphasize not all men. But men, please take this into consideration, and see if you can join us in this movement for change.

This is how our culture works in every aspect: Men look for the “hottest” girl and talk to her. And girls, in return, attempt to always be hot. No, I’m not saying I only dress sexy to get attention from the opposite sex. I often show off some classy cleavage because I like the way I look. I don’t always like my figure, but when I’m feeling myself, I’m going to wear something tight and short and bless the world with my hot bod. But the idea that I want to look “sexy” at all, just may stem from being told that’s all I’m good for since the beginning. I believe this idea was created by men and is being perpetuated by both men and women.

I do acknowledge that It does go both ways. Girls and boys alike will swipe Left or Right based on appearance. A girl will ‘friend zone’ a guy, saying that he’s nothing more than a brother to her – because he’s too short or too skinny. But it is absolutely not to the same extent. For the most part, women tend to appreciate a man’s attractiveness from a distance. Usually, our first thought does not have to do with seeing him naked, though. If women objectified men in the same manner men objectify women, you’d hear comments such as:

“Oooh, check out that dick. I wish his pants were tighter. I’d like to suck that.”

*Whistles while looking a man up and down, front and back as he walks past you* “Daaayum.”

*Approaches a random stranger at the gas station* “I can tell you work out. These guns are HUGE.”

“Oh, I’m not hot enough for you? That’s why you won’t give me your number? Tool.”

I don’t believe men realize they are making us feel like a piece of cake or meat when they treat us as such. I think people are better than that. But making a change in our society starts with accepting that there is a problem. As for understanding how it feels to be sexualized every day of my life – and this is no exaggeration –  I will clear the air right now:

It makes me feel like all I’m good for is the way I look. And if the way I look doesn’t please you, then what am I good for? It makes me feel like I’m only good for sex, and that sex between us is only about pleasing you. It makes me feel like, in a man’s world, women would do all of the housework, birth children, somehow not have stretch marks from the pregnancy and do it all while dressing “promiscuously.” But not too promiscuous – because that would make them slutty. I feel that you don’t understand our sacrifice. It makes me feel like if I’m not attractive enough to be a model or on TV, then I’m not worth anything at all. It makes me feel worthless. I don’t feel that’s your intent. But that’s the truth.

My period should astound you. My body’s daily sacrifice should inspire you. What my body does to fight to keep me alive and potentially keep the human race going – depending on my choices – are reason enough to deserve your respect. Not the way my boobs look, but in what they can do. Not in how my vagina feels to you, but what can develop in my uterus. If I choose not to let anything develop in my uterus, that doesn’t take away the physical pain I will continue to feel - or my self-worth. What my body does is incredible. I don’t give you permission to objectify me at all, let alone by the way my body looks.

Our bodies are ours. Compliments are so great and please, keep them coming. But please don’t decide I’m approachable because I look “easy” to you or I have big boobs and nice lips. Maybe don’t scout me out based on my body when you’re peeking through binoculars down at the complex’s pool. Please, don’t objectify me because it’s somehow deep within our culture to think that’s okay. It’s not. I am a human; an intelligent, emotional, thoughtful human. Simple as that.