Objectifying?

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by Xavian, Feb 12, 2007.

  1. Xavian

    Xavian New Member

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    So, today in my English class my teacher thought it would be neat to arbitrarily have a discussion about what it means to objectify someone and whether or not society encourages us to objectify others.

    It started out as a cute discussion that basically turned into a whole bunch of sweeping generalizations and same painfully ignorant arguments and conclusions. Regardless, it was still an interesting debate.

    With that said, munch on this:
    What crosses your mind when you think of someone who is "objectified"? Does society encourage us to act in a manner as such?

    *crosses fingers in hope that something will come of this thread*

    Here's a definition if you're unsure of the meaning: Objectification - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (Really, I'm not a wiki-whore...it was just convenient....)
     
  2. Onslow

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    The first thought which crosses my brain cell (there's at least one left according to the CAT scans and MRIs) is 'that poor unfortunate person'. The second society, or any segment of society, decides a person is an object--either for positive or for negative attention--that person is no longer seen in the same way again. No matter what else happens, and no matter how hard they try, they will never again be just an ordinary person. One cannot help but feel some level of sadness for them. Even if they have all their ducks lined up perfectly and are doing their best to stay out of the limelight; someone, somewhere, will see them as a thing. Not as a person; but, as a thing.

    I wish I could say I have never placed a person in the realm of objectification; however, I have. Most human beings in our so-called civilized society have been guilty of this to some degree. The media does its part to fuel this disgraceful happening; and yet, we the people are most responsible. We can, if we so choose, let a person be an actual person without placing them on, or knocking them off of, some imaginary pedastal.

    Now mind you, I did single out the media; but, it is not just them. Who among us has not seen a sportsman/sportswoman in some way objectified? High school football players--especially a star Quarterback or a top level baseball pitcher--are often objectified by their own peers in school. Girls want to date the big football star--already the guy has been put in a realm of fantasy (which is essentially what objectification is). A macho jock wants to date the pretty cheerleader (or maybe just have at the coaches ass if he's a gay guy). Again a person has been taken from the world of reality and actual being and placed in a different dimension.

    It also works in the opposite direction. If a person is viewed as geeky, nerdy, dorky, not part of the in-crowd, they have been objectified in the negative manner of which I spoke earlier.

    It also happens in a church--a preacher is deified or villified according to certain actions or appearances. He or she is now merely being objectified, no longer are they treated as a mortal.

    Happens in politics--heck it happens everywhere.


    Objectification sucks--whether it happens due to a talent or skill, or appearance, or anything else.
     
  3. SomeGuyOverThere

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    Being opinionated, i couldn't let this thread slip by unnoticed.

    I think society does encourage objectification (I love polysyllabic words!). Its a hard one to pin down ,I think it's mainly a subconcious thing, but it does come across strongly in things like films and advertising, especially clothing and fragrence adverts; you know, the ones using the drop dead gorgeous models who don't even look like that in reality?

    The modelling industry I think is the worst offender. The images they ingrain into our psychy tell us what to find attractive, and beauty becomes something essential. The whole message portrayed in, for example, clothing adverts, is "wear our clothes and you'll be beautifull and attractive like these models". I think the enphasis on physical beauty makes us far more concious of it on a whole, and we treat people differently simply by how they look or what image they put across.

    Obviously we'd do this anyway, but I think that fashion etc. sort of, warp and extend it, and make beauty so essential that we almost forget about personalities, and focus on physical attractiveness, making the body almost a commodity.

    Films I think are also guilty in a bizarre way, especially action films. I think they desensitise us to violence against human beings, or atleast they tend tohave tht effect. It trivialises human life on a human scale (on a large scale we're pretty trivial anyway), and that I think makes us objectify other human beings.

    I also agree with Onslow when he says:
    Thats objectification coming out pretty directly jsut through society, regardless of the media.


    In the end however, I don't advocate banning action films and the fashion industry; I think that objectification happens just inherently in humanity, I think we often (if not allways) simply do it without realising because we lack the information to treat the person as another human being. Example: if I say "wow, he's hot!", in a way objectifying "him", it's not because I want to treat said person as an object, it's because I don't know him as a person, so I can only make a sort of object-like general comment about "him", if i knew him personally I wouldn't treat him like an object.

    I also think it allows us to deal with large numbers of people. When I'm standing in a shopping centre, surrounded by hundreds of moving people, they are just "people" to me, a mass of moving objects. If I tried to realise every one of them fully as a person, my head would probably explode.
     
  4. Lex

    Lex
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    I never quite understood how women felt about being objectified until I went into my first gay bar.
     
  5. fortiesfun

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    It is extraordinarily odd to be treated as an object instead of as a person, but it is also the case that sometimes we present ourselves in that way. (See our voluntary galleries: Mine, for instance, in which I explicitedly juxtapose my penis with an object. It is hard to derive any message from that except that I consider it a sex object by comparing it to a consumer item.)

    I am not defending objectification, indeed, in an uninvited form it is quite offensive, but just noting a cultural complicity in this process.
     
  6. Xavian

    Xavian New Member

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    I its root is found somewhere among our innate need to label and define things :eek:
     
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