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Published on March 23rd, 2017 | by voxx

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Objectification and Expectation

Objectification; it’s everywhere.

From Herbal Essences shampoo adverts to the man with a six pack in the shop window, objectification is a common occurrence in modern society.

Some of us ignore it, exposed to it since we were young. It’s normal, why bother taking notice? However some of us embrace it, and that’s where the problems start. We take this perfect image or this perfect lifestyle that we’ve been provided, bask in its greatness, and then what? We slander others for having the wrong hairstyle or hands that are considered large; for differing from the ideal.

After that, we go home, stare in a mirror, and berate ourselves.

But when did objectification become so important anyway? It could easily go back to the days of cavemen. The men, the hunters, they killed for food and protected their family from harm. The women, the gatherers, who took care of the home, who bore the children that they could only hope, would be big and strong because the big and strong survived. And over time, this balancing act of responsibilities became the expectation.

Over thousands of years, misogyny became a male’s power and a woman’s weakness. For so many years, one wrong word from a man who felt scorned could ruin a woman’s life, the few prospects she had and her usefulness to society. That isn’t to say, of course, that men aren’t subject to similar problems – many societies in the world have their own take on the norms of gender and their roles in society, some more harmful than helpful  – but the objectification of women is much more common.  A man can marry five wives, but if a woman were to even think of having more than one husband? She would be laughed at, called names and degraded.  Women are there for men, not the other way round.

The worst, and most prominent, form of objectification is sexual.

Sexual objectification is dangerous and it is toxic. It perpetuates these ideas of how women should be treated as the traditionally submissive sex, who were clearly created to do a man’s bidding. It creates crime; it promotes rape culture.  According to a study of 500 people from 92 companies, 54% (272) people experienced harassment in the workplace. 79% of the victims were female, the remaining 21% male. Sexual harassment often goes unreported, either due to the embarrassment that the victim may feel or the threats of the harasser (i.e. getting fired from their job).

Embarrassment and shame and fear; it’s what stops rape victims coming forward too. Or even simple ignorance – How a can man be raped, all men love sex right? Stop whining you idiot, be happy you’re not a virgin anymore. She’s lucky to have got raped; it shows that someone would actually want her; we didn’t have sex, she was right frigid, who the hell dresses like that and doesn’t give it up? You’re not allowed to give up that child, no matter how much it disgusts you and reminds you of a terrifying experience, it would be inhumane to do so.

And we let this slide.

We shouldn’t.

The battle against objectification is a slow one, but it’s aggressive. Now in a world where people are informed, where platforms for the millions of voices who are affected daily by objectification are available, we are able to promote a positive way of thinking, able to argue and crush the things that destroy and dictate our own lifestyles and opportunities.

All we can hope for is that this unity and way of thinking can continue.

We are more than our bodies; we are people.

- By Katie Nolan


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