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Women internalise objectification - feminist current

(19 Posts)
youkiddingme Thu 27-Feb-20 00:45:34

good article on how internalised sexual objectification leads so erroneous ideas on what is sexual empowerment

www.feministcurrent.com/2020/02/22/why-is-there-shame-around-women-and-pole-dancing/

OP’s posts: |
WeetabixBananaHipsterFFS Fri 28-Feb-20 00:48:22

Seems to me the problem is one of commodification under late-stage capitalism.

But it’s late and I might be talking out of my objectified ass.

Nameofchanges Fri 28-Feb-20 01:05:41

Most women don’t find pole dancing sexually empowering. I wonder if the ‘don’t judge’ attitude that many people go along with leaves some naive women more vulnerable to exploitation.

It’s become like some kind of warped game where young women pretend to approve of everything while the vast majority would never do the things they pretend are okay.

NonnyMouse1337 Fri 28-Feb-20 07:27:24

Going off on a tangent.... A thought struck me - do human beings, male and female, have a natural need to be desired by the opposite sex?

I think so. Humans have always enjoyed adorning themselves with nice clothing and jewellery for other reasons such as aesthetics, showing off power and hierarchy and so on.
In certain contexts, however, there is a clear sexual element. This can be seen especially during adolescence... Children don't care too much about appearance, clothing is fun or a way to fit in with friends. It's all very non-sexual which is what you would expect.
Yet, during adolescence boys and girls in general start to become quite self-conscious and concerned about their appearance. There's lots of preening and grooming. Sexual development, sexuality and sexualised behaviour are interlinked.

Boys are jealous of those who are cool and handsome and have a certain ease and confidence around the opposite sex which makes them popular with girls.
Girls are jealous of those who are cool and pretty and have a certain ease and confidence around the opposite sex which makes them popular with boys.

I think that's because once our sexuality awakens, we begin to view others as potential sexual partners, but we also become very aware that others are also assessing us as potential sexual partners. Hence the desire for many women and men to wear clothing and engage in behaviours that will most likely elicit a favourable response in general from the opposite sex.

I agree that this desire does get warped and commercialised, and exploited, but I don't think this underlying desire can be ignored or eliminated. We are a sexually reproducing species and many of our behaviours and urges are based around this fact. I rarely see any acknowledgement of this reality - that people will feel an urge to be seen as desirable to the opposite sex.

"presenting new or alternate visions of sexuality"

Are there any concrete examples of this anywhere? Sometimes it's easier to let go of one set of behaviours if there are realistic examples of an alternative.

Nameofchanges Fri 28-Feb-20 09:13:44

It’s not controversial that people want to be considered sexually attractive by the people they are sexually attracted to. This is particularly important for young people for obvious reasons.

But sending nudes and pole dancing don’t make you more sexually attractive.

Wanting to be sexually attractive and making the effort to do so are only one small element of someone’s overall sexuality. Women’s sexuality is about much more than the desire to be desired.

ScrimshawTheSecond Fri 28-Feb-20 10:21:43

We are a sexually reproducing species and many of our behaviours and urges are based around this fact.

Agree entirely, Nonnymouse.

NonnyMouse1337 Fri 28-Feb-20 11:01:00

But sending nudes and pole dancing don’t make you more sexually attractive.

Why do you say that?
They get a lot of interest and compliments from men, at least in terms of Instagram comments or whatever the social media platform is...

Appearance or behaviour that arouses the sexual interest of the opposite sex can be viewed as a measure of sexual attractiveness, don't you think?

I'm not necessarily saying these activities are a 'good thing', but I would imagine the underlying purpose of pole dancing, sending nudes etc is primarily to capture the sexual interest of the opposite sex, which would feed into your own self-esteem and sense of attractiveness. As I said, this desire to be desired (even if you don't desire the person desiring you) can be warped if it becomes a means of validating your self-esteem. And it can be exploited by men.

Nameofchanges Sat 29-Feb-20 08:24:41

Sorry, nonny, I didn’t see your post.

Any young woman who has a reasonably pleasant face, keeps in shape, wears makeup and form fitting clothes will be considered sexually attractive by men. If they set their Instagram to public (which most don’t), and post some nice pictures of themselves clothed, they will amass thousands of male followers.

Men, and women, for that matter, are perfectly aware of how sexually attractive a woman is relative to other women.

No amount of pole dancing or sending nudes is going to fool a man into seeing you as more sexually attractive than you are actually are.

This isn’t feminist advice. And it certainly isn’t about morality.

Both behaviour and appearance contribute to sexual attractiveness, but the behaviour parts are things like confidence, seeming comfortable in your own skin, being popular, being fun, approachable, easy to talk to, knowing how to move.

Nameofchanges Sat 29-Feb-20 08:29:59

The underlying purpose of professional pole dancing and nudes is for already sexually attractive young women to make money by providing sexual services to men.

I assume from the article we’re talking about these things done outside the context of a relationship.

Gronky Sat 29-Feb-20 08:44:33

No amount of pole dancing or sending nudes is going to fool a man into seeing you as more sexually attractive than you are actually are.

I don't disagree with this but I think the underlying truth of how one person rates the attractiveness of another is less important a motivator than the particular reaction itself (conditional vs unconditional strokes).

Nameofchanges Sat 29-Feb-20 09:24:35

Can you explain further Gronky?

Gronky Sat 29-Feb-20 10:02:22

Sorry, I tried to keep this short but I think it might be oversimplified:

A stroke (psychological, rather than clinical) is an event of attention or recognition from one individual to another (specifically, the way this is perceived by the recipient). They can be positive or negative; conditional or unconditional. For example, a positive conditional stroke could be a compliment on how well an individual completed a specific task (with that task specified in the praise) while a negative unconditional stroke could be telling someone that they're a bad person (without specific focus). Conditional strokes tend to have more impact, though they are also more subject to preconceptions, for example, if you'd completed a difficult piece of work and generally received praise for it, a single criticism is less likely to register negatively.

Regarding exposing yourself to strangers, the feedback will be more personal and connected to the event of the exposure than what would be received from routine photographs or interactions, making the strokes more conditional. I agree that there's also financial motivation in some cases but I understand that there's plenty of people on sites like Reddit who expose themselves without financial gain.

NonnyMouse1337 Sat 29-Feb-20 10:59:07

Sorry, nonny, I didn’t see your post.

That's ok. I had completely forgotten about this thread!

A stroke (psychological, rather than clinical) is an event of attention or recognition from one individual to another

Clearly my mind is in the gutter as I had a completely different idea in my head when I read the word. blush

No amount of pole dancing or sending nudes is going to fool a man into seeing you as more sexually attractive than you are actually are.

It's gratifying to the personal ego though. Many things done by people have little to do with whether it's objectively factual or sensible. It's about the gratification.
Many young women take up pole dancing as a form of recreation, rather than some sort of professional career. Similar for sending nudes or erotic pictures.

DonnaQuixote Sat 29-Feb-20 11:49:44

Another great article by Laura McNally.

This is not about sexuall agency, it's about power dinamics, men don't have to degrade themselves to attract partners. It's about toxic femininity, empowered powerlessness.

“*To live in a culture in which women are routinely naked where men aren't is to learn inequality in little ways all day long*. So even if we agree that sexual imagery is in fact a language, it is clearly one that is already heavily edited to protect men's sexual--and hence social--confidence while undermining that of women.”

― Naomi Wolf, The Beauty Myth

Picture tells more than a thousands words:

Nameofchanges Sat 29-Feb-20 11:50:00

The stroke thing is really interesting. I didn’t know about it.

Women who take up pole dancing for non professional reasons usually say they are not doing it for men. So I haven’t heard much about what the thinking is behind it in terms of gratification due to praise from men.

I suppose I’m looking at it from the point of view of having an 18 year old daughter and the advice I have given her. That advice was don’t send nudes because they can end up in the wrong hands, and don’t pole dance or send nudes because if you want to date the hottest men, behaving that way will ruin your chances.

DonnaQuixote Sat 29-Feb-20 11:57:01

Also, if women want to stop being objectified, they sholud stop with self-objectification.

Gronky Sat 29-Feb-20 12:14:45

That advice was don’t send nudes because they can end up in the wrong hands

I would modify this advice, since it's rather specific to "don't put anything on the Internet which you wouldn't feel comfortable pinned to a lamp post down the street". It conveys that a certain level of anonymity is possible but, with the addendum of "along with everything else you've put on the Internet" the nature of how seemingly limited information can connect together.

"and don’t pole dance or send nudes because if you want to date the hottest men, behaving that way will ruin your chances"

I can't fully express why I dislike this advice but it's a combination of objectifying potential partners and something of a pressure for her to be a 'good girl'.

Nameofchanges Sat 29-Feb-20 12:24:56

I am fine with the objectification element. I’m not fine with the good girl bit, because that makes it sound as if pole dancing is morally objectionable, which it isn’t.

DonnaQuixote Sat 29-Feb-20 12:43:57

@NonnyMouse1337
They get a lot of interest and compliments from men, at least in terms of Instagram comments or whatever the social media platform is...

What they don't realize is that this kind of attention/desire mostly does not equal respect, quite the opposite as someone noticed: "Women need to understand that men don't want your photos because they think you're attractive or because they love you. They want them because men use explicit photos and pornography to dominate and humiliate women, and to bond with other men over that. That's the entire point of it."

Besides, longing for constant attention is a sign of narcissism, not very attractive human trait.

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