Tuesday, August 21, 2012

On the Difference Between Appreciation and Objectification

Consider these scenarios:

Scenario 1

I'm reading an article in the news and Eric Stoltz is mentioned.  "Oh Eric Stoltz!", I think.  "Man, I used to think he was so hot!  And he almost always made such interesting films!  God, remember how sizzling he and Gillian Anderson were in The House of Mirth?  I wonder if he's still gooood-looking?"  *Google images Eric Stoltz*.

"Yep, still gooood-looking!":

"Heck, he's hardly even changed!":
"Hmm, I never did dig long-haired men":
"Hey, isn't that Michael J. Fox?  What's he doing in here?":

"Ho hum, yeah, so anyway, Eric Stoltz! Still cute!  What is he up to these days anyway? Probably making good films, let's see..."  Googles Eric Stoltz wikipedia article.  "Oh, hmm, some kind of sci fi tv show that got cancelled.  Yawn.  Oh look, he's been a vegetarian for 25 years.  Impressive.  Wow, he dated like every quality actress of his era, how about that?" (Hot.)  "Remember when he did Mask?  He was good in Mask!  Wasn't that with Cher?  She was good in Mask!"  Googles Eric Stoltz Mask.  Finds interview with Eric Stoltz.  Spends five minutes skimming it.  "Wow, he actually comes across as intelligent.  And he lives in New Mexico!  Good-looking, smart, talented, private, long history of making great choices in his artistic work....sounds like my cup of tea!"  Hmm, tea.  "You know, I'm kind of thirsty and I need to finish that fantastic book."  Closes laptop, wanders off to the kitchen for some ice water, picks up copy of "In the Time of the Butterflies", starts reading.


Scenario 2

 A dude is reading a sports article on a news website.  It's about the Olympics.  He notices the women on a sports team are attractive.  He finds a name for one of the players.  Google images it.  

Click.
Click.
Click.
Click.

(Not even the same athlete)
Click.


Click.
Click.
Click.
(Not even an athlete)
Click.
 Click, click, click, click, click, click.

Click, click, click, click, click, click.

Click, click, click, click, click, click.

And that, my friends, is the difference between appreciation and objectification.

I bet you can guess which one harms women/turns me off.





4 comments:

  1. Was that the same guy from Caprica? Did I just totally give away how much of a dork I am?

    Objectification. Hard one. I find women to be very beautiful beings in many, many ways. While I can acknowledge that the portrayed women are physically beautiful, my experienced side always wants to know how the conversation will be at the end of the evening when we're tired and have had some wine and we're discussing metaphysical things.
    It's a shame that we've devolved from appreciating the intrinsic beauty of something to merely attempting to elicit physical reactions from knuckle-dragging men, and humiliate the women who don't look the same, but are beautiful in their own ways.

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  2. I dunno, but the athlete chose of her own free will to make those photos, it's not like she needed to in order to rise in the world, she already was an olympic athlete. Can men be blamed for wanting to look at a girl they think is "hot"?

    Where I worked at, we had a cafeteria, and the girls staffing it had a calendar of hot guys in provocative poses, hell they even had a screensaver of firemen. Nobody raised a fuss. When I see girl fantasizing about hot firemen, I don't think less of myself, I simply think they like hot firemen, and that's that. The bottom line is, I don't think we always have to be politically correct in our personal fantasies. If I like to check out this cute olympic athlete in a bikini, it doesn't mean I will think less of my girlfriend at home that doesn't look like a supermodel would.

    Anyway, i'm not saying there's no issues with how women are presented in the media (As some practices are downright unhealthy), but I don't think anyone has to feel guilty for what body type they like or fantasize about. Unless I misunderstood the intent of your post of course.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yeah, I don't think you really understood my point. Also, I think it is very telling that you automatically assume that the question revolves around whether your girlfriend at home who "doesn't look like a supermodel would" is "less".... I, personally, reject the very notion that women who are not photoshopped/sexified in objectifying photos should be or would be "less" or are some kind of "separate but equal" (we all know what *that* means) shit compared to "supermodels", as if they are some gold standard... you do realize that virtually any thin woman with a reasonably attractive face actually would look very much like "models" (what are they modeling, again?) with a professional hair and makeup team and good lighting, right?

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  4. I think you also misunderstood my point haha. I don't find supermodels attractive, or really at a superior standard to other women (Visible ribs? No thanks) in general, I was simply pointing out that there's nothing wrong with appreciating/marketing "sexy" pictures of women, just as there's nothing wrong with a girl liking pictures of firemen.

    I just dislike how it sounds like a guy should feel guilty for looking at women he finds attractive. Or at least that's the vibe I got as a male that tries to be as feminist (I prefer to say humanist, even though it has a different philosophical sense, but that's a whole other can of worms) as he can. No doubt i'm not perfect at it, and there's many concepts that I don't understand (Or that seem downright alien), but I don't exactly understand why it would be bad to like that kind of pictures.

    As for the girlfriend thing, it was a purely hypothetical example, I wasn't actually referring to someone in particular. In reality i'm dating the ghost of Simone de Beauvoir.

    ReplyDelete

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