Why Men Objectify Women

“When I check out women, what is really going on with me? Is it just normal because I’m a heterosexual guy that likes women?” Jayson Gaddis explores objectification.

I get this question a lot and it’s one I’ve explored for years. “Why do we (men) objectify women so much?” Sometimes men will follow that question up with “And, what can I do about it?” (sure, women objectify men too, but that’s not what this post is about).

I posted this question on my facebook wall and got quite the range of responses. I included a few short responses below and the longer, stand-out responses I have included at the bottom of this post if you are interested.

A few men also asked me to define objectification, which to me seems prudent. So, we’ll start there.

Defining Objectification in the context of this blog post:

Objectify:  To stare, gawk, or check out women and their bodies and body parts. To see them as objects (instead of real people) and to think of them in a sexual way.

A guy named Alex added,

“I think what we are calling “objectification” is its own line of development and that “picturing myself fucking her,” is a limited sliver of what the interpenetrating faculties which cause a man’s bodymind to go there can actually unfold into.”  

In other words, Alex is pointing out that how we define objectification will depend on where we are psychologically/spiritually/developmentally in life.

Here are some classic male responses to the question that I have received from the boys and men I’ve worked with for over twenty years:

  1. It’s biology
  2. Because we just want to have sex
  3. Because I’m a guy
  4. I’m an animal, I’m supposed to want to have sex with every woman I see.
  5. I’m just horny
  6. It’s normal male behavior
  7. I don’t objectify women…

Then, here are some more sophisticated responses I got on facebook:

  1. “To avoid the terror of annihilation — being reabsorbed back into the feminine. To avoid kicking up unhealed dependencies on mother.” –RF
  2. “I objectify women cause it’s “safer”. I receive an immediate gratification, a thrill if you will, albeit superficial, it does keep me safe at least for a time, (and I will jump in with Richard here) from annihilation — from a treacherous road of intimacy and vulnerability — the risk of being really seen and connected with– or actually rejected!! Yes, that’s it — it’s an avoidance of rejection… Intimacy takes a lot of work, courage and commitment. Objectifying is an “easy” road out of the potential of rejections — at least for the moment. A slice of breathing room if you will, though illusory and ultimately unfulfilling and painful — it’s still or at least has been a strange sort of unconscious haven for me…” –R.
  3. “I’m stuck in the belief that that feminine essence is outside of myself. I’m alienated from the larger truth of my Completeness as a human being. That sexy, juicy, radiant paradise is not inside myself, therefore it’s an object I obsess about outside myself and I treat it like entertainment. This insight leads me to believe I haven’t spent enough time balancing the relationship with My (whole) Self.”
  4. “First of all, I love this thread. I feel no shame in my feelings of lust for women. I suppose that if I thought they were ONLY good for sex, that would be an issue. I have an beautiful wife, and I have two daughters. I love women. they are an inextricable part of my life. I love what these women bring to my world. but god, I love looking at women. they’re just amazing. It’s part of my biological make up to think that they’re beautiful. Is that objectifying them? Maybe, maybe not. I just love them. and at some point men will have the same feelings for my daughters. If that comes with a respect for the beautiful people that they are, then I think that lust is part of a beautiful package.” –KB
  5. My personal response? “Because I’m avoiding something.” I unpack this down below…

Is there any truth to the first lists above? Sure, and in my experience men who have done personal work on themselves and have the ability to self-reflect and take ownership have more insightful responses. They know there’s more going on in the picture.

So when I check out women, what is really going on with me? Is it just normal because I’m a heterosexual guy that likes women?

I took this question to my personal therapy many times. I was never satisfied with my therapist’s response, so then I took it to the meditation cushion and my male friends. I contemplated it for many months and had many, many discussions with my male friends and mentors. Our aim was to get underneath to the deeper truth going on.

Here’s what I/we came up with:

1. Nature

Yes indeed men want to procreate and plant our seed, so naturally we look for mates constantly. True. Biology is indeed a factor. We are indeed animals. It’s in our DNA to want to have sex and be sexual with other human beings. We will objectify the sex we are attracted to and it’s perfectly normal and okay. In fact, it can even be glorious, alive, fun, and enjoyable.

2. Nurture

The next thing to note is that men are conditioned to objectify women. It’s ain’t just nature working here. In men’s culture, it’s acceptable to objectify women. Men bond around it.

And, the less developed a man is, the more animal-like and unconscious his behavior will be toward women. In other words, for guys who have very little ability to self reflect or a limited self-awareness, they live seeing the entire world as object where they can get something, rather than seeing object as a relational interplay.

For example, marketing companies prey on men who are stuck in their animal brain. We are taught over and over to see women as objects. I can barely go on any male-focused website now without being hit at some point by a tiny, physically attractive, disproportioned airbrushed woman looking at me. Someone took the Hooters business model and applied it everywhere to everything. Seriously.

And, it’s pervasive and all around us. Notice where men buy stuff, there are often photos of women present.

3. Pain Avoidance

Here comes the deeper cut. I objectify women because I feel a hole in me and I want to fill that hole. For example, I notice that I find myself checking out women when I feel like shit. I’m in a funk, bad mood, triggered, and most importantly, disconnected. It happens almost always when I had stuff to feel deep down that I simply didn’t want to feel.

Take R.F.’s comment,

“As I have sat with it a little longer, the simple answer is that I feel it will make me feel better. If i am feeling some sort of unrest within myself, I will seek to get something from “her”, to “suck her beauty” in some way; And that will somehow feed me / nourish me, and help me get me by for a time…”

My own experience?

Yes, I love beautiful women and I appreciate them in an ongoing way. This experience feels good in me and I feel alive. I do this with anyone I find beautiful, from a small child, to men and women, to folks that are eighty years old. I appreciate their human beauty and specific characteristics. And, when it doesn’t feel good or it feels off, that’s my cue that something else is going on.

When I used porn semi-frequently, I was doing so whenever I was disconnected from myself. When I’ve had lovers in the past, I would be most interested in sex with them when I was feeling flat and in a funk. I had no tools back then to feel my pain, so sex most often helped take the edge off a little bit and it helped me connect to myself again and even connect to my partner again. Similarly, one of the main reasons why so many men surf porn is because it’s a temporary stress reliever. It’s medication.

Since I used to suck at feeling my feelings and I was emotionally constipated (due to my conditioning), I resorted to the limited tool belt I had; stuffing, distracting, avoiding, masking, hiding, masturbation, fucking, or projecting it outward through blame.

So objectifying women is temporarily helpful for me when I want relief, even though it’s comes at a cost and it ultimately doesn’t help me in the long term.

I also noticed that it ultimately doesn’t feel good. It certainly doesn’t feel good for women (I’ve asked many times). In relationship workshops I lead, women often give the men feedback about how painful it is to be on the receiving end of their stares, looks, peeks, and glances. Women know when a man is checking them out. While some women report they are okay with it and even like it, the majority of the women I interface with are not cool with dudes staring at their body alone. They also want to be seen for who they really are.

How to do this differently

Explore the cost. Remember that objectifying women isn’t bad or wrong. It just comes at a cost. It’s up to each of us to figure out what that cost is. Get honest about the cost. For me it is just medication and food for my ego.

When I’m in pain or avoiding feeling something, I default to habits such as objectifying women. That doesn’t mean it’s okay or not okay. You be the judge of whether it works for you and your relationships to women. Ask the women in your life and get a range. Ask mature women, older women, younger women, and ask your partner.  Ask them what the impact of what your behavior is like for them.

Get connected. When I objectify women, it’s because I feel disconnected, less present, less in my heart, and less in my body. The remedy is simple now. Get back in my body and heart. Connect to me, all of me. This requires I meditate, connect to someone I love and slow down. It requires I feel what is going on deep down inside of me.

Appreciation. Once I get connected to me again, I notice how I can appreciate a beautiful woman and I’m in my body, connected to my heart. It has a totally different quality. She feels it and I feel it.

What about you? What is your relationship to objectification?


Here are a few other unedited shares from the awesome facebook thread:

D. said…

“Why do I “objectify”? It’s a loaded term for me as well and I’ve felt a good deal of shame about it for a while. Still do to an extent. I like to think of it as a form of appreciation. Appreciation for a woman’s physical traits that for whatever reason I’m energetically drawn to. Yes, I can “lose myself” in it for a while, and I’m noticing a little charge for me there as I say that. Like its easier for me to shame myself there before anyone else can (not saying they will… just my projection). And yeah, what I’ve found works best for me so far is being a yes to everything in my own experience and in what’s happening AND at some point in my development simply realizing that objectification is not enough for me. I love appreciating and experiencing another human being for more than just her physical traits. What I prefer physically doesn’t in itself inspire me to want to connect with a woman, and doesn’t in itself have me feel attracted. The attraction and inspiration simply are there or not independent of how she looks.”

J said…

“If I may add… we objectify women for the same reason women objectify men: to be able to see our personal fantasies in them.”

G.C. said…

“it happens in the hungry ghost realm I live in most of the time…..for me its about seeking approval, biological instincts, unmet needs, and grasping for wholeness outside myself…….the most fun and exciting and ego gratifying times in my life have been when i have embraced it and danced with it and gave myself permission to play with the illusions, projections, feelings, etc……..”

M. said…

“When I objectify a woman, I am not ignoring that there is more than her body, I am just filling up the rest of my perception of her with my fantasy of her.”

S.P (a woman) said…

“I don’t know any women who don’t like being appreciated! (I consider “admired and desired” as part of appreciation) as long as it is grounded in reality, not based purely on projection, and from a place of wholistic seeing. Some women feel scared of it, or long for it but don’t know how to take it in, or push it away because it has come with strings in the past, or push it away because it comes with strings in the present (the other person’s need for approval, the other person’s need for something to be fulfilled in them etc.). But underneath all this, I believe it is safe to say that all women (and in fact all people!) have a basic human desire and need to be wanted, appreciated, and loved! Some generalizations are just true! :)”

JB said…

“The thing I just discovered was that the women I would typically objectify were the hardest ones for me to understand completely. They seem to have the thickest mask which triggered my desire penetrate that mask.

The next thing I noticed was how easily such a mysterious woman could fit into my ideal partner that I subconsciously created as a child. This was my “Fairy Tale Fantasy” about how such an ideal women would behave and believe about herself. Typically, the “exterior beautiful” women would trigger this belief because I had assumed they must be special and I wouldn’t have to completely let go of my fantasy.

My fantasy would then project this image onto her and I would react to that image. The image had a belief that these women would always be honest and had a much higher level of personal integrity than me. That would keep me in a cycle of self judgment in comparison to this belief which triggered me to hide behind my mask even stronger.

The other part was my unwillingness to believe that someone would have good intentions toward me if I had good intentions toward them. That made it easier for me to dismiss their “bad” behavior as being an unintentional mistake. In turn, I could continue to have this running story going on about them that had no foundation in truth simply because of my unwillingness to see past their mask and see them as a real person.

The answer for me was to stop trying to get this woman but use that energy to make myself the best possible me I could become. A me that now has confidence because I am self assured, self respecting, and full of self accepting unconditional love. Part of becoming that man means that I must accept and own the truth of my motives and be willing to see the motives of others. That is when I was finally able to let go of the fantasy and see this woman for who she really is inside.

My biggest life breakthrough and victory came as a result of that growth. Once I saw this woman for her true self and fully let go of my fantasy about her, I no longer felt any desire for her.

As a result, something incredible is happening to me now. Something wonderful has started growing in the void where my fantasy use to live. It’s a genuine curiosity and appreciation for all woman. Especially for all the women who actually live and display their authentic self and freely give their love to all as an expression of their femininity.

I no longer see women as a simple desired object constructed in my fantasy that I need to get, I have only appreciation of all of her (both good and bad). I now know that if I trust myself to drop my mask and reveal all of myself, most women will follow my lead and appreciate me for having the courage to create a safe place for her to let herself go.

I now see these amazing women everywhere in my life where I could not before. The fact is that they have been there all along, providing me their example as living models of what I have been seeking in my life. Until that time, I had never really appreciated them for that love and the joy they bring to my world.

To all of you who have watched me struggle with this, Here is a heart felt thank you for your patients, encouragement, and support for me to let go and wake up.”

V. (a woman) said…

“Love the discussion here. Thanks Jayson. I have a passion for this subject. I believe that society offers to us the message that if there is deep connection or even attraction, then its MUST BE expressed in a romantic manner. Thus “the Romantic Myth”. What this robs us of is experiencing each other deeply, honoring each other as sexual beings, but not having to act on that or “objectify” each other. It is sad when the expression “Just friends” is used. We are robbing each other of the depth of connection that can be experienced in the most honoring way. I especially experience this as a married woman who is open hearted, committed to honoring my husband, and yet have experienced deep, meaningful connection with male friends. I stand strong when romantic feelings are expressed and am not surprised the way our culture programs us. I’ve said, “I do not feel the same way. But I am not running away. I honor your processing of it.” Some have run feeling like there is no room… thus if it can’t be romantic then there is no other option. But the closest friends have processed through what it means to respect, honor and not “objectify” and have a safe place to be. Many of the men I work with love that I can express appreciation and yet never desire… they show up more powerfully in the world walking in a new level of honor for themselves. Also, importantly these relationships are an expansion of the marriage rather than outside of the marriage. This has been a big journey for my husband and I. But as we’ve grown we have learned what loving others can really look like regardless of gender. So the answer to When Harry Met Sally, can men and women be friends without ending up in bed (if there is attraction), the answer is yes. Wisdom, emotional and spiritual maturity, and transparency, all must exist, no doubt. But the safety of rich friendship, without objectification, is such a gift.”

photo of surprised man looking through binoculars: Shutterstock.com.



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About Jayson Gaddis

Jayson Gaddis — householder, former psychotherapist, teacher, speaker, writer, relationship specialist, & soul guide is using the vehicle of his marriage and his children to become who he truly is, while expanding his capacity to love. He’s on the planet to help people master the soul lesson burning in their heart, through the vehicle of intimacy and relationship. He’s a husband and part-time stay-at-home Dad getting schooled by his two cosmic kids.


  1. If you don’t wish to be ogled, then don’t dress immodestly. It’s that simple. ;)

    I’m not saying that women shouldn’t dress however they want to, I’m saying that certainly clothing can result in unwanted attention..

    • This is actually not true at all. I dress pretty modestly for the most part and I’ve still been sexually objectified and harassed plenty by men and so have a lot of other women that I know.

      • Funny, that just reminded me how provocatively-dressed women make it LESS likely for me to look, partly because I feel like I’m being manipulated into it… weird…

    • I agree with Sara, again. I just want to add that no matter how a woman dresses or behaves, it doesn’t give a man the right to objectify and then justify the objectification. As a woman, it’s extremely uncomfortable when men do it and doesn’t make me think very highly of them.

      • Yeah, And I just want to add that no matter how a MAN dresses or behaves it doesn’t give a WOMAN the right to objectify and then justify the objectification…!
        God, You AmeriKan women are so pathetic. You are INDEED the biggest HYPOCRITES I have EVER seen! As always, If a woman does ANYTHING it is ALWAYS perfectly okay. But if a MAN does the EXACT same thing the inevitable cries of “FOUL” and “SEXISM SEXISM” erupt from your increasingly masculine voices. Leave us face it. For the most part AmeriKan women are EXACTLY what they claim to oppose! J#$us, Even the Freakin’ NAZIS were LESS anti-semetic than AmeriKan Women are misandrist. You constantly scream “Double standards” all the while creating DOUBLE STANARDS! You de-cry male sexist comments, but then utter FEMALE sexist comments “You PREACH EQUALITY, and at the SAME time claim SUPERIORITY…! And we as men aren’t supposed to NOTICE that!?????!??? Or if we DO notice, we’re supposed to ignore it???!?
        Look. I know I’m probably a fool to try and explain this to you all. Because you either can’t see the point or INTENTIONALLY WON’T see it, but I’ll try, anyway, with this question; Have you “ladies” EVER saw a MAN, LOOKED at him and found him attractive, PHYSICALLY? Of course you have. Well, THERE you GO! You just “OBJECTIFIED” him, knuckleheads!!!
        But, oh yes, I keep forgetting the “law”; “If a woman does…, WHATEVER…, It’s OKAY!” but; “If a MAN does the EXACT same thing…, it’s WRONG!”

        Oh, by the way, go ahead, “ladies” and delegitamize my oppinions by saying “He is obviously stupid, we can tell by his lack of proper spelling.” Just so y’all know, I’m (PROUDLY) American Indian, and neither speak or particularly spell in English, that well, being that Cherokee was my first language. But go ahead,I WANT you to ridicule me! So it will illustrate yet ANOTHER one of my points; That AmeriKan women are also as capable of RACISM, as well as sexism, just as ANY man is. In fact I think women are BETTER at both, frankly.
        Oh, and one last thing. Notice that I speak ONLY of AMERIKAN (intentionally spelled with a K ) women. Most other women in the world are fine. They have not forgotten how to be human beings, un-like AmeriKan women. AND there is a difference between AmeriCan women and AmeriKan women. Guess what THAT is, if you can.

        • You seem really angry Shadowman.
          Is there some ways you have been hurt by women in your personal history?

        • Wow. What a lonely life you must lead. I have never heard such insecure ranting.

        • @ Shadowman

          Lumping an entire group of people together and assuming they all behave/think/act in one uniform way is racism/sexism/class-ism (depending on said group.)

          You are throwing sexism and racism out there pretty hard for someone claiming another group is doing it.

          • I would like to validate some of Shadow’s statements. As a grad student, I have spent semesters studying feminism through literature. There comes a point where a man begins to feel that he can do nothing correctly. He starts to feel that being a man makes him a criminal. It is hard to swallow that masculine traits are considered inherently wrong to more than half of society. Although Shadow’s tone needs some improvement, I think his pain deserves attention and validation. To discredit him is to ignore a very real part of sexism.

            • Megan Sailsbury says:

              Or, he’s just a bigot and his repulsive tone is dead on.

              If that little rant had been about black folks, or sexual minorities, or the poor, would you encourage people to validate his pain?

      • Anonguy says:

        No it won’t give him that right as he already has that right.
        “As a woman, it’s extremely uncomfortable when men do it and doesn’t make me think very highly of them.”
        Do you notice when women check you out or only men and is it the same?
        Why do you feel you are entitled to not being looked at?
        Do you feel threatened?
        have you ever enjoyed a man or women checking you out?
        What made it different?
        Is it possible to admire someone for being sexy without it being objectifying?

    • Hi,
      and when a man does this without regard to her humanity. He defiles himself in the sin of lust and destroys the power of the authority of the human race. Especially in his aro/ignorance to what she might be going thru personally at that moment. It IS such a violation that it can be as tormenting as rape. To many women after rape it is in fact just that, for the rest of their lives.
      Thankfully I didn’t let it effect me that way, but it sure has made me hate men at specific moments.
      And even fearful of what I may be capable of. Now that’s scary. And at the time ignorantly misplaced emotion. Such is the day we now live in, soon to end.
      And in all this, the warfare is raging on in the darkness of egos pride, hell bent on destruction of all men and women by whatever means the door is opened to deception.

      Sorry for the depth of my own showing off so clearly,
      I’m growing too and at a moment of choosing, my own demise in stupidity for compromising the only protective boundries to ensure love never fails, here I sit… having to overcome my own feelings of pain. Needlessly.
      Needing to see the man God created him to be, take his place beside me at the front. With no more excuses to continue the same, at my expense. And greater.
      It’s not that hard when we are honest, to see that in our strength, we fail.
      Sure am glad He loves us enough to give us His…. all.
      Can’t lose.
      CIAO 4 now

    • @ The Big A
      “If you don’t wish to be ogled, then don’t dress immodestly. It’s that simple.”
      Ever heard of. . .rape culture?

      “She shouldn’t have been wearing that, she was asking for it.”
      You sound like that. Exactly like that.

      • Anonguy says:

        Sounds like a twisted power game to me.
        If I dress in something with the intention of drawing your eye and you find your eye being drawn… and I punish or shame you for it….. I am playing mindgames with you, and that makes me sort of a asshole.

        This is not the same thing assuming a favorable definition of “ogled”.
        Now if his argument was if you don’t want to be harassed, catcalled, or a unfavorable definition of ogled then yah this is rape culture 101.

        Also this is to Big A. lets say your right a a women or man puts on very modest clothing and still gets checked out?

      • Seriously dressing has something to do with how people look at you. If you wan’t to be respected and bee taken seriously, then wear something nice and easy, if you want to get some attention then you can thoose a short skirt ore for men a light “tank top” ore what ever. How we dress MAKES AN EMPRESSION! Don’t say you can waer whatever you wan’t and dependt that men ore women for that matter can look you in the eye with no problems.
        Im myself (women) actually tryed thi a lot of times. If i wan’t a job ore just want people to take me serious, i waer fx t shirt with high neck and plane jeans. look at the men for god sake, do they run around in short shorts and belly shirts? but if they were top less we i would be sure that they would get more looks!

    • Jenn G says:

      This is how I dress: A long sleeve shirt covers me up to the wrist, and it will be loose fitting. Skirts – a few inches above the ankle,well below the knees. A hat, jacket, scarf, something else will be added.

      When I read comments such as your, “If you don’t wish to be ogled, then don’t dress immodestly, it’s that
      simple,” I can understand why my father wanted to beat out the brains of some of the goons. And I also understand why my guy told his friends, as we were seated together, that he wanted to put me into a cage so that other men could not touch me. My reaction, ‘Go ahead. You will never hurt me, plus I will be safe.”

      Comments like yours are, sad to say, one reason my gal pals and I have rather vivid fantasies of giving Attitude Adjustments.

    • When you watch too much porn or see too many ads and pictures that commodify everything in a woman, you begin to talk like this …
      think carefully… tribes such as the yanomami etc dont wear any dress (provocative non provocative ) but the women are never harassed or raped for not wearing clothes…
      only in cloth wearing society is sexuality so perverted that even a little girl or a boy of 5 lets say dresses in a certain way , the society might say “s’/he asked to be raped or molested”

  2. Was trying to find more evidence based info but some interesting insight here, I cant help but sxually objextify women and I dont think it has to do with deep scars or intimacy fears but just raw escapism. Its all fantasy in the end. I can definitely relate to trying to reconnect emotionally with my inner world. Our culture is all distraction and doing, can be very easy to get swept up in this and tune out. Mindfulness here I come, again…

  3. I objectify women and I don’t make any apologies for it and I will continue to do it. I hope all males will continue to do it and stop feeling guilty about it. I’m tired of male sexuality being demonized and people acting like it is a bad thing and we are nothing but predators who can’t see women as sexy and sexual beings, while also human at the same time.

    Men are constantly objectified in media and by women and they are being empowered and encouraged to do so. I see women trying to empower girls as young as 10 to objectify men and embrace their sexuality. Why is it that every time a women is sexualized in any way it is bad, but movies like Magic Mike and commercials, soap operas, television shows, romance novels chick flicks, and many more that objectify men is perfectly OK? I have never seen women objectified the way men were in Magic Mike and women openly did that on facebook, twitter and other media along with doing it out in public right in the face of their husbands and boyfriends and that was all fine. If men did that we would be disgusting pigs! I say objectify women all you want guys and stop feeling bad about it. The world is a very misandrist place right now and we have nothing to apologize for for our masculinity.

    • How about we try to strive for a culture where nobody is objectified? How about we try looking at each other as humans, not as walking sex toys? I’m not saying that you can’t find someone attractive but there is a BIG difference in acknowledging someone’s attractiveness and sexually objectifying them. And if you can’t tell the difference then that is scary.

      • I couldn’t agree with you more, Sara. There IS a BIG difference between objectifying and acknowledging someone’s attractiveness. Sexual Objectification of women is definitely uncomfortable and almost undignified whereas appreciating someone being attractive is more welcoming. I agree, it’s scary if someone can’t tell the difference between the two.

      • “And if you can’t tell the difference then that is scary.”
        Problem is there are people defining this differently. There are people who will feel objectified when someone merely looks at them.

    • I posted a reply to Jeff and it wasn’t approved and then was deleted? Why? I made a logical rebuttal to his gross, misogynistic argument.

      • Oh wait, it is still “awaiting moderation.” Nevertheless, I don’t really understand why since I didn’t say anything controversial.

        • Some words trigger the automatic filter and the moderators aren’t always around to let them through due to the high volume of comments, and they lead normal lives.

      • John Schtoll says:

        Where in JEFFs reply does he say or indicate that he hates women, in fact I would say he is indicating the exact opposite, he seems to love women.

        • No. People who love women don`t think it`s okay to objectify them. People who love women respect them as people and not as hot pieces of ass.

          • The Big A says:

            Sara, there are so many women in this world that you can’t possible love *all* of them! But most of all, in order to truly respect and appreciate someone as a person rather than a “hot piece of ass”, you have to TAKE THE TIME TO GET TO KNOW THEM. If you see an attractive woman dressed sexy walking down the street when possibly she is on her way somewhere and has no time to chitchat, or maybe she simply has no desire to get to know you personally or even give you the time of day then it’s ridiculous to expect one to truly appreciate her as a person! Now let me be quite clear that this does NOT make it okay to harass her and ESPECIALLY not try to touch her without her consent.

            And furthermore, the point I was trying to get across to you(Sara) in my prior post is that L00king(which the author refers to as “ogling” as a shame tactic) at an attractive woman dressed sexy while she is out in public is NOT harassment! However, catcalling, yelling lewd comments, and trying to group most definitely is harassment.

            • I agree, but Jeff made it clear in his comment that men should not feel ashamed for objectifying women. That`s what I was objecting to. He made it seem like objectifying women was just something that was a part of normal male sexuality. It is not. Finding someone attracting, giving someone a quick glance or two, that`s fine. But objectifying someone is a whole other thing. It is the objectification of women that leads to harassment and cat-calling and all those things that we agree are bad. That NEEDS to stop and if men don`t recognize that it needs to stop then they do not care about women and are misogynists. End of.

            • *attractive, not attracting

            • The Big A says:

              I’ve always viewed objectifying someone as treating them as if they’re a property(as in a possession or something to be owned). The author insists that prolonged looking at hawt chicks dressed sexy is objectification. And honestly this IS a normal part of Human sexuality. IDK what can actually be done about catcalls and lewd comments that actually will work. But unwanted touching should be considered assault.

              As for Jeff, I think that what he posted was quite sexist, but not misogynist. So if what he posted is actually true IRL then he certainly is a male chauvinist but that doesn’t mean he *hates* women. Hate is a strong word and implies hostility towards something. It irritates me that words sexism and misogyny are used interchangeably when they mean 2 different things. Misogyny is the hatred of women, sexism is the view that women should be unequally.

            • Prolonged looking is creepy to a lot of women though. I get an uneasy feeling if man is like…gawking at me. I Really wish men would stop doing that. It does make me feel like a piece of meat and I bet if you did a poll most women would say the same.

              I don`t really wanna get into whether or not Jeff is a misogynist but either way you look at it, he does seem to have some issues with how he views women. And so do a lot of other men posting here. As a woman, that is discouraging and makes me want to hide in my room forever.

            • No one has defined a time-frame for prolonged. Do you guys mean 1-2 seconds? Or 5-10seconds? I’ve looked at some women for about 2-3 seconds (any more feels weird unless they’re a romantic interest and we’re gazing at each other).

              “I Really wish men would stop doing that. It does make me feel like a piece of meat and I bet if you did a poll most women would say the same.”
              Why do you feel like a piece of meat though? A man staring at you doesn’t mean he isn’t thinking n wondering what your personality is like does it? Why don’t more women feel like he’s so captivated by your beauty but still sees you as a human? Is it because you don’t want to be attractive to him in particular? Would you feel the same way if he was someone you were very attracted to?

              Speaking as a man who’s looked at beautiful women (I did so today though I did not gawk/linger/it was 1-2 seconds max) I dunno how to describe it but seeing someone you’re attracted to can really be like a magnet. Eyes in particular can really captivate me, along with a smile, some women just have a peaceful look to them and it’s very calming.

              There’s also the other parts of attraction like sexual attraction where seeing her makes you quite interested in both sex and dating, there’s also curiosity n trying to guess what she is like based off her attire, her mannerisms n what not (eg a woman running in her sports outfit will indicate she probably likes sports/exercise, a woman styled to the nines will indicate she probably likes fashion).

              I think what can happen is sometimes people will get caught up in wondering who the person is, admiring her beauty but also guessing about her and a few seconds can pass, long enough to start feeling awkward I’m sure. Yeah some will be thinking of just sex but not all of us do.

              Today being in the city the thing I noticed the most was actually that the women dressed very well, I live in a rural area and the women don’t usually walk around in a nice dress + heels + makeup n hair done to the same level.

              The reason I say this is because I think many women may think the guy is thinking of just her body, or just sex, so I guess that would make them feel like meat. But what if most guys are thinking of everything else as well, would you still feel like a piece of meat or would you feel like an attractive human?

            • Why do you feel like a piece of meat though? A man staring at you doesn’t mean he isn’t thinking n wondering what your personality is like does it? Why don’t more women feel like he’s so captivated by your beauty but still sees you as a human? Is it because you don’t want to be attractive to him in particular? Would you feel the same way if he was someone you were very attracted to?

              Random men that I don’t know staring at me makes me feel gross. Sorry, but it does. And a lot of other women feel the same way. I don’t know what is going on in someone’s head, but if someone stares at my body then I don’t feel flattered by it. I don’t care how attractive or unattractive a guy is either, if I don’t know you and if you keep staring at me then that’s a problem. If you’d like to get to know me then approach me (respectfully, of course.) Staring is rude, though. And it often does make women uncomfortable. We don’t know the motivations and thoughts of the men who stare at us and that is mostly why. It’s just creepy.

            • Archy what I wonder is…how many women have to say the same thing over and over before you believe that it can make some (many so far as I can tell) women feel really really uncomfortable?

            • “Archy what I wonder is…how many women have to say the same thing over and over before you believe that it can make some (many so far as I can tell) women feel really really uncomfortable?”
              Well what I wonder is why you mistake my question for me not believing? I am not doubting that it makes women uncomfortable, I’ve even talked about it in other comments.

              Julie, How many times does a guy need to ask WHY it makes you feel uncomfortable before he gets a straight answer instead of implying they don’t believe you? Did it ever occur to you that maybe, just maybe, as a guy I don’t live a woman’s experience so it’s much harder for me to guess why it happens? That maybe I am curious because I want to understand women better?

              I am asking individual women here to build up my own knowledge on the subject. I don’t like hearing that women are uncomfortable without a reason why, I want to know what goes on in women’s heads to make them feel like meat. It’s like when someone stares at me, my first thought is they’re thinking badly of me, they wanna bully me, they wanna fight, they wanna fuck with me someway and that sends me straight into a defensive mode ready to fight or flight. I wanna know what thoughts pop up in women’s heads.

              I’ve heard some accounts but desire more to build up better knowledge seeing as not everyone is the same. I am a curious cat, through asking these questions I feel it makes me a better person and I can assure you it has helped my knowledge and personal relationships a HUGE amount.

              Now instead of assuming I don’t believe women, how about adding to my knowledge? Not every woman is the same, I’ve heard different reasons but I didn’t know Sara’s reason in particular. I believed her from the very first comment she wrote, asking questions isn’t a sign that I don’t believe her! How the fuck else are men supposed to learn without asking why and getting the debate rolling?

            • Well because I keep seeing the questions and I see really good answers. And for whatever reason, it doesn’t seem like continuing to get answers, but not believing. Maybe it’s just the frame. I don’t know. It’s just that I see this, not with you particularly but in so many other arenas and I’m doing my best and continue to do my best believing men’s experiences, but I keep hearing (in general) that we women are wrong about ours.

              I believe you that you believe us. You’ve said, so I’ll believe you. It’s just…I keep seeing women here saying over and over what causes them distress. It just doesn’t seem hard to understand somehow.

              I think I need to not be here any more.

            • “Random men that I don’t know staring at me makes me feel gross. Sorry, but it does. And a lot of other women feel the same way. I don’t know what is going on in someone’s head, but if someone stares at my body then I don’t feel flattered by it. I don’t care how attractive or unattractive a guy is either, if I don’t know you and if you keep staring at me then that’s a problem. If you’d like to get to know me then approach me (respectfully, of course.) Staring is rude, though. And it often does make women uncomfortable. We don’t know the motivations and thoughts of the men who stare at us and that is mostly why. It’s just creepy.”

              For you is it the unknown that causes creepyness, or more so the continued staring? Staring is rude and also quite a threatening stance in most animals including the human animal, would that be a large portion of the feeling? Not trying to dismiss or disbelieve you, I completely believe you, just trying to imagine myself what it is like. The closest I can think of I’m guessing is like half the picture, and that is the feeling I get when someone stares at me and I am unsure of their intentions, it creeps me out bigtime and puts me into fight/flight mode, I tense up and become very guarded, my thoughts go pretty negative and wonder wtf they’re looking at calling on my past history trying to decode their body language wondering if they’re a threat. Is that similar to how you feel but with the added element of sexuality, the famous undressing with eyes I hear about?

            • “For you is it the unknown that causes creepyness, or more so the continued staring? Staring is rude and also quite a threatening stance in most animals including the human animal, would that be a large portion of the feeling? Not trying to dismiss or disbelieve you, I completely believe you, just trying to imagine myself what it is like. The closest I can think of I’m guessing is like half the picture, and that is the feeling I get when someone stares at me and I am unsure of their intentions, it creeps me out bigtime and puts me into fight/flight mode, I tense up and become very guarded, my thoughts go pretty negative and wonder wtf they’re looking at calling on my past history trying to decode their body language wondering if they’re a threat. Is that similar to how you feel but with the added element of sexuality, the famous undressing with eyes I hear about?”

              For me, it is both. It is the unknown and it is the continued staring. I feel like I’m just repeating myself at this point, but stealing quick glances at someone is fine. I mean, you’re not hurting anyone. But if you find yourself unable to look away from someone, especially if that other person has given you no signs that they are interested in you, then you’re probably being creepy and intrusive. Just keep that in mind.

            • “It’s just that I see this, not with you particularly but in so many other arenas and I’m doing my best and continue to do my best believing men’s experiences, but I keep hearing (in general) that we women are wrong about ours.”

              Ah ok. That explains it. Probably similar to how I reacted to your comment, it reminded me of various internet feminists saying STFU and listen to women, accusing me of disbelief:P. I don’t think the women here are wrong at all, I like to learn more about their experience since as a man I have a different set of threats on the street to worry about (drunk people like picking fights with big people for instance).

              “I keep seeing women here saying over and over what causes them distress. It just doesn’t seem hard to understand somehow.”
              I find some women are sayign similar stuff whilst others are saying slightly diff stuff. Of the women I’ve known it’s been pretty random, some don’t seem to care at all, some will bark back at harassers (women in my family tend to do this, one has knocked a guy out:S ), and some will be scared and not confront.

              I think it’s pretty hard for guys to understand the feeling like MEAT part, I can understand the staring makes you worry they might hurt you but the meat part is probably unique to women, or maybe very attractive men/men that get hit on a lot. Seeing as I don’t have women hit on me at all it’s pretty hard to imagine, the closest would maybe be feeling I was only worth my bank account but even that is unique as is being worth only sex is.

              The thing is I’m not asking WHAT causes distress, I am asking WHY it causes distress. Staring, lewd comments, etc is the easy stuff to understand, but the harder stuff to understand is feeling like MEAT. My best guess is these guys that do it seem to focus only on sexual comments, mainly/only want sex from women and that women can pick up on that? Like for me staring was associated with bullying so I feel like a bullying target when stared at, is the staring women receive mostly sexually orientated and thus causing the feeling like a piece of meat? Apologies for being clueless about this, it’s a completely alien concept to me as a male that isn’t hit on.

            • I think what she means by feeling like a piece of meat is that it is dehumanizing.

              Maybe you can understand it this way: The female equivalent of this behavior is when women objectify men emotionally. You know that feeling of disgust you get when the female in your life nags and complains and will never be satisfied because she is wanting you to make her emotionally complete? Or the one that makes you run screaming for the hills when a woman gets too needy too fast. It’s similar to that. Different, but similar. You instinctively know that it is not ok for a woman to be completely emotionally dependent on you. l we instinctively know that it is not ok for men to be looking at us in that way. Both the man who is being emotionally pressured by the woman to be her fulfillment and the woman who is being ogled at the gas station are being objectified by a mentality of “what can you do for me?” with no regards to the needs of the other party.

            • By the way there is a ton of reasons why a woman would dress sexy, however you define sexy. Just today a man told me I was sexy and wouldn`t stop staring at me, but I was wearing yoga pants and a hoodie. When it comes downto it, it really doesn`t matter what you wear, if you are a woman, men will stare at you, make lewd comments, and ultimately make you feel objectified.

              It. Needs. To. Stop.

            • Something that throws me off is well endowed women wearing very revealing tops, it’s very very distracting and hard not to look. It’s also annoying as you feel guilty for looking but you wonder am I meant to look? Is she purposely putting them on display or did she just not think about it and threw on whatever clothes she found?

              If I walked around with my balls hanging out I’d expect people to stare, even shirtless or revealing my chest I’d expect them to stare.

              Do all of the starers make lewd comments? I completely agree lewd comments is terrible, prolonged looking is bad too (I dunno how to quantify this though, a few 2-3 second looks are prob ok?). Basically I’m wondering if men can stare without objectifying, can they look at you often and admire your beauty without being insulting/degrading/lewd/etc? Though I guess this depends on what is a stare, I’d say 3seconds or more? Or maybe 3+ seconds and they don’t look away when you notice them and they keep going after you start showing signs of discomfort?

            • I am a very well-endowed woman myself and I can tell you that I am NOT putting them on display on purpose. You have to understand that for larger-chested women, sometimes it’s hard to find clothes that will cover all your cleavage, unless you walk out of the house in turtle necks all the time. And that is just not feasible, especially in the summer if it’s hot outside. I dress how I feel comfortable, sometimes cleavage shows, sometimes not. And I don’t care if people glance at my breasts but if you’re staring at me with your mouth open then that’s a problem.

            • Thanks for the reply. It’s been quite awkward, especially with new mothers when their breasts have grown too and they are offlimits (married ones:P), hella awkward even more so when their clothing shows a good 50% of their breasts. I think even other women get caught looking lol.

              I can understand the fashion limitations, are there any men’s tee style necks you can get?

              It sounds like you wouldn’t be the kind of woman who would display cleavage and then crack the shits at a guy who dares to look. I have heard of some women who will display it whilst simultaneously hating the guys looking, leaving me confused. So many mixed messages of look but be quick, don’t look, if you look you’re a perv, I’ll wear what I want and you can’t look, etc. Hence all the damn guilt I feel especially when as a hetero male they are seriously like magnets. It becomes even more annoying to ignore when the skin colour and shirt colour has a high contrast, pale skin and a dark top for instance making the eye notice it even more.

              I’m just glad when I talk to people my eyes lock on to their eyes and can ignore the breasts easier:P

            • Archy, I can’t reply to your latest comment for some reason, but I want to say one more thing.

              The women who “display” their cleavage as you say, and then get offended when men look, maybe it’s the *way* men are looking at them that causes the offense. I understand that it can be hard not to look at someone’s breasts if they are right there, I’ve done it as well, and I am a heterosexual woman. But maybe you’re staring too long or giving them a look that they perceive to be threatening? Just because a woman is showing cleavage doesn’t mean that she wants all the men to stand around and gawk at her. I think the biggest mistake men make is presuming that women dress the way that they do in order to attract men. That’s not true. Many women dress for themselves. If a woman likes how her body looks in a low-cut top then she’ll likely wear them a lot. But just because she is wearing something low cut doesn’t mean that she’s okay with everyone staring at her body. It’s okay to notice someone. I can’t stress that enough. It’s okay to notice and take a quick peek if you must. But PLEASE don’t stare. Staring is bad social etiquette. I mean, I was taught that as child. It shouldn’t be hard to figure out.

            • “But maybe you’re staring too long or giving them a look that they perceive to be threatening?”
              Never had one say anything to me yet so I guess I haven’t triggered that in any woman thankfully. But I can see your point. But what of women who get angry at ANY looking or peeking? What’s the deal there? Are they honestly expecting people to never look?

              Hopefully most people realize staring is bad etiquette, the only people that stare at me these days are babies (I am 6’6, they always look shocked?) and people with mental handicaps which once I realize I completely disregard the fact they’re staring and become relaxed. Once I hit my peak size @ 6’6 and quite large bodied the threatening stares stopped.

              It seems to make sense though that those with poor social etiquette often cop the creepy label, such as some with aspergers who find it hard to real social cues, even myself I had this problem in highschool where I’d be so damn nervous I’d inadvertently stare at someone whilst trying to muster up the courage to speak, not even realizing I was staring for that long. Glad as hell I got past that!

              But thank-you for the replies, sounds like the way people stare and look is the huge difference and that my looks these days aren’t going to cause an issue (quick glances). It’s definitely helped me learn more about it.

            • I am glad I could help Archy, but I don’t know how to answer your question about women who get offended by any look because I’ve never encountered that. I can only speak for myself and other women that I’ve conversed with about this kind of stuff, and we always have legitimate reasons for being offended or angry when a man is staring at us. I’m sure those other women have their reasons too. All I can say to you is, always try to be respectful. By your comments, it seems as though you haven’t gotten yourself into trouble yet, so you seem to be doing an okay job.

            • I’ve seen young women, or really mostly girls, do that to guys who are just not great with social cues, or sometimes just not in the “right” social group, and those gals are just plain mean. (Or were–these are memories from high school.) It makes me mad. When I’ve seen that it’s generally been a very jr. high “I’m socially superior to you” kind of thing. I’ve also known a *small* number of adult women who seem to have their radar out to notice every miniscule glance at their chests and to complain about it afterward (though not, I think, to the guy in question), and they’ve always bugged me. It’s tiresome. I find it pretty easy to see who is looking a touch too long because they’ve got a touch of social awkwardness vs. someone who feels entitled and is being intrusive and creepy. The facial expressions are really different.

              I’ve got a lot of guy friends who are more toward the Asperger’s side of the scale than not, and this sort of stuff can be *very* difficult to navigate for them. I definitely get where Archy is coming from.

            • Good point, Anat. I was thinking adult women when I made my comment, but younger people, especially teenagers can be very dismissive and mean for no real reason. It definitely happens with adults too but not as much. And I agree, that there is definitely a difference between people who are genuinely socially awkward and people who are entitled and creepy. The difference is like night and day, really. But even people who are socially awkward need to understand what is acceptable and what isn’t. That’s why it’s important to have these conversations. I’m not going to fly off the handle at somebody for staring a bit too long, but I want them to realize how it can make me feel, too.

            • I’m not so sure his version of objectification is the same as your version or mine.
              “I’m tired of male sexuality being demonized and people acting like it is a bad thing and we are nothing but predators who can’t see women as sexy and sexual beings, while also human at the same time.” When he says this it makes me believe he still sees them as women, human, but also sexually attractive and likes to look at them. That’s not objectification. But there are some who will say it is or ram the objectification word down peoples throats that it’s entirely possible he is made to feel like normal and healthy behaviour is now considered objectification.

              “It is not. Finding someone attracting, giving someone a quick glance or two, that`s fine.”
              I think he has been made to believe it is and it seems that is why he’s sick of being demonized over it. That innocent behavour gets the objectification label and thus the demonization would be quite bad.

            • Well, he needs to understand that he is wrong. All of you do. You need to listen to women when we tell you that your behavior makes us feel uncomfortable and unsafe. Do not ignore us and keep on making excuses for yourself.

            • Having read this thread and observing the female opinions expressed here, I can conclude that the only possible way to avoid objectification (perceived or actual) is to simply not look at women. Period. One never knows if one is actually objectifying, because, as has been made clear by female posters, it is defined in the mind of the offended/objectified party. In other words, your opinion – as a man – as to whether or not your male gaze is objectifying is utterly irrelevant. It is something that the woman feels, and one can’t possibly know how the woman is feeling at the time (unless, of course, she expresses it). Therefore, simply don’t look at them. Period. It is very likely offensive to do so.

            • wellokaythen says:

              Another extreme possibility is to look, but only if your look is invisible. Perhaps if men could wear eye burqas of some kind? Use sunglasses more often?

            • You obviously haven’t read the comments thoroughly enough, because that is not what is being said. At all.

            • @Mary, the problem is the time-length between a glance (which is ok) and a stare (which isn’t ok, as the women are saying) isn’t going to be the same to everyone I think. Even I am now nervous that I can’t look too long because she might think I’m staring, whereas I might think it’s still a glance. Makes me wonder if it’s even worth looking at women if there is a high chance of making them uncomfortable, the length of time I look could be ok in my book or some women’s book but in others it may be too long.

            • I don’t know if I’m typical, but for me I feel like I basically have a choice between showing some cleavage and looking much more overweight than I am; anything other than a non-shallow V-neck makes me look like a barrel. That said, I understand that I’m going to engender some looking. As long as the guy does not seem to be *intending* to be rude or intrusive about it, I’m fine with it. If he’s clearly _intending to let me know_ that he’s staring deliberately, than that’s scary because he’s breaking a pretty strong societal standard, and it seems likely that he won’t have a problem taking more dangerous liberties. What other rules/laws will he be ok breaking? In my experience, the guys who have _deliberately_ let me know they are staring subsequently do things like follow me when they think I’m leaving the group for an area where I’ll be alone, or start telling me about the contents of their awesome S&M kit (where it is clear they are on the “S” end of the spectrum), etc.

              The not-scary guys might glance a tad too long, BUT when they realize I’ve noticed it, they will immediately look back at my eyes/face (without looking challenging/dominating) and continue the conversation or they will look away. In turn, I try to act as though I’ve not noticed them looking so as not to embarass. It *is* natural to be captivated by the body of the type of person one is attracted to, and I keep that in mind. But everyone knows it is not polite to stare. I’d say more than a very quick (split-second) glance at someone’s chest (or groin area, or rear) is rude unless you’re looking from a spot where that person is not going to notice that you’re looking or unless it’s accidental. I *do* think that people should enjoy looking at folks of the type they are attracted to–they should just be subtle about that act of looking unless the other person has fairly clearly indicated that a lingering look is welcome. I absolutely am *not* going to demonize the guy who is simply attracted–the problem is the guy who is acting entitled to stare as long as he wants or who is trying to make me feel unsafe.

            • You said it succinctly, Anat!

            • Thanks!

            • Thanks for the reply, it puts me more at ease. I’ve often felt quite shy to even look at a woman, if I look at her face and she see’s me I usually look away because I don’t want them to feel uncomfy ever. Anytime I look at a woman I am not talking to I keep it to a quick glance, though being a guy with a social anxiety disorder holding eyecontact is quite hard and it also makes me realize even more how creepy it can feel when someone stares at you, getting nervous n wondering what they are intending. For me it’s my brain registering a threat due to past abuse n bullying and gets my entire body ready for fight or flight, I guess many women may feel that and/or like they’re a sexual object.

            • wellokaythen says:

              C’mon, guys, use your peripheral vision. This is what it’s there for. You can look someone straight in the eye and still see the chest…..

            • My peripheral vision isn’t very detailed, n quite blurry. I think that is a gendered trait from what I’ve heard of biology differences, men being the hunter tend to have better long-distance vision in the center of their vision whereas women rely on peripheral vision more?

            • Alternate option, recommended by my husband: “When she looks away, take a split-second glance and *sear it in your brain*.” Honestly, my vote is that we all enjoy others’ sexuality but just meet regular standards of politeness about it. If you’re not the person in question’s significant other and there isn’t *mutual* flirting going on, don’t be obtrusive about looking and please keep your fantasies private. But it’s FINE to look at and think about other people’s sexual aspects as long as you’re not rude or frightening and you DO assume there is more to the person you’re thinking about than their sexuality. Rude = being obvious about looking at private parts. It would be very rude for me to be obvious about staring at your groin area. Same goes for cleavage. It’s perfectly ok to take a split-second glance and enjoy thinking about it later as long as, for instance, we don’t let our co-workers or that random person on the bus know we’ve been thinking about what a great bod they’ve got. If you’re not my significant other, I don’t want to know you’ve been drooling about my chest. Go ahead and think about it all you want, but please keep it to yourself, because the former is basic sexuality and the latter is basic politeness. I should perhaps also say that for me, people who are good friends can break some of those boundaries because we’ve figured out where each other’s _personal_ lines are drawn. That varies a ton from person to person so I can’t explicate any sort of guideline there.

            • wellokaythen says:

              In response to Anat’s message:

              I think there are some great, useful distinctions here. This is the kind of thing many men need to see more of, some concrete details feelings and behavior, and some degree of middle ground.

              I think Archy’s frustration was from some of the vagueness of some of the comments about objectification – just don’t stare and don’t objectify and do what you’re supposed to do in social situations, like you’re supposed to.

              What I hear Anat saying is there is a noticeable difference between looking and staring. There’s a difference between noticing and invading. It’s subjective, of course, but at least we’re moving towards nuts and bolts stuff now. This approach sounds eminently more sensible and balanced to me.

            • Necklaces get annoying with a lowcut top, I actually like looking at necklaces (Especially with blue gems) but that might be seen as me looking at her breasts. The other problem with necklaces is that they create leading lines which aim directly to the cleavage, and many tops also do that with a v neck, all these lines + the contrast difference between her top and her skin can really make cleavage VERY noticeable.

              A friend showed me her necklace the other day and her cleavage was quite magnetic n hard to remain looking at the necklace alone.

            • I could explain the magnetic attraction to women who are really really into seeing a penis for example, or a chest, and you’re told to look at their belt but part of their penis is showing. Cleavage is very arousing to see for most people who are sexually attracted to women, it’s magnetic and very hard not to notice.

            • Archy, from the things you’ve said here, I don’t think you’re giving off a “dangerous” vibe, and I think you really don’t have to worry so much. If someone’s asking you to look at her necklace, she probably can’t tell whether you’re looking at necklace or cleavage, so no need to worry there. (And I would hope most women realize that asking someone to look at a necklace involves a full-on look at their cleavage area, which they really need to not get offended by since they issued the invitation.) If you get caught staring, just look away as soon as you get noticed–that sends an “oops, sorry!” message as well as an “I’m not going to follow you down a dark alley” message LOL! I very much doubt you’re coming off as creepy. Please don’t worry so much! I don’t get nervous about guys unless they keep ogling after they realize I’ve noticed.

            • Yeah it’s just my anxiety usually, making it feel worse than it should be. Thank-you. :)

            • If you get caught staring, just look away as soon as you get noticed–that sends an “oops, sorry!” message as well as an “I’m not going to follow you down a dark alley” message LOL! I very much doubt you’re coming off as creepy. Please don’t worry so much! I don’t get nervous about guys unless they keep ogling after they realize I’ve noticed.
              I hate to be Negative Nathan here but I would believe that in this situation the guy in question could very well be sending out a vibe of “oops, sorry!” but would be read as, “I was looking at your chest and when you looked back I got scared and retreated like a coward that can’t handle being confronted over the way he treats women!”

            • To me it signals “I’m backing off; I’m not going to continue to be intrusive.” I don’t think that’s cowardly. I’m not sure what other women prefer, but I’d rather not start a confrontation because I feel that doing that jeopardizes my safety–I’d much prefer to have that out, that indication that the guy knew he’d overstepped a tad and was retreating. From me those guys get the benefit of the doubt, and I don’t blame them for taking a quick peek. I get looked at a lot (I go to tabletop game conventions where there are many more men than women, and I do have a rather large chest); it’s been my experience that the guys who realize I’ve noticed them looking and follow the social convention of looking away immediately, often appearing a bit embarrassed, have never subsequently behaved in a threatening manner. The few who’ve acted as though it’s their right to stare for an extended period of time have had a high incidence of later acting increasingly creepy. Upshot is that a guy whose body language indicates he doesn’t feel _entitled_ to ogle seems a ton safer. Mind you, I don’t go around assuming everyone else is entirely safe.

            • Isn’t it the women you want to know the most, the women you love or have a crush on that you most find yourself imagining having sex with?

            • “Isn’t it the women you want to know the most, the women you love or have a crush on that you most find yourself imagining having sex with?”
              Yes, most definitely. When I am in love or have a crush, I barely if ever think of other women and only want her. No one else can be as beautiful looks-wise and personality wise when I have a crush or am in love.

              As a curious update since 2012 I paid more attention to when I look at other women and noticed…I pretty much never fantasize at the time about them, but they do look very appealing visually. I only look for up to 1 second max, usually less so just a glance. If it’s more than just walking past someone I may wonder about what they do, who they are. I also notice myself watching other’s behaviours a lot to see how other guys look at women. It’s kinda funny to see some guys whip their heads around when someone walks past, but on the whole most act ok when around others where I am.

              Most people smile back at me so I must be doing something right. I think your mindset probably plays a large role, as you project a positive body language when you are positive n happy.

          • wellokaythen says:

            Sara wrote: “People who love women respect them as people and not as hot pieces of ass.”

            I’m wondering if these are totally mutually exclusive things. Obviously, being too focused on the shape of butt cheeks may distract a man from seeing the larger picture, like not seeing the forest because of the trees.

            But, is it inherently disrespectful to think of a woman as having an attractive body? It certainly CAN be, but it’s not inherently so. If I reduce her to that characteristic and ignore any other possibility, then yes, that’s disrespectful, because it’s an incomplete picture.

            I’d say “respect them as people and not ONLY as hot pieces of ass.”

          • mmmm…, And people who love men don’t think it’s okay to objectify THEM, either…!

      • I don’t think his reply is misogynistic. In fact his observations of society’s double standards are well made.

    • Amen, Amen, AMEN!!!
      Couldn’t agree more, Jeff, COULDN’T agree MORE!

  4. wellokaythen says:

    Clearly some forms of objectification are worse than others. Thinking about another person’s body is a kind of objectification. Treating that person like she’s only a body and not a person is another form of objectification.

    I wonder what it would look like to be physically attracted to another person without some degree of objectification. Don’t just tell me to stop objectifying people. Give me a model of what it would be like to have physical attraction without it.

    Going public with a non-objectifying approach could have some negative consequences. I dare you to tell your wife or girlfriend that you don’t objectify her at all. Tell her “I love you for who you are, and it really doesn’t matter that you look the way that you do. I’m with you because looks are not important to me.”


  5. wellokaythen says:

    In discussions about the objectification of women and issues like that, I see a lot of people failing to take ownership of their own feelings. I see this on both sides, in fact.

    A man who says he can’t stop himself, he just likes to stare, and what she’s wearing is just naturally drawing his eyes towards her, etc., is not owning his own stuff. Claim it, man. Say you enjoy looking and you’ve given yourself permission and you’ve explained to yourself as ____ or whatever. You’re looking, staring, whatever, because that’s YOU doing it. That’s not her making you do it or nature making you do it or your upbringing making you do it. You are doing it. It may be hard to stop, and maybe you don’t have to stop, but it’s still you doing it. In any event, no woman really forces you to stare. She can’t force you to have the desire to look at her.

    By the same token:

    If a woman feels an emotional reaction to a look or a stare, then she needs to own her own stuff, too. Very rarely can anyone MAKE you feel a certain way without your consent. Claim your reaction as your reaction. “When I see a man do X, then I experience the feeling of ____, because I interpret that as ____. What that situation brings up in me is ____.” He made be creating a particular environment, and that’s on him, and at the same time you are reacting because of your own stuff going on inside you, and that’s YOUR stuff. That feeling you’re experiencing is coming from inside you as much as from outside you. If you don’t like what he’s doing, then take responsibility for that feeling. This has nothing to do with whether that feeling is justified or not, but it is important to be aware where feelings are coming from.

    • The Big A says:

      I couldn’t agree more. This argument clearly has reached a stalemate. Women want to be able to dress how they please but at the same time exert control over WHO looks at them………But when they’re out in public this is not possible. Men wanna gawk, whistle, shout at, and even grope women whenever they feel like it but groping is ILLEGAL(as it should be) and making noises(shouting, catcalling, and lewd comments) are considered rude and socially unacceptable.

      The thing is, exhibitionism and voyeurism are normal human sexual behaviors. But society clearly places limitations on these behaviors that are codified into law: Women are not allowed to expose their nipples, asses, or coochies in public (and guys can’t show their ass or their weiners) except at designated nudist venues and men aren’t allowed to spy on women undressed in private places like bathrooms, locker rooms, dressing rooms, or the privacy of their own dwelling places. So women try to show as much as they can get away with and guys try to sneak a peak of women undressed whenever they can.

      You cannot control other peoples behaviors but you CAN control not only how you dress, but how you respond to unwanted attention. And both of those are your responsibility.

      • The Big A, I am going to have to disagree with you that all men want to “gawk, whistle, shout at, and even grope women whenever they feel like it.”

        Maybe YOU feel that way, and maybe some other men feel t hat way, but not all men. You must really have a low opinion of your own gender if you think it’s an innate characteristic for you all to want to treat women this way. You must also have a low opinion of women, if the only thing keeping you from treating them this way is because it is illegal. As if you would totally behave that way if it was legal. GROSS.

        Furthermore, women don’t want to “control” who looks at them. We know we can’t do that, and as other women have stated SEVERAL TIMES, it is not the fact that men look at us or notice us that is the problem. The problem is when it goes from being just a casual glance at someone into being creepy and invasive territory. Women shouldn’t have to spell this out to you as if you are children. You should know the difference between appropriate appreciation for someone who is attractive vs. treating them like an object for your pleasure only. The scary thing is that you don’t seem to know the difference and neither do the other so-called “good men” on this forum. *shudder*

        • The Big A says:

          Mary, the reason I don’t grope people is because a persons body is their private property and other peoples bodies are off limits unless they give permission. I mean it’s really simple: Don’t do something preemptively to others that you wouldn’t want them to do with you. However, you have to understand that not everyone else in this world is aware or even concerned with how what they do makes others feel; and THAT my friend is why we have laws against this kind of thing: To give people an incentive not to do it. Why is such a shock and and outrage that I and plenty of other people sometimes have the impulse to do something that we aren’t supposed to do and/or that is wrong?

          As far as unwanted looking/staring/gawking/ogling is concerned, if you are at the receiving end of this then you need to speak up and make it clear to the person doing it that you do not appreciate this behavior and if they are really aggressive about it make a scene to embarrass them.

          • One of the *primary* reasons we don’t like people ogling us is because it is threatening. I sure as hell am not going to provoke a creepy guy who’s been staring at me by calling him out or making him the center of a scene. Sounds like a good way to get specially targeted for a violent rape. Nope, I’m going to protect myself and get out of there, preferably with friends or security. Creepy staring = the guy’s just upped my assessment of his risk factor by a LOT.

            • One of the *primary* reasons we don’t like people ogling us is because it is threatening. I sure as heck am not going to provoke a creepy guy who’s been staring at me by calling him out or making him the center of a scene. Sounds like a good way to get targeted for a violent rape. Humiliating a guy who’s already acting off is dangerous for women. And especially if the guy knows or could likely find out my name and where I live, I’m for sure not going to humiliate him. Nope, I’m going to protect myself, pretend I’m not noticing the guy staring, and make sure I can get out of there safely, preferably with a group of friends or security. Creepy staring = the guy’s just upped my assessment of his risk factor by a LOT. I felt a touch silly when I had the security guy escort me to the (isolated) restroom once when I had an ogler, but the ogler didn’t realize security and I were leaving at the same time for a reason, and sure enough the ogler followed me.

            • Coming to this late, but I’m surprised no one has mentioned how many women have been affected personally by sexual assault. Being stared at or hearing men make comments about the body parts of other women recalls that abuse and can trigger some very painful emotions for us. It can even make it harder for us to accept our own attractiveness and sexuality, to the point where we may mistakenly attempt to look “frumpy” to try to keep ourselves safe. Though of course I can still be stared at for my larger breasts no matter how modest or baggy the top, and be the recipient of lewd comments.
              For the men who may read this, please keep in mind that some women have painful stories and difficult relationships with their own bodies. Maybe it will help some to behave from a place of respect and sensitivity, losing any sense of entitlement when looking and especially in remarking about women’s appearance to others.

            • I love it how women project their sense of entitlement onto men. Regardless of what happened to you, the world isn’t obligated to adapt to your sensitivities! YOU must adapt to the world around you. Which certainly includes unwanted visual attention. Lewd remarks however, are just plain rude no matter what.

            • I hate to say it but the Big A, is right. The previous poster is posting from a sense of entitlement that others should be adapting to suit her own fears n issues. It’s great for men and women to be mindful, lewd comments of course are bad, but looking? You’re in public, people will look at you, it’s pretty much a natural and expected thing to do for social creatures. Hopefully those people don’t look too long and follow the local customs, but you can’t expect them to stop looking because some people were abused. Do you know how many times I’ve heard some women complain that no one looks at them anymore and how they feel invisible?

            • In the United States alone, 1 in 5 women are victims of sexual assault and abuse in their lives. I don’t see how that is speaking from a culture of entitlement with a statistic that is so unbelievably high.

            • And 1 in 6 men are victims of sexual assault, we’re far more alike than many like to think. Do you avoid looking at men because of that high rate of abuse? The entitlement is in regards to wanting to CONTROL how, when people LOOK at you. I don’t mean when people comment on body appearance which is rude, but simply looking at others is where I draw the line. You are in public, people will look at you, we can’t go telling everyone to avert their eyes to cater for some peoples sensitivities. You can suggest they don’t ogle which I agree with as people shouldn’t ogle but demanding it broachs on entitlement that others change for you.

              I am a victim of sexual abuse, bullying, etc. For a long time after when people looked at me I thought they were judging me, being negative, laughing at me but I can’t demand they never look at me can I? That would be expecting others to change to suit my sensitivities when looking is far different to outright comments of someone which can be controlled and should be limited within respectful manner, eg, don’t harass people. But how can someone expect others to never look at you?

              Do you want a society where men never look at women incase some get offended by the look? It’s up to the victims like myself to adapt to society within reason, being seen alone is normal and fully expected when in public however comments themselves can easily be controlled and those comments which are rude should not be said. I expect people not to touch me, not to harass me verbally, that is fine but I don’t expect them to look away or never look at me because that is just silly. At most I can ask others not to ogle since ogling can be quite threatening and thus seen as negative, but a simple look of a second or 2? No.

              My insecurities n past experiences were biasing my view of what people were thinking, I was making myself more nervous over actions and my guess of what the other was thinking which was probably wrong. Why should that other person not look at me because I MAY feel afraid of it? I hope they are aware that staring of course will cause discomfort for most people (pretty sure this is a universal instinct in most animals) but even still unless they have progressed to comments, come closer, do other actions involving you can you really expect them to stop? Of course this largely depends on what you view as staring, oggling, or simply a quick glance.

              I am very well aware that looking at someone may cause discomfort and it has led me to be overly nervous of women ever catching me looking at them even though I do it with a quick glance. I find it very nerve-racking to hold eye-contact when our eyes meet across a room for instance and a large part of that is me fearing that I have somehow made her uncomfy. I think it’s absolutely unhealthy to have such a fear and I wouldn’t want others to push that kind of fear on people so when I hear of women saying that because some are raped we shouldn’t be looking at them I think this is a bad idea. Not only does it severely interfere with peoples ability to find a partner but I think it unecessarily causes anxiety between the genders, I know of other men like myself who are now quite nervous to even talk to women over this fear of making them uncomfy and hear of plenty of women who are annoyed that they are not talked to enough by men.

              I may have misunderstood Sarah’s comment, if so I apologize but do keep in mind that what she says is quite similar to other advice which I’ve thought to be harmful where it’s pretty much asking men to NOT look at women. If it is meant to be don’t look at women as meat, don’t oggle n stare, don’t comment with crass behaviour, that sounds fine but if it means don’t look at a woman or even look at her cleavage for instance ever then I find that very restrictive. I hear conflicting advice that it’s ok to have a quick glance, yet others tell me of annoyance when men look at them at all and especially if they look at their body so who should we adapt to? Should I feel shame for looking at cleavage for half a second? Should I do everything I can to keep my vision above the neck? Should you never look at me because some people in highschool bullied me severely and I get nervous? Or should we allow people to look at each other within reason and try remind people that not everyone is out to harm them, that a simple look at cleavage for instance doesn’t mean he is going to rape you (hell he may even be looking at your necklace).

            • Yeah. I’ll bet you see BLACK men as PARTICULARLY threatening, Huh?

              …gimme streangth…!

            • Creepy guy = unattractive guy

    • Bravo! Well said wellokaythen… it is totally about taking responsibility for your own actions and feelings. It’s also about awareness of those feelings and respect for fellow beings.

  6. Your objective a person when you don’t recognize them as being a human being. This not only happens in a sexual context, but also in the case of food server, a gardener or any other person you see on merely utilitarian terms. However we should remember that prudery also objectifies people. If you look a person who happens to be sexually active and see only promiscuity, or see a sex worker as a whore (or a victim), you are ignoring the human.
    Staring isn’t necessarily objectifying. But it is creepy. One time I was driving in South Florida and was almost out of gas I pulled into the gas station fill my tank and then went inside to pay. It turned out to be a bar on the inside there were a lot of men in there and they all stopped what they were doing and stared at me. Everybody stared at me except for the girl working behind the counter and she ignored me. Shades of Deliverence. I sure was glad when a man in a suit came out of the back and took my money so I could get out of there. So guys next time you have the urge to stare at a stranger. Remember Deliverence and think how complimented you might be at all that unwanted attention. Women live in a more dangerous world because of the attention they attract. We need respect that.

    • “Women live in a more dangerous world because of the attention they attract.”
      Oh bullshit, pure n utter bullshit. People who say stuff like this prove to me they know sweet F A about statistics. Men are 4-6x more likely to die from violence, and are far more at risk of violence on the street than women. The majority of violence victims are male. Males are 2x the number of all violence related victims. Infact women have more protection in modern western society than males through countless anti-rape, and anti-dv measures. Women may suffer more street harassment but don’t you dare try tell me women are in a more dangerous world than men.

      Good god, is male victimization so invisible that people are really this clueless to the reality of the world?

      And no, you don’t objectify people when you use their services unless you see them as nothing but an object instead of a human doing their job. Maybe you objectify everyone around you but don’t lump me or others in with you because you have trouble seeing humans as humans.

      • Male violence is a danger, but in this case, males are both the perpetrators and the victims of their own violence. While sometimes females are perpetrators, the majority of the time, females are only victims of male violence.

        Also, do you think laws mean that women feel more safe? As a woman, laws don’t make me feel safe, and I’d venture to say that that’s the truth for most woman. Most cases of DV and rape never get reported. Yet we have a justice system that tends to find blame with women. They ask you questions in a way that suggests that you did something to cause your rape. Let’s say a college girl was drunk and perhaps scantily clad was raped at a party, we both know that people are going to blame her, and maybe she ends up blaming herself or maybe she doesn’t feel it’s worth the effort. This really isn’t uncommon. Not only is it embarrassing, but many suffer from PTSD.

        I’ve got into numerous discussions with girls over rape in all the schools I’ve been to. One girl I knew was a soldier who was raped by a fellow male soldier. But she convinced herself that she provoked it and excused him because he was drunk. No matter what, if a woman says no, it means no. It doesn’t matter if a man is inside her, as soon as she stops consenting it is rape. If a man is drunk, it’s no excuse. If you he can’t control himself while he’s drunk, that is on him.

        It pains me to know the number of women who have been victimized, and feel that they were to blame, and have had no one to talk to. But this goes for men too. There are so many men who were molested by older males when they were boys. The problem is that in our society, some feel the need to be even more masculine because of their experiences, and end up become victimizers themselves – to women, other men, etc.

        • “Male violence is a danger, but in this case, males are both the perpetrators and the victims of their own violence.”
          Not always, I get the impression you largely see rape as something perpetrated by men against both men n women when the reality is the majority of rape men face is perpetrated by women. Women are far more dangerous to men than many even realize. For physical abuse men are more likely to harm other men of course and all of that needs to be addressed but please do realize women perpetrate a significant amount of harm against the genders. Hell one of the most damaging abuses a child faces is bullying and even emotional/verbal bullying is extreme where women experience this a lot along with the men.

  7. The Big A says:

    And furthermore, did it not occur to Jayson Gaddis than WOMEN OBJECTIFY MEN TOO? Albeit in different ways. A stranger in public is a person who you don’t know and (most likely)doesn’t know you. People can be hard to read in situations like that and so you can’t know what they’re thinking, feeling, or what they find objectionable unless they TELL you with words. Objectifying others makes it easier for us to cope with uncertainty and besides; when all you have to work with is what somebody looks like then your imagination tends to take over. That’s how people are: Always have been, always will be.

    • I don’t think what you are talking about is objectification. Objectification, in this context, is dehumanization. Unless you actually do dehumanize everyone you don’t know – which could be the case. Perhaps you don’t feel as relational or empathetic towards others, and or feel a common humanity with people you don’t know.

      • >>and or feel a common humanity with people you don’t know. <<

        Not true. When people(myself included) see a *beautiful stranger* who they have never met, never seen before, and otherwise know nothing about them except for what they look like, the natural response is for the imagination to take over. That stranger may not want to get to know the person that is admiring them and may not entirely object to their admirer seeing them as an object so long as said admirer keeps their thoughts to themselves and doesn't act on them. Jayson Gaddis is clearly an agent of the thought police. But at the end of the day you cannot police other peoples minds. As long as people have bodies that are visible to the naked eye(unlike thoughts and feelings), bodies will be noticed and admired first.

        • If you see an ugly person/unattractive person, what do think of them? Do you see them as only as an object? What is their worth to you? Are they invisible to you? Do you assign anything to them in your mind on initial viewing?

          You cannot police other people’s minds, but objectification doesn’t stop with the mind. People who are deemed unattractive are prosecuted more and sentenced longer than people deemed attractive. They are hired less. Objectification has real consequences in our society, it doesn’t stop with just looking at an attractive person. There is a flip side to objectifying pretty people, we also objectify people we deem unattractive. What are the consequences to that, as well?

          When you look at a beautiful person the, do you not see them as a body with thoughts? Or do you only allow yourself to see them as a body that gives you mental gratification? You may not know their thoughts or feelings, but that doesn’t excuse you from thinking they don’t have thoughts or feelings. In my own mind, I may see an attractive person, but I don’t imagine anything about them. There are no thoughts beyond noting that they are attractive. I cannot look at any person and not see them as thinking, living, breathing, or feeling. I don’t know their thoughts, but I know enough that as a fellow human, they cry, laugh, feel pain, pleasure, just as I do. That’s enough for me to respect them, as a thinking feeling person. What you say is natural, is actually natural or conditioned? People often use nature or science as a means to justifying behavior that they don’t want to change; they claim it be natural or universal. Or they just don’t understand the science they are engaging in. People do notice attractiveness and sexuality – true. But do they only see bodies, objects? Has science or social sciences shown that? How certain are you that what you experience isn’t just a conditioned response versus actually being natural? I don’t know myself if the male mind only sees an object versus an attractive person, but I’m going to guess and say that men who are more intuitive and empathetic (in their nature) could possibly disagree with you on that being natural response.

          The truth is, I don’t want to be seen as an object for mental gratification. I have an hourglass figure, and I recognize that there is a biological draw to my figure and the truth is that I am actually very fertile. So men do notice. But as a thinking, feeling, passionate, and intellectual woman, I prefer to admired by a man who recognizes my humanity in addition to my body, rather than just see me as a body that they can mentally gratify themselves over, without consideration of my own thoughts or feelings. Can I control that? No. But it’s not a nice feeling to be such a thinker, an individual with so many life experiences and emotions and thoughts, and yet be reduced to an object of sexual gratification. My worth to men like that, is nothing. And the problem with that is that objectification just doesn’t stop with thoughts. Studies in the sciences and social sciences have shown this to be the case. The high number of sexual assaults against women and men, by primarily men, I feel demonstrates this.

          You claim that Jayson is an agent of thought police, yet is that worse than seeing bodies as objects, without thoughts or feelings, on initial viewing? Isn’t it worse to see a body as an object without a humanity than to try to change somebody’s thoughts, for what they believe would be the best for others? In Jayson’s case, he recognizes that every person is a person, not just an object for mental or physical gratification. The opposite of that, to me, is dehumanization. And personally, I just don’t agree that objectification or dehumanization is natural, I think it’s a cop-out to justify one’s actions.

          I do appreciate you very much for engaging with me though, even if we don’t see eye to eye.

  8. im gonna offer a queer perspective on the issue here. I like to go online to just read some cis gendered hetero perspectives on these topics just for my own interest. The question is, is sexualizing someone the same as objectifying them? I think not, however, I can see a whole plethora of social forces linking the two and encouraging objectification. I sexualize women all the time.I see them, especially depending on the ways she’s dressed and I could very well feel aroused, and my head could very well fill with sexual images and fantasies. Looking, feeling, imagining is not objectifying in my case because I cannot forget or fail to recognize that this person is also a person with interests, thoughts, ideas, hobbies, emotions, opinions, goals, etc, all the non sexual things that draw humans together, platonically or romantically. It’s easy for me to not forget this because I, too, have two X chromosomes. I too am a biological female. I mean, damn, i’ve sexualized my own body and I know very well that I am a person with rich personal experiences and all the other “human” things I’ve listed above. For males, I think it’s a bit different though. Sexual feeling (lust) is largely natural, but objectification is a social phenomenon created by gender segregation, starting from day one when we give the female the pink blanket and the baby male the blue.

    I had a friend in college who one day exclaimed “holy shit. I just figured it out. Girls are PEOPLE. Like they arent girls! Well, obviously they are girls, but they are actually just people, regular people, who have people thoughts, do people things and who i can just have a regular people conversation with. Like instead of thinking of them as ‘girls’ really i should just think about them as people!” See beforehand, the females of our species to him, had existed in this inaccessible incomprehensible girlworld where the fundamental laws of psychology were fundamentally different. Girls didnt GO in the same category as ‘people’, atleast subconsicously. They were girls or chicks. That’s the objectification. And coupled with sexualization, they become “bitches” or “hoes”. This perceived difference leads to the feeling that females are from a different species, and THEN you are still sexually attracted to this different species, these creatures who you dont even feel you can communicate with on the same page of fundamental human experience, who exist as something sexy but completely incomprehensible. Gender segregation from such an early age causes their to be a perceived obstacle to the transference of meaningful information and the construction of an “other”. These conditions encourage objectification.

    Like i get off on porn, and i don’t see this as a problem (so long as it doesnt become addicting) but i’m at no risk of objectifying the women, because I, too, have two X chromosomes, and no, I cannot forget that I am a person with a rich experiential, emotional and intellectual world no matter how hot i can make my boobs look to me (and im sure other people) when i dress in feminine clothing (which i dont do all the time). I grew up kinda flitting between the two gender roles, not fully belonging to either of them. In retrospect, I think I constructed both the “female other” and the “male other” until I formed closer relationships with cis-gendered people and now do not view anyone as an other because of gender. But I can imagine that if had had grown up male, there would be this “female other” who me and my male “nonothers” would share in the experience of lusting over. And this is, I think, is the key step in the process of objectifying women.

    Some men have admitted to me the whole “fear of intimacy” phenomenon. Sometimes men i hardly know out of the blue have admitted it to me. Maybe because those men viewed me as a neutral non-potential, easier to talk to. I think that fear is also a “socialized gender role” phenomenon in some cases, but i definitely wouldn’t want to reduce it to that because other people have that fear due to their unique personal emotional histories. Anyway, maybe this is a cool and fresh perspective that you’ll find interesting. Sometimes like my reflections on this type of stuff. Sometimes people just give me weird looks. Do what you’d like, I’d rather you didn’t comment homophobically though.

  9. And im not saying that this IS what always happens. Im saying that there are conditions that you could very well be subjected to when undertaking a unigender socialization process (as most of us do) that encourages objectification of the opposite gender. Historically, it has been more apparent with males objectifying females, but this could be changing or be happening in different ways, and I would certainly not encourage the double standard, (letting the women who objectify men off the hook is NOT ok).

    • Ari – very interesting take on these issues. I wonder if women objectify other women more than they would objectify men? Would it be surprising since we are subjected to the same patriarchal/ paternalistic systems? That’s so interesting.

      I agree with you that there is a difference between objectification and sexual attraction, which you stated very eloquently. I think it’s also important to point out that it’s okay to feel attracted to certain people and not others. Preferences are just that, your preferences. Although we should be aware of our preferences in order to keep us honest in how we judge others’ characteristics and personalities. Even if we don’t objectify, we can end up assigning meanings or qualities to certain physical characteristics that we prefer or don’t prefer.

      • My guess is women objectify men more by their wallet. I believe research has shown women on average orgasm more with men who have more resources/wealth. Now whether most women or men objectify is the question, personally I see a beautiful woman as a human first whom I find attractive. Ugly people I still see as human, just I don’t want to date them but I don’t judge anything about them either way. My judgments of unknown people tend to be mostly about safety, is this person a threat and it’s a carry-over behaviour from previous abuse I suffered and I am trying actively to lessen it whilst keeping a keen eye out for problematic behaviour.

        It’s sad that some humans judge others worth by appearance so much, eg beautiful people getting more money in a career for instance.

        “Even if we don’t objectify, we can end up assigning meanings or qualities to certain physical characteristics that we prefer or don’t prefer.”
        Pretty women in highschool use to bully me a lot so after HS for a while I thought all beautiful women around my age would be bitches, it wasn’t until I got to know some that I realized they vary just as much as everyone else and I unlearned that bad behaviour. But don’t take my mind as common, I went through a lot of bullying and have a social anxiety disorder from it so I am usually on hyper-alert spending a lot of mental energy watching peoples behaviour sharply to try detect any danger. On the plus side it gives me what others call a very good judge of character and these days I’m usually right but on the minus side it makes it more difficult to talk to strangers since I’m on edge so much.

        Some physical characteristics do make me more afraid though such as larger muscles in men but mostly it’s about HOW they act vs how they look. I feel much more calm around softer spoken women, or women who do talk louder but not with a negative aggressive voice, same with men too though for some reason women have more of a calming effect that I could only guess relates to socialization of women as nurturing. How he/she looks matters little apart from seeing a beautiful woman/woman I find attractive n thinking she looks great and being interested to get to know her more (I am a straight male so this only applies to women). I do believe that aspect of attraction is natural but I don’t think objectification is the default natural way, I believe most people see attraction women as women and not just a sex toy.

        There is research showing males are more likely to use the part of the brain that registers objects when they see a woman but I’m not convinced that’s necessarily the truth of the matter, males may be more likely to focus on certain body parts and be what I call mesmerized, doing a quick scan over a woman’s body noticing her eyes, face, lips, neck, breasts, etc but I do believe most still see her as a human. Maybe men are raised to notice such features more than women? The act of simply noticing those features does not make it objectification, he would have to ignore her being a human and think of her as only WORTH those features and in the few moments of initially seeing a woman how on Earth could it be determined how he views her overall?

        The most common part I look at are the eyes and notice the smile, the first thoughts are automatically me smiling and feeling better before anything else registers, the next part is the look up n down thinking she looks beautiful and that usually all happens within a second before I start thinking she looks beautiful. I don’t smile like that with objects, I don’t feel that way with a nice car, it’s only for humans.

        There is also this research ht tp://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=how-our-brains-turn-women-into-objects
        From what I gather the men were more likely to see the women as in need of protection, less able to defend themselves. That would play into the hero stories males often hear as children so society may be breeding men to see women as needing protection. You could say this is evolutionary psychology where men are more likely to protect women and kids as a way to keep them around especially during times of vulnerability when women are pregnant. I am no expert on that though so I’d love to hear others thoughts on it.

        What I do find troubling is that the science of studying the brain is still quite young, can they accurately gauge men are objectifying or are they taking some pretty major guesses as to why a certain part of the brain is used? The other issue is the study was based on photographs, not actual live breathing in front of you people so would the result be different if that were the case? Show me a photo and my photographers mind plays a part, I sit there wondering what lens was used, seeing the lighting etc and yes even when watching porn I think of this so I question the validity of understanding human behaviour based off photos vs living, breathing people in front of a subject.

        • Are you that person that sits closest to an exit or as far away from the center as possible?I don’t want to change topics or anything, these are all very good discussions but I have a personal question for you that you can completely ignore – but I can’t help but wonder since many in my family suffer from it, some because of sexual abuse, but do you think you could have or had PTSD due to your own experiences? I don’t want to intrude or anything, but some of the words you used to describe yourself and your interactions with others – the hyper-alertness and social anxiety – are symptoms of PTSD.

          Not speaking specifically to you, but many of the young men in my area who suffer sexual abuse never talk about it. They acknowledge it happened, but they act like it has no effect on them, when it really is controlling them. It’s not uncommon for some of them to end up in in jail or therapy due to gang violence, domestic violence, intoxication, abuse, fighting, etc. Even though I get angry at the abuse and violence I see, I always have to remind myself to be understanding and to show compassion, since many of them are still hurting and never got the help they needed – they are kind of stuck with this survivor mentality, but also, with this stunted childhood/adulthood thing. People forget that abuse, neglect do have effects on mental, emotional, and behavioral development. Personal accountability does come in somewhere, but I don’t know where to draw that line. It’s difficult to know.

          • I usually sit with my eyes on the exit, back to a wall with everyone else in front of me. I absolutely hate hate hate people behind me, I am usually always on the lookout for danger. Maybe I do have some symptoms of ptsd? Not sure what to call it but I have a good dose of social anxiety disorder and am always on edge to protect myself. Being near an exit is handy but mostly mine is about knowing where others are. I went through mostly bullying at school but had males n females hitting me, groping my manboobs, verbally bullying me too and had a few teachers hit me, got pushed backwards whilst sitting at my desk and hit my head on a cupboard by a teacher screaming his head off at me for saying F off to a kid who was bothering me when I was about 8 or 9. I know those events with teachers further made me very afraid to hear adults yelling, even when I was an adult although I think I’ve finally gotten past most of that and don’t feel as afraid since I am now 6’6, large body, and can probably defend myself decently.

        • Draconian says:

          “I believe research has shown women on average orgasm more with men who have more resources/wealth.”

          Ha. I can just imagine women masturbating to pictures of men holding money.

  10. privatehelp01 says:

    i wrote this on this arictles comment section

    this is what i said:

    this makes me think i’m wierd as a man, i have never objectifyed any woman, i don’t find oliva munn, attractive at all, i find hayley williams attractive though, shes funny and sweet and intelligent, and thats sexy and yes i see women in a sexual way but not in a way that objectifys her, i mean i find period peice costumes, sexy on a woman, so is it wierd that i find tomboys attractive, that i’m not attracted to victorias secret models, i mean my grandmother, nick named me my little edward cullen, and i’m proud of that, so please ladies remember not all men objectify, and by objectifying men, your only going to cause more of it on yourselves, i mean maybe i am diffrent, maybe it’s because i’m english, thats why, i’m not trying to get anything from this, but those who objectify, please grow up.

    and i stand by what i wrote.

  11. I don’t regard myself as in any way exceptional but I am capable of both appreciating a cracking pair of norks and remembering that their owner is a human being. Appreciating a nice body, checking someone out, has zero impact on understanding that they’re a person.

  12. I don’t agree with the definition of objectification. From yoga and buddhist philosophy classes I understand objectification is looking at a living conscious being with somewhat arrogant eyes of ‘what is or could be in it for me?’ it is not seeing something with fresh curious eyes but greedy ones. ie objectification was also what the colonisers felt towards the natives they found in South America for example. Also the man who looks down on a woman because she is not to his like is objectifying her if he questions her attractiveness to him automatically ie unconsciously very quickly when he sees her. Women objectify men too. So there are different types. Also, when someone objectifies someone else he or she does it automatically to him or herself too and it is most likely an attitude of life, ie it is done with lots of things.

  13. I love female bodies. I’ll never be ashamed of it. After all, physical attraction is all I have to go on until I meet the woman. If I meet her and like her my attraction is heightened, sparks fly and if she likes me and there’s a lot of chemistry I’ll see her enjoying the look of my body as well, looking at my lips or staring at my c0ck. Passion heats up and increases the more we like each other. This isn’t objectification and is not wrong. If after meeting the attractive girl, I realise I don’t like her that much, my physical attraction wanes and I become less interested. I think the real problem here is the shame men are taught to feel when they are physically turned on by women (or in my case men sometimes as well) Guys, never be ashamed of who you and what you like or who you like. You are an amazing human being and deserve to be who you really are

  14. Jehefinner says:

    There is a HUGE difference between admiring a women physically/visually and objectifying them. I don’t mind being admired and appreciated, but I definitely mind being objectified. I often dress to flatter my ‘best features’ but this doesn’t mean I’m dumb, cheap, easy or an object. Admire me by all means, compliment me if you like, as long as it’s sincere and respectful it’s ok. Yelling obscenities about what you’d like to do to me, or vice versa is neither respectful or likely to get you anything but rejection and humiliation. I have a body and a brain, focus either of them exclusively and I’ll not be likely to return your interest.

    Oh, and this;

    “When I’ve had lovers in the past, I would be most interested in sex with them when I was feeling flat and in a funk. I had no tools back then to feel my pain, so sex most often helped take the edge off a little bit and it helped me connect to myself again and even connect to my partner again.”

    Guys, we know when you are doing this, we really do, even if it’s just subconsciously, and it’s at these times that we are likely to reject your advances. Because no-one likes to be used, and this kind of sex is very selfish and leaves women feeling used. When you feel like this, talk, don’t fuck.

  15. I think this woman says it all so well,

  16. To me I can only explain objectification based on my fears vs my wants.

    I need to know that when a man wants me, he wants all of me thoughts, worries, all of it. Otherwise, I fear that he will only want what he sees, and not what I say.

    I’ve learned recently, that the men I really want, decide to like my heart first, and if they like that enough, then they fall in love with the rest.

  17. I think there are several aspects which are for women uncomfortable:

    Fist, I do not think that “objectifying” per se is bad. In many ways of interacting with other, we objectify them, very generally since they are the objects of our thoughts and actions.

    The problem is when the sexual objectification of women is solely based because of their physical appearance, which is happening right now since what is still appreciated most about women (so are we told) is their appearance. If we would live in a more equal society, sexual attraction could be way more be triggered by other properties and women would feel less as “meat”.

    Another aspect is privacy. Although I walk around finding a lot of people attractive, I am very reluctant to imagine myself having sex with them. To me, this is not a biological response actually, but you have to be morally be ok with doing having these phantasies/they have to be positively reinforced (as they are for men in our culture). Yet at the same time, for me personally, it feels that I would strip off the privacy of the person in this moment, so I really dont think its necessary.

  18. Oh…my. I can’t even express how so very grateful I am that you wrote this article. It makes me feel so wonderful to know that there are men out there having this dialog. You are right; we do know when guys are looking. And for me…it guys very deeply. I do not dress immodestly. But I still feel the deep piercing stare of a man who is staring at my body and it sickens me. It feels like they have stolen my rights away…that they are disrespecting my wishes and my body. I see many guys on here defending it with a vengeance and all I can say is you so not understand what it’s like to grow up in this society. We have been treated like objects since we were very young and handed unrealistic Barbie’s and started seeing our mothers try and enforce “ways” we should act that we didn’t understand. All I’m saying is…most od us do not like it. Just be a gentleman and stop. We don’t walk this earth for your visual pleasure.

    And I’m sorry, but your kidding yourself if you think women “do it too!” Very very few women. Very few.

  19. Draconian says:

    Depending on how you look at it, I either have an appreciation for female beauty, or I’m a pig.

    You know those survey questions where they ask men “what part of a woman’s body do you notice first?” The most common answers are face, smile, hair, or (rarely) breasts. But I notice a woman’s legs first. Legs and ass.

    I see women as legs, breasts, ass, and thighs. I’m not proud of it, but you wanted an honest answer.

  20. Seriously, are we done shaming and overanalyzing people’s desires? Honestly, as a woman, I never felt bad about sex until I heard all that “objectification” bullshit, “enlightened”, made me “understand” that for some reason, I should interpret any sexual attention as a threat or an insult and be VERY afraid. The idea of “objectification” is none other than the madonna-whore complex resurrected, the idea that sex somehow turns off all other thought in someone’s brain. That you can be a person with a brain, or a person with a sex life but not both.

    When two guys talk about a girl, they’re just trying to out-moron each other. They wouldn’t say the same thing if they were alone. It tells more about stupidity than sexuality.

    Objectification is nothing but a modern, university-sounding buzzword that feminism slapped on century-old insecurities long repeated in churches. Sex is evil. Sex is dangerous. Sex makes monsters out of men (not humans, just men).

    But it’s part of us. And the more afraid we are, the more it controls us.

  21. Is it possible that men (like me) have a great desire to temporarily absorb beauty through the images of women? I keep thinking of those quotes in the article that refer to sucking up beauty or a want to ascertain it in one way or another. Maybe this is because society tells men that they cannot be beautiful. Men do not/cannot attain beauty other than by fantasizing about possessing beautiful things. How sad is it to believe that regardless of who you are, you will never be beautiful. How devastating would that feel to a woman. To further strengthen this argument, google “Beauty” as an image search. See what comes up.

  22. carolyons says:

    I like the many different perspectives presented in this article. Issues like this are certainly subjective so I think it’s important to present it like this. I would like to comment on a couple of things.
    1. “Yes indeed men want to procreate and plant our seed, so naturally we look for mates constantly. True” I’ve always found the whole “seed” idea absurd. If you want to espouse biology, last time I checked human fertilization occurs inside the female body and requires the union of the sperm and the egg.
    2. I agree that culture (particularly patriarchal culture) influences male behavior worldwide.
    3. I agree that people use objectification/fantasy to escape. For some that maybe porn for others comedy, food, alcohol, or a mixture of sorts.
    4. It’s annoying enough when men who don’t know any better appear irrational and animalistic in the presence of an attractive woman, but when educated intelligent men appear that way I find it downright pathetic.
    5. I love men. I appreciate an attractive man, but I would take an average looking, intelligent man with a sense of humor any day over a piece of eye-candy.


    I have never ever read anywhere that includes (relief/distraction, nurture and less-evolved men doing this. EVER! Thank you!

  24. Personally as a gay guy I have noticed a lot of weird behavior in regards to male/female relationships and interactions.

    First of all men checking out women is not objectifying women. It is a natural physical response. I know I check out guys all the time without conscious thought. Objectifying women happens when men make lewd comments or make physical moves on a women after she has said no. This is objectifying women because the man is no longer considering the woman’s feelings and as such is treating her as an object, hence objectifying. Simply checking out a woman does not constitute as objectifying a woman instead it is a normal part of reproductive behavior.

    Second women complain about attention from men….. but they also complain when they don’t get it. I have brought some of my girl friends to the gay bar (because they begged me to since they “hate being harassed by guys”). Yet 20 minutes into getting there they were complaining they weren’t getting free drinks, no guys were hitting on them, and they weren’t being served first at the bar. Women love the attention they get from men, just as long as they are hot, rich, and buy them stuff.

    If objectifying women was not a reproductively positive behavior guys wouldn’t do it. Simple fact is, if women didn’t like it, guys wouldn’t do it, because they are doing whatever it takes to increase their chances of getting laid.

  25. Just a couple of thoughts. Everyone wants attention, but don’t we have the right to want attention that feels good to us? I think, and I believe many women would agree, that being looked at because I am attractive is fine. But, there IS a difference between looking and making someone uncomfortable.
    I think that if we get down to the truth of it, women rarely make men uncomfortable with their stares or oggles, and don’t say things that call atteniton to the fact that we are doing it (outside of appropriate venues such as male strip clubs, etc). I have never witnesses a woman cat call a man in a normal unsexualized environment, yet it is pretty common the other way around.
    And as a woman, I have a lot of trouble with the notion that somehow looking/fantasizing about a female stranger can relieve pain. If that is true, and it seems like a lot of men in this article hit on that as a partial reason, then we have to work on why men are not being taught to deal with pain in a healthy way that doesn’t affect the others around them.

  26. acrobat says:

    Gay men openly objectify other men and very often also welcome being objectified. It’s not (in my circles) considered offensive nor unusual. Attaching so much weighted meaning to men objectifying women is extraordinarily heterocentrist- please get over yourselves!

  27. Jennifer says:

    I think that only part of what you are describing in your definition of objectify is correct and is what women find offensive in some men’s behavior and in our culture at large. I say our culture at large, because it is not only men who objectify women, but women who objectify other women as well. “To see them as objects (instead of real people)” is the part that I think you are spot on about. The rest of your definition- gawking, staring, thinking of in a sexual way, and picturing fucking them is not objectification in my opinion. It is lust, and it is normal. Yes, excessive gawking is creepy, but it is not objectification.

    Women generally WANT to be lusted after. However, we also want those lusting after us to see our whole selves- our personalities, our quirks, our ideas, etc. We don’t want to be seen as a collection of body parts for someone to use at will. We are lustful too, and we are also quite capable of objectifying men if that is the route we choose. One route is humanizing and respectful, and the other is not.

    That’s all I’ll say for now. Great site, by the way. I’m a feminist who is also seeking to understand Men’s Rights issues without dismissing the movement completely because of some nut jobs who hijack the name and flood it with women hating garbage (sort of like the few “feminists” who really DO hate men and give the rest of us a bad name). I think if we actually take the time to read what intelligent people of opposite genders have to say about their respective concerns, we might learn a thing or two about each other.

  28. I did not read through every comment, I do not have the time or the inclination. I am married, quite happily. I do not understand why any woman or man would find it offensive for someone else to be looking at them? Why is this “ogling”? If it is ogling, why would that bother you still? Anyone has the right to dress however they like, woman or man… that does not mean anyone else has the right to touch, no matter how scantily or provocatively they are dressed, ever. We are animals, we can still think.
    My opinion: looking is healthy – and again, why is that bad or demeaning? It is completely natural and should make you feel good, not “objectified”. ….Jeez…. did you ever think it is because you have spinach stuck in your teeth?

  29. ARRGGGGH says:

    How come science doesn’t catch heat it objectifies everything? Oh but to respond to the question according to Rudolph Steiner, and our limited perception, we are objects, and as objects we all want to be objectified one way or the other. You know what sexual harassment is? Its when an ugly guy hits on a girl.

  30. ……..to look at them in a sexual way and not see them as people………aka “don’t look at my ass i don’t like it you objectifying pig”. i look at a nice ass because i like a nice ass. simple as that. a woman comes up to me i’ll have a nice conversation with my eyes looking them straight in the face. simple as that. don’t tangle “i like a nice ass” with “i want every woman as my sexual trophies muwhahahaha”


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