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.

 

 

About Jayson Gaddis

Jayson Gaddis, host of The Smart Couple Podcast, is THE breakthrough marriage and relationship coach for smart, successful, people. He’s on the planet to help people learn and master intimacy and relationship. He’s a husband and part-time stay-at-home Dad getting schooled by his two cosmic kids. Jayson writes his own highly personal blog, and has also written for Integral Life, Digital Romance, The Jungle of Life, Primer Magazine, Recovering Yogi, & Elephant Journal. You can find him here: Jayson Gaddis or sign up for this month's free training If Your Man Unavailable or Shut Down. You can also become a fan on Facebook here: Jayson Gaddis Fan Page.

Comments

  1. I do believe on some level it is objectification. I myself do not “check out” men and immediately think of having sex with them or thinking they are “hot”. I view people as people, regardless of age, gender, race. I guess sometimes it would be nice to know that men have the capacity to think the same when looking at women. That we are more then what our exterior shows.
    I also know it can be damaging for women’s self esteem to see the guy they’re with looking at other women, be it photos or out in public. In the girls eyes it can look like they them selves are not as attractive or that the man is lacking so he must look elsewhere.
    I constantly hear ” its because I’m a guy”

    • I do not tell my woman that she is good looking because that would be objectifying her. Then she gets angry at me for not objectifying her. What is a guy to do.

  2. Men receive all the bashing for no reason. The truth is that most women think of themselves as object and merchandise. Men are attracted to women regardless of their status (or even race). But you don’t often (or never) hear a female doctor marries a male janitor or a receptionist. Women think men attentions are as good as their wallets. They think of their sexuality as a business, a part of the deal.

  3. I’m at a loss for words at this article. This is … just… amazing in so many ways.

    These men have drank so much kool-aid they’re busting through brick walls at this point.

    A point-by-point response to Objectification Theory can be found here: https://4thwavers.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/sexual-objectification-a-response-yes-to-the-entire-theory/

  4. There will always be flirtation and appreciation of people that persists on a superficial or fantasy level because it can’t or “shouldn’t” go beyond that. Men and women both appreciate each other or the same gender on a superficial level and some people may or may not appreciate being viewed in that superficial way. The real issue people are trying to get at is what people are trying to gain by letting OTHERS around them know that they view people in this way, trying to feel they are “one-up” on others/above them because they can view people in a superficial/leering way and they want to be RECOGNIZED for leering/acting perverted as an ego boost for themselves or to get a rise out of other people around them. That is the issue.

  5. And yet again a series of ‘shoulds’ or enlightened goals that one must eternally strive for. Don’t get me wrong, I love this article, but it joins a long tradition of advice giving type material of the “If only people would do … then …” sort. In this case, if only men would … then they/society.women,relationships/the world …” I can barely pass up chips let alone my highly automated responses/habits to the world.
    Basically I warm-up in such a manner depending on the context I am in and the interplay between me and that context. A gorgeous woman walking towards me as a cruise down the street – one warm-up. A beautiful woman giving my mother mouth to mouth resuscitation – another warm-up. A beautiful woman crying – yet another. A beautiful woman jeering – yet another. A beautiful woman carrying a racist sign – yet another.
    Thanks for the article.
    Peter

  6. Anonymous says:

    To my mind there are some simple answers to this:

    – Learn to disregard all the media hype and advertising that is at the root of a lot of the objectification.

    – Men and yes women as well need to do some growing up and really look at themselves.

    – Follow your heart: learn again to connect emotionally with a lady – become friends with a woman, actually talk and listen to her; become attached to her, she should be someone you actually want to be with, laugh with, hang out with, and cry with if need be.

    As an example I met the loveliest woman recently; the things that stood out for me were the facts that she was intelligent, kind, gentle and had a quiet inner peace and confidence about her; lust does not last – friendship and real companionship are in the end longer lasting. Unfortunately a developing friendship wasn’t to be (for various reasons beyond my control). But because I care that deeply about her I had to let her go – it still does not stop me from having deeply romantic feelings about her. I will always remember her.

    This to me is the simple and clear thing that it is all about; real closeness and companionship which goes way beyond the idea of objectification.

  7. Personally, I don’t care what thoughts a strange man might be having about me. It’s none of my business. If he thinks about me in a sexual way, and it goes no further than that, it’s not a problem. It’s only when he acts on objectifying thoughts with disrespectful behavior (staring, following, crude remarks) that it becomes an issue. If he can’t respect me enough to behave with basic courtesy it is not only insulting, it’s frightening.
    As for all this the soul searching and self-recrimination from men who want to be “good” is a bit silly. There is nothing wrong with finding women attractive as long as you behave decently, and most likely, you and every man seriously reading this blog already do. Don’t take criticism that’s aimed at predatory creeps and apply it to yourself.

  8. The best social scientists in the world have proven for over 50 years that it’s cultural and not biological and instinctual. They have also proven that women can be the same.

    • What are you talking about? Various fields of study have shown the phenomenon occurs naturally. It is very much biological. Stop making crap up, you are doing any good by spreading misinformation. Here is an article from “social scientist” that utterly disprove what you so ignorantly state. http://www.livescience.com/21806-brain-male-female-objectification.html

      • What are YOU talking about James?
        Let’s reread the line you are referring to in the article a little closer this time…
        “There could be evolutionary reasons that men and women process female bodies differently, Gervais said, but because both genders do it, ‘the media is probably a prime suspect.'”
        This is an example of reading what you expected to read, and it’s a great example of how much the attitude of “it’s just biology” is ingrained into western males these days. Pay attention to the words “could” and “but” in that sentence, then use them in your reinterpretation of the sentence’s meaning. The social scientist is actually saying that the likely cause is “the media” and not “evolutionary reasons”. The only reason why the Gervais mentioned a possible evolutionary cause is because she is a responsible scientist and responsible scientists never disregard theories without experimental evidence. So for the record, according to Jame’s article, James is spreading misinformation, not Shannon.

        Looking forward, the article doesn’t really tell us the cause anyway, since Gervais’ study can in no way lead to any conclusion of causality. I think the only way we can really settle this once and for all is to create an experiment where the manipulated variable is the way the media portrays women’s bodies, and the dependent variable is how much more local processing than global processing occurs within the beholders of the media when presented with images of women’s bodies. It might be a while until such an experiment occurs though, because I can’t think of a design that would not be flagged as unethical by the APA.

    • A few years ago, I read an army officer’s recollection of being sent to an area of India where it was common for women to go bare-breasted. He writes about how excited the men of his regiment were, upon hearing of this custom. The prosptect of being surrounded by bare-breasted women was entrancing, or so they thought.

      However, this was a tribe that did not regard female breasts as being sexually arousing — women swung their breasts uninhibitedly, as they went about their chores.

      The officer describes how his men gradually became accustomed to being around bare-breasted women; how the sight of female breasts came to be seen as normal and not the least bit erotic.

      I have pasted an excerpt and a link to the original blog below:

      “While cleavage visible under thin fabric or through a woman’s saree is certainly a pleasant sight for any man. In the villages of Nagaland, it was an anti climax to see dangling pairs of bare boobs, available to look at in abundance in all shapes and sizes. Initially they were a cause of some excitement, which was natural, but gradually the excitement turned into monotony. I was reminded of the words of a famous poet that the ‘beauty that is veiled looks more beautiful.”

      The blog can be read here:
      http://balvindersingh.blogspot.in/2009/02/journey-continues-to-nagaland.html

      A lot of sexual stimuli are culturally shaped and differ from culture to culture.

  9. So heres how i see it. Theres a big diff between being a guy and objectifying. Being a guy: you see something you like you glance and its all good. For me i expect this from men. And it doesnt bother me if it happens to me or my bf takes a glance at the lady in the store. Its normal. Now objectifying: starring and drooling like your about to molest them is gross. And quite scary for us. It instills an immediate fear that that guy might try and kidnap you or something. Grunting and standing way too close and gawking for long times is very unsettling.
    We women know men are going to look. But its how YOU CHOOSE to look is the key. Youre at a store, bigg breasted women walks by, hell even im gunna look. But purposely seeking out a womens body for your own gratification in a pervert in a white van way is just very disrespectful, hurtful and makes np women on the planet want to touch you or even speak to you. So look away men, but for the love of god, stop being the white van pervert. You will always get rejected.

  10. ……..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”

  11. 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.

  12. 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?

  13. 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.

  14. 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!

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!

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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  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. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. I think this woman says it all so well,
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkUhW41Qpjg#t=288

  26. 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.

  27. 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

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. privatehelp01 says:

    i wrote this on this arictles comment section
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/25/women-and-objectification_n_1701275.html

    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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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.”

    Ouch.

  37. 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 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!

  38. 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…

  39. 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.”
        Why?
        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
      mak

    • @ 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”

  40. Georgia, men ogling women does NOTHING for the observers self-esteem but certainly boosts the self-esteem of the observed(the woman being ogled). When women are admired sexually by male strangers, particularly when they dress sexy, they feel attractive and everyone wants to feel attractive!

    • Until it gets to creepy staring, which then makes them feel threatened. It’s all a balance…and not all people want to be oggled 😉

  41. Ogling out of self-esteem issues is brought up a couple of times. I don’t get it. How does ogling raise men’s self-esteem?

  42. You people don’t get it, eye contact IS NOT sexual harassment!

  43. The Big A says:

    First of all, WTF makes you people think that women don’t gawk at men. I have both observed and personally known women who enjoy revealing as much skin as they can legally get away with in public. And one of them told me directly that she knows full well that men are going to gawk at her and she enjoys the attention. If you put your body on display in public, you ARE going to attract unwanted attention! People are free to aim their eyes wherever they choose. You DO however, have a right not to be raped, or touched by others without your consent. Mr Gaddis, this is something that you know gosh darn well you are NEVER GOING TO CHANGE.

  44. Elizabeth says:

    The reason men gawk at women is because they were not taught, as children, that they have a God-given right to purity and they don’t understand that the purity they have been pre-programmed for is a spiritual purity and beauty that far surpasses anything they can find or experience in the physical realm. Once a man learns this basic truth, his life begins to conform to a life of spiritual order and this gift comes from Christ. Until a man learns it, his life belongs to the realm of ignorance and is under the command of their earthly managers, the fallen angels. The right to purity was won for all by the Blessed Virgin Mary, who had received the grace to consecrate her virginity to God for the sake of humanity. Unlike Eve, when the angel came to her, she knew to ask the right question. Asking the right question is a sign of grace, and I like the author for the grace I see at work. Wonderful.

    • Are you suggesting those who do gawk, who do feel lust and allow it are somehow dirty? Why should men conform to any life? Are they not allowed free will?

      • wellokaythen says:

        The Flying Spaghetti Monster, peace be upon him, has told me in his sacred pamphlet that he wants me to look at women, because that is the way that he made me, and to deny my gawking instinct is to deny the glory of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and to spurn his infinite grace and mercy. Glory be to the one who gave me retinas to see his marvelous creations.

        Wheeee, religion is fun!

  45. wellokaythen says:

    First of all, I think the math of it has a role to play. The number of women I find visually attractive is far greater than the number of women I could ever have a conversation with, and this is more than I could ever get to know personally. I’m not choosing to look at women INSTEAD of getting to know them. It’s a matter of time, numbers, desires, and imagination.

    There’s a difference between 1) thinking about a particular person in a sexual way and 2) reducing all people in the group to sex objects and acting like they are simply sex objects and nothing else.

    And, it’s not a simple either/or binary. Finding someone physically attractive does not mean that all other considerations fly out the window. I know it’s popular to think men have a one-track mind about sex and a limited brain capacity, but we can actually be attracted to someone AND respect someone at the same time.

    Sometimes critical analysis of objectification shades into thought policing. There’s a totalitarian streak that rears its ugly head when some people talk about objectification, like we need to purify our thoughts of any counter-revolutionary contamination. We must make ourselves more internally perfect, to make our internal lives more in tune with what the collective needs from us. When we think inappropriate thoughts, it hurts society. The impersonal, unjust, enemy forces are strong, and we must be ever-vigilant against them if we are to create a true utopia of completely new human beings.

    Shudder.

    • wellokaythen- Great points. I think the main problem is that “finding a number of women attractive” (which is not a learned/conditioned behavior, nor in any way indicative of disrespect,) is lumped in with truly disrespectful behaviors, such as catcalling, inappropriate remarks, etc. A guy who does those things is trying project sexuality upon a woman, whereas a guy who is just looking is… well, just looking.

      Seriously, the number of people responding to this article who think someone has to meet certain standards just to THINK about them a certain way is perplexing. Almost as much so as those who think that a guy’s tendency to look is somehow a product of society rather than… well the result of having functioning eyes.

      • @Travis, It should not be perplexing for women to ask for respect and to ask to be met with certain standards, whether they get it or not. Now, as far as just looking, a man can certainly do that. He has the right to look as much as he wants. Women are not trying to stop men from looking and it is ridiculous for you or any man to sarcastically suggest that!! In general, women do not want to stop you men from just looking, but be for real and be fair Travis, when a man makes inappropriate and nasty remarks to a woman, WE HAVE A RIGHT TO BE UPSET AND OFFENDED.

        What I’d also like to ask you Travis, is how would you feel if some men heckled, made catcalling and other inappropriate remarks to your mother, wife, daughter, girlfriend, grandbaby girl, sister, and your grandmother. Would you be perplexed when those females I just named, responded with the need to be met with certain standards?

        Moderator’s note: this message has been edited to remove policy-violating comments.

        • Jean- Of course you have a right to be offended by deeds and behaviors that are disrespectful. Which is exactly what I said when I said those were truly disrespectful behaviors. And yes, I would feel my wife or mother, daughter, etc. had every right to stand up for themselves if they were heckled, leered at (as opposed to looked at) or catcalled. Nothing I posted suggests that I accept or condone those behaviors, so I’m not sure why you would suppose I disagree.

          Those are behaviors, not THOUGHTS or momentary glances. I’m only “sarcastically suggesting” that people are against looking or fantasizing (which is also not wrong) because… well, numerous people on this comment thread have said that guys basically have no right to look at women or think of them in sexual ways unless they know them well, and have falsely equated that with objectification.

        • Also, on the moments of deeds vs. thoughts and respect. “Respect” means a lot of things to different people. Many people use it interchangeably with the word Courtesy to mean the basic sort of respect one gives to someone else as an equal. Courtesy-respect is exhibited in words and deeds. Speaking to someone appropriately, and not physically or verbally accosting them. One can be perfectly courteous to someone without having any respect for them, or even knowing them. Honoring their physical and verbal boundaries. And that’s all that’s needed for people we don’t know.

          However, the word “Respect” can also be used to mean the sort of loyalty, goodwill and high regard one has for someone whom they know to be trustworthy. Honoring someone in thought and attitude as well as deeds and words. Courtesy-respect is what we show strangers and acquaintances. True Respect is what a person gives to friends, family, loved ones or people in other relationships to whom one chooses to give it.

          The reason I draw the distinction is because everyone deserves the courtesy of physical and verbal boundaries. But True Respect, honoring mental and emotional boundaries, for men OR women, is something that is earned or given out of extreme kindness. Neither men nor women are entitled to it by right of chromosomes or past hardship.

          • wellokaythen says:

            And, I wonder when people ask for respect if they are only talking about external behavior, or do they mean internal thoughts as well? I’m totally on board with the idea that one should act respectfully when noticing someone’s physical attractiveness. If I behave disrespectfully, you should call me on my garbage.

            Requesting me to think a certain way in order to stop objectifying women, or telling me that my thoughts are disrespectful, is crossing the line, in my opinion. You have every right to express an opinion about the way I think and even request I think differently, but I’m not going to police my interior life to make other people comfortable. My fantasies about someone else don’t hurt that other person.

            I don’t think I will ever apologize for a “look in my eye” or for what goes on in my head, even if a woman properly identifies what the look in my eye means and guesses correctly what the fantasy is. To expect me to do apologize for internal stuff is to cross over my boundaries.

  46. Wow, that is probably the most offensive, lazy comment ever written on this site. You do realize that women are actual human beings too, right? Wives and mothers also get f**ed and have a sexual appetite. Fun women can also love true companionship and be nurturing.

    • That was in response to dave’s comment. I don’t know why it ended up down here.

      • It was probably killed by a moderator. And probably for the reasons you cited. When a comment is taken out like that the replies to it are dropped to the bottom of the page like yours did.

  47. Sarah Webster says:

    “Sexuality is commodified in westernized culture as motivating force to drive male productivity”

    It’s true.

    Many women still instinctively seek a man who can provide. Many men still like to find a good looking (healthy) woman to be mother of his children. Companies advertise with this in mind, and we’re easily exploited. I wonder if men ever feel like their worth is dependant on their success? It’s okay for a woman to be unsuccessful- so long as she’s attractive.

    I think it’s impossible to prevent men or women from appreciating each other’s outer beauty. There’s no harm in finding someone else attractive.

    Some women still feel like their worth is dependant on their looks. Any woman that feels this way needs to find meaning in her life. If you feel that way, man or woman, it just shows that you live in such a shitty superficial world. There’s more to life than looking good, and you probably don’t want to attract superficial a-holes anyways! If you feel objectified, it’s because you probably objectify yourself and now it’s up to you (women) to heal their own wounds. A man cannot save you. Nobody else can.

    In a better world people would love each other for who they are on the inside not for their looks or the size of their wallets.

    Evolution continues…

    🙂

    • How do you know that such a world would be much better? We would like or dislike people for who they truly are – are we ready for that?

      If you’re disliked for lack of money, you can at least buy a lottery ticket, or maybe work harder at something, or take solace that the world is very superficial, dream a little even. Being disliked for who you truly are is a deep hole to crawl out of. Maybe the system works better when there is a superficial layer of superficial protecting our ass 

    • FYI Sarah Webster, plenty of men gauge their worth based on how often they get laid, how many women they get laid with, and whether or not they’re getting laid at all(not to mention their sex appeal towards women). So it really goes both ways. This article takes the cake as the dumbest article to ever be posted on this site.

  48. -Men are conditioned to objectify women. Women are conditioned to objectify themselves. All we can do now is see the reality of the situation and how it’s not doing humanity any good.

    (Magic Mike? Beef Cake Superhero Movies, Sport Groupies… Hello?)

    Sexuality is commodified in westernized culture as motivating force to drive male productivity (get the car get the job get the hot wife) The men who can’t attain the necessary social capital for courtship are just window shopping.

    Problem with this hit piece is that it states quite openly that only men objectify. (only men “window shop” perspective mates).
    Sexuality is commodified to favor commercially attractive women and that’s all our’s fault.
    Men are always to blame when women objectify themselves.

    standard…

  49. Sarah Webster says:

    Men are conditioned to objectify women. Women are conditioned to objectify themselves. All we can do now is see the reality of the situation and how it’s not doing humanity any good. Women are upset, depressed, angry. Men are stuck in an illusion, a mirage. Nobody wins. If we want to avoid this problem in the future, for our children’s sake – we would have to throw our televisions out the window! You have to remain alert and aware at all times, you will find on almost any television show there are hidden messages, of all kinds.

    • Well, in a way, I agree. The very large number of men who DON NOT objectify women in the traditional sense (I.E. by showing gross disrespect for them as a person due to their appearance) in order to compensate, are conditioned to treat them as unapproachable. Not to see them as regular people whom they could treat as casually as any man, but as “special cases” who must only be talked to or thought of only in certain ways, at certain times and under certain strictures. In short, these men are conditioned to *fear* women in an almost religious sense of reverence, rather than to respect them. Which can, for some men, lead to a sense of betrayal when they juggle that against the reality that women are *JUST* people. Some of the biggest misogynists I’ve tried to debate started this way. It’s sort of like how some of the most outspoken atheists have been raised in ultra-religious homes.

      Instead of seeing women as ordinary, everyday people, they think “she’s too good for me” or “I can’t just talk to/look at her. That’s disrespectful.” In short, they’re reverse-objectifying them. That’s one of the “hidden messages” we men see on almost any television show. “They’re out there and they’re beautiful, but looking at them is disrespectful, you worm. Especially for the likes of you. Shame on you. Look. Don’t look! Look. WHY ARE YOU LOOKING?”

  50. Blasphemous says:

    Why do women like to hold incompatible myths ?

    “men are more shallow on looks”
    BUT
    “men will shtupp anything that moves”

  51. Blasphemous says:

    women objectify men who are extremely attractive. They only objectify men who stand out in looks. When a man is very attractive women become very similar to men in their responses. Here are some comments by women on a gorgeous male model in underwear

    “Damn…I wouldnt mind having a roll i the hay with him”
    “how can I get pregnant from this?”
    “I wouldnt mind being raped by him”
    “Feel jealous of the girl in this pic/video”

    Men, on the other hand, objectify a larger number of women. Not just the top quality ones. Men also objectify regular looking women. That is the only difference between men and women.

    To put another way, if it comes to looks alone, women find very few men desirable. Women feel the lust for very few male bodies. Men can find a much larger number of women desirable for their looks and bodies alone.

    Ask any hot/gorgeous guy and he will tell you that his experiences are not much different than those of a regular girl next door. Stares, smiles from women. sexual advances etc

    That is how women are “morally superior”.

    • Blasphemous: I understand where you’re coming from, but women, like men, are not some hive-mind that operate the same way. You’re using a mile-wide brush to paint a very narrow stripe.

      Now, to use your generalization for the sake of argument: While “those” women may lump a larger number of men into the “not a chance” category than their male counterparts, they might also tend to be more considerate to them. I’m not suggesting that “ugly” men have it any better than “ugly” women (they don’t,) but that women might be less likely to just ignore those they don’t find attractive than men of equivalent social standing.

      What I’m saying is that all things considered, “men” and “women” are even on that point. Neither is “better” or “worse” or ahead or behind or whatever. Every advantage is neutralized by a disadvantage, and vice versa.

      Also, most women (particularly those going to a site called “The Good Men Project”) are enlightened enough to know that having high standards and sexual restraint is not an indicator of “moral superiority.” Just like they know that men’s sexual proclivities are not the indicator of some inborn moral failing, or the result of societal indulgence. Most of them are aware that men and women are, in fact different.

    • John Anderson says:

      There is an old saying that goes something like this. If you want to be good looking, stand next to ugly people. I spent a weekend with my high school class at a women’s college dorm. Even the guys who were not good looking or athletically built were getting some action. 15 to 18 year old boys probably seemed good compared to having nothing around. The high school girls started acting out. I think it was because they weren’t getting attention.

      A guy who hasn’t seen any hot looking, young, women in a while would probably start checking out average looking or older women. The same goes for women who haven’t seen a hot looking guy (or any guy) in a while. Women might have a weaker libido and could go longer periods without reducing their standard of physical attraction. I don’t know.

  52. Ongoing studies of the brain in both men and women are looking into differences both in physical composition and fucntion. Jury’s still out to say there is no difference.

  53. I don’t think of my male gaze as objectifying unless I utilize it towards that end. Am I asking women to smile? Am I cat-calling? Am I stalking? Am I taking unwarranted pictures? Am I acting in any way inappropriately? Or am I just looking?

    I think the problem is that sometimes the label objectification is projected onto what men think when they look at women, as if even our innermost thoughts must be shamed into a gender-binary Oppression Olympics where ANY male fantasy is suspect because it exists within the Patriarchy. I call BS on this tendency. My fantasies are purely my own. My male gaze is private and not for judgement by outside parties interested solely in political points or a gendered agenda.

    I APPRECIATE female beauty because as a hetero man women are beautiful to me. They are physically, sexually attractive to me. And I’ll be damned if I apologize for that sentiment or the chances I take to look at women who exhibit it.

    But that isn’t to say most women would disagree with what I’ve just said. I think most women don’t care if I’m looking or what I’m thinking so long as I keep my thoughts to myself and leave them alone in mutual respect (insofar as strangers can have). It’s just unfortunate that vocal minorities who seemingly punish male fantasies dominate the conversation.

    Regardless, there is a difference between objectification and appreciation. It is vast and dances upon the head of pin but there it is nonetheless. It is important that hetero men stand-up for their right to fantasize, to have a healthy individual sexuality just like anyone, without being shamed, silenced, or slandered for it.

  54. Personally I don’t classify men looking at women as objectifying. I don’t mind being discreetly looked at, and I myself look at attractive men in public. When I think about women being objectified, what comes to mind is magazines with headlines like “Best and Worst Beach Bodies” followed a month later by headlines like “X is Scary Skinny!” , or signs and ads that have a picture of a woman in a provocative pose (bonus points if it looks really uncomfortable!), or movies and video games where the men are wearing ordinary clothes and the women are wearing skimpy clothes, or those stickers that I have seen on cars showing the silhouette of a provocatively posed, large breasted woman.

  55. I think the reason that women are very sensitive about this subject is that there are daily reminders that our looks are the most important things about us and often times, it results in feeling threatened or scared. Look just at internet culture and even internet bullying. Whenever someone wants to hit a woman where it hurts, it’s usually about something to do with her body/looks or something sexual or predatory. It’s one of the first things that comes up when you want to insult or even clumsily compliment a woman. About how they would or wouldn’t fap to the woman. Even if they’re commenting on a woman with a puppy, a book, or a plate of food…nothing remotely related to the body or sex, there are often comments reducing her worth and humanity to looks, supposed sluttiness, and weight. If you’re playing a video game and they can’t even see your face, there are comments about your supposed attractiveness or lack thereof. It’s “you’re too fat” or “you need to eat a sandwich.” It’s threats of rape or “you’re so ugly I wouldn’t even rape you.” It’s “she has a nice ass but her ankles are too thick.” Or what graphic thing they want to do to a specific body part. It reduces our value to the sexual appeal of our body parts and whatever end of the spectrum you fall on for any particular person, you’re fucked. This type of thing also happens in real life to a lot of us.

    The other big one is that she’s a bad mother or insults towards her children.

    Note: I’m not trying to say that men don’t have their own problems or their own issues to deal with, just laying out a woman’s perspective about this kind of thing. I completely understand that men have to deal with being judged as predators or creeps.

  56. Since when does objectification have to be bad? Assuming that any sexual attraction based on a simple glance counts as objectification.

    I can’t look at a woman and instantly know her personality and life story. All I have is what she looks like. Unless you expect me to go up and get the scoop on every woman I find attractive, in which case I can tell you flat out; I just can’t be bothered.

    Besides, its not like I don’t understand how it is. I’m 6’2, slim with broad shoulders, deep blue eyes and shaggy, shiny brown hair. I mean this with all modesty, but I catch looks and and comments pretty regularly, from both women and sometimes men. Looking at someone, no matter what you might be thinking when you do, doesn’t hurt anyone. Its what people with a functioning sex drive do. Men do it, and I wouldn’t be surprised if women did it even more.

    • Xero,
      How would you like it if women took that same attitude that you have?

      How would you like it if all we, (women) had to go on with a guy was to look at his crotch and wonder how big his penis was?

      • Peter Houlihan says:

        Are you saying that women judge men by their personality before they even speak to them?

        • @Peter, yes, we pretty much value the personality over the physical traits. Women really don’t give sex and what’s under a man’s clothing, that much thought. Eventually we look at his physique, but we still care so much about our man’s mind that we don’t think of the physical part, unlike men. We don’t fantasize about other men if we think our man adores us. Our eyes on totally on our man .We are so in love with our man. But as soon as we start realizing that our dream man is not being true, or kind, or romantic, or loyal, or not into us anymore, or is fantasizing about other females, some of us start playing the game too. But, we do not objectify you all.

      • John Anderson says:

        You realize that men don’t look at women’s crotches to determine how large her labia are, but I have heard women speculate about certain men’s penises before. From a former weight lifter / kick boxer who has been street harassed by women in the past, women look at other things where the size is more easily discernable. Just a couple years ago a woman asked me if I was weight lifting again because my chest looked bigger. Why would she ask if she hadn’t been looking? You probably don’t see a problem with this because women are doing the objectifying.

  57. John Anderson says:

    If objectification is reducing a person to their body parts and I saw someone grossly unattractive and deliberately avoided looking at them, would that be objectification? Do we have to be sexually attracted to the body parts to make it objectification? Can’t heterosexual men objectify men and heterosexual women objectify women? What about beauty pageants or Mr. Universe? Miss America has or had (I haven’t watched in years) talent and question segment, but I don’t remember Mr. Universe ever having one. I’m not sure Miss America always had a talent or question segment.

    When we watch sports, especially football or combat sports like kick boxing, we actually cheer when a person gets hit. Does anybody really pause and consider that a person was actually hurt? We don’t see them as people until their carried off the field on a stretcher. I think there should be a distinction between objectification and sexual objectification.

    • @John, do you ever see women watching men parade around on stage strutting their bodies in front of an audience on a Mr. America Beauty Pageant? Do you ever see a group of males showing the print of their penises and testicles and beautiful hair and tans, in swim suits in front of female judges and a female mistress of ceremony. Do you ever?

      Do you ever see women staring at men’s crotches wondering about their testicles instead of looking in their eyes when the two are talking to one another. Do you ever hear of women trying to push for men to expose their testicles the way men push for the exposure of breasts and justify the nudity by saying that they are natural and not sexual organs?

      These are just a few examples that I am sharing to remind you or inform you in case you did not know that it is true that men objectify women daily and women don’t conform to that unfair practice.

      And men have the nerve to get angry when someone calls them out on their objectification of women. The nerve.

      • John Anderson says:

        I don’t know if it’s still practiced, but back in the 90s at some of the clubs/bars in my area, there were hot legs contests for the ladies and hot buns contests for the men. The Chippendale dancers are still around. I’m pretty sure women don’t watch them for the dance moves. There also was a strip club for women to ogle male bodies in my city. There was also Playgirl and before you say that it closed, Flament Magazine, was founded by women for women.

        It’s not a question of whether women objectify men. They do. I’m not even sure if it’s the intensity of the objectification. I’ve heard bachelorette stories from women ranging from extremely tame to debaucheries as compared with the average bachelor party. For example, women have grabbed the stripper’s penis. Touching a stripper’s vagina usually ends the show. Women get away with more when it comes to adult entertainment.

        I’ve never seen women staring at a man’s crotch, but I’ve had mine grabbed and I’ve heard women talking about staring at men’s crotches and if you visit a certain sports site run by women (I won’t mention it because I don’t want to give them clicks) they discuss the bodies of the male athletes in an admiring way and this from women who are supposedly only in the locker room to get an interview. Would a male reporter even still have a job if they did that?

        You may have an argument as far as prevalence (the proportion of women as opposed to men who regularly objectify) and frequency (men may objectify more frequently than women), but it might have less to do with women nit wanting to and more to do with women not wanting to be caught doing it.

  58. If I find her physically attractive then I am going to look.
    And more than likely try to ask her out.
    It is as simple as that.

    You say objectify I say get your head out of your arse.
    Your emotions are too strong and your brains are too tight.

    • @Mack, what ugly language you used to get your point across. Are you angry at someone?

      • It’s called plain speaking, it has nothing to do with him being angry at anyone. What’s so ugly about down to earth honesty? This is the first comment so far that I have noticed here that gets the point across in simple, direct plain english.

    • @Mack.. Finding someone attractive is not a problem and is not objectification. I don’t think looking at someone you find attractive is a problem either (and I don’t mean gawk or something that would make the person being admired, male or female, uncomfortable). And it’s not a problem to ask someone out you find attractive either! The distinction is whether or not you only ask out that person because they are attractive and you’ve created some kind of fantasy around them or if you find them attractive and have spoken to them and also enjoy them on a personal level. Being in a relationship where you are getting objectified is extremely psychologically damaging – trust me, I’ve been there. If you’re not doing that, you’re totally ok! Feel free to think women are beautiful.. that’s fine.. just remember they have their own unique human experience and that no one (male or female) should be expected to fit anyone’s fantasy. That is all..

  59. Sarah Brown says:

    A lot of the information discussed in this post is scientifically incorrect. There is no biological tendency for males to objectify women and the male brain is not biologically different to the female brain. There is no biological basis for the sexual objectification of women. Consider Indigenous people who lived their lives naked – women with breats revealed. Neither Men or Women sexually objectified one another – the community did not starve because the men spent their days staring at the naked bodies of womenfolk. The widespread dissemintaion of pornography and sexualisation of women in western media has contributed to the increased sexual objectification of women we are currently witnessing in the western world. People are mistaken if they think this has always been the case. For those interested, I reccommend the reading: The Brain that Changes itself by Dr. Normal Doidge. Dr. Norman Doidge explains the influence of pornography and other forms of sexualising media that lead to changes in the brain and subsequent changes in the way men view women. Those who describe a biological basis for sexual objectification are ignorant and should spend some time reading the scientific literature on this issue. Men are socialised to view women as objects and reinforce this process by masturbating while looking at images of women’s bodies. Sexual objectification is positively correlated with domestic violence, sexual violence, and mental health issues among females. Sexual objectification is a method men use to gain dominance over women “I am the one who can evaluate your worth”. It is interesting that the sexual objectification of women has increased safter women’s increased participation in the workforce. While men once defines their masculinity in terms of being the provider, the bread-winner, the head of the household and gained dominance over women through his financial power, men in the western world are now struggling to redefine their masculinity. Reducing women to an object to be evaluated by men is just one example of this struggle.

    • As a woman, your opinion about what sexual “objectification” of women is is just that — an opinion. “Sexual objectification is a method men use to gain dominance over women ‘I am the one who can evaluate your worth’.” Nuh-uh. Only a man can know what he is thinking, and it could have nothing to do with dominance or power. You can’t speak for men, and you certainly don’t know what a man is thinking, because you’re not one.

      Just like men can’t know what everything is like from a woman’s perspective, you can’t know what something is like from a man’s perspective. Feminist literature might have taught you to think a certain way, but it’s written by women, so it’s coming from a woman’s perspective about how men behave.

      • Okay, no. Sarah Brown, as far as I can tell, is not saying men actually literally think these things as they go about their daily life. What she’s getting at is the wider implications of a culture – perpetuated by both men AND women – that tells women that their main source of worth is their sexual appeal and that the main source of validation of this worth is approval from men. In this sense, women often feel that their worth is determined by men, and men often inadvertently feed into this cycle when they use objectifying language to discuss or address women. Obviously, no one thinks that men have internal monologues along the lines of “I’m going to put her in her place using sexual objectification and assert my masculine power!” before he makes a joke about about boobs in the workplace or something. The issue comes from dominant societal narratives which we are all implicated in, whether we like or not, not from individual men or women. The key is identifying these narratives so we can take active steps to work against the.

        • Great comment, Marianne. I was trying to say something very similar in my comment that used internet culture and bullying below.

        • The Blurpo says:

          the biological reaction happens. When you get to th age of sexual maturity, you are attracted to the female body, naked or not. This is nature not social conditioning.

          The attraction is natural, the response to it, may be influenced by the culture, but otherwise if you are male and het, you end to look at butts and boobs.

          • If objectification depends on a male brain how do you explain the phenomenon within lesbian communities? Are they playing copy-cat to men — and if they are doing so so thoroughly that it is indistinguishable, isn’t it a mark against the significance of biology at all?

    • Hank Vandenburgh says:

      Male and female brains are distinctly different. See, for example, Brinzendine (a woman.) In New Guinea, tribes in only recently opened up have recent histories of fighting over, and kidnapping, women. Articles from clinicians have little value when compared to research.

      • Brizendine’s work on the ‘female brain’ is hardly uncontested, see, for example, Cordelia Fine’s Delusions of Gender or a critical article in Nature:

        ‘The Female brain disappointingly fails to meet even the most basic standards of accuracy and balance.’ (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v443/n7112/full/443634a.html)

        You can’t just pick the work of one researcher on one tribe and claim that something has been scientifically proven. That’s not how science works.

        • Hank Vandenburgh says:

          I’ve actually read the Fine book too. It’s nothing but disappointing polemics. Extremely weak.

          • The book is polemical in tone, however it raises a number of important points which are too often ignored in discussions about whether or not there is a scientific basis for distinct ‘male’ and ‘female’ brains.

            The most important of which is that we simply don’t know, and cannot know, to what extent differences in the behaviours, capacities and skills which are considered ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ are innate or learned. Both observed differences in behaviours between men and women, and observed differences in brain structure and function, could be the result of cultural differences in how males and females tend to experince the world from an early age, or they could be a result of innate biological difference. There’s no way of knowing, it’s impossible to study a control which hasn’t been exposed to any kind of genered culture.

            Therefore, the most ethical approach to this issue is to assume that no particular gendered behaviour is innate and to examine the possible social causes of any harmful gendered behaviour in detail. This way we don’t risk writing off harmful socially learned gendered behaviour as impossible to change.

            Rerurning to the point at hand, I’m not sure that ‘objectification’ is a harmful behaviour in every circumstance. I certainly objectify men who I don’t know well (if objectification is considered to be evaluating someone entirely on their physical appearance and how they might be able to get me off) on a day to day basis. I don’t think that this effects how I treat men I do know, however.

            I can see how it could become a problem if this was how I viewed men in general, even when I had an actual relationship of some kind with them.

            • Hank Vandenburgh says:

              I’m being mischievous, but if I recall my Hegel, the first step in perceiving someone else is to see them as alien. (Entfremung)

            • Hank Vandenburgh says:

              I actually think the most ethical approach (or mentally healthy approach, anyway) is to assume that whatever were currently doing is okay (and, I’d argue probably sitting on a biological substrate,) and relax about it. Many themes here have a kind of “have you stopped beating your wife” approach. I don’t think most people are as het up about them as we might think form reading these threads. Culture matters, though. In an Islamic country, I probably wouldn;t let a women see that I was checking her out. Here I might, even though I’m married. Flirting is the spice of life after all.

    • You may be true about the vast similarities between male and female brains, but in terms of the socialization of sexuality, there’s really been a lot of it. The difference between nude societies and modern societies is simply how used to nudity people are.Japanese women used to take advantage of this, by covering up most of their bodies, then showing only hints of skin.

      And, as I recall, a significant amount of attraction between sexes was purely sexual in nature as well. Perhaps not as children, but later as adults. For most mammals, sexual urges spring up during certain times of year, drawing the genders to each other sexually in a really powerful way. For humans, this is a fundamental difference. Our sex drives are active year-around.

      Also, masturbation has existed for an incredibly long time. Basically, it exists for almost any creature that has access to it.

      If you want to talk about objectification, saying men are too sexually attracted to women is inaccurate, because that really hasn’t changed. The problem, I think, would be more in an increasing number of men who aren’t interested in women’s person. Perhaps because we’re considering each other more of competitors than mates. Perhaps because pop-culture is creating a bit of a conformist society where people try to look and act the same in public, meaning looks are the only thing that really stand out.

      Furthermore, there still often a connect between status and beauty with women. You look at magazines in the grocery store, and it’s difficult NOT to find one with a woman on the cover, with something like “Michelle Obama’s beauty secrets” or “how such and such celebrity stays thin” or “uh oh, looks like Mrs. Clinton is packing on a few pounds.” It’s retarded and nonsensical. The only place for those judgements is in fashion and dating.

      But I feel like people (girls AT LEAST as much as guys) tie so much every-day type respect to the appearance of women. Are you wanting to date them? Are you wanting to have them in bed? Then why the heck does it matter? I feel my dating standards for women are really fairly high. (Normal in Europe, but preposterous in the US, From what I hear.) But they are just that: DATING standards. I have overweight female friends who rather repulse me physically, but that really doesn’t matter to me because I’m not dating them. My respect for them remains fairly same.

      As long as we aren’t doing anything physical, of course.

      There’s also this whole bit about, like I mention a lot, the traditional dating scene. When guys are expected to make a move, (whether or not the girl does in the long run.), a guy is supposed to try to get whatever girl he can. Because if he doesn’t make a move, girls aren’t going to give him much attention. So when we see a girl, we have to be sufficiently motivated to feel and show interest, because if not, well, we aren’t fending off unwanted attention. Guys get such little attention in that area, most have little clue what “unwanted attention” could possibly mean.

      At tunes we’re desperate for sex wheneverit’s potentially available, because if we don’t take what we can get, it could be a while before another potential shows up.

      A guy walks into a group of girls, the girls probably get hit on all the time, so an extra guy is uninteresting.

      A girl walks into a group of guys, and they’re going to all basically step all over each other to get to her, because that’s what we have to do in this dating game. We don’t have our “options” to choose from.

    • If straight men want to know what it feels like to be objectified, go to a gay bar. THEN let’s talk.

      • Worst comparison ever.

      • Quadruple A says:

        I’ve been to gay bars on a number of occasions. I have had people grab my crotch and frisk me. I’ve experienced it all but I did not mind because I knew what was coming. That how gay bars are. Physically touching random people is part of the code – (but it probably depends on the gay bar though.)

        I guess I don’t mind being “objectified”

        • That would be because you went into a situation expecting it. If it happened at work when you’d just had a horrific day and you were tired and angry, it’d change how it “felt” a lot and I bet you’d “mind” it a lot more. It would communicate a lot about how little anyone cared about you as a person. Women don’t go into bars and get objectified. It happens everywhere, constantly. No matter if you’re angry, sad, into it, even encouraging, or discouraging it, frightened, ill, worried, or anything else.

      • Oh yeah because, you know, only men are capable of objectifying anybody.

        I’ve been to gay bars, my experience is that they tend to have a significant patronage from straight women anyway. Some of the grabbiest, loudest, and most “objectifying” people I’ve ever seen have been drunk straight women in gay bars.

        Wonder why that is? maybe because these women, (unlike most men who have been taught otherwise) believe that female attention is always wanted, female touch can never be harmful, even to gay men? Maybe they figure that since these men aren’t interested in them anyway (as far as they know) they’re free to be as “forward” as they like because they’ll never have to, if you’ll excuse the expression, put their money where their mouth is?

      • casey:
        I don’t know many men who would object to being groped, stared at etc especially coming from someone who is attractive.

        • Christy says:

          I don’t know about staring, but I’m pretty sure most of my guy friends would be pretty put off by uninvited groping, even if the groper was highly attractive to them.

        • John Anderson says:

          @ Alice

          Most guys don’t appreciate being sexually assaulted. That doesn’t quite register the disgust I feel with your comment, but the mods would probable censor that. Didn’t it even occur to you that some men may have been sexually assaulted by women? Do you think they’d enjoy being raped by an attractive woman?

        • Cuz men are always up for sex right?
          I don’t know many women that wouldn’t love a man to be the dominant one in their relationship cuz women are always submissive right? (yes this is sarcasm)

        • Alice, I have a penis, and I don’t like it when random strangers at a bar grope it. It’s a direct parallel to a random stranger copping a feel of your breasts in a bar. Just because I’m male doesn’t mean I want constant sexual attention to the point of desperation and impropriety.

        • Okay, maybe the groping part is a little too much, but generally you are going to have more leeway with men than with women when it comes to objectification.

      • After visiting the gay bar, men still won’t get the full effects of what women have been going through with the many years of objectification.

        Thanks Sarah for your comments. You did an excellent job.

    • wellokaythen says:

      Yeah, I agree that the “biological drive to reproduce your DNA” is overstated. Consider the fact that so many sexual fantasies involve activities that simply CANNOT result in pregnancy, and others that carry an extremely low risk of pregnancy. (Does the “selfish gene” really want ejaculation to happen in all those unproductive places?) It would be a much better explanation if our sexual fantasies involved a lot more missionary position and a lot more antasies about getting someone pregnant or getting pregnant. It would be a better explanation if there weren’t so much attention to oral sex and to the female orgasm, which are just so “bilogically unnecessary.”

      • I totally agree. I also wanted to add I think some of the people that are the most defensive of objectification are failing to make the distinction between just finding someone attractive and creating a fantasy around someone’s body parts. It’s natural to find someone physically attractive. That can be biologically explained. I don’t think it’s natural to form a fantasy around someone’s body parts that completely excludes their human experience because you find them attractive – I think that’s a problem that if someone is doing they should probably address.

  60. I blogged on this topic a while ago, after going through a similar process of meditating on the question. I didn’t identify looking at women in public as objectification per-se, although perhaps I should have. What I came to was that my objectification of women comes about as a second best alternative to what I’d really like to be doing, which is striking up a conversation and interacting with the women in question as whole people. I find that many women in public spaces are very closed to the idea of interacting with unknown men, for some very good reasons. I think that this blocks the normal, healthy, sexually charged interactions that would take place between people all the time in a more egalitarian and less patriarchal society – a society in which women didn’t have cause to fear sexual harassment and assault. My whole post is here, if you’re interested. http://sexlessfather.wordpress.com/2012/05/16/you-dont-owe-me-a-smile/

    • I enjoyed your post. It was very poignant. However I just want to say that it is not only fear of sexual assault or harassment that stops me personally from smiling at strange guys, engaging in conversation or flirting with them. Mostly, I don’t really like talking to strangers. I’m usually going somewhere, busy, or whatever. I don’t have time. I have plenty if friends. I don’t feel a great need to meet new people at random. I probably worry more about being trapped in an annoying conversation that I can’t get out of, than I do about harassment. I know the majority of men won’t actually harass me. But that doesn’t mean the conversation won’t be weird, tedious, or awkward. He might ask me out and I will have to say no, (I have a boyfriend), which will be uncomfortable.

      Also, as you say in your post, I know if a man smikes at me or wants to converse, it’s because he’s noticed my body. Men pretty much ignore women they arent attracted to. And in a weird way, a random guy showing interest for no reason other than he likes how I look makes me feel kind of gross. At times it makes me feel vaguely ashamed, due to my own sexual hangups I guess. It’s not just men who have issues with shame.

      So overall, the emotional stress of interacting with strangers is not worth the payoff.

      • Hank Vandenburgh says:

        “Also, as you say in your post, I know if a man smikes at me or wants to converse, it’s because he’s noticed my body.”

        Actually, no. There might be a hundred more reasons I thought you’d be interesting to talk to. Sometimes, you just get a feeling about someone, or they look interesting. It could be their appearance, but it could be lots of other things.

        I got in trouble on another site for disputing the term “rape culture,” which I think is overdone. And for saying that women’s projections have something to do with the identification of “creepy” behavior by men. Of course, men are frequently awful. But…

      • Thanks for reading my post and taking the time to reply.

        It’s an interesting conundrum. If I see a beautiful woman, I feel an attraction to her almost immediately. I don’t want to feel gross about this, and don’t want to have to sublimate it. It feels very much to me like this is an integral part of who I am – not just the product of some enculturation (although I readily admit that there are probably cultural elements overlaid on whatever inclinations are purely biological).

        On the other hand, I don’t want to make anyone else feel gross or uncomfortable if they should catch me noticing them. I don’t stare, or gawk. I do tend to glance more than once, which I realize sometimes makes women uncomfortable. I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable.

        I don’t know the answer here, but it probably rests somewhere in the middle. As people (not just women or men) in public spaces, we all need to recognize and accept that we will be noticed by other people, and that sometimes our appearance will cause us to be come the object of someone’s interest, attraction, or lust. We also all need to approach our own interests, attractions, or lusts respectfully. That means that if someone gives us clear indications that our gaze makes them uncomfortable, we need to cut it out.

        I still think that if men’s behavior were less awful, many women (not all, and from your comment probably not you) would be more open to casual interactions.

        I don’t know, though. What do you think the answer is? In a perfect world, what would the cultural norm be for men who encounter women they find attractive in public spaces?

        • That’s tough to answer because most women are just busy going about their lives. If I’m on a bus, I’m trying to get somewhere . If I’m in a coffee shop reading the paper , I’m there to read the paper. Often, being approached feels intrusive. Just because you are feeling a need to interact with beautiful women, that’s not the reason those beautiful women are out there doing things. They aren’t there for your entertainment or to fill your needs for conversation or flirtation. I’m not telling you not to approach, just that many WILL find it annoying, in the same way that telemarketers are annoying. It’s an interruption. I think it’s even worse for beautiful women because they are constantly being approached. Even if every man on the planet was super nice and respectful, the constant interruptions would be tiring. If you notice a woman then you can assume almost every other guy feels the same way.

          • Christy says:

            I love talking to people on the bus; helps to pass the time. Easy enough to pull out a book or play a game on my phone if I don’t feel like talking to people. I think people should feel like they can talk to strangers in public and should just be sensitive to not doing it if the other person looks absorbed in private thought or is reading, or starts exhibiting “I don’t want to talk to you any more” body language. (Knowing some of my friends really can’t understand body language, I also think it’s polite to just say so if one doesn’t feel like talking–“I’m sorry, I don’t feel great today and I’m not up for a conversation” or something like that, instead of thinking the person is intrusive.)

            • I’ve had men usually have random convos with me (I am a man), it has helped to undo past damage from bullying and each time it helps me feel more confident around people as I realize they aren’t going to fuck with me. Would be great for a woman to talk to as well randomly like that.

              • People seemed to talk to strangers a lot more where I grew up in Minnesota. They don’t seem to do that very much on the east coast, but I’ll talk to whoever’s around me if I feel like talking and they’re not giving me “please stop talking to me” body language signals. I would absolutely talk to you if you were waiting at the bus stop with me, etc.! I think more people should chat with random people in public here, as long as they are sensitive to those who don’t seem like that want to.

                • Sounds good, I often don’t know what to talk about even though I want to talk. It’s such a pain in the ass. 😛

                  • I’m totally inspired to increase my chatting with strangers now. Off to draw out the quiet ones (who don’t seem annoyed by me LOL)!

          • John Anderson says:

            @ Sarah

            We talk to people all the time. I might be buying food at a grocery store and someone, especially a woman, will ask “how do you cook that”. I might be listening to a song and someone will ask “who sings that”. I was at a diner and someone asked me what I was eating. You’ve never gone to a convention or anyplace were people who share a particular interest go and not spoken to anyone except a vendor? You’ve never played on-line games and asked to join a mission? You don’t know if it’s strangers who met on line for this mission or if it was a group of friends who planned it. We have these interactions with people all the time even the beautiful women.

      • “Also, as you say in your post, I know if a man smiles at me or wants to converse, it’s because he’s noticed my body. Men pretty much ignore women they arent attracted to.”

        I found this to be both stereotyping and insulting. I suspect that the way men actually behave is based on many different motivations, and you do not seem to be giving them the benefit of the doubt.

        For example, I smiled at a girl on the subway the other day because she was trying to read a casebook while standing on a train (which involves lots of juggling as the average casebook is ~1000 pages long). I’ve been there many times, that same train, on my way to class, trying to read a casebook because I won’t have time later in the day. This was the entire reason behind my smile.

        Sometimes I smile at a woman if I like the dog she’s walking. Sometimes I smile at a woman because she has her earbud volume turned up to 11 and doesn’t realize that I can tell she’s listening to “Call Me Maybe.”

        The point is, when I smile at someone, it usually has nothing to do with their body.

        I think the real problem with negative stereotypes is that there is a fundamental failure to give someone you legitimately don’t know the benefit of the doubt when ascribing them motivations. “He’s black, so he must be casing this store for a robbery,” is really no different from “He’s a man, so he’s only smiling because he likes my body.” In both cases there is an unfounded negative assumption about the person because of their outward presentation.

        Furthermore, the idea that “Men pretty much ignore women they arent attracted to,” really confuses what the word “attracted” means.

        For example, I’m going to ignore the woman who is dressed in a stained sweatshirt and sweatpants with a baseball cap over the hair she hasn’t washed. I’m doing this because her outward presentation suggests to me that she is not really interested in people paying attention to her.

        This does not mean I pay attention to someone who is dressed up, but it does mean that ignoring someone I am not attracted to is the same thing as following a legitimate social cue.

        It’s really not fair to put men in the double bind of “They can’t understand social cues!” when they pay attention to a woman, but then say “Shame on them for ignoring women they aren’t attracted to,” when doing so is a response to a social cue.

        • Christy says:

          I thought it was insulting too. There are all sorts of reasons why men might talk to me in a public setting–they’re bored and I’m standing nearby, I have a book that looks interesting, I’m wearing a t-shirt that advertises a game they like, etc. Assuming that men who talk to you think you’re attractive is kind of narcissistic, and assuming they talk to you only because you’re attractive is insulting to them.

          • Please see my response below. I went through a stage in my life where I gained some weight, and men never spoke to me in public. Not at bookstores, not on the bus, not in line at the coffee shop. I lost weight, and they started talking to me again. iDK, maybe I just had a bad experience.

            • I can relate to that. I’ve been a large guy almost all my life and I don’t even need an entire hand to count the number of times I’ve been approached in public.

              It’s not a good feeling.

              • I wonder if years ago when the culture was different, if more people were just in general friendlier to each other (eye contact, smiles, cordial conversation). I mean, in Austin and in other small southern towns I’ve lived in, everyone makes nice, flirts a bit, and is more relaxed. I make contact with lots of people in my daily life.

                Maybe people are so stressed, so anxious and in such a rush that they only are saying hello to potential mates based on a small window of traits instead of being relaxed enough to just enjoy everyone.

                • Growing up in a small town and then moving to a small city a few months ago I think there might be something to that. I think small town life allows for a more relaxed atmosphere while in city life there is so much hustle and bustle that people don’t get a chance to stop and get to know each other.

                  (Maybe that’s why I hear stories about people not being able to find any luck in dating/relationships/sex more from people who live in cities than from people who live in rural areas. And if that’s the case then I’m really in trouble because I actually didn’t have in luck in the rural area I just moved from either…)

                • Hank Vandenburgh says:

                  I have a PhD from UT Austin, and I don’t think it’s a typical Southern town. For one thing, outsiders are more welcome. We lived in Brenham, TX, and were frozen out of social life (except with other outsiders,) so I’d argue that Austin is way different. I admit that coquettery is more alive and well in the South, but I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not.

            • Ok, well, that is *horrid* that people would talk or not to others based on weight. I am very sorry that society treated you two that way. I guess where I’ve lived since college people don’t tend to talk to strangers in public much regardless. All the same, various men have spoken to me without any sort of sexual vibe, though, and have definitely seemed to be talking to me just because we happened to be waiting in the same spot or they noticed what I’m reading. I *do* see that vibe in others who talk to me. I don’t have an issue with it as long as they don’t push the issue after it becomes clear I’m not responding in a flirty way and that *I’m* just interested in a conversation.

              • You may not get a sexual vibe from particular guys who ask you what you are reading, but I suspect there would be far fewer guys asking those questions if you were less attractive (I don’t know how attractive you are, but from your picture, you look fairly young and attractive).

                Talk to women 45+ and you will find out how things change. Or wait a few years and you will know what I’m talking about. Even if you don’t believe me now, you will find out on your own eventually. I don’t mean to be a downer, but it happens.

                • I understand what you’re saying, but “appearance bias” is not a men-exclusive. I really doubt that men do it any more than women. The only difference is that women are slightly less likely to put out a “sexual vibe” toward men.

                  Those of us men, like me, who are not good looking know this all too well. You get passed over for promotions at work (yes, even if your supervisor is female,) and even in casual conversations. Even when you’re “the funny one” you’re less likely to be talked to than the good looking “likeable” guy.

                  I’m not saying objectification OR appearance bias are right, and I’m not trying to minimize anyone’s feelings. Also, my heart goes out to anyone who has been “eye raped” or had lewd, disrespectful comments directed their way. Any guy on here who tries to downplay that should be ashamed of themselves.

                  But if we’re just talking about the dynamics of attraction and how it applies to people we don’t know? A quick glance at a woman’s body is no different than “hey, that guy has a cool shirt!”

                • I agree with Travis on the appearance bias issue–I am sure there is plenty of it, and that it is experienced often as in your case. I was objecting more because it sounded like you were saying that the *vast majority* of men would talk to a woman they didn’t know *only* if they found her attractive, which seems overstating the case to me.

                  I just don’t think it’s fair to paint all or most men with that brush. Physical attraction is going to be a powerful motivator with regard to starting a conversation with a stranger and is going to significantly influence the number of (het/bi) men who talk to a woman, certainly, but there are plenty of non-sexual reasons that can influence them to strike up a conversation as well.

                  For the record, that photo is from about 7 years ago. I’m 43 and far from slim. I do think I tend to look fairly receptive to conversation at the times strangers will talk to me–there are definitely times when I sort of close myself off and I rarely get approached at these points. Perhaps there is something about the way people carry themselves and look about themselves (or not) that has an influence?

                  I just thought of another thing. Most men do know that it can seem threatening to a woman to be spoken to by a strange man in some circumstances. Perhaps there is tendency to avoid conversation on that point (in order to avoid invoking any fear) unless there is an overriding factor such as physical attraction or the woman making friendly eye contact or, of course, initiating the conversation herself.

                  • John Anderson says:

                    “I was objecting more because it sounded like you were saying that the *vast majority* of men would talk to a woman they didn’t know *only* if they found her attractive, which seems overstating the case to me.”

                    What I’ve found is that most people talk to others because they are bored or lonely. Things are too quiet for them or they’re actually interested in whatever you’re doing. My mom had a group of friends she met at the Laundromat. They washed clothes on the same days and times and it’s boring just sitting there for a couple hours.

                    I was at a bus stop once in a more dangerous part of the city. A woman I knew from high school was also waiting. We didn’t like each other and she didn’t talk to me. 4 young men came to wait also. She moved to my side and started up a conversation. That was one of the more irritating, mono-syllabic discussions I’ve had. I could sense the nervousness in her voice and manner of speaking. I assumed that she just got nervous and figured that she didn’t like me, but at least I wasn’t dangerous to her. I never even considered the possibility that her taste in men had improved and she wanted me sexually, oh well.

                    • Christy says:

                      Exactly–bored, shared interest, lonely. And some people are just naturally very chatty.

                    • Maybe it’s because I live in an urban area, but strangers don’t really talk to each other here. I can only think of one example in, I don’t know, the last 5 years when a guy approached me and made conversation and he wasn’t hitting on me. It was a guy who started telling me about Jesus. So maybe I’ve gotten cynical but it does seem like everybody wants something…

      • “I know if a man smikes at me or wants to converse, it’s because he’s noticed my body.”

        Actually, no, you don’t know that. You’re assuming that, which isn’t at all the same thing as knowing.

        I’m so sick of women assuming they know exactly how all men think all the time. You don’t get to ascribe motivations to me and then judge me for them.

      • Also, as you say in your post, I know if a man smikes at me or wants to converse, it’s because he’s noticed my body. Men pretty much ignore women they arent attracted to.
        I think that’s a bit of a big leap. Suspect that is why? Sure. But know it? I’m not sure about that.

        It could be the item that she is picking up at the store, it could be which section of the book store she is in (or what book she has in her hand contemplating a purchase), it could be that she’s wearing an item that looks pretty.

        And these types of smiles and conversations can happen whether the woman in question has a noticeable body (or find her attractive) or not.

        I’ll agree that you women don’t owe me a smile or an exchange of words. But at the same time isn’t it wrong to try to tell us what our motives are?

      • “Men pretty much ignore women they arent attracted to.”
        SOME men maybe, but I talk to women I don’t find attractive (mostly when I know them a bit through an event, randoms I equally avoid talking to due to shyness). Thanks for telling me my own experience though.

        • I gotta agree that is a very big generalization and inaccurate, Sarah.

          • Ok I stand corrected, it was a generalization. However, all I can say is that I have varied in attractiveness over the course of my life (been thin, gotten heavier, gotten thin again; been young, gotten older), and there is a HUGE difference in the number of men who talk to me in public based on the state of my physical attractiveness. When I was thin and in my 20’s — almost an everyday occurrence. When I was in my early 30’s and I’d gained some weight — I was invisible. No one talked to me, ever. Now I’m in my 40’s, but in decent shape — it happens once in a great while. Much less than when I was young.

            Has a random guy ever struck up a conversation with me but didn’t seem attracted to me? Honestly, I can’t think of any examples in my own life (excluding situations like conferences where people are networking).

            Your mileage may vary, I suppose.

          • Also, Imwas responding to the blog post by Sexless Father where he mainly talks about wanting to approach beautiful women and flirt with them.

  61. The Blurpo says:

    I may be against the “norm”; but I always found women older than my age attractiive. Not removing anything from young girls, but usually, I found older women to have a form of magnetism that for me is hard to describe.
    And I had some relationship with older women 40+ they were all (in my eyes beautyfull, even if somebody had a different opinion). And I even got stigmaticed for it, especially from young women (I hardly know a guy who criticised my interst, but who knows). But what I find attractive in some older women, is estetically, their eyes; lot of adult women have happy and wise eyes, and I love them and about that also their general wisedom. Some women are really wise and highly intelligent, and that is a attraction factor for me. The rest is secundary.

    About objectification: well I agree with some of the commenters that looking at a beautyfull woman isnt necessary a act of objectification. And neither is sexual lust. But I do agree, that staring and unpolite actions like groping, catcalling ect are sad, damaging, dehumanicing and totally inexcusable.

    But mind you, staring isnt necessary scanning a person, with all the conseguences immaginable. Sometimes it happens that your eyes are pointed to a person, and your mind is somewhere else. So actually even if you are seeing that person, doesent mean you are looking to her/him.

    It happen to me once, while I was having a relaxed release near a tree. At a D.A.D concert. When a guy approached me in anger, confronting me with the fact that I was flirting with him. WTF O_O lol.

    • I may be against the “norm”; but I always found women older than my age attractiive. Not removing anything from young girls, but usually, I found older women to have a form of magnetism that for me is hard to describe.

      I’m not sure I experience that same magnetism that you describe, but older women definitely have a lot going for them, IMO. I’ve been dating a woman 6 years my senior (she’s in her mid 30’s) for well over a year now, and it’s been great.

      I, unfortunately, do not have a broad enough dating experience to really make a good comparison to younger women, though. Everyone is different, so I think there are probably a fair number of mentally/emotionally mature younger women out there. And likewise there are probably a fair number of immature older women out there. But I’m sure the proportion of women who are the former increases with age group. Ditto with men.

      In general, I feel like my chances of finding a genuinely good relationship (e.g. where I feel validated and loved and respected, and can actually interact with my partner on an equal level, and where there is minimal BS) are higher amongst older women. And I think my chances of finding a woman who has really come into her own and knows who she is (and has hopefully gotten over gender role BS) are similarly higher amongst older women. Again, there are certainly younger women like this as well. But not quite as many.

      But I think one of the reasons that a lot of men go for younger women, though, isn’t that they are actually that much more physically attractive (they often aren’t). Rather, it’s internalized social pressure.

      For one thing, men constantly get the message that they’re supposed to be protectors, especially of their partner, and that is a role that is hard to feel like you’re fulfilling with older women. I doubt many guys consciously think about that, but I think it’s part of what can make it just feel like “something’s off” for many men. I think the reverse is also why a lot of women have a hard time dating men that are younger than them (which also annoys me).

      I think there’s also a lot of validation that many men experience from dating younger women. Being able to date the demographic that is considered desirable (and who people believe can be picky) is a boost to one’s self-esteem, and can help make one feel attractive, which is something that a lot of guys struggle with in silence. That sort of socially-backed validation of your desirability can be really intoxicating especially for guys who rarely if ever got that validation when they themselves were younger.

    • I often look into the distance n go off into my daydreamland, or read various posters at the doctors surgery for instance. I wouldn’t be surprised if people thought I was staring at them if I was looking near them, and when I daydream I’m probably unaware I’m looking in their direction as my eyes are on but my mind is looking at something else.

      • John Anderson says:

        Me too. Sometimes when a woman is talking to me and she never looks away even for an instant, I sometimes feel she’s staring or I get worried that I’m staring so I avert my eyes and down is as good a direction as any and often better as you’re still facing the person. She might be thinking that I’m glancing at her boobs, but I’m really trying to avoid direct eye contact for a couple seconds.

        • I entirely sympathize with both of you. I don’t know a ton of them, but I get very annoyed by the women I know who have a tendency to both go out of their way too catch men looking at them “too long” and them complain about it. It’s hard to *always* not look, to learn the fine art of looking without getting caught, and especially to train oneself not only to not look, but to make sure that when you’re actually looking elsewhere it doesn’t appear that you might be looking somewhere “inappropriate”. Women who aren’t already sympathetic to this need to learn to be! (Though I do think we’ve sort of been trained to think this way, and some unlearning is in order.) Frankly, I go out of my way to NOT notice when men are looking at me, and if they do realize I noticed them looking, I do NOT make them feel bad about it! I don’t get noticed where I live or work, but outside my area I do tend to be noticed quite a bit. I see zero point to making myself irritated every time I’m away from home or work.

          Also, while I think married men should be sensitive to their partners’ views on this sort of thing, and should not deliberately make other women uncomfortable by deliberate blatant leering, I don’t have any issue with my husband taking a look at other women. I know he thinks I’m the right woman for him and that I’m the one he wants to spend time with and have a family with. I wouldn’t want him to have to repress his sexuality to such an extent that he has to pretend I’m the only woman who should ever incite any sexual thoughts in him–that just doesn’t seem natural to me. I want him to be a sexually healthy guy without a ton of hangups!

  62. I think it’s all very nice that we’re trying to overcome our natural human inclination to judge, and I’m all for this. But some of these comments seem very close to thought-policing. And some of this seems to range from the reasonable (“guys need to stop brazenly going out of their way to show that they’re lusting after me”) to the ludicrous “I hate it when guys I don’t find desireable notice that I’m attractive.”

    We *shouldn’t* objectify people–that is to say, judge them in crude, derogatory ways that may be false given the fact that we don’t know them. I guess I just don’t understand why judging someone we don’t know on a sexual basis is any worse than, say, cursing a blue streak at the person who cuts us off in traffic. They’re both objectification of people we don’t know. After all, that person who just cut you off MIGHT have a legitimate reason for doing so.

  63. Eric M. says:

    “You aren’t objectifying your wife. You see her as a full human being.”

    I agree with you. But, the article doesn’t. It describes precisely what I do and calls it objectification.

  64. R, above, wrote as a partial explanation of why he objectifies women, “[to avoid] a treacherous road of intimacy and vulnerability. . .” I have to give him points for an honest answer from his POV. But I feel a bit like the parent warning a child to stop pulling silly cross-eyes faces or they’d get stuck that way, because, men, the danger really is that avoidance of intimacy does become a habit. I know our culture really encourages this behaviour, but it isn’t very respectful, and most of us really hate it and it makes our skin crawl when we catch you doing it.

  65. PursuitAce says:

    After reading through most of this I don’t think I’m any closer to understanding “objectification of women”. Sexual intimacy is as much a spiritual event as a physical one for me so the whole concept doesn’t compute. I’ve known guys who have been locked in on a woman’s physical attributes to the point where it was obvious they had suffered some type of emotional damage in the past. Seems like they should deserve as much sympathy as scorn for their behavior.
    I do have a complaint about one thing in the current state of women’s presentation in public. What’s up with some of these fragrances that women are wearing? My path crossed that of a young lady the other day…blonde, very attractive…which didn’t mean anything until I caught a whiff of some kind of fruit like fragrance she was wearing. After that all I could think about for the next ten minutes was “devouring” her. That may sound like it was exhilarating or even fun, but on the contrary it was at least very irritating if not upsetting. I’m not a rapist and I don’t like feeling like one. Any other guys have something similar to this happen to them? I’ve never really liked women’s perfume. It just never did anything for me…until now. If someone has actually discovered some kind of love potion scent it needs to be outlawed, now. And it also makes you hungry…as in for food. Maybe there’s a connection.
    And don’t give me the “well, maybe you were just really attracted to her and you didn’t realize it at first”, shtick. She wasn’t my type. And I have a pretty defined type.
    Oh and “devouring” means merging with her body, mind, and soul so that I feel and think everything she does for that brief moment of oneness that all begins with the first touch.
    So ends my story…

    • I’ve found fragrances very attractive, one of my fondest memories is a strawberry deodorant a crush of mine wore. If I smell it now, it’s instant happiness again.

  66. After I read this story, I drove home and “objectified” at least 40 women along the way, including a handful of high school girls leaving rowing practice. I did it again this morning on my way to work. I have to say, I didn’t feel the slightest bit of shame or guilt. In fact, I found it quite enjoyable. I love women and I can’t stop checking them out. Oh well…

    • The Wet One says:

      Keep it up buddy. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Vigilance against the kind of mind control crap that some people are pushing here. It’s retarded.

    • I just wonder where being respectful stops and mind control begins. I had a month long affair in my head with one of my man’s best friends. I masturbated to thoughts of him every morning and undressed him with my eyes every time I saw him. At the end of the day, I did feel guilty about, even though I probably didn’t need to…it’s not like anything happened or that I had any feelings for him or really wanted anything to happen in real life…he just made me tingly. I felt guilty for making him a sexual object and I felt guilty for how I know my man would have felt had he known. Should I not have? I don’t know. I guess we’re all entitled to our fantasies. But how do you be respectful about it?

      • The Wet One says:

        It’s clear to me that you have given over to slavery of the mind. He doesn’t even know what you’ve done to him in your head, and you’re guilty about it because someone thinks you should?

        Really?

        That seems like the epitome of an enslaved mind to me. But that’s just my opinion, and as we all know, everyone has one. It doesn’t sound like freedom to me either.

        Anyways…

    • John,
      There is a difference between loving women for who they are and loving how they look. I think you are more into the physicality women

  67. Christy says:

    I’m going to break this into parts and give my own opinion on each:

    “Objectify:
    (1) To stare, gawk, or check out women and their bodies and body parts.
    I don’t usually consider this objectifying. If that’s the only thing a man cares about in a woman, or especially in women in general, that’s objectifying. Generally I assume that if someone is looking at me overlong, they’re appreciating me, and I think it’s only fair to give the benefit of the doubt that given the opportunity they would appreciate more than just my body. There are certainly ways of staring that can appear threatening, however; and regardless of “threat factor,” staring seems to bother many other women more than it does me. Attractiveness of look-er/suitability as mate isn’t an issue for me–in fact, one of the most attractive “gawkers” I’ve noticed was by far the most threatening seeming (and this bore out in a later actual interaction.) I think bodies, personalities, intelligence, etc. should all be part of the equation. A male gaze that enjoys a woman’s body but does not reduce her value solely to her body is a good thing as far as I’m concerned.

    (2) To see them as objects (instead of real people)
    This is the only part of the original definition that I view as objectification. It is the key, of course.

    (3) and to think of them in a sexual way.”
    Being heterosexual, I would be in bad shape if men didn’t think of me sexually on occasion.

    Bottom line is that both women and men should be treated fairly and appreciated both for their abilities and effectiveness AND for their sexuality, and that appreciation of the sexual component should be expressed in appropriate contexts. (I.e., not the work place, not if you can tell you’re making someone uncomfortable, not in a threatening manner.)

    I do think that since there’s a long history of a pretty heavy reduction of women’s importance to their sexuality, it’s going to be a bit longer before many women can feel the way I do–that a lingering stare isn’t necessarily rude but merely appreciation of one part of me, and that the starer would be happy to assume that I am a highly competent and interesting person as well.

  68. John Anderson says:

    Two things. First I’ve gotten in trouble for not appreciating the way a woman looks before. I’ve even had my sexuality questioned when I’ve shown no interest. Second, I wonder how the women on the thread would feel 20 years from now when the looks are fading. 25 years or so ago when I was into martial arts and weightlifting I got quite a few compliments from women. Now I’m mid 40s and I still get a few, but there usually from 30ish/40ish women.

    • But you’re that age too, so why is that a problem? When I’m in my mid 40s, I’ll have no problem getting complimented by single men who are around my age, just as I don’t have a problem with getting hit on by single men in their 20s now. Unless it’s done in a harassing, cruel, or threatening manner, of course.

      • John Anderson says:

        What I mean is there is always the chance that you won’t get hit on at all. In my opinion most guys are attracted to conventionally attractive women. There are a few guys who are attracted to a particular body type and some that prefer a “thick” (closer to normal) body type. I know that there’s a cougar/mature fetish and generally greater acceptance of the attractiveness of older women, but given a choice between a conventionally attractive cougar and a somewhat conventionally attractive “kitten”, I and I think most guys would appreciate the kitten more. Recently, I witnessed a 30ish woman’s, who would not be considered conventionally attractive, face light up when a much older man (50ish) told her she had beautiful eyes. I don’t know if she was ever conventionally attractive, but I know we all have a need to be attractive.

        What women find attractive is somewhat more elusive (George Clooney, Ted Turner, Justin Beiber, WTF) and although everyone has their own preference, I think even men and women don’t agree on what a conventionally attractive man looks like. Would any of the ladies like to write a post on what an attractive man looks like? I remember the response one woman gave to a question describe the perfect penis as one being attached to a man who respects and cares for her. That explains why I could be attractive to the young woman 17 or so years my junior. I still don’t know what I’m going to do about that. I care about her. She’s a dear friend and she should be looking for a man her own age.

        What I’m saying is be careful what you wish for. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

        • “Would any of the ladies like to write a post on what an attractive man looks like?”

          Well, let me try…

          For example, I went to dinner with some work colleagues last night at a great restaurant (live jazz playing in the background, awesome food)….we were invited by some other work colleagues, so it was about schmoozing but the guy who sat across from me was so fascinating and charismatic….he was an expert in a certain field and was talking about some of what he does on a daily basis….he was so passionate about what he does and yet self-deprecating, and yet you could tell how knowledgeable he was in his field…he was humble in admitting that there were certain things that he still did not know in his field but he lavished praise on some of his colleagues, yes, even female colleagues….he talked about verbally sparring with some of the people that he works with in his department but he did not put the other person down or say anything snarky or insulting about his colleague…

          He kind of looked like a less bulky version of The Rock, but it wasn’t so much his looks that pulled you in…it was the way he told the story and the way he praised his co-workers and the people he was telling stories about (he praised their courage and intelligence)….Then he had to leave to get home to his wife (who is also a professional like him) and family and “relieve the babysitter”….That made him all the more endearing that he was thinking of them and wanted to see them before it got too late….

          He was Über-cool….and that I find is even more attractive than George Clooney on a motorcycle going around Lake Como in Italy!

          • This made me smile. It’s nice when you hear that all you have to do is be a good person.

            There’s usually a lot about the way you comb your hair, the way you walk, how you word your sentences, who’s with you, how many extra pushups at the gym. And if girls aren’t flocking yet, you aren’t trying hard enough! Double the pushups! Remember those leg positions! Be funny, kinda cocky, but not cocky, and not goofy. Be sexual, it turns her on, but whatever you do, don’t be sexual; girls don’t know they like sex. They’ll be offended.

            Blah Blah Blah Blah. It’s freaky if you feel like you need to practice “being yourself, as long as it’s this one way.” Who would want a relationship like that? The idea of simply trying to be a good human being sounds like a more attractive, and much more productive, approach.

        • For me it really has little to do with whether or not I find the man attractive like many people are saying. That doesn’t mean it’s the case for other women, of course. There are men who are much older than I am that I do find attractive, but I’d still rather they didn’t look at me because they’re married, have kids, remind me of my dad, and because I wish that they WOULD look at women their own age. Most of the guys that I’ve dated have kept their eyes and check around me and made me feel like the most beautiful woman in the world in their eyes. It’s a wonderful feeling. I want the same for other women, and I’m far less deserving of it than a lot of these hard working mothers and wives I see. For everyone else, it’s the approach, and leering at my breasts really does make me uncomfortable–I don’t care how hot or rich you are. I’ve had stunning rich frat boys make me feel extremely uncomfortable. I’ve had rich young men offer to fly me out to exotic places who’ve made my skin crawl. And–I’ve had very conventionally unattractive boys approach me in ways I found adorable and sweet–sometimes it even ended in something.

          I remember getting heavily and aggressively hit on by one of my dad’s friends while on a business trip with him. The guy had a beautiful, well-earning, fit, kind wife and a lovely young son. I get it, I’ve cheated and I’ve been cheated on. We all like variety and make mistakes. But when it’s someone who has a child and is closer to your dad’s age than yours…and does it while his wife is at home entertaining company and taking care of his home and …really?

          It all makes me question dating, marriage, and any kind of relationship with a man. Why bother if once I reach a certain age, I’ll become sexually invisible anyways and potentially humiliated? The VAST women of my generation do not need men for financial support. So the only benefit is regular sex? I do actually wish that massage parlors with happy endings were more available for women. I would definitely try sex tourism in a country like Jamaica if it weren’t so exploitative of the men. If I want children, I could do it without a man, and why risk getting my body called ‘ruined’ by someone who is supposed to love me? I’m sorry if that sounds a little defeatist or will cause controversy. I’m not trying to shame anyone, just to put how I feel out there.

          • John Anderson says:

            “I do actually wish that massage parlors with happy endings were more available for women. I would definitely try sex tourism in a country like Jamaica if it weren’t so exploitative of the men.”

            I’ve always thought prostitution should be legal because I believe in bodily autonomy. I am trying to understand the position that prostitution should be illegal because most people engaging in prostitution did not have a legitimate choice (exploitive). I was just wondering what the difference was between massage parlors with happy endings and sexual tourism. Is it the belief that men should be able to financially support themselves without prostituting themselves in the United Sates?
            It’s not my intention to sound mean. I’m in enough trouble with Julie already. I’m just trying to understand the exploitation or not really a person’s choice/consent argument.

            I don’t see a problem with sex tourism as long as you pay a decent wage, which may require you to pay more than what was requested.

        • John Anderson says:

          “Does it give a kind of pleasure knowing that it hurts us, this particular truth, or do you not even think of it.”

          Sorry Julie, I didn’t mean to hurt you. I was just pointing out that the women who complain about being objectified are usually the young and attractive. They don’t ever seem to consider that there are other people who never got the attention.

          “I don’t judge men for money.”

          I technically make more money than the median household income, but the young lady who showed interest in me is a professional who makes more than I do. We both own our own homes and cars. Looking at the trends in education, if women hold men to this standard, there will be a lot of lonely people in the future.

          I don’t know how to cheer you up. Between the articles on praising small breasted women and excessive porn use, you probably think a man’s scrotum doesn’t house his testicles, but his heart and his mind. I can tell you that I find kindness to be a very attractive quality in a woman. We all have a need to feel attractive, but as long as your life partner finds you sexually attractive, that’s really all we ultimately can hope for.

          • There is a lot unsaid on what people find attractive and I think a lot is actually undefinable. It’s easy to say I like women with smaller breasts, but how the hell do I explain the very unique personality of the woman I loved? I can say nice, sweet, caring, but it doesn’t do it justice.

            I think we men also find it hard to talk about other features of women so we don’t appear to be a certain way. I use to think that being sweet, talking about liking a woman who is nice, caring, etc, would be a guaranteed ticket to friendzone based on stupid shit I learned when young. Showing the more feminine side can be seen as a major risk, it can be easier to just say we like nice women with nice tits, great ass, etc whilst beating our chests.

          • Megalodon says:

            I’d love to see a few articles about lusting (also) after intelligence or character or humor since that’s what sticks around after the skin starts to sag…..

            You believe that people should not be judged or valued solely or primarily on the basis of their youth, physical attractiveness, etc. I agree.

            But you seem to suggest that a person’s other good attributes and qualities (the non-physical and non-sexual ones) are not sufficiently valued unless they provoke a sexual, carnal response like lust? Intelligence, character, integrity, compassion, humor, wit, etc. are not physical, carnal traits. Why would they or why should they provoke a physical, carnal attraction?

            I suppose that sometimes some of these non-physical character attributes can influence a physical attraction. But most of the time, probably not. Just because a person finds another person to be intelligent, charming, impressive or otherwise laudable, it does not follow that the person will or should therefore find the other person sexually attractive. Does that mean that their positive regard and affection for this other person is somehow deficient because it never becomes physical or sexual in nature?

            When persons complain of being in the “Friendzone,” they often complain about how their supposed platonic qualities (assuming they have any) do not translate into sexual attraction or sexual reciprocation from other people. We tell these complaining people that their supposed good attributes and traits do not entitle them to the sexual company of others, and also that they should not view platonic, non-sexual affirmation as somehow debased or inferior.

            But some people seem to think that sexual attraction and sexual response are the only true indications of their value, even when it comes to the non-sexual, non physical aspects of themselves. And I guess it’s not just Nice Guys ™ or “Friendzone” males who might subscribe to that.

            that’s what sticks around after the skin starts to sag…..

            Most of the time, I guess. But things like intelligence, character and humor are not necessarily permanent, thanks to things like Alzheimer’s and dementia.

            • I see a lot of discussion here about what people should be attracted to first. Some people say minds, some faces, some bodies. But the last time I checked, attraction and where it comes from isn’t something we can choose. If I were to suggest, for example, that it’s wrong for men to be attracted to other men, and that they should be attracted to women instead, I would (rightfully) be shunned from polite society. But isn’t it just the same to suggest that men should be attracted to women’s minds or faces rather than their bodies? Attraction is an immutable characteristic outside of conscious control, and attempts to bring it under conscious control have disastrous outcomes (see ex-gay therapy for a prime example).

              Behavior, however, is well within our control. None of us has the right to allow our attractions to cause us to behave in ways that violate the consent of others, and that includes consenting to be stared at or flirted with.

              The grey area comes in how to appropriately obtain consent to look at someone’s body. The cues about whether or not such attention is welcome can be extremely subtle. No one walks up to a stranger on the subway and politely asks “excuse me, but may I stare at your body for a moment?”

              • I *LOVE* your last paragraph! Absolutely wonderful!!!

                The issue about the cues being very subtle is key. If I recall correctly, women are perhaps, on average, better at reading body language than men are on average? This might be where some of the upset over being looked at is coming from–women giving subtle cues that the looking is not welcome but a certain percentage of the men in question misreading or not being able to read the cues? And the women not understanding that those men weren’t understanding the women’s body language? I had a mortifying hand-knee incident once where the guy clearly was not clueing in on VERY clear body language on my part (rapid drop in conversation responses a bit prior, stopping all looking in the eye, stopping smiling, turning body in other direction, pointedly moving chair away). Despite all this, it was very clear in his face that he did NOT at all understand that his hand was quite unwelcome. Obviously an extreme case, but it’s made me much more understanding of less pronounced possible misunderstandings of body language. People do not always “read” what those of us skilled in body language think is quite obvious.

              • Christy, I highly suggest all women especially learn how to voice their discomfort. Not all people can understand body language, or they might be focused on one area of the body that appears calm whilst another is showing the “getaway” signal that they don’t see. If someone puts their hand on your leg and you don’t say anything, not saying anything could be confused for consent (stupid I know), because that person may be brought up with the idea that if someone doesn’t want you to touch them, they’ll let you know by saying it, or hitting you.

                Quite often some people rely on speech a lot for communication, so they don’t hear the no and don’t realize it’s bad. Body language is too ambiguous and relies too much on guesswork for some people to understand clearly. A direct “no, please take your hand away” is much much more likely to get the point across I believe as it’s a clear indication that you don’t want their hand there.

                In my teen years I was socially outcasted quite a bit and didn’t get to learn quite a bit of the body language skills that others who were very social learned. I only recently learned more about it all, and there was a period of time that I wouldn’t have been able to clearly read your body language, which is actually a large part of why I never touched someone first, always waited for them to touch me. It’s quite confusing to have a female friend touch your leg or arm in a friendly manner and not knowing how they knew it was acceptable to do, then being scared to touch them back wondering if I am expected to reciprocate the touch or not touch them because they’re a female. I’m still unsure on when it’s ok, or expected to touch people and I default to not touching them to ensure I don’t make them uncomfy. Which sadly probably makes them feel like I am cold and distant.

              • John Anderson says:

                @ Archy

                “If someone puts their hand on your leg and you don’t say anything, not saying anything could be confused for consent”

                God, I hope not. I just counted 5 instances where a woman at work put her hand on my thigh. One actually grabbed me there. I’ve been there for 16 years and many of the women were there for several years prior to the incidents. I just didn’t think once in 10 or so years warranted a trip to HR or even a potentially embarrassing comment. It would be bad if these women thought I wanted to bone them especially the married ones.

              • Christy says:

                Yes, I *very* much agree people should be more direct verbally. This incident prompted me to find out a ton more about the huge variation in people’s ability to read body language and how important it is to be verbally direct in all types of areas. This man so clearly did not know he was doing something I considered offensive. And I recall a time or two before I had considered all this when women had been showing their interest in a friend of mine who can’t read body language well at all, and he had no idea. (Now that I know more, I would be sure to point out their interest to him! And let the gal in question know she should take matters into her own hands more directly.)

          • “I also know many women in their 50′s trying to online date and getting no where with men their age and they are filled with pain about it.”
            Just outa curiosity do you know men in their 50’s, and do they get much success with online dating? The most common thing I see of men talking about online dating is the lack of messages they get from women, whilst women get plenty of messages, are these women also initiating or waiting for the message to come? (genuine curiosity, not to negate). I have a profile on an online dating site and only received one message in years, to someone that wanted to talk and then stopped. I set it up to see if I could get any messages without actually sending any first, doesn’t seem to work being passive for me.

            • I’ve seen quite a few relationships where men date women a few years younger, one of teh most succesful ones I’ve seen, he is 30 and she is 19. Don’t think I’ve ever seen an older woman date a younger man in my circle of friends. My father was 5 years older than my mother, I wonder how common that is and what the reasoning is behind it? Most people I know are generally 0-2 year difference though. I had a fling once with someone about 6 years younger than I was, her 18 and me 24, but she was quite mature and I didn’t feel older than her at all really. Her age didn’t bother me at all, I go by maturity and ignore the age (18+ of course only), as long as they’re mature and there is no difference in our intelligence/maturity that could cause a power imbalance then it’s all good in my books. Though I haven’t felt different since my 21st birthday, maybe that will change after 30. The women my age here, most are taken and most are actually married with kids….I might have to date someone 20-23ish as the rest are pretty much taken! 😛

            • I have a whole stand up routine ready to go on the problems with online dating for both men and women. My most general understanding is that men seek younger women no matter their own age (30′s seeks 20′s, 40′s seeks 30′s etc) and women tend to seek their own age.

              OKCupid had a post about that:
              http://blog.okcupid.com/index.php/the-case-for-an-older-woman/

              It looks like men generally say they’ll date anyone roughly their age or younger, and their messaging habits seem to bear that out. Women generally say they’ll only date anyone roughly their own age or a tad older, but their messaging habits are inconsistent with that and suggest that they’re actually more flexible than that. (Then again, since women do a minority of the initiating messaging, there may be some bias to the data. E.g. the subset of women that frequently send initiating messages may be more likely to be okay with breaking norms in the first place.)

              Anecdotally, my experience on OKCupid was that the large majority of women older than myself had an “acceptable age range” that had me squarely outside. So I just never messaged those particular women.

              • This, to me, is a huge part of the problem. We have a set of social expectations that in male/female flirtations the male will always be the instigator, and when the advance is unwelcome the male is said to be objectifying the female.

                I don’t know why women don’t instigate as often as men, but I imagine it has something to do with the virgin/whore duality thing, and not wanting to be slut-shamed. Also, the social expectation that women will be subservient plays a role.

                If we could get to a place where women were more comfortable approaching men, initiating interactions, sending messages on OK Cupid, and generally asking for what they want rather than keeping their desires hidden, I think a lot of these problems would melt away.

              • John Anderson says:

                I think that part of it is that even women believe that men always want sex. You can see it in these posts. When men walk up to me it’s because they want my body. Some guys aren’t comfortable with women initiating. Part of that has to do with the women being overly aggressive using touch as well as words early in the interaction. Men run away. Other times a man simply is not interested.

                If women believe that a man always wants sex, rejection must be twice as hard on them. I’ve had women call me gay because I turned them down. Looking back I guess if they thought I would screw anything except them, it must have been very damaging to their self esteem.

              • John Anderson says:

                @ Julie

                One thing I’ve been curious about and I apologize in advance if this strikes a nerve, but I have friends who will not date women who have children. I remember inquiring about a woman once and instead of giving me her name, my friend responded she’s got a kid. I found out later that she doesn’t have a husband, but decided against it anyway (not that the kid mattered to me for dating purposes at least).

                I’ve only witnessed (or been aware of) street harassment once, when a guy called out to a female friend I was walking with. I guess women don’t experience objectification as much when they’re with a guy, but do they get objectified less when they are with their children?

              • @Julie, probably a mix but it depends upon the person. Why I don’t want to date someone with kids is because I’d like to experience the childfree time in dating, be able to go camping, etc at the drop of the hat ALONE, not rely on babysitters anytime we want to do something, have more money for ourselves, go on trips etc. Children are expensive both financially and time-wise (at least here in Aus:P) and not everyone has access to grandma/grandpa that can look after them. EVERY couple I’ve heard from who has children has proven this to me and I am at a stage of my life that I cannot handle looking after a dependant, nor wish to date someone which might lead to me becoming the father-figure. It’s a huge responsibility, there will most likely be times I’d be expected to look after the kid alone if it was a serious relationship and probably be expected to help pay for her or the kid/s sometimes.

                I’d like to have my own children ONE DAY, but wayyy in the future after I’ve had my fun in youth, after I’ve built a home (not a house), have stability in my life, be past my illness, etc.

                With my friends that don’t want to date someone with kids it’s because of not wanting to raise another mans child sometimes, but mostly because of the responsibility involved. We’re young though, 20-30, I expect this may change in our 30’s or 40’s and won’t matter as much. As I myself age I am more open to the possibility of dating a single mother but until I either become well off in income that the cost to raise a child is pittance (ie, 100k+ a year or more) then it turns me off.

                My life goals atm involve starting a business (10-30k depending on equipment and if I need a studio), having a fully setup workshop for my shed (about 5-10k), doing at least one decent holiday (1-5k, maybe a smidgen more), possibly a pilots license ($$$$$), and a home (200k+). I am currently a low income earner and I am studying + working on my health to increase my earning ability to afford these things, a child can put a major damper on those goals and they’re goals I don’t want to budge on.

                If I end up getting someone pregnant of course I’ll have to rethink the goals but for a decade I had pretty much F all, earned barely anything, have very few assets, so I’m in my selfish buy up assets mode to set myself up for a long time. I guess I am materialistic, I feel a sense of pride of having a car that works, a sound system to enjoy driving, tools in workshop so I have the freedom to build and create + save money by doing the handyman jobs vs paying a tradie here (tradies are $100/hr or more here in Aus).

                As you can tell the biggest concern I have is finances, but I spent a decade after school being a dependant with very little money to spend on myself so finances have always been a major stress for me. The confidence boost I got from buying stuff for my car, fixing it up, buying a decent camera for my photography etc was enormous.

                If I had to look after a kid right now I’d probably be extremely anxious, extremely nervous over money, my ability and skills with raising kids, worry over the current pedophile hysteria in Australia as a male which means I’d be scared to actually hug the child especially if he/she wasn’t my own by birth, my free time would diminish (which is badly needed for my recovery from illness and time to study), I can barely afford to feed myself so at this point in life it’s too much strain. I would not be a good candidate for someone with a child anyway due to how little I earn and my health, hopefully in a few years it’ll be a different story. I suspect there are many men who feel similar stresses, especially worrying about finances. The cost of living would have to drop considerably to make having a child an attractive prospect for me personally, but I don’t judge others who want that, their goals will be different than mine. It’s just baggage I can’t deal with in 2012 with my current life, maybe 2016 will be different.

              • That said if the woman is well off, able to take care of the child on her own financially, requires no time or resources from me to look after the child or herself, where we can just be independant whilst dating, and if we had plenty of time to get away just the 2 of us and plenty of time for romance then I’d consider it. It may be a shitty thing to say but I can’t even afford to look after a woman let alone kids, truth be told in my current stage of life I don’t expect I will find a partner until I am earning at least the average income and working fulltime. Being a low-income earner I know full well the stereotypes placed on people like me, and I haven’t got much faith that many women would even consider dating me until I was working full-time, earned at least as much as they do vs being a student and struggling for funds. Add the fact I am overweight in a society that loves thinner people then I haven’t got too much going for me in the dating game.

          • Eric M. says:

            “I also know many women in their 50’s trying to online date and getting no where with men their age and they are filled with pain about it.”

            There are men who are into 50 year old women – the ones that 50 year old women divorce.

            If ALL men cared about were youthful (20s, early 30s) looks, men wouldn’t stay married past their 40s or certainly their 50s. Men would be the ones initiating the majority of divorces. Instead, it turns out that the vast majority of divorces in that age bracket (actually all age brackets) are initiated by women, not men. 50+ year old women initiate more divorces than any other demographic. The men are willing to remain married but they get served divorce papers and told that resistance is futile.

            And, reportedly, these divorces are not all based on infidelity. The women report that they aren’t getting what they feel they want and need. So, they imitate the divorce and proceed to post a picture of their 50 year old face and body on match.com, looking for 50 year old men – only to find that 38-40 year old women are also looking for 50 year old men. And, given the choice, many 50 year old men will often go for a 38 year old over a 50 year old.

            My personal opinion is, if you get to be 50 years old and you’re still married (especially if you’re a woman), try, try, try to work it out because 50 year old guys are probably not going to be knocking your door down (although 60-65 year old guys would probably be happy to talk to you!)

            It’s like an older, high-mileage car. It’s worth more to you than anyone else because you appreciate it’s value; you know it’s a good car, even if it ain’t what it used to be. To anyone else, it’s just another old car that might break down on them at anytime. Yeah, it’s got a few dings and a couple things don’t work like the used to, but it’s always gotten you where you needed to go and it still runs well. So, you’re better off keeping it for your kid when they start driving. Others simply won’t appreciate its value like you do.

            So, if you’re 50 year old husband has gotten on your last nerve (who doesn’t from time to time?), ask yourself if it’s better to try to work things out with him somehow, or risk being alone for the rest of your days.

            • If the car metaphor was to hold then the 50 year old women should be seeking 30 year old men as well. Cause ain’t like 50 year old men don’t have dings, or could break down in their 50’s. Actually, comparing people to cars is more akin to objectification in my book, than any glance at my breasts would be. And I’m not accusing you of that, but I figure there are folks that think that metaphor makes great real sense.

              Why do 50 year old men choose women 20 years younger and 50 year old women seek men their age. It’s not like 50 year old women don’t find younger men attractive and men in their 50’s are prone to a lot of health problems. Is it because the 50 year old men CAN attract those women? For looks? Or is it money? Or they just shun the women their age cause they’ve been dumped by them?

              Or do we all believe that if we can attract the young, we are still young? And thus less close to death? Are the mid life crises experienced by the 50 something set just that different?

              I feel bad for the widowed 50-60 year old women who can’t find dates…

              • The key to remember is that what men are attracted to and what they expect to attract are often two different things. And most guys don’t just find one type of woman–his own age group–attractive. A man can still appreciate youthful femininity while being grounded and appreciative of a mature woman his own age as well. They’re not mutual exclusives. And really, as long as said guy is not wandering into pedophile territory, there’s not a damn thing disagreeable about it.

                For most guys, the aspects they find physically attractive–smooth skin, lithe body, curves, etc.–tend to be found in younger women. Though they can be found in older women as well. But why on earth would he no longer find that attractive because HE’S getting on in the years or is less attractive in those aspects? I’m sorry, but that just makes no sense.

                • There is nothing wrong with finding it attractive. I find smooth skin, flat bellies and firm muscles attractive too. But were I single, I’d not reject men my age in favor only of the physical appearance of the younger set. If women in their 50’s cannot find men to date because all the men are seeking younger women, it’s hard to to see that the reason they are choosing women is based predominantly on physical appearance rather than the whole person. And if that is true, so be it. But I’m sure it’s still hard for those women to accept. Just as if the only reason a woman chose a man was based on car or house or clothing and how that indicated wealth and none of his other qualities. I hear men saying this hurts them, makes them feel like a utility. I hate that women have made men feel that way.
                  It seems to be there is utilitizing men based on wealth and objectifying women based on looks and frankly, it means that lots of people are missing out on amazing relationships with people. And I also hear that there are a lot of men who are lonely and seeking partners so why discount someone eager but older, if it meant sex, companionship and good times? Why reject a man with less money if it meant you could have a great relationship?

                • Going to make some wild as hell guesses in this, please debunk if you can since I hope they aren’t true.

                  “And I also hear that there are a lot of men who are lonely and seeking partners so why discount someone eager but older, if it meant sex, companionship and good times? Why reject a man with less money if it meant you could have a great relationship?”

                  Possible reasons for some could be that they just don’t find them sexually attractive, could be the sex drive for men and women is actually a bit different on the average and once menopause sets in the sexual attraction drops hugely (a guess, no idea if real). I wouldn’t be surprised if fertile LOOKING women (as in don’t visibly appear to be past fertile age) is far less sexually attractive than women who are of a fertile age. If the biological drive favours reproduction then there is little use of chasing after women who are past the age of reproduction. If that drive exists in that way it could either kill or lower sexual attraction in men. Not sure if a study was ever done on this though, nor do I neccessarily believe it. It’s in the couldbetruebutneedevidence category for me. I truly hope someone debunks it cuz that’d be a shitty thing to look forward to for both genders.

                  So if they find these women far less attractive then to not discount them would mean settling for someone you have little attraction for from that silly biological drive standpoint. Of course there are other methods of attraction that could get around that but it might be a reason why these men are favouring younger women.

                  Would the same exist in women? Doubt it, no point in needing a man that can produce sperm at that age if you can’t get pregnant from the reproductive sense, so this tells me there is far more to attraction than just reproduction and sexual attraction. Only one gender has their reproductive ability turn off from what I know, this could skew the results.

                  I’d like to hear from older men and women on the subject and seriously want this guess to be debunked. When I say attractive in the following, I am asking about sexual attraction alone, not personality.
                  If you’re a 50+ man: Do you find women post-reproductive age sexually attractive? Do you find them as attractive as women in the reproductive age?
                  If you’re a 50+ woman:Do you find men your own age attractive? Do you find men after 50 attractive? After 60? Do you find men you’re own age to be as attractive as men younger in the age range that is equivalent to a female reproductive life?

                  From what I hear there seems to be a faster drop-off in attraction for women vs men as they age, I am extremely curious to understand why that may happen. I believe partly it’s due to society but what influenced that society? I have a suspicion there is a biological instinct at play that influences much of it.

                • John Anderson says:

                  @ Archy

                  “So if they find these women far less attractive then to not discount them would mean settling for someone you have little attraction for”

                  A female friend told me once that when you get to know someone, they don’t look the same. I didn’t think that was true, but have found it to be true at least for me. I guess the problem is getting to know a person you won’t approach because you don’t initially find them sexually attractive. My young female admirer wouldn’t be considered conventionally attractive, but sometimes when I look at her, I see a pretty girl. I strongly suspect that she doesn’t view me as the best out there, just the best attainable.

                  I didn’t pursue her initially because the physical attraction wasn’t there. It still isn’t to a large extent, but it’s been replaced with concern. She told me once that she was resigning herself to never being with a man. I almost offered to have sex with her or at least allow her to examine me. I know we sometimes confuse having sex with being in love and it wouldn’t have done her any favors. She’s a nice person who makes enough to be the primary earner in her family. She owns a home, which is worth more than mine, and a car. I think she undervalues herself. Sometimes I wonder if good, younger men are in such short supply that she thinks a man born almost 2 decades before her is a good catch.

                • I think many of us in the younger generation are more shy with women and more afraid of rejection, but that’s just a guess. Depends also on where you are, like where I am the nightlife is pretty terrible and I’m actually at a loss on where to meet decent women who are SINGLE in this small town, seems so many are taken and usually have families by my age (27). I think many of the younger women leave the small town to the cities for study and careers, it’s a rural type town and more male-type jobs I’d say.

                  Though I heard that in some places the women outnumber the men quite a bit so the pool of eligible men is limited compared to the amount of women waiting for someone to hit on them.

                  I’d say there is some leeway in people that are neutral attraction, but it may not be enough in all cases to sustain a decent relationship.

              • Eric M. says:

                “If the car metaphor was to hold then the 50 year old women should be seeking 30 year old men as well.”

                They are free to. There ARE some 30 year olds that would welcome it, although not necessarily for a lifelong relationship.

                “Cause ain’t like 50 year old men don’t have dings, or could break down in their 50’s.”

                True.

                “Actually, comparing people to cars is more akin to objectification in my book, than any glance at my breasts would be. And I’m not accusing you of that, but I figure there are folks that think that metaphor makes great real sense.”

                Then, you’ve missed the point that I tried to make painfully obvious. How about this: it may be wiser to stick it out with your pain-in-the-a** husband since men his age aren’t necessarily looking for women your age. At least he appreciates you enough to stay with you. At least you don’t have to compete with 30 year olds to get him. At least you know what you’re going to get with him. I do have sympathy for widow but frankly not all that much for women who unilaterally seek divorces because they aren’t interested anymore.

                “Why do 50 year old men choose women 20 years younger and 50 year old women seek men their age.”

                Some older women do go after young men – hence, the term cougars. Also, 50 year olds don’t always choose 30 year olds.

                “Is it because the 50 year old men CAN attract those women?”
                That may be part of it. For some reason, young women are often attracted to older men more than vice-versa.

                “For looks? Or is it money? Or they just shun the women their age cause they’ve been dumped by them?”

                Probably all of the above.

                “Or do we all believe that if we can attract the young, we are still young?”

                Yeah, some of that too probably.

                “I feel bad for the widowed 50-60 year old women who can’t find dates…”
                Me too but I don’t feel sorry for the ones that divorced men who weren’t cheaters or abusers, because he wasn’t romantic enough or something like that.

              • Well said, Christy. That does seem to be the bone of contention: the unnecessary equation of sexual thoughts about someone we don’t know = objectification. It doesn’t work that way. To think of someone as an object means to actively disrespect them. A 1/4 second longer-than-necessary glance and a quick palpitation of the heart do not constitute this. A quickly-stifled, but vivid and vaguely sexual thought does not amount to this either. I doubt very many women take such as objectification. Just like I’m sure most guys are respectful enough to TRY to be discreet. Most of us aren’t actively “looking” to begin with. It’s a field of view thing for most of us.

                What does constitute objectification is when the guy actually goes out of his way to show it. Brazen staring (as in more than a few seconds,) wolf-whistling, cat-calling, crass comments or lewd gesturing. That kind of stuff. Those are surer signs of objectification than a vague feeling of unease that may have nothing at all to do with how a guy is behaving.

                • sorry, I meant to reply to the comment at the bottom.

                • Thanks, Travis. I fully agree.

                  I think it’s really too bad that there is a feeling out there that one must “quickly stifle” sexual thoughts and that doing otherwise is rude or bad. (I’m not saying I think you advocate the “quick stifle”; I’m just commenting on the practice since it was mentioned.)

                  With regard to the gazing/staring, I agree that someone who goes out of his or her way to purposely make someone uncomfortable through staring is behaving in a threatening manner that could well also be objectifying.

                  On the other hand, I think that getting the hang of how long it is acceptable to look is much easier for some than others, and I personally wouldn’t call someone out for looking at me too long except under pretty extreme circumstances. The difference between an acceptable-length glance and one that is too long is a very fine differentiation that some people just can’t internalize the way others can. I don’t want to make someone who doesn’t have that skill feel bad about doing something pretty natural–taking a look at someone of the gender they are attracted too. Certainly if someone KNOWS they are looking long enough to make another uncomfortable or has the ability to tell when a flirting or lustful glance is unwelcome but does it anyway, is engaging in rude or even threatening behavior.

              • “Why do 50 year old men choose women 20 years younger and 50 year old women seek men their age. It’s not like 50 year old women don’t find younger men attractive and men in their 50’s are prone to a lot of health problems. Is it because the 50 year old men CAN attract those women? For looks? Or is it money? Or they just shun the women their age cause they’ve been dumped by them? ”
                I’m a lil confused if you mean all men or some men. It seems like you are generalizing otherwise the comparison would be silly, so I’m curious as to why you assume that is how it is? Is it just you have far more single 50 year old female friends vs 50 year old single male friends or is it just how it is there? Where I live I see plenty of 50+ being single in both genders and plenty dating in the same age range, so I’m wondering if it’s really that most men are choosing much younger women or just having a certain group of friends can lead us to believe that.

                I don’t want to negate your experience and I apologize if it sounds that way, I’m just simply a bit confused on which men and women you’re talking about and also wondering if there are other issues that may be harming these women’s attractiveness apart from age (weight, how they dress, how they act, etc).

                As others have said 50 year old women can and do date younger, and 50 year old men can and do date the same age range, even older so the generalization fails on that account. Or did you mean a large portion but not all men?

                “I feel bad for the widowed 50-60 year old women who can’t find dates…”
                Hope you also feel bad for the poor schmucks that died:P But in this age range you’ll find men die far more, 5 years age gap between life expectancy so I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a major lack of men that age to date as they’re 6 feet under. There will be at least a 5 year period where far more women will be single due to the men dying earlier. That could explain part of the lack of dates for these women, if a man lives to that age he’s going to find himself the pick of the litter.

                Maybe these men are just more willing to try their luck at dating younger whilst women feel more of a reserve, from what I see in society it’s more acceptable for men to date younger than the reverse although that seems to be changing with the cougars.

                Question: Are your 50+ year old female friends willing to date older men?

                The car metaphor is terrible if it is referring to women, I’m surprised it hasn’t copped more heat. It may be true for some but I highly doubt it’s true for all.

            • Eric M:
              “If ALL men cared about were youthful (20s, early 30s) looks, men wouldn’t stay married past their 40s or certainly their 50s. Men would be the ones initiating the majority of divorces.”

              Oh that’s easy-there’s a saying called “cheaper to keep her.” Most men cant afford to keep getting divorced. In addition consider the money it would cost to court a new woman and get remarried.

              Oftentimes men just dont want to rock the boat. The solution is to go out and find young women to have on the side. I guess in your language, he wants to keep around the relic, but really he wants to ride the new one(s). He wants a car collection.

              Why aren’t 30 year old men trying to get 50 year old women? Some of them want biological kids and don’t want the rigors fertility treatment.

              A lot of older women I see don’t take much pride in their appearance. Let’s be real, most women that age are not Courtney Cox or Salma Hayek (I dont know if they are quite 50, but they were the first to come to mind). Lets face it, men like for women to dress and look cute. Ive known women who thought women shouldnt dress really nice (short skirt, heels, etc) past the age of 35, or even 25. I doubt men think like that…

              • Eric M. says:

                Alice,

                I don’t know where you live or the company you keep but you have my sympathies. I personally know hundreds of men who actually love their wives (me included) for things in addition to their physical beauty. Believe it or not, many of us married for love and made a lifelong commitment, through the ups and downs of life, come what may. I’m one of them.

                Many of us genuinely appreciate the sacrifices our wives made to bear and give birth to our children and help raise them, and love them for that. Many of us realize that one of the very best things we can do for our children is to love their mother, to be a living example of what love, loyalty, and commitment mean, and how it can grow as time goes on and our lives overlap.

                It’s unfortunate that some think men to be so inferior to women that we don’t value anything beyond women’s sexual/physical attributes.

                “A lot of older women I see don’t take much pride in their appearance. Let’s be real, most women that age are not Courtney Cox or Salma Hayek (I dont know if they are quite 50, but they were the first to come to mind).”

                Where I live most women in their 40s and 50s take reasonable care of themselves and try to be as attractive as possible.

                “Lets face it, men like for women to dress and look cute. Ive known women who thought women shouldnt dress really nice (short skirt, heels, etc) past the age of 35, or even 25. I doubt men think like that…”

                Good grief.

                “Short skirts and heels” are not necessarily synonymous. I’m a believer in age-appropriate dress. Women (or men) in their 40s or 50s just look silly (IMO) trying to dress like their teenage or very early 20s children.

                • Christy says:

                  Eric, thanks, that was a lovely response.

                  (And I certainly agree that dressing to complement oneself changes as one matures!)

                • Eric M. says:

                  I meant to say (there at the end) “short skirts and heels” are not necessarily synonymous with ‘dressing and looking nice.’

        • It must be pretty terrible to have to read it, I hope what I have to say helps a little bit to lower that pain.

          “I don’t judge men for money. I think judging men on a wallet or earning potential is shallow as hell. And not really useful in terms of what kind of emotional life I’d have with him. Any man I’d commit to will also get old and baggy, saggy, gray etc. That’s not a sin, that’s a holy story on the body of how birth to death writes upon us.”
          I’m glad, hopefully there are more of you than more of the judgers.
          The sad fact (well, what I perceive in the time I’ve been alive) the 2 common drawcards stereotypically are power/money/status for men, looks/beauty/etc for women. Women’s is locked into a certain age range depreciating over time, starting off high n going low, whilst mens starts off low going to high since young men usually have a lot less cash and power than older men. So for those who value just those 2 traits it boils down to sillyness like young women are the best, and older men are best. Women’s look depreciate but a man can still earn money and power past 40, in fact most people in power are over 40 that I see.

          What do women have to offer after 35? Plenty, just depends what you want. If you want a natural family without the hassle of IVF then you’re better off finding someone younger if it’s a big thing for you. Or you can adopt, try ivf, etc, it’s not until menopause that infertility sets in and we have the means to have children regardless of infertility through adoption so that only rules that age range out for a few people.

          If youthful skin is a major drawcard then people will go for younger women, or women who were smart n took skin care seriously (suntanning is bad mmkay, especially in Australia due to skin cancer risks). But I doubt this is the end all, be all of attraction, I see plenty of older people dating people their own age quite successfully.

          We all age, our fertility drops, our ability to have natural childbirth diminishes but it doesn’t make someone worthless, they might not be a good match for one person but there are heaps of people around. I’m 27 and find women in their 30’s to still be attractive, 40’s and 50’s is a bit outa my scope at the moment but in 10 years time it’ll probably open up.

          I don’t think there is more to appreciate as you age, just different. Some of these issues could be largely instinctual though, quite frankly I think the 18-30 range being the most beautiful probably has quite a bit of mating instinct behind it but also probably quite a lot of social influence too. From everything I see in our society I do believe there is quite a lot of instinct involved, I’ve never heard of 40+ year olds being thought of as more beautiful than 20+ year olds in the majority of what I’ve seen n heard. The only 40+ year old men I’ve heard thought of as more attractive than the younger men by some women is when they’ve got a bank account in the millions to billions and exceptionally good looks like George Clooney. But it seems like Ryan Gosling stole his thunder:P

          What I personally believe n feel, well currently 21-35 year olds are what I find the most beautiful, both physically n mentally. After 35 I feel the difference in age leaves me feeling like I can’t really connect with them. I’m guessing this will change as I age and my tastes will change along with it, though something that does appear constant is physical attraction alone seems to be the most around the 20-30 year old mark before gravity, skin damage, etc kicks in fully. Doesn’t mean older women aren’t physically attractive though and to date someone I need more than just looks in a partner, personality wise I find women slightly older than I am to be the most attractive. But that is me taking guesses at what I find attraction, because attraction “pops up” (more than just sexual attraction) randomly and I can’t always say exactly what it is that I find attractive about someone. This is why I think people need to be careful about READING what someone finds attractive because what we say we want doesn’t always mean that’s what we go for.

          I am curious, what age were the posters who suggested older women have less to offer? are they the same age as the women they are bagging out? Or are they younger themselves looking for someone their own age? (not trying to negate, just genuinely curious if it’s a particular age range that says it the most here on the GMP)

          Can we choose what we are attracted to though? I never chose to find younger women more attractive, it’s just there, just like I didn’t choose to find thinner women more attractive. Was it society that dictated it, biology? A mix of both? I have no control over what I find attractive, I’ve tried to force myself to be attracted to someone in the past and failed, tried to change my attraction but no luck. The older men who find the much younger women attractive, do they choose that? I’d personally choose to find the most common type of woman the most attractive if I could, chances of finding one would be excellent. But I’m not sure we can choose to like or love people based on certain attributes, though diversifying our media would be a start. But that’s just the most PHYSICALLY attractive category I’m talking about, doesn’t mean the rest are ugly.

          I’ve had one experience of love and when that happened, NO ONE could ever match her beauty, even supermodels weren’t as attractive. This love bug can happen to people at any age, with people of all ages, so I’m not sure I’d put too much weight into what people say about the viability of women 35+, I see no shortage of older people dating. It must hurt quite a bit to read though, I could guess it hurts similar to how I feel when I hear people talk about fat people, or men who don’t earn much, a shitty feeling that makes you feel like you aren’t even human, not even dateable. But luckily I’ve been proven wrong on that as I’ve had people who have wanted me throughout the years, and I choose to focus on that fact instead of words some random on the net says about who is more attractive to date. That’s what helps me get by. We should all listen to those who find us attractive and place more weight on their words, whilst also asking others to be respectful in what they say.

        • I think most of the men who are writing about preferring younger woman are writing from a place of pain and bitterness. It’s not surprising that lonely forty or fifty-year-old men are still fixated on the women that they weren’t able to date in their twenties or thirties. And perhaps in their bitterness hurting others does feel good to them. It isn’t good, but it’s not surprising.

          When I look at ordinary couples I know, couples in their twenties to couples in their seventies, I see hardly any age disparity. (The greatest is between two men, fifty-five and seventy-five, both attractive but not particularly young looking.) I’ve seen middle-aged men and women divorce, and inevitably both date/remarry within their same age group. Perhaps these middle-aged men are secretly settling for women their own age, but I don’t think so; they certainly never express that. I’m a forty-year-old straight man and I would have no interest in dating a twenty-year old woman. The only man I know who has expressed interest in dating a younger woman has never dated at all, who is terribly insecure and who would be intimidated by a woman his own age. It isn’t right or smart, but the likeliest outcome for him is that he never will have any relationship at all.

        • ” Or are we good for conversation, humor, things in common but just not sex? But certainly not attractive enough to objectify anymore….”

          Wait, I thought objectification was bad, wrong, objectionable, shouldn’t be done? So, now you’re troubled when it stops happening? Shouldn’t that be a relief? If you’re noticed it, finally!, is based excludovely on things other than being young and hot, isn’t that what you’ve been arguing in favor of – for days now?

          As for me, I could’ve married any number of attractive women but I chose Mrs. Eric M. for reasons over and above her physical attributes. Now 20 years later I have many, many more reasons, even though she’s not 20 anymore.

          • I am actually arguing against physical objectification if you read carefully enough. I’m quite glad you did what you did by marrying Mrs. M. That’s not objectifying. My point is that there are always reasons to appreciate someone other than the physical (and in additional to the physical).

            I’ve been, also if you’ve noticed, pointing out that looking and appreciating isn’t the crux of objectifying as we all do that. It’s a totalizing based on one thing. “Men appreciate the young women more than the old based on looks.” As if there wasn’t anything BUT a physical look to appreciate.

            I think women, much like men, would appreciate being appreciated both for their looks and their personality at all stages of life.

            • Eric M. says:

              “I am actually arguing against physical objectification if you read carefully enough.”

              Yes, you did say that. But, I commented on your expression of regret when it stops happening. If you oppose it, why the disappointment when it’s no longer being done?

              “My point is that there are always reasons to appreciate someone other than the physical (and in additional to the physical).”

              Not always. You can absolutely appreciate a stranger’s beauty/attractiveness for a few seconds and go on with your day, never meeting them. It’s in the high 90s here, and women are dressed accordingly. In the few seconds that I see them, I don’t have the time or inclination to imagine having sex with any of them but I may enjoy the view for a few seconds (precisely as many of them clearly intended, based on what they wore) and never think about them again in life.

              “I’m quite glad you did what you did by marrying Mrs. M. That’s not objectifying.”

              I’m glad too. She’s a blessing. According to this article, objectify her and should stop it.

              Per his definition, I objectify my wife of 20+ years all the time by peeking down shirt when she bends over. By routinely staring at her derriere in her jeans (or less), not noticing ANYTHING else, including her winning personality. By routinely staring at her thighs while we’re in the car and her skirt has ridden up a bit, having nothing to do with her fine qualities.

              As much as I love her with all my heart, those acts are purely appreciation of her physical attributes, just like when I first saw her before we met. According to this article, despite the fact that I love my wife, have been a loyal husband of 20+ years, and am a good father (by all accounts) and provider, etc., because I lust after my wife’s body parts, I am objectifying her.

              The writer thinks it’s wrong and that I need to stop it, but Mrs. Eric M. totally disagrees. She tells me that that I better never stop.

              • We are not talking about the same things at all. You aren’t objectifying your wife. You see her as a full human being. As I said, I would hope to be seen as a full human being by men in my life (dates, friends, lovers, etc) no matter the age, and I hope to see the men in my life fully no matter the age. I’ve also said that looking and appreciating isn’t objectifying save that all of us sum up people based on minute data we pull in in seconds. and that the more we can see people as more than the sum of a part or two the better.

                • Eric M. says:

                  “We are not talking about the same things at all. You aren’t objectifying your wife.”

                  Let me say this clearly: I agree with you. HOWEVER, this article does not.

                  According to the argument presented here, I do, in fact, objectify my own wife. This objectification concept seems to try its best to cast as wide a net as possible so as to cast as negative a light on men as possible. It becomes a no-win situation.

              • That’s not objectification, Eric. If it is, then sign me up. If it is so, then I’ve objectified many a lover, and many men who have adored and respected me have objectified me. I’ve taken notice of specific body parts in my men and fixated on them to the exclusion of other things during moments–I still see them as whole people not there solely for my pleasure, and I know it doesn’t make them feel threatened or uncomfortable. I also have male friends who talk to me about other things but who will occasionally talk or joke about how awesome my tits are–even ask to see them. It doesn’t bug me. They still see me as a whole person, we do other things, and they don’t do it in ways that are disrespectful to significant others.

                Like I’ve said before, despite the fact that I don’t agree with most of what you say, you sound like the type of husband women dream of. It’s very obvious you love her for many reasons not related to her body, but you can still see her as a sexual being and appreciate the details of her body. The way you talk about your wife is the way I would want a husband to talk about me after 20+ years.

                • Eric M. says:

                  “Like I’ve said before, despite the fact that I don’t agree with most of what you say . . .”

                  Wait, how is it possible to not agree with every single thing I say? Everyone should. Please spread the word. (JK)

                  “, you sound like the type of husband women dream of.”

                  Can I show this to my wife? I’ve been telling her that all these years. Maybe one day she’ll finally get it! LOL!

                  Seriously, thanks for the kind words. I’m a marriage-for-lifer. We both are. She’s not the 20 year old girl I married, but she’s also far more womanly than that 20 year old, which I now much prefer.

                  For instance, most women hate their stretch markes, but I enjoy seein ghtem. I love the Mrs.’ stretch marks especially. First, because they are womanly. But, secondly, because they remind me that she sacrificed her body for our babies, something that I can never repay her for.

        • Megalodon says:

          This may be true. In fact, the more I read posts here at GMP the more I suspect it is true. After all, what do you all have to lose by telling the truth. And it has got to be some of the most depressing, alienating, invisiblizing, frightening stuff I read. And it’s nearly on a daily basis these days. I wonder if you ever think about what impact those words have on women who read the site or listen to you all (not just you John, I’m responding here to many posts by many people) say it?

          I do not understand this. Why does so much harm and dread result from the discriminations and preferences of anonymous people whom you will probably never encounter in real life? How do their conjugal prejudices harm your social life and your human interactions? Do the people in your social sphere enact and adhere to this “depressing, alienating, invisiblizing, frightening stuff” which you read from online commentators?

  69. I once had a gorgeous woman working with me in my office; turning around one day to ask her a question, i found myself looking straight at her tanned breasts almost completely revealed inside her loose top as she leaned over in her chair to get something off the floor. We were good friends and had worked together some time, and laughing, I said, “Linda, please don’t do that; it’s really distracting…!”

    Her response taught me something I have valued ever since. She looked me right in the eyes and firmly said, “Z, I don’t mind if a man looks at my breasts — as long as he looks at my face FIRST.”

    That was the great lesson: see HER, see the PERSON first; then a glance at her body is not as crude or objectifying as without that initial acknowledgement of the human being before you. Yes, this was one woman’s response, but it certainly made sense to me — and has lessened my discomfort and former shame at looking at women (and by that i do not mean that i can now leer and stare once i’ve glanced at her face first!).

    concurring with mightypog, who wrote above:

    “I always suspected there was a hostility born of fear behind that behavior in the guys who acted like that….The easiest way to deal with that fear was to sort of eye-rape me:”

    Another long-remembered experience was jogging with — and sometimes behind when the trail was narrow and someone was coming the other direction — a Brazilian girlfriend who was not only stunning as only Brazilians seem to be, but also large breasted. When i ran behind her as a man came the other way, i was horrified to note how their faces often got ferociously hard as they stared and almost devoured her breasts with their eyes. The ugly look on their faces was actually frightening to ME, a healthy adult man, and it gave me a powerful understanding of why women can be so uncomfortable with the way some men greedily look (leer, stare, ogle) at their bodies.

    ZK, Boulder, CO

    • I agree, face first then breasts is more courteous. But that move can’t be premeditated, or it becomes manipulative (PUA territory), so it must be unconscious/spontaneous to remain courteous.

    • Did those jogging men look totally in awe of them? As if the breasts were a major magnet to their eyes? Sometimes I think various body parts (especially bouncing breasts) can be really capivating and quite hard not to notice or look, but even then it’s only a second or 2 I look (in amazement I might add). Though everytime I see bouncing breasts on female joggers I wonder if it hurts much and try to think of how you’d stop them bouncing so much, maybe some form of mesh inlay booby holder in the bra itself to try stop them flying up?:P I had a friend who would ducttape them when skateboarding so they wouldn’t throw her balance off :S. As a man who was once obese with b-c cup manboobs I know how they hurt when I ran, each step is like a shock to the skin and very annoying!

    • Quadruple A says:

      “When i ran behind her as a man came the other way, i was horrified to note how their faces often got ferociously hard as they stared and almost devoured her breasts with their eyes.” – This reminds me that women are talking about a certain experience when speaking to men that they might have something different in mind than what is communicated to the men. Certainly everything I’ve read suggested that men can’t ever look at breasts.. But then they show their breasts and then stupid me feels I need to ask why.? Why can”t I just accept my intuitive impression that there is blatant and vast contradiction going here? And then I do ask why and I get different answers many of which contradiction everything I read. Why read anything about sexuality if you can’t trust it and you know that it doesn’t reflect what people actually think and believe? Why can’t I read something that speaks positively and non contradictorily about these things? I even submitted and article to the GMP about his but I don’t know if it will ever get published everywhere. It’s the fundamental law of sexuality don’t ever give men a clue. Don’t provide them straight forward earnest guidance. Let them guess. Let them break the rules on accident, but don’t ever make them feel secure.

      • You may get contradictory answers because women don’t have a hive mind 🙂 If you talk to different women, you will get different answers on a lot of issues.

        Also, you can’t assume that women are intentionally showing off their breasts.. I have naturally large breasts and it’s really hard to find stylish clothes that don’t emphasize my breasts. I wear tank tops under a lot of shirts to try to minimize cleavage but that’s not a perfect solution. If I lean over, whoever is looking is going to get a glimpse, unless I’m wearing a button up Victorian collar! In professional settings, I often wear a loose sweater or a blazer. But on warm summer weekends, I’m not going to wear heavy, baggy clothing just so guys won’t be distracted by my boobs. It bugs me that a guy might think it’s okay to ogle me because they think I “want” to call attention to myself when I’m wearing basic casual clothing.

      • wellokaythen says:

        Sorry, but “devoured with his eyes” is still just a metaphor. “I could feel his eyes on my body” is really just a common illusion mistaken as a physical instinct. A person’s eyes do not actually touch you. Looking at a person in public is not an assault and ultimately does not “cause” someone else’s feelings.

        If you do not like the way that I look at a person, then you are, ironically, reacting to the way that I look, the turn of my head, the direction my irises are pointing, etc. You are blaming my appearance for the way that you feel. If you are critical of the angle of my eyeballs because they are aimed lower than you would like, then you are being critical of the way that I am moving my body in my own space. You are critical of the way that I rotate my eyes in their orbits or my head on my own neck.

        You can request that I move my head or my eyes in a different way. You are free to arrive at any conclusions you want about me based on where I point my vision. You can even objectify me or dehumanize me in your imagination, all of which is your right as an independent brain. Meanwhile, I will come to my own conclusions in my own head, and I will move my eyeballs in my own skull whatever way that I want to.

        My look does not “cause” discomfort any more than a particular outfit “causes” gawking. In either case, someone is projecting their own issues onto someone else’s appearance instead of owning their own issues.

  70. I’m appreciating these deeply mature viewpoints, it is the first time I’ve heard them from men. This topic is so needed, especially the comment about how many of us women are in the throe of becoming comfortable and pushing away appreciation, a kind of appreciation that is about outward and inward beauty is taking the experience out of me and making it real at last. This is positive; I am grateful for this thread. Even though I’ve been hoping for and demanding that there be men who go beyond sexualizing women, I’ve had a lot of doubt too. Very inspiring.

    • I’m just glad that folks are starting to notice. Even here alone there have been a few times where someone would come in asking, “Why won’t men open up?” and then ignore us when we do.

      • Just tell them what they want to hear or the shit hits the fan. Only men objectify the opposite sex don’t you know, women are clearly above such behaviour and never objectify men in any way shape or form, well maybe they do but then we can pretend it’s harmless apparently. What a joke.

  71. I’ve appreciated a lot of the posts on here, and the current discussion as a whole. I am a man, 22 years old, and a Christian who believes that not only objectification, but lust as a whole, is wrong. I don’t look at pornography, I don’t masturbate, and I’m waiting for marriage to have sex. And yet, even though I have firm, strong beliefs about why I have these opinions, ideas, and convictions about my own life–I’ll admit, it’s hard not to objectify women.

    I think sometimes women can see men objectifying them as a sort of assault or attack on their humanity. And, sometimes, it is. But on the other hand, men are also a victim of their own objectification. I don’t feel good when I find myself battling the desire to lust. Sometimes, I give in–I view a woman as not a person, but an object–a release of some sort. But I leave that experience feeling hollow and empty, and ultimately, it hurts my ability to see women differently after that experience. Every time I give into that impulse or desire, it hurts me. It puts me further away from finding what I really want: A deep connection with a woman. I think all men, regardless of whether or not they’re totally conscious of it, desire that. That’s what they’re looking for–but as the post had said, objectification is easier.

    Men aren’t just lions on the prowl, they’re lonely, afraid, worried, and don’t know how to approach the great task of gaining a strong, deep connection with a woman they truly love, adore, and are committed to. So, instead, they look. They think about the things that surround that connection–namely, sex. Men often feel love and think about love through physical touch. But instead of aiming for the love part of that, they aim for the touch–or the thought of the touch. Really, I think most men are far from mature in this area, and don’t know what it is they’re really looking for. I believe the gawking and staring that men do is just part of a fear of failure. They get a taste of the things surrounding their real desire, but not the thing itself. In a way, it’s tragic. I know their looks do end up hurting women as well, and I don’t want to diminish that. But I just wanted to say there are real men out there who want to overcome the impulse to objectify. But I’ll be honest: In American culture, it’s hard.

    • Valter Viglietti says:

      @Ryan: “I am a man, 22 years old, and a Christian who believes that […] lust as a whole, is wrong.”

      Then “your” God had made you wrong. :roll:
      Because you (and everybody else) are programmed to feel lust. It’s built-in.

      The we can choose what to do with our lust, in a better or worse way; sure.
      But shaming yourself just because you feel lust, is foolish and cruel to yourself. I’d like to remind you Christ’s message about “loving yourself as you love your neighbor”. 🙂

  72. Moeketsi says:

    Its very noble how we all preach the “know me as a human being and not as a sexual object” parable. However, I’m of the notion that there’s nothing more human than sex. You disagree? Maybe you’re a lab experiment- kudos to the scientist. But for the rest of us who started life in daddy’s scrotum should know that we wouldn’t be here without sex.

    I’m not always interested in getting to know someone beyond their physical attributes. Hot girls can be boring and lack the stimulus to maintain my attention. Appreciating their good looks is as human as I get and remain unapologetic for something I’ve experienced myself from primary school (older girls always asked if I had an older brother). I enjoy the attention- that’s where I sometimes end it.

    In all honesty the sight of a beautiful woman has a magical effect on us men. Some of us show restraint and respect, some of us resort to acts of stupidity. Point is, the female figure is there to be celebrated, appreciated and respected.

    • The Wet One says:

      Don’t forget that you also started life in your grandmother’s womb while your mother was still a fetus. By the time mom was born, your egg was already there.

      Don’t want to shortchange the female contribution to your existence after all.

      The itch in your dad’s pants came years and years later.

      The Wet One

  73. justa mann says:

    I used to have difficulty identifying and articulating my feelings. Then I grew and learned and got much better at it.

    I still like tits, and the sight of them.

    It has nothing to do with my emotional acumen. This article is dead wrong, but I am sure it will sell to the grrls, which is clearly the intent.

  74. I’m a bit late to the conversation, so I don’t know if someone picked this out here but this sentence here really bothers me:

    “Remember that objectifying women isn’t bad or wrong.”

    It is, actually wrong. Viewing another human being as an object is not okay. To frame the discussion in looking at how objectifying women affects men, and then say something like the above statement, is to completely gloss over the very real problems with objectification.

    Look if you want to talk about how the ways men objectify women affect men’s lives, I’m all for that…but don’t suggest that it’s not wrong. It is wrong. Women are not objects.

    • I agree that it is wrong, Heather. But here’s the thing: people objectify people. It’s not right, but as humans, we’re prone to judge. And there’s absolutely no difference between judging someone and objectifying them. In order to do one, you have to do the other. The more sympathetic a light we see someone in, the more human and less “object” they become. And here’s the thing: even when we see someone as “fully human” we tend to objectify them. The manager at work, the guy cleaning the floors at the supermarket. That one relative we don’t like for some vague reason and avoid. Objects to those of us who don’t know them personally. We may sympathize with them on some level, but to us, they’re functionaries.

      The man who leers at a woman and refuses to see her as anything but an “object” is no worse or better than one who sees a frumpy, obese woman with a stained t-shirt and thinks “What a slob!” (The previous example is every bit as valid with the genders switched, but as the author of this article said, that’s a whole other article.)

      Does that make it right? No. But I challenge a single person in this discussion to state in perfect honesty that they’ve never looked at a homeless person and thought either “That poor soul! He needs help!” or “That bum needs to get a job.” Either way, you’ve (and I’m using the subjective ‘you’) reduced that homeless person to a one-sentence commentary of the economy, the unfairness of society, the lack of proper work ethic or whatever. Whether it’s compassionate or cruel, whether you gave the guy a couple bucks or a sandwich, you’re not seeing that person as a living, breathing soul with a story and a family. You can’t, because you don’t know his story. But you’re making some judgement about him anyway. You’re seeing him as an object.

      Objectification is just as wrong and misguided whether it’s sexual or not. And chances are, anyone reading this has done it a few dozen times today. We can’t stop our capacity to objectify others, but we can be aware of it, learn from it, and try to be compassionate people despite it.

      • Valter Viglietti says:

        @Travis: “But here’s the thing: people objectify people.”

        Yep. That’s the basic truth.
        People are not saints; they’re humans. Hence they’re far from ideal.

        Then, the question should be: why objectification by men is so much more shamed than objectification by women? 😕

        • FFS, objectification by anyone is wrong. That’s what I’m saying.

        • Theo Pando Ra says:

          I think it’s a power issue. I, as a woman, can objectify you, as a man…and are you harmed? Are you then not taken seriously by society? Do you potentially lose job opportunities, suffer the physical and emotional trauma of sexual assault, etc? The truth is, not really. Objectification of men by women is not shamed because there is not much need to: there is no cultural power imbalance to rectify. Objectification by men of women is shamed as a cultural/political attempt to redress that imbalance.

          • “I think it’s a power issue. I, as a woman, can objectify you, as a man…and are you harmed? Are you then not taken seriously by society? Do you potentially lose job opportunities, suffer the physical and emotional trauma of sexual assault, etc? The truth is, not really. Objectification of men by women is not shamed because there is not much need to: there is no cultural power imbalance to rectify. Objectification by men of women is shamed as a cultural/political attempt to redress that imbalance.”

            Yes, we suffer physical and emotional trauma of sexual assault, “not really” has gotta be the dumbest thing I’ve read in this thread so far. You talk about not being taken seriously by society and then don’t take male sexual assault seriously, asking if men are harmed by sexual assault and saying not really????

            Yes you as a woman have the power to harm men with objectification. When men are objectified as walking ATM’s, they feel dehumanized, feel pain just as women feel pain. When men are treated as bodyguards expected to fight to protect women, it dehumanizes them, they don’t feel like humans, they feel like shields because a woman’s life is more sacred.

            • Theo Pando Ra says:

              I’m sorry, Archy, I meant my response to Valter’s question to be a broad-brush-stroke indictment of the culture overall, not my personal belief about the seriousness of sexual assault. I’d like to offer a rewrite:

              “I think it’s a power issue. I, as a woman, can objectify you, as a man…but it is less likely that society will not take you seriously as a result of it. Objectification of men by women is not shamed because there is not much need to: there is no cultural power imbalance to rectify. Objectification by men of women is shamed as a cultural/political attempt to redress that imbalance.”

              • ““I think it’s a power issue. I, as a woman, can objectify you, as a man…but it is less likely that society will not take you seriously as a result of it. Objectification of men by women is not shamed because there is not much need to: there is no cultural power imbalance to rectify. Objectification by men of women is shamed as a cultural/political attempt to redress that imbalance.”

                That’s only true if you assume that “sexual objectification” is the only kind out there, it isn’t. There’s also what many term “success objectification” where a person reduces someone down to their monetary value. It’s what happens when a person (usually a woman) decides that she should be able to take a part time, frivolous or “personally satisfying” job (or no job at all) because her partner will be able to make up the slack and give her the lifestyle she feels she deserves.

                For example this: http://www.thefrisky.com/2010-06-25/cash-coupling-why-marrying-for-money-isnt-a-totally-bad-idea/

          • John Anderson says:

            @ Jasmine

            That really ignores people’s individual circumstance, but I suppose if a few men are truly victimized, sexually assaulted, denied jobs, etc. that’s an acceptable price to pay to allow women the opportunity to objectify men without guilt. Sexual harassment in the workplace could affect men’s stress levels and affect their job performance denying them raises, promotions, etc. Just thought you should know that.

      • The compost here is your examples always using sympathy and not empathy and you’ve universalized the tendency to skirt responsibility for the choice.
        I say choice because it is a choice: the minute you shut down their subjectivity in your own mind (the same moment you shut down your curiosity about their subjectivity, yes most people do that BEFORE they encounter other humans and that is the main problem with society), that is when you’ve decided one over the other.
        Expand your mind and realize its not necessary. And being incidental doesn’t make it universal. It’s a learned/unlearned as well as presumed innate behavior.

        • Compost? Thank you for taking the high road.

          It is a choice, but like most choices, it’s made about 7/8 of a second before the conscious mind falsely perceives it to have happened. That’s when the rationalizations and the “ohh wait, I didn’t mean that, I meant…” Neuroscience is finding out all sorts of fascinating things about our cerebral hardware. Many of those things proved advantageous in evolution (like the capacity to objectify and more or less trample over others,) but are presenting us with all sorts of modern-day moral dilemmas. When we discuss these things and try to come to an understanding, that’s a good thing. When we use them to mount a crusade against “those people” it’s just another example of cognitive bias in its many forms.

          And not once did I say we should skirt responsibility for the choice. If that’s your interpretation of what I said, know that you extrapolated that yourself. What I’m saying is that the people finger-pointing the cruel and most abhorrent act objectification are implying that THEY would never objectify anyone or that they do not do so. Not the case, as evidenced by some of these posts. And if they’re not trying to imply that, that point is lost in the rather puritan rhetoric that is being used.

          It’s universal to the degree that anyone who is not in a coma, or who has made it past the age of 12 months has done it and will do it by the time this sentence ends. What I’m saying is that responsibility should mean “shame on us, how do we fix this?” not “shame on you, you need to fix this!”

          P.S. – If there’s a rule against using sympathy to make a point instead of empathy, please direct me to it. Otherwise, it’s just another way of framing an argument and neither more or less valid. Thanks.

  75. I think there’s a false equivalence here between objectifying and sexualizing… you can objectify women without wanting to have sex with them. You can also have want to have sex with them without objectifying them.

    No doubt objectification happens most often in sexual contexts… but I think this confusion is the root for a lot of headaches in the gender debate… sexual desire doesn’t have to be objectifying…

    • In my experience it’s equating the two that causes the most violent misogynistic behavior..
      This would all be easier I people would stop removing it from the psychological context in which the word was born.
      My boyfriend can want and picture *ME* all he wants and its not inately objectifying; it’s fantasizing. But if a man avoids honest ontact and normal HUMAN respect and sensitivity when I’m there because he’s more engaged with the fantasy in his head or avoiding thoughts of myself, my desiresl, that IS objectifying.

      I can’t tell you the number of men who have suddenly turned abusive because they were engaging someone they’d objectified in a sexual manner, because that’s their definition of what the sexual encounter should be: object-ifying.

  76. I think what has set some people off is this:
    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.

    There’s argument here over whether checking out someone necessarily equates objectification. And it doesn’t help that “think of them in a sexual way” is being attached to “to see them as objects”.

    I’m sure the writer didn’t mean that.

  77. mightypog says:

    To me, objectification means deliberately shutting my humanity out of consideration while thinking of me in sexual terms. I got familiar with the phenomenon in 25 years of being a bar band singer and, when younger, a cocktail waitress. There is an innate agression in it. Every once in a while, it gets expressed verbally. A guy may wander up and ask if I’m wearing underwear, or say, “nice rack” or “nice ass,” and it’s clear he’s not wondering if he’d like me if he knew me. Those are comments designed to let me know he doesn’t give a shit what I’m actually like.

    That pisses me off, but only because it actually hurts, and taps into a deeper fear that comes from the traditional milieu in which I was raised, in which women were dismissed as irrelevant beyond their roles as temptresses, wives and mothers. To have all that I am dismissed as fundamentally uninteresting hurts.

    I always suspected there was a hostility born of fear behind that behavior in the guys who acted like that. I figured that they were angry that I had something they wanted, which they didn’t feel too hopeful of getting, and were mad at me for it. I thought they were afraid because they figured I’d reject them if they actually really did want to get close. The easiest way to deal with that fear was to sort of eye-rape me. take of me what they could while expressing contempt for that of me which might have done the rejecting. I got this a lot from older men, or men who weren’t terribly good looking or fit and therefor felt I was not a viable proposition.

    (This, guys who are reading this, is not true. One of the men I loved the most was 25 years older than me and 30 pounds overweight and not very attractive. But he loved women, and wasn’t afraid of them at all. Wasn’t afraid of me either, and that confidence and interest–so rare–along with a really good mind, won me over. Eventually he turned out to be so devastatingly irresponsible it didn’t work, but that’s another story.)

    I see a lot of men in the gym who are beautifully assembled. I’m older now, 40, and I am now in the position of finding men attractive who are unlikely to return the sentiment. I notice that beauty without hostility, though. I’m glad they are having that moment, those years of being in a sort of glory. I respect the energy that goes into creating a body like that. It says something about the person, something about discipline (and maybe less good things, too, like obsessiveness and insecurity) but the point it, I am incapable of seeing that body as distinct from the person inhabiting it.

    I think for me, that’s the difference.

    • I appreciate this comment.

    • Valter Viglietti says:

      @mightypog: “I always suspected there was a hostility born of fear behind that behavior in the guys who acted like that. […]
      The easiest way to deal with that fear was to sort of eye-rape me.”

      I think you hit the nail on the head.

      I like the rest of your comment, too. You didn’t grow a long-lasting resentment over your objectification experiences, and you have been even able to understand where they did come from. Kudos.

    • John Anderson says:

      Thank you. It was a very insightful comment.

    • Theo Pando Ra says:

      “…taps into a deeper fear…. To have all that I am dismissed as fundamentally uninteresting hurts.” Excellent point: it is not the particular instance that is the problem, it is the transformation of it in your (one’s) mind into a more global referendum on 1) rights: your right to be taken seriously, to have your thoughts and opinions considered, to hold a job for which you are qualified, etc. If the guy has no power to hire, fire, or otherwise exert any influence over your life, who gives a s**t what he thinks?…. and 2) desirability: thinking that “if this guy doesn’t see everything that I have to offer – my brains, my humor, my heart, my emotional intelligence – then *sniff* No One Ever Will, I Just Know It!”

      “I figured that they were angry that I had something they wanted, which they didn’t feel too hopeful of getting, and were mad at me for it.” The danger then may be falling into the “rescuer” role, in effect communicating that, despite their boorishness, that they ARE good people, and see, they ARE deserving of your attention and time, and look at how unselfless you are in showing that to them….

      Most people have heard the saying “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Is it possible that no one can make you feel objectified (or care about feeling objectified) without your consent? Or if you accept the premise that “men are conditioned to objectify women”, are you being culturally objectified regardless of how you personally feel about it?

  78. Valter Viglietti says:

    Oh my.
    This seems to me the old idealistic attitude of “Strive to never ever upset anybody!”.
    Well, you can’t: whatever you do, whatever you think, someone is going to be annoyed, pissed off or hurt. You know, humans are funny like that.

    “It’s not your RIGHT to make people uncomfortable”
    No, it’s not. OTOH, it’s not THEIR right to control my mind or behaviour, just because they make them uncomfortable.

    @Julie Gillis: “We use and abuse and ignore and objectify each other all the time”
    Agreed.
    While “use” and “abuse” are too much and should be avoided, IMHO one cannot avoid to ignore or objectify (at least a little) all the time, unless he’s prone to shut off his mind completely.

    I mean, what’s worse?
    Someone annoyed by being stared at… or someone paranoid, hypercontrolled and devoid of spontaneity, frozen by the fear of acting “bad”?

    Human beings annoy other human beings all the time. Sartre said “Others are hell”.
    The very idea of avoiding all of annoying and making people uncomfortable, is a myth. It’s utopia. It’s a unicorn.
    The price for living in a society is compromise and adaptation, and some discomfort, for everybody. EVERYBODY.
    Being an adult means also growing a skin thick enough you don’t need to make a fuss for all the little annoying things that are part of life.

    If I see you, and I enjoy what I see, and I make a movie in my mind about it (without acting strange or invasively), what happens inside my mind is my own business, and nobody else’s.

    • “If I see you, and I enjoy what I see, and I make a movie in my mind about it (without acting strange or invasively), what happens inside my mind is my own business, and nobody else’s.”
      Yeah, I said as much.

  79. One of the things that makes my blood boil is when men who are much older, married, or on a date with a woman leer at me. This has happened to me almost daily since I was 17 years old. I find them rude, disrepectful, and pathetic. Is it too much to ask to show some respect for your wife/girlfriend/women your age?

    • “One of the things that makes my blood boil is when men who are much older, married, or on a date with a woman leer at me.”
      That sucks, especially those on dates! Single older men too? And do you include older men that check out younger women, or is it specifically that leering/staring too long stuff? Basically, can an older man still find you attractive and admire your beauty if he is single?

    • I agree, Aya…Isn’t it great when a guy is talking about his lovely wife and 4 wonderful kids while he’s trying to pull you in tighter around the waist when you are posing for photos at an alumni event?

    • PetroniusArbiter says:

      To expand on something that Archy touched upon – why would the same behaviour be judged so much more harshly when performed by older men? Would that have more to do with what YOU find attractive, rather than what they are doing? Why do you feel that can judge what anyone at any age finds attractive? And as corollary, are you fine with being stared at by young unattached guys?
      I’m not defending the behaviour as such – i just want to point out that your reaction seems to be more colored by whether you consider the originator acceptable match, rather than whether the behaviour is inherently wrong in any way. That seems to be somewhat common in discussions of any sort of “creepy” behaviour – all too often that gets translated to “any approach by a person i do not find attractive”. Not that there aren’t creepy behaviours, but that has more to do with whether the person respects your boundaries and wishes after you have made them clear, rather than how attractive you find them to begin with.
      As to ‘men on a date with a woman” who obviously stare at another – I’d say that goes beyond objectification, and into basic courtesy territory.

      • Copyleft says:

        “Objectification” is a magic word. It means whatever the person saying it _wants_ it to mean.

        In this instance, it’s used to mean “male attention that I don’t want,” as distinct from male attention you DO want (this is labeled “flirting” and is forgivable as long as the guy is cute enough).

        If objectification means ‘thinking of women in a sexual way,’ then not only is it never going away–it’s not even a bad thing. There’s nothing morally wrong with it and nothing to condemn, no matter how hard you try to take offense.

        • Fletcher says:

          I strongly disagree – objectification has a precise definition. When I talk to a woman as a person, being respectful of her desires and thoughts, while feeling out the possibility of a relationship with her and hoping for a sign she’s interested in me – I’m flirting. If I see a woman on the street and fantasize about having sex with her, with no real thought to her personality but just as an “object” I’d like to have, it’s objectification. It doesn’t mean being attracted to women. Either type of attention can be wanted or unwanted depending on who does it. Flirting from someone undesirable, as opposed to objectification, is gently declined rather than condemned in my experience, because it’s respectful. And as he says, objectifying women isn’t bad or wrong, it just comes at a cost.

          • John Anderson says:

            By that definition then are women who are passive (would like a guy to ask them out, but won’t make the first move) objectifying men because they choose to fantasize about a relationship rather than actually and respectfully work towards it?

        • It has a rather precise definition skirted by the discussion in theis article. It’s a term from psychology that means (an infant or young child) is unable to process the autonomy and separateness of those who might meet his needs.
          An adult who does it is on the Narcissistic Spectrum.
          So no, it’s never ok.

    • Ya know what makes my blood boil? Women who think they’re so great that men can’t do anything but look at them. I have to tell ya, it’s amazing to me that something as simple as looking at a women has turned into such a heap of crap. Damned if ya do and damned if ya don’t. Why don’t men just gouge their eyes out and cut off their dicks and get it over with?

      Okay, I’m gonna put it out there. ( I give it no more then an hour before I get flamed) … Ladies, why do you shave your legs, do your nails, put on makeup, do your hair, wear stacked heels? Why do women spend counless $$ buying clothes, under-garments. As a guy, you sure can’t tell me a thong feels good, does it? Ohhhh, those panty lines …. riiiiight.

      How about this, wear signs saying, “only men that I’m interested in are allowed to look.” I have this vision of a women sitting on a park bench pointing at each man that walks by saying “you can look” you can look” you DEFINATELTY can’t look (too old)” You can’t look … ewwww please dont ever even think of looking.”

      Ladies, the creeps are far and few between. years ago, when I had money and traveled a lot … I looked at one women in particular. She was stunning, she looked like my wife. What drew me to her was what she was wearing. She had the same appearance (Latina), height, weight and hair. But again, it was what she was wearing….. tight blue jeans, high heel boots, cowl neck sweater and a full length mink coat … she looked hot. Two weeks later, I bought my wife high heel boots, cowl neck sweater, she already had the jeans and of course, the full length mink. 18 years later, she still looks hot. Yeah, I looked at this women but not for the reasons some women in here think we’re looking.

      • Well let’s see…I just put on make-up, earrings, etc. and a nice dress to out to dinner with my family in a town full of people I don’t know, with probably narry a lesbian in sight. So why did I do it? Because the restaurant is nice and were I to go in jeans and a t-shirt, I’d be out of place. Conforming to societal norms is what people do…and it is a social norm that women wear make-up, wear heels, etc. and when they don’t they are criticized and presumed to be a bit odd. We do it for the exact same reason a man going out to a nice place wears a tie…it’s what you do.

        Also, objectification is not being attracted to someone. For goodness sake…women are hot, yeah, I know. I totally get it. And objectification is not all about what a hetero-cis-man may be thinking when he sees an attractive woman. It’s about how objectification is expressed in cultural and societal norms.

        And yeah, objectification can happen between any two human beings, but it’s more common in western society for men to objectify women rather than the other way around.

        • “And yeah, objectification can happen between any two human beings, but it’s more common in western society for men to objectify women rather than the other way around.”
          Uh, bullshit. I’d say it happens fairly equally, some men do it over visuals, some women do it over bank accounts. There is a reason the term gold-digger exists, and there is a reason why there are stereotypes of SOME men being only interested in looks or sex.

          • Joanna Schroeder says:

            Maybe it’s more threatening when a stranger who is male stares at a stranger who is female?

            I’m 5’7″ and 120 lbs. If a 6’6″ guy who weighs 250 lbs is staring at me, I will get scared.

            If I, however, am staring at him, he may also get uncomfortable, but his safety is not likely threatened (And don’t tell me women physically assault men who are strangers to them as often as stranger violence happens man on women. Not a single study shows that to be true)

            This is about empathy, pure an simple. You guys ask me ALL THE TIME to have empathy to the way you feel about things. Do the same for us. It makes a LOT of women very uncomfortable to be stared at. It doesn’t matter if you think you have the right to make us uncomfortable. You may have the RIGHT, legally, to do so. But I have the right to say publicly that it bothers me, and that it hurts us and scares us.

            Nobody here gets to decide for me whether something hurts or scares me.

            But you do get to decide whether you will excuse making women uncomfortable, either for yourself or for others.

            Archy, I highly doubt you ever stare at women in a way that makes them uncomfortable. You’re a very empathetic person.

            • Well I am 6’6 and 300lbs or so, if YOU stared at me I’d get uncomfy but that happens with everyone, I’m actually more afraid of women than they are of me probably although recently that is changing as I gain more confidence. Not to minimize your fear but just highlighting how us big guys can be afraid of women, not because I think you’ll beat me up (though most strangers I am cautious with with regard to weapons), but because I think you may throw verbal abuse that hurts like hell. Sometimes I’d prefer physical abuse to a verbal abuse, bruises heal up and I can at least try defend myself but words can sting like crazy. I think people underestimate the fear bigger people can have, but it’s natural to be afraid of bigger people, if push comes to shove a bigger person has more capability physically to defend themselves (mentally is a diff story), and people wouldn’t be able to see my fear too easy as I usually walk around with an emotionless relaxed face.

              In highschool I had heard some girls were nervous of me because I was probably twice their size, I felt like shit over it and tried my best not to make anyone feel uncomfy. I guess that’s the empathy kicking in!

              You’re probably right on the staring bit, I think if anything they’d just notice I am shy. I do look around the room quite a lot though, if you ever saw me you’d probably see someone who’s expecting trouble just by how I scan the room and look at everything (did it since I was a kid, maybe I need to be a cop:P).

              I try to avoid getting too close to strangers, avoid eye contact mostly, in order to not make them uncomfy. If we’re on an elevator I am as far as way possible for my own comfort and theirs. I can’t help but feel sad though that the society here isn’t more friendly, I feel it’d be better if people talked to randoms more, I feel I can gauge trust better after talking to someone and I am more at ease after people have those random “Do you know where this is?” type convos.

              • John Anderson says:

                “Not to minimize your fear but just highlighting how us big guys can be afraid of women,”

                One of the big problems is you’re not allowed to defend yourself. If you got into a physical altercation with a woman, I have a pretty good idea who’s going to jail regardless of who started it.

              • This sounds very familiar.

                • People tend to underestimate big men’s minds I think, they see the huge physical body that is probably quite strong but forget that you can drive a tank but still be scared as hell!

              • “Not to minimize”?
                Comparing your fear of feeling humiliated by being told no by a woman to the much higher likelihood that a woman will actually be subjected physical and psychological violence by any man she dares to reject OR be nice to, which is MUCH higher than the likelihood a woman will be even rude to you at all is doing just that.

                • It’s not a comparison….They’re different fears, not really comparable. I highlighted in the attempt that it helps to bridge the gap, hopefully to help people realize that even very large n strong men can be extremely scared and not a threat.

                  “Comparing your fear of feeling humiliated by being told no by a woman to the much higher likelihood that a woman will actually be subjected physical and psychological violence by any man she dares to reject OR be nice to, which is MUCH higher than the likelihood a woman will be even rude to you at all is doing just that.”
                  Yeah I’m calling bullshit on the much higher likelihood of phyical of psychological violence by any man she dares reject etc. Maybe you live in an area where women are extremely polite but I’d say women being rude to men happens far more commonly than physical n psychological violence from men to women, especially since the latter can get someone in major trouble with the law and possibly a smackdown from a protective friend/relative.

                  And how do you know how often I am rejected, or would be rejected? It could easily outnumber the rate of violence suffered by the average woman from each stranger we meet.

                  But thank-you for minimizing my fear as insignificant compared to the experiences of women which apparently have more violence, assuming that violence is more harmful to that woman than the fear of rejection and the effects are to me. Btw, I gather you assume the humilation is in being told no when that’s not the case, my fear is being told in a manner which is extremely rude, humiliating, in a manner that is insulting where she calls me ugly, jokes around accepting just to laugh about it with friends later. A simple no doesn’t bother me, it’s the way the no is delivered that can be quite hurtful and give me more pain than I have gotten after physically violent attacks. Which, as a man, I am far more likely to suffer random acts of violence than a woman, 4x-6x more likely to die from violence than a woman, so it should be men who are the most afraid walking down those dark alleys. How’s that for some oppression olympics? Did I escalate it enough to win the gold medal?

                • John Anderson says:

                  From a person who has actually competed in a combat sport, I can tell you that quite often it’s a person emotional state that will be the biggest determining factor in whether they will win a fight. Our instructor would tell us that if you step on the mat thinking you’ll lose, you’ve already lost. It has been my experience that this is true.

                  I had gotten off the bus and proceeded to walk home. I noticed 4 individuals loitering in the sidewalk in front of a problem house. The boys at that address were new gang members. These boys where talking to unknown individuals at the house. At first I thought I should cross to the other side of the street. It wouldn’t even have taken me out of my way as I would have had to cross the street eventually to get home, but a calmness came over me and I decided that I wouldn’t.

                  As I started calmly walking towards them, I could hear snippets of conversation. My mind discarded the irrelevant stuff. I heard a person from the porch cautioning one of the guys on the sidewalk that I knew karate. As I was walking closer, the person cautioned kept yelling, “Do you know karate?” As I calmly walked closer, I counted 4 on the porch. My eyes paused for a second on all 8 of them noting their position. I started formulating in my mind how I would beat the 4 in front of me, how much time I would have before the other 4 got there, etc. I got about a dozen steps away and he asked again, “Do you know karate?” I calmly looked at him and said, “There’s a way to find out, if you have the balls.” The 4 in front of me just parted and let me pass.

                  I’ve won a fight against 4 opponents before. They had the physical advantage, bur I won. I’ve also had the crap knocked out of me by 8 guys at one time. I’ve had emotionally traumatizing experiences before. The physical pain of having been pummeled by 8 guys goes away and is much easier to handle than the emotional. Where does the trauma of rape come from? Is it really the physical assault? You’re body can heal quite quickly from that or is it the lingering emotional trauma?

                  • I think it depends person to person, my wounds healed quick for fights I’ve been in but the emotional wounds hurt more.

                    I haven’t been raped but I would hazard a guess that the pain comes from the violation, the feeling of someone taking from you and you can’t stop it, the fear of std’s, pain of any physical damage, a supermegaultra sense of that icky feeling when someone touchs you that you don’t want to touch you.

                    Which is worse? Neither, impossible to quantify as it depends entirely on what happens. Some fights are mild physical damage wise, some are extreme, some rapes are mild physical damage wise, some are extreme. As for the emotional damage in fights vs rapes, well it depends person to person but both can be extremely damaging. A fight that leaves you with little physical damage, a bruise maybe, can still be extremely traumatic, a rape that leaves you with little physical damage can still be extremely traumatic. The damage done emotionally doesn’t have to match up with the physical damage. Hell my most damaging experience had no physical element to it, still did a shit tonne of damage to me though.

                    Trauma to the mind, and trauma to the body are fairly separate. Physical can trigger trauma to the mind, the mind can do a bit of damage to the body in the form of stress but haven’t heard it to major damage. So the trauma of rape would be physical trauma + mental trauma. But some physical traumas can’t be healed, major tearing to the genitals for instance can lead to scar tissue which can make sex painful, a bad fight can have people lose eyes, etc which can’t be healed back.

                    If given the choice between being raped, and being assaulted, which would I pick? There’s no decent choice, both are fucking terrible and can lead to long lasting trauma, I know rape victims who are traumatized for years, I know physical violence survivors (by that I mean fights excluding rape) who are traumatized for years.

                    As a child I was thrown off my desk into a cupboard with a screaming angry male teacher who put so much fear into me that even as a young adult everytime I heard an adult male yell I froze in fear, I only got past it after about 15 years but even still I get a bit nervous. Both are very serious and both are bad.

            • In the requests for empathy there is something that may be holding people back. You on your own Joanna do show empathy when asked and I bet you have experience where you asked for it and didn’t get it. But I think one thing that is bothering some of the folks here is this:

              Why is it that, in overall sense, certain situations are played up to be more deserving of empathey than others (or even in some cases where the people in question are denied empathy altogether)?

              Here you say:
              Maybe it’s more threatening when a stranger who is male stares at a stranger who is female?

              I’m 5’7″ and 120 lbs. If a 6’6″ guy who weighs 250 lbs is staring at me, I will get scared.

              If I, however, am staring at him, he may also get uncomfortable, but his safety is not likely threatened (And don’t tell me women physically assault men who are strangers to them as often as stranger violence happens man on women. Not a single study shows that to be true)
              Followed by a request for empathy. I know you don’t mean it but this is pretty much how guys are denied empathy. Throw up some stat or numbers then declare that guys don’t have it that bad, complete with an attempt at clairvoyance to try to head off counter-arguments.

              Myself personally? I turned off my capcity for empathy a long time ago after being repeatedly told that I need to be showing it for others but I didn’t deserve any myself.

              That’s what you’re gonna be up against.

              • John Anderson says:

                “Why is it that, in overall sense, certain situations are played up to be more deserving of empathey than others (or even in some cases where the people in question are denied empathy altogether)?”

                That’s standard feminist politics. To empathize with men grants men humanity. When seen as fully human, it makes it harder to screw someone over. At best men can only be significantly less victimized than women even in cases where they are more victimized.

                • That’s standard feminist politics. To empathize with men grants men humanity. When seen as fully human, it makes it harder to screw someone over. At best men can only be significantly less victimized than women even in cases where they are more victimized.
                  Maybe not standard but it sure as hell seems common.

                  And I worry that you’re right that there are people that simply do not want men to be acknowledged as full humans. No its safer and neater for them to just be privileged oppressors that occasionally have bad stuff happen to them.

              • Yes, it’s important to model the kind of treatment you’d like by giving it to others (though in my experience people are unlikely to take the hint). But at least it attracts those who are, or would like to be, on your wavelength. It’s a mistake to give up and become someone you don’t like. Be an awesome person for yourself, because it feels good to be that guy, and then look for those who want to relate that way. Those who demand empathy and don’t give it back suck, it’s okay to disregard them and move on. But don’t let them change you.

            • John Anderson says:

              “Nobody here gets to decide for me whether something hurts or scares me.”

              I think many men would like to be afforded the same courtesy.

            • gwallan says:

              “Nobody here gets to decide for me whether something hurts or scares me.”

              Correct. That’s YOUR problem.

              At the same time YOU DO NOT get to decide for me which direction I point my eyes.

        • John Anderson says:

          @ HeatherN

          “And yeah, objectification can happen between any two human beings, but it’s more common in western society for men to objectify women rather than the other way around.”

          Then why do I read stories even by female writers where they’ll say 100 people were killed including women (and children). What is the funding disparity between breast cancer research and prostate cancer research? When women commit crimes especially sex crimes people feel that she must be emotionally disturbed. Men are the disposable sex so how are women more objectified? You’re probably only referring to sexual objectification and I’m not sure that even this is true.

          • That’s a lingusitic standard set by MEN that they’re *conforming* to. You should really look up the questions to your answers instead of turning them into pretty thinly veiled straw women.

            • Society was built by both genders, not men alone. You fail to see his point.

              • Exactly,
                Look at the white feather campaign in the early 1900’s in UK. This campaign centered around women handing a white feather to any man who was not in uniform shaming him for not doing his part. It was thought up by a general and was HUGELY successful as a recruiting tool.

                The fact that many men valued the respect of women who were total strangers so absolutely that they joined the military in a dangerous war, at a time when (per many hard-line feminists) women had *ZERO* agency throws mud in a lot of their theories. What many feminists don’t seem to understand is that women had a huge hand in shaping gender-norms.

                • John Anderson says:

                  “The fact that many men valued the respect of women who were total strangers so absolutely that they joined the military in a dangerous war,”

                  That’s a great point. Women will talk about how imagery including or especially when it involves pornography negatively impact women because they can’t live up to these elevated standards that men now expect because women have a need to be desired by men. They don’t take into consideration that men want to be what women expect a man to be as well and will try to live up to the expectations that they believe that women have. That’s why 25% of the people suffering from eating disorders now are men.

            • John Anderson says:

              Gee, I thought the argument was that objectification was not seeing someone as a person. Explain to me the error of my ways, since you decided not to in your last post. I guess you think calling something a straw argument is the same as refuting it.

          • Everyone is disposable in patriarchy. That’s what sucks about it, toy soldiers and dollies to be broken and thrown out when they’re old.

            • Power-archy. No one without power does all that well. Which is why we want it. And often, if we get it, we just use it badly. Seems to be a primate condition.

      • I’m sorry that I struck a nerve here. I never thought about guys looking at women for fashion inspiration, but I believe you. I’ve been leered at in all sorts of clothing, including work uniforms, so I don’t think that it’s ALL men who do it for that reason. “I bought you this because I saw a really hot woman wearing it” probably wouldn’t sit too well with me either. Then again, I’m also not too interested in men buying clothes for me. I think it’s wonderful, though, that you refer to your wife as hot too, which the internet has told me is rarely the case after 18 years of marriage.

        As for why women dress up. Why do men dress up? We all want to look good, feel confident, and feel like our best selves. Clothing helps that and we’re raised in a culture that makes it so. 100% I feel better when I’m dressed nice and wearing makeup. Almost every woman I know wears at least some makeup when going out. It’s just what women do. We’re also taught that our looks are very important, so we try to look our best. Sometimes I dress to express myself (fashion can be many things). Sometimes to feel comfortable. Sometimes because an occasion or a job calls for a certain type of dress. Sometimes because you want to one up that girl who was a bitch to you. Sometimes it is to attract a man’s attention–but I do hope he FLIRTS rather than objectifies. Yes, often I want to get laid or find a boyfriend, but NOT made to feel uncomfortable or to be leered at by someone on a date with another woman, someone who comes off as bitter or revels in making a woman feel like nothing but there for his sexual pleasure or not, or someone who could be my dad, or who ignores sexual women his own age, or to be harassed and feel threatened. I mean, at the end of the day, it’s not a big deal in most cases–I move on (although I have been in some scary situations). I just find it direspectful and icky.

        “Flirting from someone undesirable, as opposed to objectification, is gently declined rather than condemned in my experience, because it’s respectful.”

        This is a great takeaway quote. There’s a world of difference and it has VERY little to do with whether the other person is or isn’t attractive to you. I’ve had a lot of experience with flirting in my life. Many times, I wasn’t attracted to the man at all, but I was still polite and not offended.

        Nowadays, when a man stares at me in a way that is unpleasant, I look him straight in the eyes. I’ve noticed that usually he starts to feel uncomfortable and averts his gaze. Same goes for when I’m walking on the street and a man gives me one of those threatening ‘hi’s’. If you’re a woman, you probably know what I mean by that. I just respond back with a hi or ‘hi how are you’, and the man starts to look very uncomfortable.

        • John Anderson says:

          “Sometimes it is to attract a man’s attention–but I do hope he FLIRTS rather than objectifies. Yes, often I want to get laid or find a boyfriend”

          That’s one of the problems a lot of guys have. I’ve heard women say things like she didn’t dress up for you, but how would you know if she’s not with someone? I remember staring at this woman in a club once. She was just sitting there. She noticed me and after about a minute of us looking at each other, she started swaying her shoulders. I knew that she wanted me to ask her to dance so I did. I did the same thing on a bus and got a date. She actually turned to her girlfriend and asked if all I was going to do was stare or something like that. I was a little embarrassed, but at least I wasn’t rejected. Some other guys might stare to try to gauge interest.

    • Women who like older men aren’t helping. If you want older men to focus on women their own age, get younger women to focus on men their age as well.

      • Nah, that would make too much sense. It’s far easier to just balme men for being horny old perverts then take half a second and remember the 30+ year old man they dated when they were a sophomore in college and try and make the connection to the situation they now find themselves in.

      • Who does that? I’ve never dated or slept with anyone more than 2-3 years plus or minus my age. Not that if I felt some great connection with someone who was 18 or 40 that I would miss out on some great chemistry due simply to age, but I’ve found that I tend to prefer my peers. Men + or – 5 years are the ones I get the most and who most get me. I also find them the most physically attractive with a few exceptions.

        • Plenty of people, Aya. Not everyone follows your path of course.

        • John Anderson says:

          There was a woman I knew about 20, very physically attractive, articulate, highly intelligent, industrious, ambitious. I was about 32 at the time. She slept with me and a few guys I knew from working in the industry. I caught up with her a few years later and found out see was seeing a 35 year old, blue collar worker who owned 2 apartment buildings and worked two jobs. She told me that it wasn’t the money she was after. She actually made a decent amount. She wanted a man who had something “going on” and most younger guys didn’t.

          I’ve heard other professional women state that they wanted guys who “could bring something to the table” or state that “they have their own money, but won’t support a man”. A woman I dated told me she didn’t mind older guys as long as they were established. She owned her own company. I don’t think these women were gold digging. They wanted someone who would be an equal financial partner or at least not be gold digging them.

  80. Hank Vandenburgh says:

    I dunno how true the “objectification” idea is. People “type” at first (Max Weber.) It probably gets filled in later with things that make them individuals for us. So this strikes me as more ostentatios “nostra culpa” male feminism– overkill. I always thought the “oppression of the gaze” idea was indicitive of the fact that postmodernism had gone too far, if that has anything to do with the article.

    • Good point Hank – the context of all this worry on objectification is rooted in the theory of the “male gaze”, so let’s not lose sight of how we all got here and where the contention resides.

      The delicious irony is that the “male gaze” theory has actually objectified a fairly abstract dynamic of sexual attraction into a codified instrument of female oppression.

  81. Checking anyone out is not objectifying them. “To see them as objects (instead of real people)” is. If you removed the rest of the, seemingly purposeful, throwaway text, and got to the real meaning, you’d find that most people don’t objectify anyone, and those that claim to be objectified really have little understanding of it’s true meaning.

  82. Looking with or without lust = bad ….. one night stands good? I wish people would make up their minds.

    • Objectification and one night stands aren’t the same thing. A one night stand is a consensual act between two (or more) people. If they’re honest with each other about their intentions, there’s no coercion involved, everyone is respectful, and no one is hurt, there’s no problem. It’s a night of mutual pleasure and fun (hopefully) between two (or more) people who have agreed to it. No one feels threatened, violated, or like less of a human being.

  83. Hmm. I must be doing something wrong. I *never* know if/when I’m being checked out – a guy would have to be really really obvious about it for me to catch on. I can’t recall ever catching someone staring (or leering) at me, or giving me the up-and-down. Maybe I’m blind to it because I’ve been in a relationship for the last 10 years, since I was 14. Maybe if I’d been single for any significant amount of time, I would be a lot more conscious of people checking me out. Or maybe the wedding ring (or the engagement ring before that) kept men from checking me out. Huh. Things to think about.

    • I’m trying to train myself to look for the ring now, I feel bad looking at people who are taken like that + it’s handy to know if I wanna ask them out.

  84. Well, why don’t we ask some women and girls how they feel to be leered at on the street or on the subway?

    http://www.ihollaback.org

    If you were to walk in my shoes, it can be unnerving when it happens while you are walking alone on the street, late at night, or if the guy slows down or starts to follow you with his car…men catcalling me in the street while I’m on my way to school or work is unnerving and insulting…it feels like they think I am some kind of prostitute instead of a career woman who is married, with a kid, and with professional degrees hanging up on my wall…It doesn’t happen to my husband, who has the same credentials as I do (so it is a form of gender-based harassment)….I’ve had a teenage boy (just outside my son’s middle school) say to me walking by: “You make my pants want to get up and dance!”…..Uh, hello? NOT a compliment! Next time I am getting his pic with my cellphone and reporting it to the school principal (this is not allowed in my son’s middle school, nor should it be allowed out on the street to one of the PARENTS! I would like to speak to that kid’s parents!)

  85. Anthony Zarat says:

    “Explore the cost. Remember that objectifying women isn’t bad or wrong. It just comes at a cost.”

    There is also a cost to NOT objectifying women. This leads to relationships, which in turn lead to maltreatment by legal and institutional discrimination against men. You will find out what REAL objectification is, when a family court judge amputates your children from your life and your heart, and leaves behind nothing but an ATM machine.

    “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.”

    Most men do this out of fear, not pain. For a therapist, you are completely out of touch with the reality of modern men.

    “Get connected. When I objectify women, it’s because I feel disconnected, less present, less in my heart, and less in my body.”

    The opposite is true. Men are connecting with each other, forming intimate bonds and close friendships. As to the one remaining “need”, some men learn to live without it, some men turn to online image galleries, and other men take the risk of very brief and limited contact with women. I neither judge nor blame any of them.

    “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.”

    Men who connect with other men will see a vast ocean of pain and neglect that runs through the lives of men, boys, and fathers. We have no need to “connect” with ourselves. Our path is clear before us. The only question is, do we have the resolve and the courage to walk it.

    • Most men do this out of fear, not pain. For a therapist, you are completely out of touch with the reality of modern men.

      Jayson is specifically talking about himself, and talking from a place of having done a lot of conscious work to know himself. I highly doubt he was trying to say “most men” react the same way he does. Besides, “When I’m in pain or avoiding feeling something” seems to sum up the Fear reaction as well as the Pain one. I don’t know why you felt you had to differentiate.

      For a random internet commenter, you sure seem to think you know more about Jayson and his motivations than he does. Calling him out of touch with the reality of modern men is a wild accusation, considering he IS a modern man and his experience counts just as much as anyone else’s.

  86. I was at a beach this past weekend and there was a bevy of men parading about tanned, defined, shaved, athletic, and quite beautiful – it’s obvious to me they spend valuable time preparing themselves to be viewed.

    And I did look hard and long in appreciation of all the effort. That they want to be desired implies agency which zeros my ability to objectify, turning it into a correspondence.

    Now there are some that don’t want to be desired, or don’t want to be desired at this point in time, or want to be desired on their footing – contractual terms that need to be ironed out. Seems like we’re discussing terms and conditions then…

    • Did you see them as men still? Not objectification. Look all you want (unless they say no, then you should probably look somewhere else), as long as you still see them as a human and be fully open to them as humans and not just value their looks.

      I think some people are over-reaching bigtime with the objectification label.

    • Looking and admiring are fine especially in this context. We’re
      You leering catcalling and following? Then that’s not ok even I’m context.
      Maybe we need to minutely break down behavior because there is subtle admiring and then there is being looked at like a piece of meat.

      • I don’t know Archy to be honest. It was their looks that I looked at – I understand that they are complex, it’s implied in my mind, but not a focus of the desirability. I interpret desirability more as an emotion than a rational thought that steps through all the if’s and butts 

        I do not catcall Julie…I was with my mom! She is the one I have to restrain in her trash talk. I agree that catcalling belongs in a different sphere altogether, though some cultures seem to tolerate/allow it more readily than others, and this difference is worth investigating further.

        Leering is a bit subjective, but I understand your point – some draw the line at looking a bit too long, or looking sideways, or sneaking a look etc I prefer being deliberate when I do look, but the context of the economy is not the same, so the comparison may not be on solid footing. There is a gay village in the same downtown core, and I do tend to admire the seemingly overt “checking out” on constant display.

        • I don’t mind people looking if it’s for positive reasons, if someone stared at me the thing that might be in my head was wondering if they’re making fun of me due to past bullying. But if I knew they were just having a lil perv, go for it, enjoy it, just be respectful about it. The urge to look can be extreeeemmmeeely potent, there are times I find it hard to not look at some people but it’s usually the eyes n face that capture me in those situations, it can be very hard to not look at someone I am very attracted to and if I see them smile, bam, I feel that positivity and feel good for the day.

          I look quite a bit at breasts, etc, but pretty faces tend to draw my eyes the most. Though I also look at their clothing, necklaces (blue gems are like magnets, I love blue), cute outfits, I admire the hell out of some peoples fashion sense.

      • The Wet One says:

        Julie,

        Properly understood and in fact, we are all pieces of meat. I don’t know where all these men are that catcall and follow women around. It’s pretty damned rare where I am. I have never done such a thing myself, but I check out women all the time everywhere I go all the time. It’s my right to use my eyes and to heck with anyone who would suggest I be denied this right.

        • Eyes are fine. Keep it in your head I guess. Take a mental picture and file it away. We all use our eyes. I myself try to do it in a way that won’t make the person uncomfortable and with a nice smile. Invading someone’s space is the issue.

          • We may be meat based, but we are also human beings with feelings. Meat, like meat on a slab doesn’t have feelings. It’s inert and unfeeling and there for our use. Humans have will and agency and boundaries.

            • Valter Viglietti says:

              @Julie Gillis: “meat on a slab doesn’t have feelings”

              It did, when it was an animal before being slaughtered. :roll:
              (but I’m OT, so I’ll stop here 😉 )

            • Everyone knows men don’t have feelings.

      • No place in the article was “looking at” equated with “catcalling and following.”

        But of course, it’s perfectly OK for women to look at men on the beach, but as soon as men look at women it somehow becomes about catcalling and following. Terrific.

        • All people look. Looking is fine. Context, social intelligence, all matter. If women or men have had following experiences it may make them much less secure iwth the looking.

  87. Even if you don’t agree with Jayson you have to honor his thesis based on this which he clearly stated at the beginning:

    “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.”

    I think it’s a mistake to redefine objectification when Jayson is saying something very specific. He even used himself as an example.

    I don’t even 100% agree with him but based upon the foundation he laid out initially I feel like he has made a solid argument. And before anyone gets upset this is just MY opinion.

    We can all agree to disagree.

    • soullite says:

      No, we don’t have to honor his attempt to redefine our common language. He used a term he clearly didn’t actually know the meaning of – one with massively negative connotations, regardless of any qualifying statements he may have issues to the contrary. And he defined that term in such a way as to make not objectifying women an impossibility for any straight men.

      We don’t have to honor that kind level of sophistry at all.

      • Joanna Schroeder says:

        Soullite, if you want to write an article about YOUR definition of objectification and not honor Gaddis’ then you can do that. But Shawn is absolutely right, Gaddis laid out a practical definition of the word, one most people identify with, and you guys are replacing it with your own for what seems like furthering your own agenda.

        So pen that article, Soullite, and send it to me joanna @ goodmenproject.com and I’ll consider publishing it. Until then, everyone here needs to show our author some respect and keep this conversation on track.

        • What’s confusing me is that from what I see they still view women as people, so how is that objectifying? Something feels amiss with the definition and the article’s use of it, it really does look like it’s just being used in the “looking/gawking at women’s bodies” sense without the key part that makes it objectification, not seeing the women as women but as objects. I may be missing something here though…

          Like this
          ““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.””
          That is contradictory, you can’t objectify someone if you know there is more than her body, because you’re not seeing her as an object.

          It’s really confusing….

          • So like my “You’d be prettier if you smiled.” comment. I don’t exist to be pretty and artful for this person’s pleasure and happiness. If I’ve had a bad day and am not smiling, that’s because I don’t want to smile. When a stranger comes up and tells me that I’d be prettier (to him or her) if I did something I don’t want to do, that’s treating me a bit as a utility for their happiness not as a person who, it would be fair to assume, is in a bad mood and possibly making a choice about not smiling.

            • To me what is so smart about Jayson’s piece is that we all do this to some extent. There probably isn’t a way that any one of us could treat each individual person we see everywhere as a perfectly distinct fully human person with agency. We use and abuse and ignore and objectify each other all the time. We seek use or utility. What he points out are very real reasons people do this (in this case, men to women).

              The more empathy and connection inherent in a person, the less likely there will be for use and abuse. In my opinion.

            • I’ve said “smile” to some people, now I feel bad :S. I did it as smiles make me smile and hopefully my smile makes them smile, in a spread the love kinda hippy moment. Nothing to do with prettyness though, so hopefully I didn’t piss people off :S. It’s bullshit that others would say that to you (I mean it shouldn’t happen, not that it didn’t happen).

              • I figure there is usually good intent when someone says to me, “Hey it can’t be that bad, smile…” Sometimes it is that bad and I just want to be left alone. Sometimes I’ll smile and talk depending. I wonder, do women ask men to smile? Is this a gendered thing? I dont’ think I’ve ever had a woman ask me to smile for them. Lots of men.

                If I want to do the smile/love/hippy thing I usually smile and say, “I like your shirt/hair/earrings/briefcase” It’s more about things they’ve chosen which indicate their personality I guess. Saying, “your eyes are beautiful” seems invasive and too intimate to say to a stranger. I guess it depends on context. If I was at a bar talking to a man with pretty eyes, I’d tell him. Not in an elevator or bus though.

                • Can’t remember any women saying it to me, or men. I’ve no idea where the smile thing originated for me, it started in high-school as a silly way to try cheer people up, usually it worked. These days I don’t bother, too shy to randomly talk to most strangers at the moment. If I want a friend to smile I’ll just make them laugh.

        • Quadruple A says:

          I don’t think that Gaddis laid out a definition of the word that most people identify with.

          Gaddis divided his definition into two parts. In the first part he puts different behaviors under the category of “objectification” “To stare, gawk, or check out women and their bodies and body parts.” I think that if you look at the comments by both men and women many do not identify with the idea that to check out a women equals objectification.

        • Christy says:

          I don’t think Gaddis laid out a definition of the word that most people agree with either. And I DO think his non-standard definition is badly distorting the subject he is discussing. It’s making some men feel bad because they’re now thinking that looking at a woman is objectifying and thus bad, creepy, or rude, or that this is what most women think when they catch a guy looking at them. It’s making feminists look *really* bad because it implies that *we* think (het/bi) men shouldn’t look at women and think anything sexual at the same time. Conflating “objectifying” with “checking out/looking at” muddles both subjects badly and has negative effects on the conversation and on some of the people engaging in the conversation.

  88. Quadruple A says:

    “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”
    Actually, I think that the idea that men see woman as objects rather than as people is a very serious charge. To objectify a woman is to see her as an object rather than a human and thus it is a form of dehumanization and perhaps hatred of woman. If a person is an object then they can be raped and tortured because their status as humans has no consideration. Of course this a literalistic and hyperbolic definition of objectification (not completely unheard of though) but in any case objectification typically involves some degree of explicit of implicit devaluation of human qualities that are not physical and that is not exactly something that is neutral.

    Can a man check out a woman without devaluing her other qualities? I think that he can and I don’t see how he necessarily couldn’t. I would argue that there is in fact some unspoken virtue in checking a woman out. Women often seem to enjoy it when I check them out because of how they respond to me. Men seem to be told something quite different than what they hear. There is something a little bit schizophrenic about that situation where men are told something different than what they see. I think it comes from the fact that there is something in our culture that is split between the intellectual aspect of society- the stern rational super ego that says “though shalt not objectify woman” and the less rational emotive side of ourselves that apprehends in the physical and in the sensuous aspect of life in ways which aren’t readily accommodated by the intellect and which are even devalued by our rational side. I don’t think that men enjoy checking a woman out because of his biology- that’s an intellectual fact based explanation which is true only on one level of being- the intellectual side of being-his immediate experience however is based more on ineffable feeling that I think that we as a society should learn to be more trusting of. Maybe femininity or masculinity for that matter is one of those things which has a physical aspect that we can’t quantify in the way we can quantify someones IQ for example but that doesn’t mean that it is wrong to appreciate that physical aspect. Is there a danger in projecting one’s selfish hopes on to those feeling? Is it fair that some woman will have less romantic or even financial prospects because of their appearance? I think that there is danger in the possibility of selfish projection and I don’t think it is fair that woman aren’t appreciated for everything that they are but we can also become unbalanced by rejecting that side of ourselves. Either way I don’t think objectification is inherent.

  89. Appreciating someone’s appearance is not the same as objectification. I think it is wrong to confuse that. Although it often frustrates me that physical appearance is so important and that those without physical beauty struggle to find appreciation and love from others, which is given so freely to the genetically blessed, it is impossible to deny that we all have probably a biological, instinctive attraction to certain facial and body features which convey symmetry, youth and health.

    That’s different than objectification though. Objectifying someone in a sexual sense means treating them as nothing but a prop for your own needs and fantasies. There have been times in my life when I felt appreciated by someone in a positive way and times when I felt objectified, I.e. where I felt that a man was basically seeing me as a mobile masturbation aid. That is not flattering or a good feeling. I think men feel the same way when women treat them as walking wallets.

    The word objectification comes from psychoanalytic theory and the idea is that we all project our own needs and feelings on others, then interact with that person based on those needs and feelings. The other person is our “object,” with ourselves being the “subject”. The psychoanalysts talked about men seeing women as “sex objects” in situations where the men were ONLY projecting their sexual needs and desires and nothing else on that person. It doesn’t really have anything to do with whether a man appreciates female beauty or not, it is a more complicated psychological phenomenon that involves how a man relates to the women in his life, or to particular women. (I don’t mean to sound like this ony happens with men vs. women, but that is what the original article discusses). The other truth is, we all objectify everyone to some degree, in that we see them through a filter of what we need and want from them.

    I remember watching the movie “10” years ago — the movie that made Bo Derek famous — and Dudley Moore spends most of the movie wrapped up in this obsessive fantasy about her, but in the end, she’s nothing like what he expected. She’s a totally different kind of person. That’s a good example of the phenomenon of objectification. (At least as best as I can recall about the movie)

    • “it often frustrates me that physical appearance is so important and that those without physical beauty struggle to find appreciation and love from others, which is given so freely to the genetically blessed,”

      I know this was an “although” statement. But it reminds me of something I would like to remind people about the dating world:

      I’ve seen a few videos where a woman tries to proclaim the misogyny of society by dressing up nice and going about her day, then dressing down and going about the day, noting the differences.

      She proved her point about people’s treatment of women being based on appearance: Busses, taxis, and service people all stopped for the girl when she was dressed up. She didn’t get the same treatment when dressed down. At the bars, she got several drinks when dressed up, and only two when dressed down. She had several guys expressing their interest, too. Only a couple guys took notice of her when dressed down.

      All in all, it seems like this lady proved her point well. But let me add this:

      The average guy will be far less likely to have service people stop to cater to them in any case. Even the best-looking of guys don’t get even two drinks at the bar. And the average guy won’t be told he looks good today, or have many people show interest.

      My final point being: Pretty girls may be treated better, but even average or ugly girls are treated with more friendliness and courteousness on a daily basis than men.

    • Quadruple A says:

      I agree the problem seems to be not so much appreciating a person physical appearance but attributing to it too much importance. People often attribute positive qualities to physical appearances so Dudley Moore wrongly assumed that a beautiful looking person was beautiful on the inside. On the other hand I do believe that the body is expressive in a certain way rather than just an inert thing so I think that feeling certain qualities in response to that ineffable expression is actually not wrong .

  90. Jamie Parsons says:

    I always take ‘objectifying’ women to be treating them only as sex objects, which is not what is described here. I know quite a few men who really objectify women. I have two friends who say women are just vaginas to them, objects to be won, had sex with then discarded. And they have done that many times to several women. That’s what I class as objectifying, disregarding their feelings, thoughts and actions and literally regading them as an object that is not human.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      The “ONLY” here by Jamie is a huge distinction and important point.

    • Their “objectification” is defensiveness, like a pre – emptive strike of sorts. I’m not justifying or defending anything, just explaining it objectively. I have heard many women brag about how they treat men in a similar way, teasing and flirting with guys to get free drinks and then discarding them, walking wallets. This was told to a small group of men without the slightest indication they see the brazen hypocrisy because it would be unacceptable for men to discuss women in such a way in their presence. Basically these men are probably insecure and threatened and are kind of desensetising themselves because they know on some level that women definitely objectify them as emotionless money dispensing creeps. It’s a defence mechanism basically, as an adolescent I did the same thing until I grew up. It’s immature and a protective defence mechanism, let’s objectify them before they objectify us, of course the endless redefining of the word renders it meaningless.

  91. gabby watts says:

    The most literal objectification of all: the dildo. And no one is up in arms about that. Quite the opposite.

    • Chris AN says:

      You do not seem to understand what objectification is. Objectification is the treatment of a person as an object. Dildos are not people, they are in fact objects.

      • You do not seem to understand how most people, especially feminists, determine to be objectification.

        So animated movies, comic books, and videogames that feature female characters envisioned solely for the purpose of sexual titillation and realistic life-sized sex dolls are not objectification?

      • gabby watts says:

        So, a Fleshlight doesn’t objectify women?

        • Eric M. says:

          Sure they do, but there are 50-100 phallic toys sold for every flesh light sold.

        • Joanna Schroeder says:

          You can’t objectify an object. It’s already an object.

          The Fleshlight is brilliant. It’s a thing a guy can masturbate with. It’s not a woman. It’s just supposed to feel like a woman. It doesn’t harm women, and I’d say almost no women even know if a guy has one.

          A Fleshlight isn’t objectifying women any more than a man’s hand objectifies women.

          • Eric M. says:

            Youre turning what is part of a human and literally creating an object for the express purpose of sexual pleasure. “No need for the face, brain, or even arms and legs – as long as I have his . . . “

          • gwallan says:

            Hence the description as “objectification”. It is objectification made tangible.

      • Phallic sex toys devolve men down nothing more than a penis (and sometimes testicles). They are often built from the molds of actual men, made to look and feel human or better than human, and sometimes named after the person whose mold was used. It is the most extreme form of objectification, as it literally cuts off every human characteristic other than the sex organs, as if that is the only value they have.

        • gabby watts says:

          Okay, so we are using the word, ‘objectify’ differently. But, that doesn’t mean that I don’t have a point. If a sex doll of a woman is seen as demeaning to women but a dildo is empowering to women (and not demeaning to men) then there’s a double standard. And double standards are one of the ways I can tell if someone’s being sexist. Whether it’s men against women or women against men.

          My point is that women objectify men, I would say, much more than men objectify women. And in all ways that are either hidden (tacit) or sanctioned. Men can be sex objects and also other kinds of objects that women are not: work objects, war objects, money objects.

          I was thinking today about this thread. I saw an older man look at me and my first thought was something aggressive, like, ‘why is that old man looking at me?’ The defensiveness of a woman who fears someone’s checking her out. And then I thought that really I was objectifying HIM! If he had been my idea of a handsome and interesting man, I would’ve thought, ‘hey… hi…’ but because I judged him to *not* be those things, then my mind immediately went to a contemptuous indignation? That made me feel bad. Poor guy I think was just looking out the window of the car he was in. Like just outside, at the street. And here I’m judging him to be an asshole, because I’ve previously judged him to be undesirable in every way. That’s awkward.

          What if every time a man looks at a woman and thinks, ‘she’s pretty, I wish I could talk to her’, she looks down on him and thinks, ‘who the hell does that guy think he is? undressing me with my eyes…!’

          Basically, if Brad Pitt looked at you like you were super hot, would you be offended? Not if you think he’s hot. It’s only offensive after you’ve decided that the man looking at you isn’t worthy of your attention.

  92. Ugh, you aren’t talking about objectification, you’re talking about lusting after someone. Objectifying a person is to see them as an object. Men gawking and staring at a woman in the street who is sexy can still see she is human, can still lust after them and want to be with them as a person. Objectifying them would be having them be in our society without a voice, a movie where they are only there to look pretty and nothing else.

    Stop shaming men more by expanding the definition of objectification and implying this is normal behaviour for most men. It’s not, most men value the people they look at to some degree and are fully capable of seeing that person as a person and not just an object of sex. EVEN if they only want to have casual sex with them many men still want to please HER, they care about her pleasure as well as their own. If they objectify the woman they wouldn’t care about her pleasure.

    Ask your friends who replied: How many of them saw her as a human? Or did they see her as a living sex toy? Then you might get the better definition on what objectification is.

    • David Byron says:

      If “objectify” doesn’t mean just looking at someone then what the heck could it mean? That’s the ONLY context the word appears in.

  93. “[S]ure, women objectify men too, but that’s not what this post is about.”

    Why don’t we have a post about this? It’s a far more interesting question than the constant, pointless investigation into men’s motivations which only lead guilt-ridden men to concoct these elaborate, overwrought explanations which only serve to make men seem pathetic and needy as well as maintain the heterosexual social hierarchy.

    Men “objectify” women for the exact same reasons het women objectify men, gay women objectify other women, gay men objectify men, and so on. We receive a good deal of easy pleasure looking and having fantasies about the category of human we’re attracted too. The naturalness of the phenomenon is obvious and of little concern to everyone except straight men, because we expect straight men to come up with satisfying explanations for every single minute thing they do. It’s tiring, and I’m a gay man. And really, I don’t think I’ve seen any group objectify more and with the same blatant resolve than gay men, so give the straight men a break.

    • Terence Manuel says:

      Thank You mantera. About time a voice of reason is heard.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      So write your own article about that.

      • You should write an article about things people should write articles about. Like the way us men love to reduce things to technical terms that actually describe the nature of things and make sense of them rather than what we feel they are subjectively. Actually I forgot to mention a bloke told me he approached a woman and said “hi”, her response was “fuck off you old creep” or words to that effect. He is kind of goofy but not threatening in the least, but then it’s a woman’s perogative to make a man feel uncomfortable as I pointed out before because we don’t have feelings apparenty. Like objects. If they wrote the articles would you read them?

  94. Random_Stranger says:

    “Why men objectify women”
    …so I’ll take the question on face value that men objectify and women do not. So if we think “objectification” is a uniquely masculine quality of understanding the world around us, I’d like to take the word back and own it.

    An appreciation of the parts does nothing to necessarily detract from an appreciation of the whole; its an approach that serves one well in science, math, music, engineering, biology ect. So, yes If you want to suggest that men tend to appreciate their world by dissembling the parts from the whole, examining them, appreciating them, and then reassembling them, I’ll take that as a compliment after I ask you not to generalize me based on my gender.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      Actually, the author states very early on that women DO objectify men but that THIS article was not about that.

      • soullite says:

        The problem is that these articles are never about that here. Ever. You close off debate, pretending that it will be explored in other avenues, yet those avenues are never opened up.

        You can hardly blame people for ignore your attempts to control the debate under those circumstances.

  95. Eric M. says:

    Last I checked, many women enjoy being noticed as being physically attractive, even by strangers, even from across the street. I have heard older women express sadness and disappointment when men stop noticing them. They say that they feel invisible when younger women are noticed and they aren’t.

    Here is a related question:

    Why do women objectify men by using sexual apparati made in the mold of male sex organs, often named after the person?

    It’s very curious why men so constantly castigated for sexual objectification whereas women are congratulated for being empowered.

    • “I have heard older women express sadness and disappointment when men stop noticing them. They say that they feel invisible when younger women are noticed and they aren’t.”

      This is because we are all trained to value women for their looks instead of their other traits: intelligence, wit, soul, being, whatever.

      This is what objectifying it all about: Seeing a woman as an object – looks being everything. We teach young women that this is all they are worth. As they grow older, and men stop looking at them, they feel worthless. The solution is not to glorify objectification and use the absence of it as an argument for it. The solution is to teach men and women that women are worth more than their looks. That we are more than just playthings/eye-candy for men.

      Y’all have no idea how much I think about this topic. I HATE the way men look at me. I hate feeling competitive with other women based on looks. I hate feeling ugly and having a bad day because of it. I hate being bombarded from every direction with “perfect” women. I will never live up to that. Should I feel inferior because of it?

      It doesn’t matter how successful I am at all the things I do…I can be knocked down so easily by this.

      Do men feel this same way? Instead of getting defensive, try to understand what it must be like.

      Maybe it’s not like this for all women. Maybe some “love” the attention. Or ignore it. But not all of us.

      Just have some manners. And grow up! (sorry, that last bit was directed at my last boyfriend who was not discreet at all.)

      • “So long as you do not reduce her to just a piece of ass, I don’t see what the problem is folks. Get over it.”

        yet:
        “Going to see me some real sweet asses. I will make damn sure I objectify every woman with a nice rear end!!!!!!!!!!”

        good job, terry.

        good luck in D.C.

        • Well done. One would wish he could see what he just did.

        • For some reason I can’t see the original post that contains these quotes. Anyway, I really think the author’s definition of objectification here is causing problems. Looking at and enjoying/appreciating women’s sexuality is not the same thing as objectifying. If the person quoted is going to enjoy looking as some women’s rear ends AND assume these women are as likely to be as intelligent, interesting, and effective in the work place as men are (and make it reasonably clear when talking about women in general that this is the case), then I don’t think it’s a bad thing.

          • Quadruple A says:

            I wish people would say that it wasn’t just not bad. I wish people would say that it was a positively good thing as well. I think beauty and sexuality should be celebrated. Beauty can include rear ends too. I grant that staring or even looking beyond discretely noticing can feel intrusive but I also wander if it can feel intrusive because we as a society have decided to devalue something that shouldn’t be devalued.

            • I would say that beauty is very valued. So long as looks and personality are equally valued I think we are all good.

              • William says:

                Looks and Personality can’t be equally valued because looks are what men value the most.
                Every men wants a woman he finds physically attractive.

                • John Anderson says:

                  That depends in large part on what stage a guy is at in life and what stage their relationship is in. I’ve seen men look at their pregnant wives as if they were the most beautiful woman in the world even if they weren’t feeling beautiful. I have a friend who dated gorgeous women and could still talk the pants off most. To say that the woman he is married to isn’t conventionally attractive would be kind, but all the women he dated before expected him to pay for everything and sweated him. The woman he married asked him out and paid for their first date. They split the cost afterward. The woman he married helped him care for his mom when she was sick (he still remembers how she helped out his family). The woman he married is “cool”. She lets him hang out with his friends.

                  He used to drink like a fish. He and his friends would go out drinking all the time. Once he got drunk. He yelled at her and threatened to hit her. He’s a former boxer and gang member, who was so feared that he walked into and out of the gang (most people are jumped in and out), but I don’t think he could bring himself to hit her even when drunk. When he sobered up, we begged for forgiveness. She told him she’d take him back on condition that he stop drinking. He quit cold turkey. I asked him why he didn’t even try to negotiate. He said simply, “I don’t want to lose her.” About 6 months later she relented on her own and let him drink again. She couldn’t see him unhappy either. It was after all her heart that he fell in love with. He drinks extremely moderately now.

                • Soullite says:

                  Indeed. This seems like a way to backdoor criticize men for their the things they value. A lot of these folks can’t come out and blame men for judging by physical standards more than personality ones and still claim that they aren’t hostile to male sexuality. However, if they pretend that merely finding a woman physically attractive is ‘objectification’, then *poof*, like magic, that criticism becomes perfectly valid.

      • I am an overweight male that has never been hit on by a woman, I see picture perfect men and yeah it does bother me. Funnily enough one thing that boosted my self-esteem was seeing amateur/real couple porn where there was diversity in couples, where overweight men or women weren’t limited to dating overweight men or women, where they were having sex with people who had a wide variety of bodytypes. After being raised to believe we have to date people that looked similar to us it bothered me because it didn’t allow for much diversity but strangely enough seeing real couples dating, having sex, etc with that wide variety put my mind more at ease and taught me not to worry about a silly numbers system but to ask out whoever I like and see how it goes. This goes for both looks and personality btw, I don’t have to date someone who has the same personality as me either.

        “”I have heard older women express sadness and disappointment when men stop noticing them. They say that they feel invisible when younger women are noticed and they aren’t.”

        This is because we are all trained to value women for their looks instead of their other traits: intelligence, wit, soul, being, whatever.”
        But are the older men being noticed as well? Is it older women that are singled out or is it older people? Who is it that isn’t noticing these older women as well? Is it men in a similar age range, or are these women 40+ expecting men in their 20’s to keep looking? By the 50’s, and the age of menopause, there could exist a biological instinct that leaves them less attractive for mating than those who are younger, now our society etc and what it portrays as beauty will have some part to play but I’m not sure it’s ever going to get to the stage we are equally attracted to women older than us as we are to women our age, and younger (to a certain age, let’s say 18-20). How much do our instincts play a role in what we are attracted to? Biologically/fertilitywise it’s better to mate with a 20-30 year old woman vs a woman in their 40’s (I would have said the same for men but new evidence apparently shows a benefit to mating with men in their 40’s :S).

        So I guess it all depends how much our instincts influence our behaviour, I have a feeling they do so quite a bit. During puberty I got turned on to an age range of my own age and up to about 35-40, throughout my life I’ve never really found 50+ to be attractive sexually and I’ve wondered if that is instincts alone, society alone, or a mix of both. When I am 50+ however that might change, I’ve usually been attracted to my own age range the most.

        Does this mean older people are useless? Hell no. But there could be legitimate reasons why younger people are more attractive if we do have a heavy lean towards our instincts in what we find attractive, which would probably be nigh impossible to change and just a part of life. It may hurt, suck bad to grow old but you can’t expect to be the height of attraction all your life. People age and that’s the tough fact of life, the older you get then the less noticable you’ll be in the physical attraction stakes most likely.

        Attraction is a strange beast, I’ve often heard women are attracted to traits that basically = a good provider + good health, do older men who LOSE much of their wealth feel invisible and are noticed less than men who are younger with more resources? I’m using a very stereotypical thing here, I myself have very little resources/money and feel invisible compared to men who have more wealth. The thing I’ve noticed is the most popular stereotype is women’s resource/attractiveness is based upon looks/beauty/childbearing, and men’s is their genes/ability to provide and protect/their success. These are heavily assigned gender roles of course and it is changing but I do feel like less of a man because I currently am not independent, and I see in what many women say that it rules me OUT of the dating game, and that my attractiveness will still be low if I can only earn a small amount/low income earner. I feel completely invisible with that, is that how you feel with looks at times? That you don’t even register on the radar of the opposite sex?

      • Eric M. says:

        Men are visual creatures. It’s up to you whether you care whether they notice you or not.

        • Bingo! Men are visual creatures.So we look …. doesn’t mean I’m objectifying.

          • Joanna Schroeder says:

            You guys both cool with essentializing men as “visual creatures”?

            I usually find a lot of resistance in the GMP comments to someone saying “men are ______”

            • All people with sight are visual creatures. In their defense they aren’t actually saying women aren’t visual creatures, eg saying men breathe doesn’t mean women can hold their breath. But that’s my take on what they’re saying.

            • in general says:

              I’d look at where that resistance is coming from. And why some people have such an axe to grind with respect to generalization. If I wanted to make a stink about humans being bipeds, I’m sure someone would point out that there are exceptions.

            • Eric M. says:

              Let’s put it this way. Men generally enjoy seeing women they find attractive. I think it’s safe to say, for example, that women are more likely than men to read 50 Shades of Gray, and men are more likely than women to prefer to visually see the scenes described in the book – as opposed to reading and creating a mental picture.

              Are some men and women the opposite? Sure but the statement above is accurate. Certainly as much visceral scorn as men get here for “objectification” and viewing porn, that’s very well established.

            • @Julie … yup, I’m cool with it.

        • Egregious says:

          Speak for yourself. I’m a man and I’m not going to endorse such a flimsy argument.

          • What argument? One reason I married my wife is because of her womanly physical features. When I first saw her I noticed that, even before meeting her. 20 years later I still enjoy looking at her and she enjoys my enjoyment of the view.

            Okay, so men are visuals creatures. Apparently all except for you.

        • Hold on a bit. I don’t think that its a matter of men being visual creatures but rather men being taught that we are visual creatures.

          When it comes to male sexuality we are taught that we are dirty (yes I said dirty, ever notice how a woman is considered “unclean” and “dirty” once she has sex with a _______, go ahead and fill that in….) and simple (we’re just trying to get all the booty we can right?).

          If my own experience is any indication we are capable of so much more. The people that contribute to the basic idea I just mentioned above need to be able to handle this.

          Now are there times when the visual turns me on? Certainly. But my sexuality sure as hell ain’t limited to the visual.

      • Eric M. says:

        “This is because we are all trained to value women for their looks instead of their other traits: intelligence, wit, soul, being, whatever.”

        Huh? Trained by whom? How come nobody told me about the class? I missed it. Oddly, despite my wife being amazingly beautiful and sexy, she had/has many other qualities which led me to select her rather than other young ladies I could have married.

        Yeah, that’s a dumb class anyway. Glad I missed it. But, I would’ve dropped it anyway.

  96. Well I think one thing that contributes to it is the fact that for the most part when checking people out all we will ever know of most people is what they look like on the outside. Yes there are moments when I wonder what kind of hobbies she’s into, does she like the same music I do, what’s her profession, etc… but when it comes down to it the most there will ever be is a look.

    Now for myself I’ll add in one thing, extreme curiosity. This sort of entails the disconnection you speak of and some of the “I’m just horny” response near the top of the post.

    When you haven’t had a lot of sex, the few times you’ve worked up the nerve to talk to someone failed miserably, and you those two things go on for a few decades the mind wanders.

  97. Terence Manuel says:

    Objectifying women has about as much credibility as sex addiction. It simply does not exist.

    When I see an attractive woman with a nice ass I am going to look. Why? Because I like what I see. She is not just a sex object. But, what I see is a fine ass woman. She is beautiful and appealing. It is purely visual. I have not spoken to her. So, I don’t know what is between her ears.

    Women do the very same thing to “hot, cute” guys. They check them out and think of some things they would like to do with him. We need to stop being so damn childish in this country. We all visually see a person first. Hence, we are going appreciate or not appreciate what we see.

    So long as you do not reduce her to just a piece of ass, I don’t see what the problem is folks. Get over it.

    • The Wet One says:

      You sir, will not be listened to. You are of course correct, but you won’t be listened to all the same.

      So it goes…

      The Wet One

    • I think it’s funny that the woman’s comment in the article claims that, “just friends” is a sad assessment. I wonder what she’d make of “just a piece of ass” or “just sex.”

      A stranger on the street. Someone we’ll never speak to or meet. Someone who never notices us. Why is her ass less important than any other part of her. And if it’s a really nice ass, why isn’t it the most important part? At least to me. And if it’s all in my head and only there, wtf? Who cares?

    • weej (a woman) says:

      all of these first posts say they don’t objectify women, but it sounds like they are in denial:

      “appreciating the visual stimulation” = objectifying.

      “When I see an attractive woman with a nice ass I am going to look. Why? Because I like what I see. She is not just a sex object. But, what I see is a fine ass woman. She is beautiful and appealing. It is purely visual. I have not spoken to her. So, I don’t know what is between her ears.”
      = objectifying.

      Just because everyone does it, sometimes to everyone (male and female), doesn’t mean it’s right. It doesn’t mean it’s immoral either.

      It just is.

      It’s like when you go to the grocery store and you treat the checker like a robot, and he treats you like a robot, and no one sees the humanity in anyone. That’s objectifying too. And it sucks.

      I was a waitress for several years, and I think anyone in the service industry can tell you that objectifying SUCKS!

      But yeah, we don’t have the time or the energy to acknowledge everyone’s humanity and honor it.

      The thing about seeing and treating women as sex objects is that it is pervasive in our culture, and it affects everyone.

      Young men in relationships treat their girlfriends like objects whose sole purpose is their pleasure. And young women go along with it, because this is what they are taught to do.

      “unless you manage to freak them out on a midnight bus or something”…
      Sorry, but we don’t have to be alone on a midnight bus for you to freak me out. All it takes is for you to make me feel violated. You probably make women feel violated more than you are aware. Sometimes I want to be invisible. Sometimes I feel like you are raping me in your mind. I don’t like this. I want to be left alone. I want to be valued for more than my looks.

      And by the way…
      “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.”
      …I’ve been reading GMP for over a year now, and it has just been lately that I’ve noticed the unnecessary, provocative photos of women that adorn your articles. Why are you giving in to the status quo?

      • ““When I see an attractive woman with a nice ass I am going to look. Why? Because I like what I see. She is not just a sex object. But, what I see is a fine ass woman. She is beautiful and appealing. It is purely visual. I have not spoken to her. So, I don’t know what is between her ears.””
        That is a description of physical attraction, he is saying she’s NOT just a sex object. By saying he doesn’t know what is between her ears it’s indicating that he is unable to make a judgment on anything apart from her looks as he only has visual information to go from, that’s not objectifying women. If he had access to additional information and chose to ignore it, THAT would be objectifying.

        It’s absolutely disgusting that people would think initial attraction is at all objectifying, it doesn’t mean he is out there looking for an object or SEE”s an object, they’re clearly saying they are seeing a beautiful WOMAN. WOMAN being the key board here, being flesh n bone with a personality.

        “Young men in relationships treat their girlfriends like objects whose sole purpose is their pleasure. And young women go along with it, because this is what they are taught to do.”
        A bad generalization and I can say that I’ve seen as many young women as young men who are selfish in what they want in a relationship, but neither are the majority. Most young people I see genuinely care about their partner and do try to please the other.

        “Sometimes I feel like you are raping me in your mind. I don’t like this. I want to be left alone. I want to be valued for more than my looks.”
        What makes you feel they only value you for your looks though? I’ve thought of people sexually or even just appreciating their beauty whilst also wondering what they’re like. I think many women might make the mistake of seeing many men who place high value on looks, as meaning that’s ALL they care about. I believe there are very few men in existence who ONLY care about looks, it may be am important trait to many for attraction but I don’t believe it’s the only trait the majority of men care about. Would you feel raped in their mind if you thought most men wanted more than just looks/sex?

        • In the stuff I read n see online and discussions offline I hear:
          Woman1:I hate the men looking at me, how they are mentally raping me.
          Woman2:It’s normal for men to look.
          Woman3:*Basically something to suggest they enjoy the attention*
          Woman4:I don’t care if they look.

          Man1:Woohoo boobies
          Man2:*something on how they feel they can’t look and how looking is shameful*
          Man3:How long do I look for?
          Man4:Why do you wear your cleavage out and wear lots of makeup if you don’t want us looking?!

          So many experiences, questions, etc get discussed but those are a few common ones I see.

          “Man: Your experience…let me explain what’s really happening to you and ask a lot of questions designed to question your own experiences. We love how you ladies look!”
          If that’s meant to be a dig at me asking questions on her experience then quite frankly, let her speak for herself and butt out :). I ask questions because I am genuinely interested in WHY people think a certain way, I want to know why they feel X, do they feel it because they are thinking one thing when maybe they’ve misread his intentions? I know I sure as hell have misread some things women do in my life and I am extremely grateful that other women have given their opinion on what a certain behaviour might be. But if it’s not acceptable to discuss a person’s experience and try to expand on what they mean, try to understand them more then I need to find a place where people can it is acceptable because I have a thirst for knowledge that can only be quenched by asking questions, trying to understand other peoples reaction to a situation and thinking of different interpretations that can arise from an event.

          Was your reply meant for someone else or did I do something to trigger it?

          • Cant answer fully, not you personally but it builds up over time. I see your examples too but when a woman or women say “this affects us badly” and are doubted it gets to me. Questions are fine but it often comes across different then I think people intend. I’ll email you later.

            • Well the problem I see is she is generalizing negatively over young men, which isn’t a good sign. It’s something that will colour her view of men negatively, it was a sexist statement and I’d be saddened if no one else corrected her on it. And what she is calling objectifying doesn’t actually indicate any objectification, the guy would have to ignore every other quality of her and see her as an object which clearly he isn’t. Appreciating beauty is NOT objectification, never has, never will be. A man only noticing a woman’s looks in the first moments he meets her, IS NOT objectication, it’s nigh impossible to gain much information from her, maybe he can admire her being in the military if she has a uniform but what info has he got to work on?

              I don’t doubt she feels that way, I am curious to know why she feels that way, but she’s painting with the paintroller with the generalization and the usage of objectification seems to be wrong (the author too seems to be wrong). This is what really bothers me, over-reaching with the classifications where it ends up making me, as a man, feel like I can’t even look at women without fearing they’ll think I’m some fucking creep. I look away from women I don’t know simply because I fear that, I fear they’ll think I’m perving and hearing how looking at women and appreciating their beauty = objectification to some women is sickening.

              She has every right to feel what she does but from what I see she’s labeling a normal behaviour of initial attraction, admiration of looks as being objectifying when there’s no indication that looking in the way he said is objectifying her. It sucks to know that she feels this way, it sucks to feel how I feel because of this paranoia over women looking too MUCH into something and being quick on the trigger to label it objectifying or visually raping her, does that make sense? Do you know how many guys I know are shy with women and truly are nervous interacting with them over fear they will be seen as creeps and objectifying or whatever?

              Imagine a society where a man sees a woman, he think’s wow she’s beautiful and someone goes n thinks he is objectifying her from that. Are men allowed to even be physically fucking attracted to women anymore without being thought of as objectifying her?

              Why am I the only one to call her out on her sexist attitude towards young men? Imagine someone saying
              “Young women in relationships treat their boyfriends like atms whose sole purpose is to spoil her rotten. And young men go along with it, because this is what they are taught to do.”
              Would that piss people off?

              Again, she’s entitled to believe what she wants and detail her experience but if she’s going to be sexist about it, she’s going to get called out by me, AND I’ll still be curious about why she thinks that way. I’m not denying her experience, I am denying the generalization though, and I’m denying that initial physical attraction is even remotely linked to objectification.

            • soullite says:

              You seem to be asserting that people only have the right to ask questions, and not to simply disagree.

              The problem with that is that these women aren’t speaking for all women. They have no right to use ‘we’ or ‘us’ when they really mean ‘me’. They’re claiming a mantle they haven’t earned in order to give their arguments more weight than they deserve. If a man knows women that like the attention, and another woman asserts that all women dislike the attention, then he has a right to tell her she’s wrong. People have a right to disagree with you.

        • Jayson Gaddis says:

          Julie, it’s a good point. What I hear you saying is that men don’t get curious about your experience. They want to tell you theirs or disagree with yours which is probably invalidating. I personally want to know yours and appreciate you sharing it throughout this site. I’m interested in how my behavior as a man impacts you.

          • Well I am very curious, but as it’s been shown to me I don’t express myself correctly and my curiosity get’s put across as me telling others vs me asking others.

          • Well so far it’s impacted me just fine. You are a good writer and a curious soul and are pro sexuality and I like that. 😉

            For me the biggest thing I see as missing in a lot of these threads, and yes I’m guilty of it too, is not enough actual asking and listening about experiences and leaping to “fixing” the other’s issue. Whether it’s women not listening to and hearing men or vice versa, it seems pretty easy for all of us to get prescriptive about things. We all objectify to some degree-do we know it? Do we catch ourselves? Do we find ways of connecting sooner in that process rather than later? Do we hear the pain people are in when they are offering up experiences of either being objectified or confusion around “how do I indicate lust or desire?”

        • Lol, Well said!! This seems to be the default position online or not, sadly.

          • Apologies, this was to Julies post – again, this is just my personal experience though. I found a big part is feeling unable to express if I am uncomfortable, only through body language and this has often been ignored.

      • Terence Manuel says:

        Noise.

      • Joanna Schroeder says:

        I don’t agree that looking at someone and visually appreciating them is necessarily objectifying.

      • weej said:
        “appreciating the visual stimulation” = objectifying.
        “She is not just a sex object. But, what I see is a fine ass woman. She is beautiful and appealing. It is purely visual. I have not spoken to her. So, I don’t know what is between her ears.”
        = objectifying.
        >> I don’t agree. He’s appreciating all he can know about her for the moment while assuming that there is something more to her than her sex appeal that he just doesn’t have a way of knowing yet. He’s NOT assuming that her sex appeal is the only important thing about her, but that’s all he can know at the moment, and her sex appeal is indeed once rather nice thing about her.

        “The thing about seeing and treating women as sex objects is that it is pervasive in our culture, and it affects everyone.”
        >> I agree, but I don’t think appreciating a woman’s sexuality is the same thing as treating her as a sex object, as if that’s the ONLY thing that’s important about her.

        “Young men in relationships treat their girlfriends like objects whose sole purpose is their pleasure. And young women go along with it, because this is what they are taught to do.”
        >> I’m sure this happens in some cases but in most I think this is just not true.

        “unless you manage to freak them out on a midnight bus or something”…
        Sorry, but we don’t have to be alone on a midnight bus for you to freak me out. All it takes is for you to make me feel violated. You probably make women feel violated more than you are aware. Sometimes I want to be invisible. Sometimes I feel like you are raping me in your mind. I don’t like this. I want to be left alone. I want to be valued for more than my looks.
        >> Wow. I guess I just don’t think it’s fair to expect (het/bi) men not to think in a sexual way about women they see around them. Should they try not to be super obvious about it unless there’s some feedback that it’s a mutually enjoyable flirting situation? Yes. Should we give them the benefit of the doubt that they are usually not deliberately trying to be creepy? Yes. It’s hardwired in people to think sexually about the gender we’re attracted to–I just think it’s really harsh and unfair to claim that thinking about someone sexually is violating or “raping in [the] mind.” I also think it diminishes the seriousness of actual, physical rape. I do agree that you should be valued for more than your looks. I tend to believe that those looking at me would be happy to do so given the opportunity to learn more about me than what they can see. I do sense that may have undergone some really bad experiences, so I truly do wish that the men around you had a better way of learning that they should be particularly sensitive about how their behavior appears to you.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      I know a lot of you on here like to say sex addiction “does not exist”… Where do you guys get the evidence for this?

      Do other behavior-based addictions not exist? Shopping addiction, for example?

      Also, how the hell do you know that objectification doesn’t exist? Just because women stare at guys too doesn’t make objectification NOT exist. It’s just that Gaddis addressed it from only one aspect with a recognition that both exist.

      • Haha, I know what you mean. I happen to know a couple girls who simply DEFINE sex addiction. They get depressed and, like, literally beg the nearest person (regardless of gender) to just get them in bed.

        If that’s not an addiction, I don’t know what is.

        • Joanna Schroeder says:

          I know a LOT of women who are addicted to sex in one way or another. Sex itself, or attention-getting, affirmation addictions….

          But some people think addictions can’t be addictions unless there is a chemical element to it. They simply don’t believe in behavioral addictions.

          But if you do believe in behavioral addictions, you have to recognize that porn/sex addiction is just as valid as shopping addiction or hoarding.

  98. If we take merely the “to see someone as an object” part of the definition, then I objectify absolutely everyone that I see on the street. Sure, everyone is a wealth of personal experiences but there is no time to discover them, so these random passers by are to me purely a sum of their outward appearances.

    There is no problem with staring at beautiful women (unless you manage to freak them out on a midnight bus or something). It is merely recognizing a superior level of outward appearance to the rest of the population in which you judge in exactly the same way. Obviously all this goes out the window in other social situations but I disagree with the notion that me having the odd perv at a random passer by is in any way immoral.

    Maybe objectification in and of itself is a perfectly normal thing, and has just become a dirty word used to encompass all kinds of lecherous behaviour.

  99. I don’t see how checking out women is objectifying them. I feel like there is a gigantic difference between thinking of them as an object and appreciating the visual stimulation.

    • The Wet One says:

      I agree.

      The fact that looking at women = women hating (according to some definitions of misogygy) demonstrates that someone, somewhere, lost their mind and everyone (or a great many of us anyways) decided to go along with them.

      It’s very very strange, but then, the real world is a very very odd place. Very odd.

      • Joanna Schroeder says:

        That’s a wild extrapolation. Nowhere in Gaddis’ article does he say a thing about woman hating.

        There’s a difference between “looking” and “leering” and if you don’t know the difference, you’re probably leering. Basically the same as “looking” vs “staring”.

        • But by definition, isn’t objectification considered a disrespectful verb? The idea of seeing someONE as someTHING really isn’t all that neutral, and thus, I agree whole-heartedly with the two commenters.

          It seems that by this definition, almost any affection a guy feels for a girl that isn’t friendship is objectification in some way. It’s straight up saying that what makes guys different makes us wrong.

          To look at someone sexually? That’s definitely natural behavior around anyone you’re attracted to. But to look in and pick apart certain body parts? I feel like as much as guys may do this to girls, they do this at least as much to each other.

          I used to room with a lesbian couple. One of them was very sexual overall. She came home once practically in tears, and when her fiance came home, this girl started apologizing to her. “I looked at you and thought you were so sexy. I’ve always thought you were sexy. Your boobs, butt, face, everything. I didn’t realize this was so disrespectful to you. not until we discussed it in class. I’m so sorry.”

          Her fiance had no idea what was going on. She was always flattered that she was so interested in her body. She never considered it “treating her like an object”, she considered it appreciating beauty. And that’s exactly where I’ve always stood with the issue.

          Objectification is only such when you disregard the person inside the body. Thinking of particular parts of them really isn’t a problem. Objectification is an action or habit, not a thought process. This would be like being considered a murderer for thinking about someone dying when you’re angry with them.

          So to me, action vs thought is where I draw the line.

          This overly broad definition of objectification is little more than pointing a finger at how guys think, and labeling it in such a way that it backs men into a corner. The kind of process that takes something that’s supposed to be a compliment, and labels it a hate crime by over-analyzing it and twisting it into a motive for subjugation and dehumanization. And all we get from that is a bunch of guys who feel like criminals, and a bunch of girls running in constant suspicion of the male gender.

          • Web, I can not agree more with your reply. Looking at the definitions of the words causes one to pause. How have the definition become the same?
            The example you give of your roomates highlights very interesting case.

            Definitions:
            leer – (v) To look with a sidelong glance, indicative especially of sexual desire or sly and malicious intent. (n) A desirous, sly, or knowing look

            look – (v) a. To employ one’s sight, especially in a given direction or on a given object: To search; To turn one’s glance or gaze: looked to the right.; To turn one’s attention; attend: looked to his neglected guitar during vacation; looked at the evidence; To turn one’s expectations: looked to us for a solution; To seem or appear to be: look morose; To face in a specified direction: The cottage looks on the river;
            (v.tr.) To turn one’s eyes on; To convey by one’s expression: looked annoyance at the judge; To have an appearance of conformity with; To appear to be;
            (n) The act or instance of looking; A gaze or glance expressive of something: gave her a mournful look; Appearance or aspect: a look of great age; looks Physical appearance; A distinctive, unified manner of dress or fashion:

            objectify- To present or regard as an object:; To make objective, external, or concrete: thoughts objectified in art.

            • Joanna Schroeder says:

              What is either of your point?

              If your objective is not to make women uncomfortable, and you make the effort not to, you’re fine.

              You guys love to pull the technical definitions of things, but there’s also the reality of how the world actually uses a word.

              “Objectify” Does NOT mean hating women! It can result in a woman feeling uncomfortable. Or not. I don’t care who looks at me. If someone’s making me uncomfortable, I look them in the eyes and say, “What? Do you have a problem?” but it takes a while to get me to that point. And I’m 5 foot 7 inches with blonde hair and weigh 120 lbs. I’m not burning the retinas. I deal with both leers and looks often. And I’m not afraid to confront someone who’s being outright rude.

              Don’t stare at a woman longer than you’d stare at a man. How about that? A good guideline. If the length of time you’re spending staring at a woman would end up with you getting punched by a man, assume the woman wants to punch you too.

              OR if you like her that much and are available, say “hi” and see if she’s receptive to a conversation. If she’s not, walk away. It’s not your RIGHT to make people uncomfortable. Just like it’s not my right to make you uncomfortable.

              • “Don’t stare at a woman longer than you’d stare at a man. How about that? A good guideline. If the length of time you’re spending staring at a woman would end up with you getting punched by a man, assume the woman wants to punch you too.”
                I’d say the tolerance for some men being looked at by men would be lower than by women. Staring at a person of the same sex might make them uncomfortable far earlier than someone of the opposite sex?

                “OR if you like her that much and are available, say “hi” and see if she’s receptive to a conversation. If she’s not, walk away. It’s not your RIGHT to make people uncomfortable. Just like it’s not my right to make you uncomfortable.”
                Heh, that “hi” can be damn scary to initiate. I’ve had less fear being 2 foot from snakes that could kill me! 😛 As a side note, would many women notice this leering and say hi in a friendly way as a way to see how they react? Would it be beneficial to do sometimes? I believe I’ve seen some guys do it to people that stare too long, can’t recall any women doing it in my experience.

              • David Byron says:

                Don’t stare at a woman longer than you’d stare at a man. How about that?

                That makes no sense at all. How about “don’t look at art you like more than art you don’t like”? Is that sensible too?

              • You do have a right to make men feel uncomfortable as far as society is concerned. There is an unwritten rule that if a man approaches a woman she has the right to treat him with utter, emasculating contempt even if it is completely unwarranted. If men feel uncomfortable being rejected in a needlessly insulting way it’s a complete non – issue, in the media even violence is considered acceptable and amusing. Steven Fry on the show QI pointed out that women can insult men with impugnity while it is is considered less acceptable the other way round after a woman told Rob Ryden he looked like an idiot. His indignant response was unusual, he was expected to just sit there and take it like a man.
                If men feel uncomfortable with the contempt women openly show for our gender constantly that’s overlooked and not generally an issue. How objectifying.

        • The Wet One says:

          Joana,

          You are quite right. The author doesn’t say this. However, wikipedia does: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misogyny

          Thre you have it. Misogyny = objectification of women.

          You’ll never see the converse though, Misandry = objectification of men.

          Just sayin’.

          • The Wet One says:

            Furthermore, how exactly ogling and staring = hatred, I have no idea.

            Willy Pickton probably hated women. He claims to have killed 49 of them (26 were identified by the cops and he was convicted for killing 6), and fed many to his pigs on his pig farm. I daresay he was a misogynist who hated women the way Hitler hated Jews.

            Men who ogle women are rude, boorish, uncivilized, oppressive, and all sorts of other things (including in some cases clueless), but woman hating? I’m not quite seeing it.

            The misogyny of many cultures where female fetuses are aborted are a whole lot more misogynist, properly understood, than any “objectification” of women amounts to, IMHO.

            As soon as a woman opens her mouth and says something, she’s not an object anymore. Objects don’t talk.

            Anyways, I’m tilting at windmills that aren’t there so I’ll shut up now.

            The Wet One

          • The Wet One says:

            Also Joana,

            Further down thread, another poster is suggesting that objectification = hatred of women.

            I quote Quadruple A:

            “To objectify a woman is to see her as an object rather than a human and thus it is a form of dehumanization and perhaps hatred of woman.”

            Jeez, women never even get thrown out of bars for being women, unlike blacks. Isn’t that at least a bit more “hateful”?

            Hate actually means something. Let’s not smear the majority of men with term “Woman-hating” when there is real hatred in the world.

            Fer Crissakes!!!

            • Joanna Schroeder says:

              I’m not even understanding your equivalence between racism and objectification of women.

              Yeah, there’s a ton of hate toward black men. It’s terrifying, actually. I don’t see how that even relates to objectifying women.

              Note in the quote, whomever said it said “perhaps” – I don’t understand this extrapolation.

              And YES let’s not dilute the meaning of the word “hate” — whomever is the originator of equivocating looking at women as objects as hate. I would never make that equivalence and Jayson Gaddis very clearly did NOT and is being misrepresented here by all of you.

              I just don’t know why you all cannot help but derail this conversation.

              • Who is you all?
                I dislike the muddying up the definition of objectification by behaviour described in the post, isn’t actually objectifying.

          • Joanna Schroeder says:

            Oh Wikipedia, the place where all truths are told.

            Free online dictionary:

            ob·jec·ti·fy (b-jkt-f)
            tr.v. ob·jec·ti·fied, ob·jec·ti·fy·ing, ob·jec·ti·fies
            1. To present or regard as an object: “Because we have objectified animals, we are able to treat them impersonally” (Barry Lopez).
            2. To make objective, external, or concrete: thoughts objectified in art.

            But Gaddis doesn’t say a THING about hate. And neither do I.

            If you want to make someone uncomfortable and feel justified in doing it, go for it. But don’t do it to me or you’ll be confronted.

    • Agreed. Looking at women w/lust is not *necessarily* objectification.

      In fact, when I’ve been lusted after it is an incredible ego boost. Far from being menacing, lust from men is most likely fulfilling an emotional need within in women to be seen as desirable.

      Everybody wants to be seen as sexually desirable, and to experience first hand the experience of actively being lusted after.

      • Absolutely, but there are ways to do it without being threatening, disrespectful, or mean. A quick glance and a smile are sweet. A flirtation, even if unsuccessful, is great. A random compliment probably won’t flatter me, but it won’t offend me either. Within a relationship (committed or casual)…go to town on me and any body part you enjoy…please. Yet, giving me predator eyes on the street, an unsolicited opinion or advice about my looks, staring at me while on a date with someone else, or putting me in an uncomfortable situation–those definitely are more menacing than fulfilling.

        The thing is…I’ve had a lot of very uncomfortable experiences though, some downright scary (such as being locked in a drug store by a clerk who was on drugs and staring at me the entire time I was shopping, being followed home buy a guy, and having 6 guys follow me catcalling, cops who took advantage of their power to do some awful things). I’ve also had experiences with my boyfriends’ dads and my dad’s friends and co-workers (sometimes in front of their wives) that have left me both feeling powerless, feeling sorry for their wives, and shaken my trust in men. It definitely wasn’t an ego boost.

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