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September 28, 2006

Comments

Katie

Actually, I have a feeling that a huge upsurge in objectifying men (and perhaps even deliberately giving them tastes of the consequences) could provide a sort of shock effect that might make thigns better in the long run.

I feel that gender-bending is a pretty good means to the end of reducing negative acts that're currently done only to one gender.

EXPERIENCE with new situations teaches people to think about things that they formerly refused to see. The idea that something actually JUST HAPPENED is a lot stronger than the idea that it "could" happen (which people can deny).

"You don't like this, huh? Well, then, stop doing it to me and my kind!" just seems like it'd be more effective than, "You wouldn't like this, would you?" "I don't know--I don't think it really happens or that I really do it to your kind."

Hugo

Katie, I wish I could believe that. But I'm not sure it works. To push a bad analogy, most child molesters were themselves molested. Their own experience of abuse made them more, not less, likely to molest. As Yeats put it, suffering often "makes a stone of the heart."

Ted

Katie: In some situations that kind of thing might work, but in this situation I'm pretty sure what's going to happen is that the men who think the "eye candy" thing was no big deal are going to look at it, shrug, and say "I don't feel objectified, obviously those feminists were complaining about nothing."

It's unfortunate, but this is an object lesson that I just can't imagine working, because based on the way our society works, I don't think any man will look at this and feel objectified.

Arwen

Well, I don't know if it's not having any effect. Of my male friends, I've had rather (to me) shocking discussion recently with a male friend seriously evaluating body/looks issues when considering his potential as partner. He has movie star good looks, is working on his doctorate, has a number of pretty wicked hobbies, and most of all, is generally a well liked and amiable guy - and he was *still* worried about what he perceived as physical defects. After I scraped my jaw off the floor, we discussed the ridiculousness of the whole thing for both genders - it's not as if he's been short on dates. He's just beating himself up, and gets embarrassed by his physique.

Hugo

Arwen, I agree completely that men are more anxious about their bodies than at any other time in recent history. That said, their increased anxiety is not demonstrably linked to any lessening of women's own body issues. The fact that a whole lot of men (myself very much included) worry quite a bit about their physiques doesn't mean that their sisters worry less. And plenty of guys I work out with both worry about their bodies AND objectify women with great enthusiasm. Their own anxieties do not automatically make them more sympathetic to women's own issues.

Amelia

Well said, Hugo - I agree - objectifying men is a bad thing in itself. And doing that won't make it unacceptable to objectify women. Men can't be objectified in the same way, with the same result, as women can (there is a reason why male-porn is such a small market). Men will always be less objectified than women, and even when they are objectified they are still the dominant group in society, 'sexism', such as objectification, against males is bad but its surely less harmful for guys than sexism (eg. objectification) is for women.

Someone said racism is by definition negative attitudes towards a subordinate group in society. True racism can't be thrown at the dominant group from the subordinate group > or if it can be, it won't have that much effect on the dominant group - they have a lot of power and very little to lose by insults made by people they think little of. I think the same argument can be made with sexism. "Sexism" levelled at guys doesn't nearly have the same kind of effect as sexism levelled against women because of their different positions/power-levels in society.

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