Tell me, when I say ‘objectification’, what is the first thought that comes to mind?
Let me start off by clearing any misconceptions:
The above is an exact definition from the English Oxford dictionary. In most cases, I’d probably say that yes, the issue is summed up pretty well but here’s a challenge for you: Can you identify an issue with this definition? If you can, good on you. I can guarantee that not everybody will. Now, you have a minute to think. Maybe you have a faint idea, maybe you’re on the same page as me, or maybe you’ve got no idea at all. Whatever the case may be, feel free to scroll down a bit. I’ll be talking further about this a little on in the post.
First, a little bit of background. This post was definitely unplanned, but it is an important issue that I’d like to further put out there. You’d think, being the society we are, living in this day and age, that we’d be more aware of what’s going on. What we put out. How we portray ourselves, what we say and do. The harsh, reality, however, is that many of us are still very much in the dark. Every day, we act in ways that may be deemed unacceptable, and frankly, we are none the wiser. And here, I’ll bring in an example: President Donald Trump. He’s a bit of a hot topic, isn’t he? Sparked many debates. Let’s go back to the time that he made *that* remark about dating his daughter. Or joked about it. Always one to defend himself, even when he is clearly in the wrong. Or, we could go back to the various times he was a fat shamer. It’s widely known that Mr Trump is one for making many a sexist remark, but need I go on?
This kind of behaviour happens every day and is often overlooked. In fact, for me, I experienced this just yesterday. I was checking my social media when I received a message from a man who’d first started talking to me a few days earlier. I was wary of course, the dangers of talking to ‘strange men’ not lost on me. He was around his late forties, old enough to be my father. I had seen his profile. He posted pictures of his family, his wife, his kids. Just before I received his first message, I had commented on a photo. It started off innocent enough, we made small talk and I kept my wits about me. Then, he called me dear. I thought nothing of it, at the time, but that was probably his way of gauging how comfortable I was with what he had just called me. That is, in order to make further advances. Or potentially, step it back a notch. The next day, I received yet another message. He said the same things, asked me how I was, but then his next message: ‘How are you baby?’ ‘What’s going on baby?’ ‘What’s happening baby?’. It’s safe to say I was thoroughly disgusted. Even if I knew this person, he was not my age, and that, well, that made his comments even worse. I was shocked that he felt he could call me that and think he could get away with it. I then decided that I’d reply to the message, not mentioning what he’d called me. Sure enough, the next day, I received three messages with him calling me ‘baby’. By this time, I was well and ready to ask him how his WIFE and FAMILY were doing. And maybe even ask if he called his wife ‘baby’, because, heck, there’s another option. But why me? Maybe he was being innocent, but in my eyes, he had way overstepped the boundaries, and that was not okay. The bottom line is that name calling like this is becoming increasingly common everywhere, and sadly, is sometimes used in ways that intend to marginalise someone. Not everybody reacts the same way to being called different things, and so taking chances, in my opinion, isn’t something we should be doing anymore.
Now, back to the little challenge I set for you. You may have noticed this: a deeply sexist attitude that objectifies women’.
The bolded words are key here.
In fact, this sentence in itself, is pretty sexist! Women, while we cop a fair share of crap, are not the only ones being objectified. Have we forgotten about the other half of the population too?
Nobody escapes discrimination. Often enough, talent and hard work are sidelined because the focus is on one body part. This way, we don’t get to see the whole picture. Don’t see people as beings with feelings, dreams, thoughts and aspirations.
Wake up society.