objectification

I made a post about homophobia and objectification that sparked a small debate/discussion. I’d like to be a bit more verbose now that I’m on a keyboard and have had some thinking time (as well as time to mull over your immediate and interesting feedback).

First of all, it’s important to explain my stance on the gender dichotomy. It’s not the Main Focus, but it was up for debate quite a bit and it does play into the question.
I believe the social situation of gender dichotomy is totally explicable, though not necessarily excusable. It’s not some great conspiracy, nor is it necessarily innate. The line of thought I’m about to take you on I picked up from reading Gregory’s book before its printing, and I encourage you to pick up a copy once it’s officially out.

Gender Dichotomies
Women are different from men. Not as different as many think, but there are certain differences. One is not better or worse than the other, just (again) different.
The main difference is that women make babies (gasp, really?!). And after we quit hunting animals and settled down to farm, babies became a commodity. It’s why large families were valued – you could get more done the more people you had to labor.
So if women are popping out babies all the time and your being alive depends on those babies, you’re going to do an awful lot to keep the wimminz safe during pregnancy and suckling. It’s a short step to just having the women deal with the kids through most of infancy, childhood, etc. Soon (well, ok, it actually takes some time but I doubt people much noticed), a woman’s place is in the home.
But then we advance our technology and industry and you don’t need to have so many babies to keep things going. In fact, it starts to kind of be difficult to feed so many mouths. So women’s roles change.

(this is where I branch back off from Gregory and into my own thought sphere)
But because of that history, women have been seen as a commodity (or at least a producer and maintainer of a commodity) for the entirety of our time in this era. And that role is so far removed from what has become valued that the general trend has been a devaluation and objectification of women.
Again, not excusable, but certainly explicable.
Women are not necessarily weak or care giving or shy any more than men are. It’s just become so socially ingrained that it may as well be – except that we could change it with enough will.

So, keeping all that in mind..
There’s a school of thought about the objectification of women. There are also debates about becoming a subject (actually participating, seen as active, etc), but you’re still not the Actor (see the tabs versus slots segment from the exchange in the last entry).

Most of the stories we hear about people being “homophobic” (in quotes because if these cases were actually a severe fear of homosexuals it’s unlikely such violence would be the outcome, but instead hiding in corners) are about men. And I would explain this in the following way:
In the same way that rape is not about sex, but rather is about power; lashing out verbally or physically against a homosexual person, specifically male, is not about their sexuality (and how it relates to you) but how his interest changes the other involved person into an object.
This is also with the red herring of assuming that all gay men are interested in EVERY male they interact with, especially the male who feels threatened. There are also subliminal social norms that people can only react to the upsetting of by personalizing everything.

The main point / to sum up :
In short, men are more threatened than women by homosexuality because they are used to being in power, and by being potentially objectified as a sex object, that power is called into question. Women, on the other hand, are used to being objects and are thus not so freaked out when put in the same place by a different gender.
And this is a sort of social memory. It’s what I feel is the happy medium between nature and nurture – we’ve been doing it one way for so long that we forget it was any other way. Even if your parents raise you one way, even by interacting with society the same general norms will become your general norms. We can’t help it, but we can change it (link back to my “we are the machine” tattoo).

And stuff.

Please argue, debate, whatever, just be nice.

13 thoughts on “objectification

  1. “men are more threatened than women by homosexuality because they are used to being in power”

    most of the men i know are constantly crushed under the foot of their female lovers, so i see your presumptuous opinion as a hasty generalization at best.

    not going to have a discussion about it because i don’t really care.

    cheers.

    • Well, sociology is the study of social structures, not specific instances. This is the feedback sociologists constantly get. “Social trends show that (fill in blank)” “yeah, but I know this guy down the street that doesn’t do that!”
      First you study the generalities, and then how and why people differ. Both sets are just as important.

      I also noted that this is a trend that is changing.

      But hasty generalizations about entries are encouraged, as is making a blatently antagonistic point just to say you’re not responding.

      Cheers.

      • blah blah intellectual circle jerk blah blah pie chart blah blah inane reinforcement of preconceived stereotypical gender roles etc etc yawn

        oh look, we just changed the world.

        • If I remember a recent exchange (not the super hero one, but the last one where you were on a kick of bringing subdued /b/ mentality to the “outside” world), this isn’t going to go anywhere: I believe we all change the world around us every moment simply by being so interlocked – we don’t have a choice. On the other hand, you don’t give a shit, you don’t think anyone can change the world, you just like mocking people that do.

  2. “There are also subliminal social norms that people can only react to the upsetting of by personalizing everything.”

    That’s probably a more polite way of putting it than I could have thought of. Since it solidly explains people who are like, “Gays is just not right!” when questioned about their stance on homosexuality. They can’t quite explain it, but it corrects their solidified view of reality and they can’t help but respond in a negative fashion about it.

    Although, I sometimes think that it’s not always so often about objectification and such as much as people want their reality to be predictable and within their scope. Then when something disrupts that predictability, they become enraged and unable to cope. (See older people who have kept a very small community, often revolving around orthodox church practices.) Which I think explains the normalizing homosexuality has picked up in recent years as the media have made it a part of everyday life for people in younger years who are experiencing a more globalized reality through television and internet where they are being accustomed to a reality that always challenges their viewpoints.

    I would say it’s probably a combination of things and differs per individual. I would venture to say the objectification argument probably applies to many people, but I think it depends on one’s, as I put it, “Shouldbe-oughttabe-ain’tright” viewpoints found in more conservative communities who value standardized structure.

    • Ack! I would venture to say the objectification argument probably applies to many people, but I think it depends on one’s social exposure and their adaptability to change. Those that have a lot of “worldly” exposure tend to typically deal better than those that carry a lot of, as I put it, “Shouldbe-oughttabe-ain’tright” viewpoints found in more conservative communities who value standardized structure.

      Although, on the cultural front, in terms of the general “male,” then the objectification argument in the abstract sense probably carries some weight. Though I really just think it’s people that can’t deal with change.

      • I like the points you bring up about globalization and “worldly” exposure increasing people’s likelihood of acceptance. It’s the main point of enforced desegregation from “back in the day” – people aren’t going to learn to get along until they’re forced to get along. Incredibly tough the first few steps, but then it gets much easier.
        The argument on the other side was that we should wait until people get used to the idea of each other and then slowly integrate. And it just doesn’t work that way.

  3. Hmmm, baby factories and munnies! I hadn’t thought about this before. You’ve given me a brilliant business plan going on there. Here is my proposal. Gather a group of women for the purpose of baby making. Then we black market the bastards for building material, industrial lubricant and of course, delicatessen.

  4. well, i suppose it proves the hippies accomplished something, because i have never in my life adopted the male gender role of wielding power over women. thus, i feel just as manipulated by the nefarious ‘them’ as limiting my infinite versatility by my gender. i’m some weird proto-male that only makes friends with other proto-males and the spooky and elusive meta-grrls. i’m going to stick with transmitting my signal on this matter, and not wonder why some many are so disconnected from the goddess energy.

Leave a Reply to cristobat Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.