Do All Women Really 'Want to Be Objectified'?
6 months ago
At least one actress (and a bunch of advertisers) think so
It's not always acknowledged, but women are often objectified in—and by—the media. Advertisements featuring the accentuated body parts of frequently faceless females, or female body parts used as interchangeable stand-ins for otherwise inanimate objects, populate commercials, billboards, and magazine pages worldwide.
Objectification is described as the treatment of a person as an instrument. But when it comes to women, the additional element of that tool being used solely for one's sexual pleasure and gratification is employed.
And while the condemnation of such images has hardly hindered their prevalence, there are some who aren't at odds with the idea.
In a recent interview with the United Kingdom's "Sunday Times," actress Cameron Diaz said: "I think every woman does want to be objectified. There’s a little part of you at all times that hopes to be somewhat objectified, and I think it’s healthy." (She also added that she finds revealing photo shoots to be "empowering.")
Could she be right?
"I have to wholeheartedly disagree," said Jill McDevitt, a sexologist. "Many women dress sexy, do nude photos shoots, etc., because they want to be subjectified, or be empowered from within. Sure, attention can be nice, but being turned into less than human is a frightening thought; this attitude leads to rape culture, as well as slut-shaming for women who do dress sexy."
Los Angeles-based image consultant Farrah Parker, however, believes Diaz makes valid points -- points that Parker says are supported by societal norms.
"Diaz's sentiments reflect an American culture that, from day one, teaches and constantly engrains in little girls these bold gender themes: to be beautiful, delicate, frilly, and polite," said Parker. "Women learn that their worth is directly connected to being the subject of the male 'gaze.' The wardrobe, make-up, and sass is all in vain if it does not yield the attention of a man, and their self-esteem becomes directly proportional to the amount of compliments [they receive]. The majority of women in our society have been subjected to powerful reflections of what they 'should be' and how men should view them."