If there is one thing the now adult me could enlighten the Freshman in College me on it would definitely be sexual objectification and what it is and that it isn't okay.
When we hear this term our minds often shutter and write this off as Feminist propoganda. But with all of the media attention on the college hook up culture I thought I'd stick my neck out here and give some insights onthe matter. Sexual objectification of men or women not only hurts the person being objectified. It prevents the person who cannot see their sexual partners as anything more than an object from forming meaningful relationships with the opposite sex. Often the person who is viewing others as an object is not aware of it or that it is problematic since everyone in their social circle has the same outlook on the matter.
Below is an excerpt from an article published in Standfords Encylopedia of Philosophy (2010, Feminist Perpective on Objectifaction) which outlines some of the Hallmarks of objectification:
"It can be roughly defined as the seeing and/or treating a person, usually a woman, as an object. In this entry, the focus is primarily on sexual objectification, objectification occurring in the sexual realm. Martha Nussbaum (1995, 257) has identified seven features that are involved in the idea of treating a person as an object:
1. Instrumentality: the treatment of a person as a tool for the objectifier's purposes;
2. Denial of autonomy: the treatment of a person as lacking in autonomy and self-determination;
3. Inertness: the treatment of a person as lacking in agency, and perhaps also in activity;
4. Fungibility: the treatment of a person as interchangeable with other objects;
5. Violability: the treatment of a person as lacking in boundary-integrity;
6. Ownership: the treatment of a person as something that is owned by another (can be bought or sold);
7. Denial of subjectivity: the treatment of a person as something whose experiences and feelings (if any) need not be taken into account.
Rae Langton (2009, 228–229) has added three more features to Nussbaum's list:
8. Reduction to body: the treatment of a person as identified with their body, or body parts;
9. Reduction to appearance: the treatment of a person primarily in terms of how they look, or how they appear to the senses;
10. Silencing: the treatment of a person as if they are silent, lacking the capacity to speak."
Men, like women, can be victims of objectification though less common. If someone is interested in sex but nothing else and dismisses your feelings or opinions and ignores your objections these could be signs of objectifaction.
For young women I would like to point out that a man should never speak disparingly about various parts of your body in a healthy relationship. If he discounts your feelings or opinions on something and is controlling these should be warning signs that he is not viewing you as your own person with thoughts, abilities and aspirations to be part of what makes you worth dating. The longterm effects of this treatment can takea toll on other major roles in your life such as academic success, success in the workforce and overall selfworth.
Basically you should never feel that your appearance determines your selfworth or worth to a person. If your boyfriend doesn't value your personality, thoughts or time and companionship other than when it is convenient for him you could be with a man that sees you as something to be owned and not an automous person to get to know.
If you would like to read the full article from the Standford publication the link is below. I hope this helps at least one women on GAG but also hope it helps the young men as well since they too are also victims of the pervasive culture on campuses to view roles in such a manner as it keeps them from knowing true intamacy.