What Sexual Objectification Means To Me

by | Jul 30, 2021

We’re living in an era where we know so much and at the same time we can feel so powerless in the face of what we’re doing to ourselves. And perhaps having some fear and confusion is “normal” for it could allow us to look fear in the face and ask ourselves the relevant questions these paradoxical moments bring up for us to help bring some clarity.

So to help me through this dilemma, I did the same process I shared with you in one of my earlier blogs on RECEPTIVITY.

I begin with defining what each word means to me so that I have a guideline to work with.

Feminism : The support of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social and economic equality to men.

I am a feminist. Now the question becomes to what degree?

Well, I do hire (in essence support) women in my business and provide them with equal pay as their male counter parts. The women’s salary has nothing to do with their gender but is related to their expertise, qualifications and performance.

Now I don’t know much about Beyonce’s business or who does the hiring but I have been to her concert and noticed she has both genders performing on stage with her. Is this not a form of supporting women in her business?

Does being a feminist mean I hate men or don’t recognize their rights? No way! I welcome men in my personal and professional life.

I’ve seen images of young girls stating they are not feminist because they like men…what does one thing have to do with the other?

Now let’s consider the word sexy?

I believe Sexy is being sexually attractive or exciting.

Being sexy suggests that both a male and female have a certain amount of sex appeal or sexual attractiveness.

Is that wrong? I put on make up, wear high heels, get my hair dyed and more in order too feel good AND to feel more attractive. When I competed professionally in my dance career, I needed to wear costumes that enhanced my feminine figure, exposing parts of my body because that’s what was required in my industry.

Now back to Beyonce…

She IS sexy. I believe part of her confidence comes from her embracing her sexual energy and being a desirable woman. I also believe the music, television and movie business requires an artist to have a certain amount of sex appeal to be successful and get noticed by the pop culture.

To what degree does educating the pop culture an artist’s responsibility? Are we forgetting the role of a parent to set boundaries in order to raise their children with values that will allow them to make more educated choices or educated observations about what they do or see?

That being said, I have a lot of compassion for parents because I’ve noticed being a parent today is NOT easy. There are many more opportunities, choices, forms of entertainment and available gratifications that makes rearing a child more challenging.

Once again, back to Beyonce.

Some people, including women, accused Beyonce of promoting sexual objectification. This is when my research got interesting.

For the purpose of the article, I define objectification as:

Objectification : Turning a human being into a lifeless object (with no emotions, intelligence, lives, rights).

Therefore, Sexual Objectification is when a person or human being is objectified in some kind of context related to sexuality.

During my research the definition was slightly different. It read like this: Sexual Objectification is turning a human being into a lifeless object for the sexual pleasure of a man or woman.

Could this be what Beyonce was doing?

This definition made my stomach turn because as a woman I was disturbed with the thought of having to adjust how I carry myself, how I dress and even how I dance to prevent sexual objectification from happening to me.

I was feeling trapped and needed to dive deeper into this topic, so I asked myself, when does sexual objectification happen?

So the question I came up with is: “Well, doesn’t it always?”

I will admit to looking at men without knowing anything about them, for my visual pleasure and state “He’s HOT!” Was I sexually objectifying him? When a man notices me from a distance because he finds me attractive, is he sexually objectifying me? If I make efforts to be attractive such as make up and hair, am I sexually objectifying myself? When a man goes to the gym to build muscle (to be attractive to women), is he sexually objectifying himself?

Is sexual objectification directly related to your intelligence? Meaning the less intelligence you have, the more likely you will be sexually objectified. Or perhaps, the less intelligent you are, the more likely you will objectify others.

During my research, I read an article written by a woman stating that Jennifer Lawrence is sexually expressive but Kim Kardashian is sexually objectifying herself?

Should Kim Karadashian be treated any differently than Jennifer Lawrence? Are they BOTH not women, human beings with thoughts, lives and rights?

Is Beyonce promoting sexual objectification of women when her performances have women pole dancing or women spreading their legs on stage for the pleasure of the audience? Or is she being an artist who’s wanting to express many messages, including sexual confidence?

I recognize that pop culture often uses sexual images to sell albums. So would Beyonce be as successful if she didn’t use her sex appeal? And is Beyonce now using her position as an entry point into feminism by opening up the pop culture to a word they so rarely see associated with someone sexy?

So here is where I stand on this topic.

Sexual objectification is NOT good because objectification is about taking away someone’s basic human rights. This is no different than slavery, where entire groups of people were considered disposal with no more value than basic accessories.

I find the concept that objectification is along the same lines as acknowledging sexual attraction to be false for even though I am turned on or aroused by what I consider to be an attractive man, I will never forget he is a human being with basic human rights.

So for a person to suggest Beyonce or Kim Kardasian is sexually objectifying themselves or promoting sexual objectification is horrifying to me because that means the person watching them forgets these women are human beings.

I’ve spoken to many women who feel ashamed to express their sexual energy for fear of being seen as inappropriate, vulgar or cheap. A woman should not diminish or even cut off her femininity or her sensual nature in order to prevent sexual arousal out fear for being judged for turning on others.

We need to be mindful that we don’t associate basic sexual attraction for one another with something as horrible as objectification. One does NOT equal the other. Yet they’re so mistakenly lumped together making me acutely aware of how deep the challenges go for some people.

This topic had me pondering for days because I felt a pressure to get as clear as I can since words convey precise meaning…and I was often filled with doubt with how I felt.

I hope this newsletter opened your mind to thinking about the importance of getting clear with how we use words to signify our thoughts…for they are directly related to our values.

Be all the woman you were meant to be.

Patty Contenta

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