A lot of feminists, myself included, worry about the objectification of women, which is totally legitimate, especially when it reduces women to pretty little things to be controlled or abused.
But let’s be honest — women are gorgeous. Women of all sizes and shapes. We’re just generally awesome to behold, at any age or weight. So what I’d like to see is a more artful, inclusive lens on women. A celebration of women, not our further abuse. (i.e. Not just the chopping up of young, skinny white women into awkward, contorted things.)
But more importantly, I’d like to see more objectification of men. A lot more. Why? Because it’s time straight women and gay men be allowed to openly express our gaze at the male figure. After all, women have been ogled for centuries. It’s way past time to flip the script and let women get behind the lens.
But wait … how can a self-described feminist advocate for male objectification? Isn’t that the same thing as objectifying women?
Let me shout it for the people in the back: No. Not even close.
Objectifying men’s bodies doesn’t come with the cost of physical threat to men
Women’s sexuality is often taken from us. Because, in general, men are physically more strong than women, men still have to willingly express their sexuality. In other words, they always have the option of consent, especially when we’re talking about commercial work. Could men experience some shady casting couch chicanery? Sure. But that threat is more likely to come from other men than women. Even if we see a lot more male bodies hocking goods and services to women, here will not come a time when gangs of straight women or gay men are attacking straight men in society. Not only will it not happen, we have no interest in doing that. Part of what’s so attractive to straight women about the objectification of a man is that man’s willingness to express his sexuality.
Objectifying men’s bodies doesn’t reduce their power in society
There will never come a time when a man’s intelligence is questioned based on his looks. Does anyone think Justin Trudeau is a dummy? Of course not. Part of Barack Obama’s appeal is his intelligence, in addition to his looks. Because straight women, in general, don’t separate minds from bodies. For us, the whole package of a man (tee hee) is infinitely better than some dumb guy with a pretty face. (But, you know. We’ll happily admire the unintelligent bloke with the handsome face, as well.)
Objectifying men’s bodies won’t stop the objectification of women’s bodies
Let’s face it, the objectification of women isn’t going to stop. Ever. We can raise the level of respect for women in society for sure. I also think we can make women’s sexuality and pleasure more socially acceptable. But let’s be real: the female form will always be important to the heterosexual male gaze. Objectifying the male body isn’t about “revenge” or “getting back.” It’s about equality. Frankly, I’m tired of the one-sided nature of nudity in movies, for example. I don’t mind seeing all those naked women, but I’m a big girl, and I’d like to see some naked men, too.
Perhaps most importantly, straight women’s sexuality has been taboo for far too long
It’s time we stopped shaming girls and women for having feelings of desire. There’s this terrible box in which American women are placed in which we are allowed to express just so much sexual desire, but not too much. Break out of that box even a bit and somehow this becomes some sort of statement as to who we are as people. Women who don’t like sex are labeled frigid, uptight, teases and prudes. Women who like sex “too much” are of course whores and sluts and hoes, and neither category of those labels are limited to our private lives. Oh no. Those labels can follow us around school and the workplace, because, let’s face it, that’s exactly what they’re designed to do. It’s nothing more than public shaming, and it’s wrong and it’s dumb and it needs to stop. It’s particularly harmful to teenage girls, on multiple fronts, which can include everything from their social standing to their physical safety.
The penis is not sacred
In America, there seems to be this weird taboo surrounding the male genitalia, as though it’s too shocking to be seen in public art. Fellas, it’s not that we’re afraid of your junk. It’s just that we’d like to consent to being shown it. And if more women were in charge of the lighting and presentation of penises, we might be more interested in looking at photos of them. An unexpected photo of your poorly lit dong that you took with your free hand isn’t exactly putting your best face forward, if you take my meaning.
Celebrating the female gaze is a good thing. Women are not children, and we don’t need to be treated as such. So let’s free the ween and objectify men.