FAQ: What is sexual objectification? – Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog
Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog

FAQ: What is sexual objectification?

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Sexual objectification is the viewing of people solely as de-personalised objects of desire instead of as individuals with complex personalities and desires/plans of their own. This is done by speaking/thinking of women especially as only their bodies, either the whole body, or as fetishised body parts.

Sexual attraction is not the same as sexual objectification: objectification only occurs when the individuality of the desired person is not acknowledged. Pornography, prostitution, sexual harassment and the representation of women in mass media and art are all examples of common sexual objectification.

The concept of objectification owes much to the work of Simone de Beauvoir regarding the basic dualism of human consciousness between the Self and the Other: the general mental process where humans classify the world into ‘us’ and ‘them’. Women are universally viewed as the Other across all cultures, a role which is both externally imposed and internalised, and which means that women are generally not truly regarded as fully human. An important point of de Beauvoir’s was that this Othering effect is the same whether women are viewed as wholly inferior or if femininity is viewed as mysterious and morally superior: Otherness and full equality cannot coexist.

Related Reading:

Introductory:

Clarifying Concepts:

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