Hostility, Objectification Go Hand-In-Hand

Dolce-Gabbana-Ad-Sexist[1]Funny how objectifying women and hostility toward them so often go hand-in-hand. Well, not funny –ha ha.

Phil is a strip club patron who says that f-ing is all men really want from women, and whose philosophy of life includes “The Four Fs”: Find ‘em. Feel ‘em. F-k ‘em. Forget ‘em.

And then there are men who hate pretty women. These guys constantly lust after the ladies – or at least their body parts. But they hate women, too.  As one guy described  it: 

A lot of times a woman knows that she’s looking really good and she’ll use that and flaunt it and it makes me feel like she’s laughing at me and I feel degraded… If I were actually desperate enough to rape somebody it would be from wanting that person, but also it would be a very spiteful thing, just being able to say ‘I have power over you and I can do anything I want with you.

Researchers found that pickup artists, with their goal of random sex with lots of partners, tend to both objectify women and feel hostility toward them.

Meanwhile, too many frat boys sit around eating pizza and watching porn (weird, I know) as they cheer on the women’s abuse.

The September 11 terrorists were hostile toward women, too. They also objectified them.

  • Women are temptresses.
  • They and their bodies are all about sex.
  • So stay covered up and don’t tempt me!
  • I won’t shake your hand.
  • And don’t come to my funeral!

I doubt any of them were troubled as women were stoned to death for being raped. But in reward for their terrorism they expected to receive 72 virgins in Heaven who would forever sexually serve them.

In this war between the sexes women are desired. But they are also “other,” the enemy, and not quite human.  And good for just one thing – sex.

Related Posts on BroadBlogs
Anything Good About Being A Sex Object?
Why Men Objectify
Seeing Women as Magic and Evil

About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych, women's psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State University. And I have blogged for Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos.

Posted on December 4, 2013, in feminism, men, objectification, psychology, sex, sexism, women and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 28 Comments.

  1. Feminist Cupcake

    I use this dolce and gabbana image in my classrooms – it’s a terrifying one.

  2. I think unfortunately there are some men who see women as nothing but objects and nothing more or don’t really see women as humans. This may have a lot to do with culture, but I wonder how much is also upbringing as far as guidance, as parents do have a lot to do with teaching compassion and understanding. And also makes me wonder how much of it is biological, as some people are simply more compassionate and caring than others. Some lack empathy or don’t have much and some are narcisstic or have sociopahtic tendencies. It makes me wonder. Because there are a lot of guys I’m sure that feel they don’t have much power, are insecure in their masculinity and highly sexually frustrated and may have bad outlook toward women but they don’t harm women or couldn’t do it, because they have empathy and could never find themselves to do such a thing. It seems it goes both ways though. Misundestandings and a battle of the sexes. Like you said with the strip club patron and what you hear from women sometimes. “men just want to fuck” coming from women and them being jaded and having hostility towards men from perhaps these women being played. But then the hostility from men to women because these guy’s feel they are being teased, the guys are insecure like I brought up and desire the beautiful women but feel they can’t be with these women or these women will turn them down if these guys approach. Or maybe these guys have approached many times before with little success, so that wears on them too just like it wears on the women being with guys they thought liked them but ended up just finding out the guy only wanted sex with them. So the “game” so to speak causing men and women to be jaded unfortunately towards each other.

  3. So then comes the question, how can there be a compromise or the middle ground? Obviously more can be done for more guys to look at women as people and not objects. But what about guys who do see women as people, but they are jaded toward women and women who are jaded towards guys? Since quite awhile people have known the contrast in desires generally between men and women and why there can be so many frustrations and misunderstadings between the sexes and hostility. More guys than women simply can seem to have sex for sex sake and be fine or like hooking up or more casual relations than women generally seem to want. So basically you have one sex who generally desires sex but more with emotional bonds or relationship (women), compared to the other who likes relationships but can enjoy having fun and not get attached as easily and just want to get laid more so without getting emotions or atleast being able to shut them down (men). So naturally there is going to be or can be hostility. So it’s a matter of making things better or figuring this out.

    • I’m open to suggestions.

      At the least, we can understand each other. And luckily there is a lot of common ground that women and men share. But also, patriarchy represses women’s sexuality more than men’s, so that needs to be countered.

  4. I dont even know what to write about this. I never looked at woman this way. Being raised by my mom and aunts I was always taught woman were strong and should be cherished and treated as queens because without woman this world would not exist.

    • Luckily, there are many good guys out there (even among those who objectify: Why Men Objectify http://broadblogs.com/2012/10/29/why-men-objectify/

    • I hear a lot of men say that women should be treated as “queens,” but, in my experience, these are the same men who believe in traditional gender roles. I remember reading about the leader of a religious organization who believed women should be cherished and loved. He then spoke about how manual labor is “below the dignity of women” and told parents not to allow their daughters to go to college.

      For this reason, I always cringe when people say women should be treated like royalty. As far as I’m concerned, all humans should be treated with dignity and respect. In terms of a loving relationship, both people should treat the other like royalty.

  5. I actually went out to find this stat that heard a few months ago. More than 1/3 of college men (in one study) said they would rape a women if they could get away with it. When I first heard this, the wording was ‘if there was no law against it.’

    I feel lucky to have a great boyfriend who respects me, but I know he has seen this too. He has seen how men treat his female friends and how men have treated his older sisters. He’s not the type of guy to put up with guys who disrespect people (of any gender). I know plenty other men who would roll with this disrespect and never say anything.

    http://www.uic.edu/depts/owa/sa_rape_support.html <–Where I found that stat.

  6. I feel bad for Phil. What about “Friend ‘em”? The disservice to oneself of being an a**hole. He should go to a strip club in Portland and talk to the other men and woman there. (I’m guessing he’s actually a more complicated person than one line indicates?)

    In other news, do two asterisks really make much of a difference?

    • Whether or not Phil is more complicated than the line indicates, with his attitude he can’t help but harm others, while encouraging others to do so, too.

      On some level I also feel sorry for anyone who hurts others. Because hurt people hurt people. I’ve sometimes written about this, like this post for instance:

      “Why I Left the KKK”: One Man’s Revelation
      http://broadblogs.com/2010/09/09/%e2%80%9cwhy-i-left-the-kkk%e2%80%9d-one-man%e2%80%99s-revelation/

      That doesn’t change the fact that sexual objectification of women and hostility toward them often go hand-in-hand. So I recommend doing neither.

      (By the way, I learned about Phil from a book called “Self-Made Man” in which journalist, Norah Vincent, passed as a man for 18 months. She hung out at a strip club with this guy once – or maybe more than once. The book ends up being extremely sympathetic to men. Male reviewers of the book appreciate her revelation of the male experience.)

      • There’s always the potential he’ll have the exact opposite effect, since the only thing more influential than (what someone perceives as) a good example, is a bad one. That is, seeing something ugly that might also lurk within us, is the best way to recognize it and seek to change it.
        That being said, I hope he doesn’t work as a camp counselor.

      • Regardless of his effect — and I’ve heard of dads giving this advise to their sons — I don’t appreciate people thinking of my sex that way.

        If he were saying this sort of thing specifically about an ethnic group I wonder if it would seem so benign.

      • I’m not saying it’s benign (though he doesn’t seem nearly as hate-based as the KKK), and I completely agree that there are far too many abusive/dismissive portrayals of women in our culture, both subtle and overt. Unsurprising viewpoint, given that I read your blog ; )

        If a similar stance of disregard was held towards an ethnic group? Hmm. Like I said, his “use and discard” mentality, though a tragic waste of humanity, isn’t what I would classify as hatred, unless it goes deeper than that “motto.” It reminds me of the underlying racism that I encountered in Europe. People didn’t actively hate immigrants from a few particular countries, but they didn’t respect them either. Is it a problem? Absolutely. Is it benign? Not at all.

        Buuut it ain’t the KKK.
        It’s someone who desperately needs an evolutionary friendship and/or humanity boot camp.

      • The point I was trying to make about the couple who left the KKK: Those who spew negativity towards others can’t possibly be happy. That was my point. Equating the ex-KKK with creepy Phil was not my point.

        I do get annoyed when people act like I shouldn’t criticize hurtful behavior. No one should say anything about harmful behavior because that wouldn’t be nice. And you know, when no one says anything, it’s more likely to continue on because people think it’s not a big deal. Doesn’t really bother anyone — apparently.

        Or, every time someone does something hurtful, I apparently must point out that the hurtful person is in pain, too? That point would then be attached to so many posts that it would be maddening repetitive and annoying. I make that point periodically, as with the KKK piece. I’m not going to make it every time I point out behavior that’s harmful.

        I’ve also noticed that while people tend to be more sensitive to racism than sexism, white guys seem to be the most resistant to understanding the harmful effects of both.

        For instance, a couple black guys in one of my classes asked why women didn’t like sexist jokes– these two guys had no problem with sexist jokes against men, they added. I asked how they felt about racist jokes. They didn’t like them – at all. I told them I had no problem with racist jokes against whites– The identity is just too strong — so much so that I couldn’t be hurt by them. Same with maleness. The identity is so strong that men aren’t harmed by sexist jokes. The guys got it. But I’ve often had difficulty making the same point with white guys, who haven’t experienced racism or sexism and have a more difficult time relating. Some get it, and some don’t.

      • Yikes, is this a case of the flaws of text-based communication? I wasn’t saying you shouldn’t criticize hurtful behavior. Quite the opposite. I’m concurring with you that this attitude is messed up, I’m just adding that it’s harmful to him, as well as to women.

        I’m sorry if I gave the impression that I think you’re wrong for disliking his stance. Words are tricky, I guess. Like how at first read it seemed you were saying that I have no understanding of, or at least sensitivity to racism and sexism.

      • Sorry about that. Based on everything else I know about you I’m sure you meant well.

      • I usually do. ;)
        I hope you have a marvelous and relaxing Christmas time. Vacation!

  7. This is a classic example of a double bind. Women are only good for sex and that’s it, but if they are sexual and enjoy sex they are a slut and should be completely ashamed of themselves.

    Women have been objectified to the point of not being human anymore. I experienced this personally a couple months ago. There are lots of “hot chicks” Facebook pages where people just post pictures of what society considers attractive women all day. Many of these pages take fan submissions. My ex submitted a picture he had taken of my ass on a butt page. The forwarded me the link with the caption reading “another great fan submission! Rate that booty 1-10!” The sad part is that he was trying to compliment me and help me out. I was having a bad day and he was trying to give me a confidence boost and he thought objectifying me would help. I would hate to think any girl would post her butt on a public page willingly to have it rated by complete strangers.

    Men’s ideas of women and how they view themselves, as illustrated by my story, has reached a point where now women view themselves that way as well. They buy the bombshells, wear the makeup, and try to make themselves look as sexually appealing as possible. They NEED to in order to feel important, pretty and valid. It makes me angry my ex thought I was one of these girls, and it makes me sad that I have met many, many girls who feel this way.

    As for the quote shared, maybe women wouldn’t be so degrading of men if they weren’t taught by the media and the attention received from others for being sexually appealing that that they should be degrading. Maybe if women were seen as more then sex dolls they would act like it. People live up to expectations that are placed for them, and it is hard to make yourself more when society doesn’t think you can be.

  8. I guess the Victoria’s secreat fashion show is on tonight, which is a big show. I wasn’t watching it, but went by the channel and saw a victoria’s secret commercial. They showed all the models in the commercial in their lingeries and I remember thinking how pretty the women are and they are attractive. But also thinking, how tiny they are too. Like some of they looked like they’d break a hip or a bone if they slipped on ice and fell. They didn’t look anorexic, but just so tiny, their waist and legs, ribs, etc. I remember talking to my step dad who was over and we both saw the commercial and saying how it’s too bad in a sense. And how I think it’s dumb, but many girls are insecure seeing these commercials and it’s weird they do get insecure seeing these models, when I told him so many guys like girls with more meat on their bones. The victoria’s secret women are beautiful of course, but as far as preference as far as sexual desirablitty goes, if we’re going to talk about models, I find Kate Upton’s body and features more sexually desirable than the tiny bodies of the victoria’s secret models. And I think a ton of guys do as well. You know the beyonce knowles, salma hayek, sofia vergara, hour glass like bodies.

  9. Men like a woman have to hips and women’s legs can be bigger than women think and still desirable, and women can be so insecure about having a bigger butt, but so many guys do like a “booty” on women. So it’s weird women look at these victoria secret models and many get self conscious about their bodies as a result.

  10. I have been a big fan of the Victoria Secret’s fashion show, and have watched it for many years. However, this year is going to be different. Since I started taking women’s studies class, I realized that everything in ads or TV has little to do with reality. There is so much work behind the scenes being done to make it look perfect and far from what the people look like in reality. I did not know that the models for the Victoria Secrets fashion show don’t eat solid food for two weeks before the show and that they would have a strict diet for a year. Why? Because they want to look “beautiful” and thin for the show. If somebody comes to me and tells me, if you want to be on TV you can’t eat solid foods for two months, I would be like hell No!!! I don’t want to do that. But if this person tells me there is a lot of money as a reward, I would think about it, maybe even do it. I think this is where the problem lies (money).
    It is hard to try to make people (especially men) conscious about the whole objectification of women, in part because I simply don’t think they realize what the ads are doing (just like I never realized). As for the male models in the ads ( \like those in the DG ad) I also don’t think they know what they are doing or the message they are sending and if they do, I would assume the money (and fame) is a good enough pay off for both male and female models. This of course does not make it okay. I once had a coworker that decided to be a model instead of being a waitress. She said the life of a model was better, there was a bigger chance for her to meet someone rich and to be around famous people. Through her modeling agency, she was flown to Vegas to go to their pool parties, where all was paid for: the fancy hotel, flights, food, table service, etc. just to have their “sexy” selves present. At the time I did not see how this is another example of objectification but it most certainly is and it didn’t seem to bother her. Perhaps if the price is right, we can do things that we might not do otherwise and we fail to realize the consequences our actions are having on so many other people (ex. girls fighting anorexia , bulimia, etc.) It’s very unfortunate but true.

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