Men = Money Objects; Women = Sex Objects

Men are money objects?

Men are money objects?

Women may not objectify men’s bodies, but they objectify other things, like social status, power, wealth, fame etc. And those things are intrinsically connected with sexuality.

Men tell me this with some frequency. The quote above comes from “Catfish.”

First I’ll say that there is a difference between women being sex objects and men being money objects.

A sex object is all about sex, and she exists for someone else’s pleasure. Her thoughts and feelings don’t matter. And so she gets used and abused.

Turning it around doesn’t quite work:

A money object is all about money, and he exists for someone else’s purposes. His thoughts and feelings don’t matter. And so he gets used and abused.

That might happen with swindlers, but not with sex or relationship partners. (If it does, they are swindlers posing as sex or relationship partners.)

Money ≠ sex, but there’s still a problem

So money doesn’t equal sex, but men still feel like they face a problem. And the problem parallels the sex object problem in some ways.

When it comes to sex and relationships, women don’t want to be only about sex. And men don’t want to be chosen just for their money.

But humans can also be strangely contradictory:

Women may fret that they don’t meet sex objects standards: they aren’t “attractive enough.” A primary way that we judge a woman’s worth.

Similarly, men can feel like they they aren’t rich enough. A primary way that we judge a man’s worth.

Real people competing with superstars

Yearning to be on top.

Yearning to be on top.

Either way, these sorts of judgments come out of domination cultures, patriarchy being one type.

Domination cultures are hierarchal. People are ranked, and we learn to value whoever is on top.

So women feel like they must look like supermodels. No wonder 80% of young women have poor body image. (And in fact, what is considered attractive varies by culture.)

And men feel like they must be economically successful. But most men don’t find themselves at the top of that pyramid, either, and can end up feeling unworthy.

Working toward loving partnerships

So, Catfish opines,

You can change the criteria, but regardless, there will be winners and losers in this game. And inevitably the losers will feel very, very bad.

Our hierarchal, domination society makes it seem that life is all about ranking people and creating winners and losers.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Not all societies follow that pattern. We can create partnership societies where variety is the spice of life, and celebrate generosity and love.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social 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. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on May 9, 2016, in feminism, men, objectification, sex and sexuality, sexism, women and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 51 Comments.

  1. Dominant culture makes human strive for the best, which is good for economy and society. Parents can influence their kids either to go for money or love. My roommate’s father told her from the very young age to look for a man, who is financially strong to support her. Therefore, she thinks that marriage is a business and not about love. There is nothing wrong with the idea cause parents always want the best for their kids. However, judging one’s ability base on wealth or look perspective is also not a good idea. You might miss out on the good part of the person. More and more parents encourage their kids to follow their heart either in career or love, unlike the old days. There are already changes in the pattern in our society toward a collaborate approach these days.

    • Competition can be a good thing, but feeling like you must dominate others isn’t so great. You actually can have partnerships plus competition, as many athletes will attest to. I know some tennis players who are good friends and appreciate how their competitors bring out their best.

  2. I think that there will always be problems that we all face. However, I think that men’s problems are changing for the better because women are now seen as someone who can also make money and have a part as being breadwinners for the family as well. This is becoming more and more accepted through our society and is bettering the condition of men while women are kept in the same position or even worse. For example, the recent incident when a Stanford swim student raped a woman he got off with only six months in prison and probation because of his status, wealth, and athleticism meanwhile the woman gets no justice. Men might have problems too, but they are not even close to being as severe as women’s.

  3. To think that women are considered sex objects and men as money objects is something that I feel goes back to gender and gender roles. Although as much as we do want these roles to dominate who we are and how we live, society has already sculpted how we think, feel and act either through social norms or religious ways. Men have predominately been seen as the gathers and therefore in this day in age are considered, or thought to be, the ones that are supposed to be able to support families and children. On the other hand, women are still seen as sex objects because it takes a women to make a child. Im not implying that this is the way it is, its generally what I have observed in today’s day and age. The idea of classifying each gender to a specific role is nothing new. Rather we should understand now that women can also be successful and can also provide money. And on the other hand, although it isn’t flattering to think, men can be seen as sex objects too. My point is that this line should definitely start to blur out in the next decades as our society and culture begins to understand each gender better and how that gender may contribute to society.

  4. I wrote what I though about “prove”, hopefully it wasn’t too long. But I wasn’t sure since I haven’t seen you respond back to see if that’s something you wanted to know or to incorporate in the blog post about what I wrote with the song references and poem, which you showed me what you edited. Also wondering if the other post was too much or you’re just wanting to look at it later, in regards to the gangland question you asked about and I wrote to you about. You asked what quotes stood out to me and I wrote some and then relayed it to what reminded me of a good movie quote and clips from Bronx tale and shared the clips.

  5. I never really thought of this situation in this way before. I always focus on how women are only seen as sex objects in society, which is mostly true, but I never realized that men have their own societal problems as well. It’s very true that men are often times pressured into making a good amount of money or they seem to feel worthless and not feel like “a man”. Women feel insecure because their bodies are not “perfect” like the models and actresses on television and don’t feel pretty enough for men to like them. Men have the same mindset but not about sex, instead by having money and seeing that they are worthy for women to be attracted to them. It’s a horrible thing that humans do in our society; We never feel good enough for anybody and even ourselves. People try too hard to succeed in life and to look perfect, when we really should be enjoying our time here on Earth and loving and appreciating ourselves as we are and other loved ones as they are.

  6. In my opinion, that sees the man, as objects to earn money, the woman’s sexual objects. Cause happened from all the values and social concept used to judge the value of a man and a woman. In side of men, wealth is the first thing that women currently using to judge the value of men. I watched a documentary about the theory of gravity matching which found that women interested in the man looks simple but high income than that good-looking men but medium income. This shows clearly that most women judge men for money, and that is why most men try to work make money to show the woman saw the stability in life itself. For women, beauty is the first thing that men use value judgment of them. A beautiful woman is often the need of men than women with normal appearance .So the girl tried in every way to the beautiful like superstar. They forgot to look at the real charm in the beauty , which in each culture is not the same, some countries, women with plump shape is beautiful, while some countries look ugly.

    However, I think people should judge the value of people with their actions objectively. Don’t stick too much, if a man is good and considerate to others. Despite the moderate income, he would found a woman who loves him. As a woman, although not beautiful like a superstar, but if she do good, courteous and charming. Finally it will make her met a man who love her in her own way.

  7. Before reading this, I never thought of this comparison between a woman’s sexual objectification and a man’s financial objectification. I think this is heavily linked to the gender stereotype that in a relationship, it is a man’s responsibility to keep the family financially stable. It’s part of their role as a husband to protect and ensure stability. This creates a huge amount of pressure for men to live up to this standard. Men internalize this idea that their worth lies in their ability to support their spouse, and when they are unable to do so, they feel emasculated. This powerlessness and insecurity is something women feel too, but in a different light. We must learn to separate a person’s worth from their looks, money, strength, etc.

  8. “Thanks. I’ll edit your comment(s) and run it by you.”

    ok, thanks. sounds good

  9. Diederik de Groot

    I think that men are seen as money objects because for the longest time men have been seen as breadwinners of the family. So they are seen as the more money you have to more attractive you are to the females. One very interesting fact I have found out when I started to get paid when I help out coaching little kids at my old tennis academy. It was when I got paid by my coach. He only had change money, meaning mostly one dollar bills, so I got paid in that. Whenever I went to pay for something and pulled out the cash the first thing people would ask would be “Are you a stripper?” It happened again in my current job at Peet’s Coffee and Tea when I would help out with tips and the last person on the list would always get all the ones. She came complaining to me once saying people were thinking she was a stripper. This example shows how much money controls the world and society. Now to move on the other topic. Women viewed as sex objects. Men want to control women. So viewing them as objects in one way to control them more. Just like an object, which can’t move on its own unless someone uses it, if a woman is a sex object it won’t move unless the male moves them

  10. It is pretty clear that nowadays men and women are classified into 2 separate groups. As the text says, “money object” and “sex object”. People are expected by others to fulfill their roles and finish their jobs. This is an implied-common sense to most people. But when we point it out, it does sounded quite rude and odd. I agree to that so far.

    For the hierarchy system though, I tend to prefer a hierarchy social structure then a chaotic state which no one had no idea what is going on other than grabbing more and more stuff into their hands. But that doesn’t mean that I agree with the fact that people’s role cannot be changed, it is 2 different thing. What I am looking for, is an organized class but at the same time allowing people to move between classes. The traditional social class structure is too strict that no one are allowed to change from the beginning till the end. Same as men and women, why should men always be the money object and women be the sex object? If a men wants to be a sex object, then we should respect his will and let him be. If a women wants to be a money object, we should let her be. However, during that period of time, the sex men should know what his role is and the money women should know what her role is, until they change their mind.

    • You actually can have an ordered society without domination cultures. For instance, Scandinavia is swiftly approaching a partnership society, And the people are very happy, And the places very ordered!

      As for your thoughts on this.

  11. Courtney Bernardo

    In today’s society we live in a very materialistic world where people are ranked based on how much money they have, In some way money is a big part of patriarchy because as a man, you must be able to provide for your family. There was a time where I was getting a ride from my best friend and her mom, my bestfriend’s mom mentioned that if we are ever gonna decide to get in a relationship it has to be with someone that’s rich so that he would be able to take care of us, furthermore, she used Indians as an example and how they’re stingy and good with money, and looking back at it money can not only be used as a way to objectify man it could also be used to stereotype people. I think that society has created this standards that must be passed to be considered worthy whether it be a man or a woman.

  12. Interesting read. Like you said professor, our perception and expectation of men and women in today’s society will fall largely in the category of “having a body that men will be attracted to” for women and “having a fortune/well-paying job” for the men. These social norms are embedded into the millennials through the medium of media, social media, older influences and other factors.

    I believe we can strive for “creating partnership societies where variety is the spice of life, and celebrate generosity and love” as pointed out by the article. Although, we will definitely encounter challenges, temptation and peer pressure to fall back to the “status quo” which society expects everybody to be line with.

    • If we can appreciate a wider variety in terms of looks and what people accomplish in the world, we will all be better off.

    • I definitely understand where you are coming from and agree that in today’s culture we should be able to see past the old gender roles and create a partnership society where both genders are allowed to freely do whatever makes them happy. For men, if it really makes you happy to aim to be the best, then good on you. You do you. But this doesn’t mean you should feel like you have to somehow reach for the top. Just do whatever you need in life to feel empowered and happy in your own way. Not just for men of course, women too. We need to let the new generation know that having a certain body may make someone else happy, but does it make you happy? I like how you point out the social norms that have been embedded in our society. Us millennials have been told constantly to always to go to school and get a degree and then you will be successful. Not to discourage education, I personally feel everyone should have some sort, but surround yourself with knowledge you find interesting and makes you think and feel happy rather than one that will help pay the bills and acquire more cars or a bigger house.

  13. But is objectivation is a binary state? Can you “objectivy” someone to a certain degree and still fill emotional connection and empathy to that person?

    • No. But you can think of someone a super Hot and also feel emotional connection and empathy. Maybe in bed your whole focuses on how hot your partner is. You’re empathy would emerge from not doing things that seem to hurt her or him.

  14. Hei Yiu Hailey Wong

    The society has been telling men and women what they have to do in order to be worthy and useful; men are expected to be strong, powerful and the ones who work out there to earn a living, which turns out that their social status, wealth and power become indicators of their worth, known as the “money objects” in the post. On the other hand, the “sex objects”- women are told that their worth come from their sexuality and attractiveness to men, being existed for the pleasure of men. Although the men being the “money objects” is not as oppressive as how the women is being abused, it might still be a problem. Most of the men are definitely not on the top the pyramid in terms of economic success, and they could end up with low self-esteem, not feeling worthy, which is the same in women’s poor body image. It is time for us to come to realize that what the culture taught us is not true at all; the worth of each individuals, both men and women, do not depend on those “artificial” and physical elements (money/look) but the person himself or herself. We should challenge and change the domination culture for both men and women, and break the sex objects and money objects standards, so to start celebrating our own uniqueness.

  15. Firstly, I would like to say that what a situation has come over us that we are actually talking all this.. Yes I know and appreciate the courage of talking this so blunt …

    But money and beauty has an expiry date… They always had…
    Men is not a money machine but certainly women is not a toy, not someone who is there to give pleasure… I simply can’t think where we are and which civilization we are so proud of..

    A woman in India is prohibited to enter into a temple as she was having her periods but a man can easily enter a women…

    I am actually into tears whenever I think of this..

    • Pretty sad situation, isn’t it?

    • I see u write in a capitals about the prove” thing. Was that part of the writing or you asking me to elaborate more on why the prove” part of the lyric stuck out to me? And yeah I like that you are going at it from different angles which to me it’s about. There is many layers to it or depth and why I wrote it. But yeah the short version is fine first. Yeah there are different angles. The masculine facade, and society promotes that and also the deeper human condition I think to pursue happiness or what is supposed to be that but lost.

      So even tho women aren’t wrapped up because of culture in some things like guys, people can be or “feel” lost in this unattainable quest of success and being unhappy as a result because they lost sight of their own worth, desires and instead try to be someone else or the life they “think” is the highlife when they already had the life but just didn’t know or perhaps.

      • Yeah, I was asking you to fill-in.

        I’m guessing the “proving” comment has to do with having sex to prove something about yourself — ego based — more than the intrinsic value of the sexual encounter. It seems like the high life, satisfying and fulfilling, but it’s really just ego-based. And this from what you just wrote: “feel” lost in this unattainable quest of success and being unhappy as a result because they lost sight of their own worth, desires and instead try to be someone else or the life they “think” is the highlife when they already had the life but just didn’t know or perhaps.

        Please let me know.

      • Wanted to learn more about the aspect of prove,
        Thought writing seriously thoughts those adjusts which people rarely appreciate and acknowledge…
        Thank you so much 🙂

  16. “You are quite insightful. If you ever go back to college you might want to major in sociology. You actually can make good a living in sociology since “marketing and sales” like sociologists. And if your over all GPA isn’t that great because you don’t like your courses, even better: sales and marketing like C and B students. (My professors in marketing told me this, and I also learned it from first-hand experience.)”

    That’s interesting, why does sales and marketing like C and B students? I heard sales is a tough business though. You can make good $ IF you’re good at it, but really struggle if not good or even average. It can be living by the week business, because it depends on how well you do that week or commission, etc. I have a bachelor’s degree in broadcast communications. I didn’t turn out how I wished though I have a good job. I wish I went a little differently, but that was my dream then and I didn’t think about how tough it could be as you have to think about availability of such jobs.

    Is the market good for sociologists? Because I’m from a small city and a half hour from me is a bigger city and I work there already. But I don’t know if you’d need to live in like the metropolis like cities. I don’t live that far from family because of medical reasons, but if it’s a one where you could find available positions in various cities big or smaller, then that’s batter. Anyway, if I liked the courses I think I would be fine, because I was not on the dean’s list, but the president’s list as far as gpa for the bachelor’s degree. Sorry, wasn’t trying to sound like bragging, but that, yeah I should be fine with good grades for it. But thank you for the compliment.

    I appreciate your blogs, because it’s really made me open my eyes about somethings. I was fairly knowledgeable about things, before, but I like how notions I had before or pre-conceived notions, well it made me learn and not necessarily change my views as they were never bad, but alter them and take in the new things I’ve learned. They were never bad, but like what many people have who internalize our culture and many women. I’m proud of having an open mind which is key and willing to take in things that I may have though wrong or misunderstood and the compassion and understanding to absorb this and take it with me. It is always great to learn, learn new things and learn as much as you can. I think people who don’t want to learn or close minded are fools. Even if you are an expert or even a genius, you can always learn and improve yourself in life, as far as in a professional and even more importantly, as a human being. I have gained more empathy and understanding since the time I’ve been reading and post on here.

    • Marketers like sociologists because they examine social patterns — like what people buy, how people think. So that gets you into marketing strategy. But for sales staff, they like C and B students because A students tend to get bored too quickly and leave. My dad told me not to major in sociology because it doesn’t make any money (which can be true if you aren’t in sales and marketing) so my undergraduate degree is in business with a focus on marketing — which is the closest to sociology. Our professors kept giving us Bs on everything, And we complained. They said it was fine because when you get out in the real world they prefer to hire sales people who are B and C students. After graduating I went to a seminar with Dean Witter and they specifically told us that they didn’t want any A students. Now, I’m not someone who likes sales, I’m more interested in strategy. But to get there you start out in either sales or secretarial, And I’m terrible at both. So I figured that with a practical degree under my belt I would go back and get a graduate degree in sociology — which fits me much better. And I’m the sort of person who loves teaching and writing, So my work fits me perfectly!

      While you can make a lot of money in sales, I’m sure you’re right. It probably depends a lot on what you are selling. And yeah, Broadcast journalism is pretty tough — not a lot of jobs in that field.

      I’ve worked in San Francisco and Los Angeles and Silicon Valley — I’ll big cities, So what I was saying was based on that experience. You can do information interviews if you would like to explore my question with companies in the large city near you. That would give you a really good sense. You can contact people working in a field you’re interested in and ask if they would talk to you about their field and educational requirements, Etc. But I’m glad that you have a good job. That is a very good thing to have these days!

      When I was first exposed to sociology I appreciated it for the same reasons that you describe. I was pretty shocked to see that there were ways seeing the world that hadn’t occurred to me before. And there’s nothing wrong with being an armchair scholar. I am in fields not related to sociology. And I really appreciate your thoughts on my blog. They give me material to work with! 🙂

      • “When I was first exposed to sociology I appreciated it for the same reasons that you describe. I was pretty shocked to see that there were ways seeing the world that hadn’t occurred to me before. And there’s nothing wrong with being an armchair scholar. I am in fields not related to sociology. And I really appreciate your thoughts on my blog. They give me material to work with!:-)”

        Yeah well, it sucks in a yeah though, because though my job is good it’s one not needed to have a degree in. So that happens to many people too. Not just going to a job that you need a degree for but it’s different than the specific one they have. But a career not needed to have a degree. It’s one of those things though where the job I have is one where it’s hard to get in to, despite not needing a degree because it’s a good company and as a result many people apply to it and there’s little turn over because very few workers leave and the company doesn’t hire new people too often, because they actually try to be fair to the employees it has.

        Too many companies I see constantly hire seasonal or temp workers, because it’s less $ for them to pay and less benefits, but the workers that have been there for a while lose hours or chance at full time, because now the payroll is spent on the extra workers hired. But the company I work for doesn’t do that and like i said few workers leave or quit. It’s weird, because you don’t need a degree but it pays more than a good number of careers that a person with a degree could make. Obviously not like what medical field, lawyers, accounting or such careers like that. It’s because the pay rate increases pretty fast within 5 years. So while a person may start less than other careers, it matches it quick in 5 years, and fast if promoted to supervisor which can happen fast too, especially if at one that just opened up. I know a lot of the workers who have bachelors degrees, supervisors, employees and they might not have planned at staying, but got promoted or liked the company and stayed.

      • What a great company! Other businesses could learn from yours.😃

    • I haven’t approved your other comments yet because I want to take a look at them to see if maybe I can turn them into a blog post by you — if you don’t mind. (the post would be shorter — I try to keep it to around 500 words.) And I won’t be doing that until Thursday. 🙂

      • ok thanks. if you want me to clip it for you I will. If you post my post I will for you. Though I like the beginning set up analysis. And a lot of it is not my writing, but copied and pasted lyrics and then short thoughts in between. The longest was the first post as far as my own writing goes. The other two were more of copying and pastiing lyrics and like the poem for the last separate post. Yeah I don’t care if your blog post is shorter and around 500 words. It’s cool just for me to inspire you to write in in the first place or think of doing so.

      • Thanks. I’ll edit your comment(s) and run it by you.

    • That’s awesome. Thanks. Yeah I like it. I like that u touched on the things I was trying to convey and the deep summary at the end. I like how you put it together. So yeah u have the go ahead from me if u want to post it.

  17. I wonder if this is part of the reason or doesn’t help with the crime rate. You think about it, men feeling they have to be bread winners, but are at the bottom of the totem pole could feel useless and emasculated at the same time. And they have to find a way, anyway to get back to the top or get there by any means necessary. Whether it be stealing, robbing, or joining gangs and getting $ and false power from that and well sex crimes and domination upon women. And how one’s on the bottom of the totem pole (minorities” as a result of this due more of the crimes and incarcerated more as well as more gangs consisting of minorities whether blacks or hispanics.

    • Men are taught that they are supposed to be powerful, which is related to having a lot of money. But a lot of men are at the bottom of the pyramid — whether because they are newcomers, or a history of discrimination, or getting trapped in a cycle of poverty. And regardless of race — doesn’t matter whether these guys are Irish, Polish, Italian, Asian, Latino or Black — they too often get trapped in things like gang activity and higher crime rates. It makes them feel powerful as they beat people up, kill them, defend their turf, or commit other crimes. But it ends up backfiring since they end up dead, in prison, or at least not getting an education. So yeah, you’re right. This is one of the problems of domination culture.

      • It’s very interesting, with the problem in society with how it teaches men that they can’t express their softer emotions or get help and how masculine qualities are important. I happened to watch a documentary called “gangland’ and it was talking about the notorious hispanic gang in the 80s in LA Or Califonia, called “latin kings”. And the story of some gang members who were out, but voices disguised about how it was his only way out or fitting in. It’s sad and messed up how young buys feel they have no other way than to be powerful or try to be or gain acceptance through a bad way.

        Sometimes it seems these boys or kids are outcasts with pent up anger and aggression from whatever it is, a broken home, an abusive father, hopelessness, and going into a gang to find something or be a part of something, like a community and a place to get this power back they feel they don’t have or lost. It’s weird, because it’s such a bad idea, as gangs are not only bad obviously, bad men doing bad things, but it’s very dangerous. Gang members no matter how notorious, are not that far from getting whacked by another rival gang member or their own. There is no loyalty. If and when shit hits the fan, the bossess and rest are out for themselves and will take whoever out to save their ass or make them pay or turn on them if they find a reason too. Yet, funny enough, probably the newbies and young gang members thing it’s like a brotherhood. When there is no loyalty and really over grown “boys” who are lost and trying to create a false power that was never there and tricking themselves into thinking they are part of something powerful and some community. When it’s not.

      • Yes. As you point out, the irony is that we value masculine over feminine traits and then it backfires: Independence over dependence for instance, and then men who need some sort of help, whether it is physical or mental health, for instance, may not get it — and end up suffering when they have the option of healing. Or, men feel like they have to be powerful, and then powerless men try to feel more powerful by joining gangs but end up dead or in prison.

        You are quite insightful. If you ever go back to college you might want to major in sociology. You actually can make good a living in sociology since “marketing and sales” like sociologists. And if your over all GPA isn’t that great because you don’t like your courses, even better: sales and marketing like C and B students. (My professors in marketing told me this, and I also learned it from first-hand experience.)

    • On this: “I happened to watch a documentary called “gangland’ and it was talking about the notorious hispanic gang in the 80s in LA Or Califonia, called “latin kings”.

      I was wondering if you could pull out some quotes you especially liked, and your thoughts on them. I found this link in case you don’t have it

  18. If only we could all realize that our worth is not in how much money we have or how we look or how much value people place on us for said money/looks but inherent to who we are. If both genders could realize that were it not for the conditioning that tells us otherwise and leaves people in a perpetual state of empty and need.

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