What Does Sexual Objectification Actually Mean?

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Why is it considered such a "radical notion" that women don't want to be objectified or shamed?

Sexual Objectification, Rape Culture and Slut-Shaming: Women are Human Beings....This Should NOT Have to be a "Radical Notion".

Did you know that when we are gazed upon in a sexually objectifying manner, we are being viewed as a "thing" and not an actual human being?

Cheris Kramarae and Paula A Treichler summarised the concept of feminism in one simple yet profound line: “Feminism is the radical notion that women are people."

Sexual objectification is the act of seeing another human being as an object as opposed to an actual person. Reducing us to mere body parts or perceiving us as nothing more than an object to satisfy someone else's sexual appetite, is a violation of our souls.

Research shows that this depersonalized treatment of another human being through objectification has deleterious effects: it inhibits our communication, silences our voice, impairs our cognitive functioning and results in us objectifying ourselves (self-objectification).

Our society supports rape culture and slut-shaming. When a sexual crime is committed against a woman, it is the woman herself who experiences humiliation and stigma, which serves to explain why the majority of sexual assaults go unreported. According to Germaine Greer, one of the most prominent feminist voices of the 20th century, our society raises women to accept the blame for crimes against ourselves. As women we are warned from a young age not to wear certain clothes because we will "attract" or "tempt" men; we are cautioned not to walk alone at night or attend certain places by ourselves because we will be "asking for it"; and we are advised that if we drink too much, then whatever happens to us is our "own fault".

... I mean, we live in a world in which as a woman you cannot walk down the street without being leered at, mentally undressed and dehumanised; a world where stepping outside your front door means exposing yourself to lecherous stares, glares and sexual commentary; a world where you will be repeatedly visually assessed by the sexually objectifying male gaze; a world where you will receive verbalised evaluation of your physical appearance by complete strangers who you just happen to be walking past; and a world where you will be subjected to unwanted sexual observation, scrutiny and advances, all of which are without your consent.

We live in a world in which waiting at a bus-stop or train station means that you will be approached by men propositioning you for anything from coffee to sex; where being alone in a public place means that you are viewed as anyone's "opportunity to seize for the taking"; and where freedom of clothing choice comes at the harrowing price of your perceived dignity, value and even safety.

For so many women this is our reality, our everyday life experience.

... The concept of women being actual human beings as opposed to mere objects, should not have to be a "radical notion". Sexual objectification of women is damaging, discriminatory, and distasteful. Greer advocates that until we ourselves as women start to reject stigma and refuse to experience shame for the way in which others treat us, we will have "no hope of achieving full human stature".

Make a decision to no longer accept nor tolerate the fallacies of your social conditioning, and choose to challenge them from hereon. You do need not need to seek anyone's approval, support or encouragement for your decision to repel against the inequity and absurdity of this inhumane social construct....You can fight your own battles.

... To personally modify the famous quote by Coco Chanel , I will leave you on this note: "A girl should do two things: who and whatever the hell she wants".

This article was originally published at Miya's personal blog site. Reprinted with permission from the author.