The Dark and the Light Side of Objectification
That women are objectified is not just a social construct of a modern western porno saturated society. Women have always been prized for their looks and have sought to enhance their appearance in an incredible variety of ways. From applying lead paint to whiten faces, rings to elongate necks, to the duck lips and butt implant of today, women becoming educated and joining the board room has done nothing to change this. This is why feminists get their noses out of joint when the media focuses on the clothes and appearance of women politicians instead of their policies. And yet, despite their ‘progress’ into the former domains of men, this obsession with women’s appearance hasn’t gone away and nor is it likely to. It is biology and it has dark side and a bright side.
Healthy men find healthy women’s naked bodies attractive, and so do most women. They may have their own preferences which have an incredibly complex cultural, psychological and biological basis. I say healthy men, because there are damaged men who obsess over obese women and even sponsor them to become even more obese. But a man’s brain is absolutely primed to register the health and genetics of a future mate, and that means that certain waist hip ratios, healthy skin, lush hair, etc, will be sought after even in cultures that prefer ‘thicker’ women.
Most women also want sex and they know how the mating game works on the most primal level, so they seek to amplify their sexual market value with clothes aimed to accentuate the positive and hide the bulges. They also apply make-up, dye their head hair, remove body hair, wear heels to arch their backs and elongate their legs, and that’s just for starters.
Many women insist they want to be loved just for their inner beauty and berate men who they claim only make decisions with their balls. And yet to protest is futile, and women’s obsession with turning themselves into sex objects, even if subtly, shows that deep down no one is buying the bullshit . Yes, a true male friend (not one just hoping to get lucky one day) a gay friend, or long term mate may come to really appreciate the depths of your inner being, but that is not what attracts a man to you in the first place. I repeat healthy women want sex, and since men see them as objects, they can’t help but see themselves as objects too, and therefore the preening begins. All species do it.
Women do not see men primarily as sex objects. Of course women are also attracted to good mating indicators, and may enjoy a fun night out with the girls ogling male strippers. In the modern western world, where for the first time in history women have been able to mate with multiple men without commitment or obvious consequences, women may have learnt to appreciate the ‘dick-pic’. But it’s generally gay men who are more likely to appreciate pictures of naked oiled ripped men. The fact that the male equivalent of a ‘bikini calendar is not men in mankinis, i,e Borat, but rather men in uniforms, whether a fireman’s one or an Armani suit one, shows that most women are primed to consider cues of protection and providing potential as a true indicator of their ‘mate-worthiness’. We do objectify men, but simply in a different way. Men’s response to women’s brand of objectification is to make overt displays of their wealth and success. They may also lose their mental and physical health seeking that wealth and success.
Women also lose their mental and physical health making themselves into the best sex objects they can. The irony is that often by chasing that perfect body, indirectly seeking perfect love, women set themselves up for failure. The diet never works, the wrinkles and grey hairs are inevitable, and the seeking never ends. They get stuck in a perpetual state of self-hatred. Many give up and try to embrace their ‘fat flawed self’ in an attempt to love themselves and then make it into social movements in order to shame men into also loving their ‘fat flawed’ selves. But yet deep down the sorrow at the loss of beauty is a very deep wound in the female psyche. The male equivalent of admitting that you are a loser in the eyes of yourself and the world.
Another issue complicating the modern mating game, is that women’s traditional offering in the sexual market place, unless her fabulous beauty bagged her a rich man, was her ability to keep home and raise children. Women complain that these home arts are under appreciated and undervalued, yet it’s the women themselves who under value them. Point in case, my mother, as well as being a nurse for more than 50 years of her life, knew how to knit, sew, embroider, quilt, garden, cook anything, preserve food, I do not.
In the race to be equal in the workplace women have rejected the domesticity which mostly comes naturally to them and which nourishes and grounds them. Many high-flying corporate women admit that they have never been happier than when they turned their back on the masculine competitive rat race in favour of raising children and keeping home. And in this age of choice that doesn’t have to mean an all or nothing. Women are also choosing to run smaller businesses creating products and services which provide meaning, social interaction and mental stimulation to match their education level. But in the race to compete with men at work, and reject traditional female roles, plus the fact that women lose their sexual market value as they age, as opposed to men’s which actually increases as their earning value does. (It’s no coincidence that women find grey hairs in men distinguished but the feeling isn’t mutual); all this means that many women are left claiming there are no good men left to appreciate them. And men are finding that for the sake of sex, they are simply not willing to risk losing their money and rights to their children in a female centric legal system, in order to marry a woman, who doesn’t have the beauty, inner or outer, or feminine arts, which they seek to balance their own contribution to the mating equation. This is what is partly behind the MGTOW (men going their own way) movement, where men are saying its simply not worth it to partner long term with a woman.
So, what is the bright side of this traumatic conundrum. For it is not just a personal problem, it is absolutely a collective societal one. As Einstein said, ‘We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them’.
If a man works on creating wealth simply to attract the hottest women he can bag, bed and wed, he may be disappointed when she leaves him when he goes bankrupt or takes his wealth and the kids when she decides he doesn’t measure up in some way. A male might be better off developing his career and assets for their own value, to become a success in his own definition of the word, and learn to become a good judge of the female character before wisely choosing a partner.
For a woman, the equivalent isn’t working on creating a hot body for its own sake, it is becoming beautiful in the deepest sense of the word. I battled for years with self-esteem issues based on the way I looked. And I should add, that I was committed to a spiritual path which required celibacy for most of my adult life, and I’ve been financially independent since I was 15, so it wasn’t even consciously related to frustration at my diminished sexual market value. To me the extra body fat, was a deep and public admission that, despite being a ‘self-development teacher’, I had simply not being able to develop enough inner resources and wisdom to feed my own hungry soul. It was a broadcast to the world saying, inner and outer work required here!
That inner work is not easy. It is the yin to a man’s yang. We expect men to get out in the world and prove their worth. Well, the equivalent is the woman’s inner work to develop real self-knowledge, self-esteem and value, not the fake worth based on the amount of likes you get on a preening selfie.
That inner work, requires you to look at your addictions, your hunger for male approval, your emptiness, your deep self-centredness, your own dark-side. It simply does not work to stare at pictures of perfect bodies on your vision board, trying to fool yourself that you can manifest that and the perfect mate which comes along with it without facing your own shit. You have to admit that women are not all sugar and spice, and that our compulsive need for sweets, may be because we are full of unexplored bitterness, resentments, hungers, and contradictions. The bright side of this objectification dilemma, is that when we eventually admit that simply we can’t win this game from the state of mind we now possess, it forces us to eventually face our own darkness. And with that may come humility, forgiveness, self-awareness, and maybe one day, transformation of this whole messed up female male interdependence which seems to be such an important part of being human.