Feminism, The Objectification of Women, and Anxiety

I think that by now, it shouldn’t be any new “news” for most folks that whenever feminists and feminist-leaning writers talk about the objectification of women, that we know what it means. Nevertheless, just for the sake of clarity, it simply means treating women like objects: pretty things to be looked at, played with and/or used. And if you read enough feminist-leaning literature, the person doing the looking, playing and/or using are usually men. It goes without saying that this so-called objectification of women usually carries with it a negative connotation (yet when it’s the other gender, no one complains about the objectification of men, but i digress).

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It should also come as no surprise that feminists and feminist-leaning writers will often times quote the media, the fashion industry, and the ‘elusive’ corporations that market products to women for their consumption as the primary perpetrators of said objectification of women. I say ‘elusive’ because most of the time when these folks write their articles, they make no explicit mention of who these evil corporations or fashion industry professionals that are objectifying women and reducing them to mere objects for the gratification, sexual or otherwise, of men.

Here’s where things get interesting. I started looking up “the media” and numerous fashion industry professionals and their websites, as well as some of the biggest corporations that make and market women products to women and I found a rather peculiar but nonetheless, glaringly obvious pattern. Who would I consider the media, you ask? Well, I would think that all the major national newspapers (LA Times, New York Times, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, etc) would comprise a good chunk of what would normally be considered “the media.” Not only that but I would also categorize popular magazines (Cosmopolitan, Elle, Vogue, Esquire, etc) as sharing that space as well but now we’re delving into more of the fashion industry. Then I started to look up all the big corporations that make products for women: shampoo, conditioner, perfume, makeup kits, and women’s clothes like bra’s, under garments, lingerie, etc. A very interesting pattern started to arise as I started to dig deeper and deeper and that is that the articles, columns, and entire spaces: digital, print, podcast, or otherwise, are usually and predominantly written, spoken, and/or created by women.

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At this point, you might be thinking “Well, duh. Who else would know the subject matter better than the women themselves?” And you’d be right but let’s take a step back just for a moment. Remember the whole objectification of women that feminists and women who think like them have decried over and over? Feminists and the women who identify with the feminist narrative are, well, the one’s doing the objectifying. And they have been doing it all along–right under your noses and hiding in plain sight. Marinade in that for a bit. Let it slowly sink in and course through your body like a good, body rippling orgasm would. Now that you’ve let it wash all over you, ask yourself this: are men still doing the objectifying? Or is it really the women?

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I think that you’ll find that it’s the latter rather than the former. Don’t believe me? No problem. Go ahead and do a Google search for the best shampoo for women, best perfumes for women, a list of things a woman can do to get her man jealous, a list of reasons why a woman should hold out for Mr. Right, and/or how to use makeup effectively, how to dress sexy, what a relationship should be like, and how to keep the spice up in a relationship. I think you’ll find that most of the articles will likely be written, spoken, and/or created by women for, you guessed it, a woman audience. Bottom line, women are the perpetrators of the objectification of women, not men.

Now, the more keen feminist might say “But these corporations are owned by men! They are the evil ones!” Well, no. That’s not entirely true. Men may own these corporations but like any big corporation, they are not the sole proprietors of said corporation. Usually, once they grow to such a massive size, they have a board of directors, comprising of an equal mix of men and women making decisions for the direction and growth of the company. And underneath the board of directors, they choose and elect whole departments of women managers, supervisors, and creative writers to do what they do. In effect then, those folks further down the pyramid who are women in executive positions wield executives powers over creative writers and middle management comprised of women, to speak about, write about, and create content by and for women–in every sense of the word. You cannot blame those on top if entire departments are made of predominantly women creating content by and for women at that point. The only real way out of this is not working in said corporation or any corporation of such a massive size. There in lies the catch 22. Without big corporations paying the big bucks for women to manage those women who write and speak about women topics: be it fashion, relationship advice, and/or lifestyle choices, how can a woman ever move up the social and economic ladder? The short answer is that you can’t. By joining such a corporation, you necessarily sacrifice your own morals and any sort of credibility when you cry “misogyny is bad” or “objectification of women is wrong” since you are very same person that is perpetuating that objectification and misogyny.

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Stepping back for a moment, I came across this article by The Guardian, which is written by, you guessed it, a woman named Suzanne Moore. She argues that the mental health of young women are basically in a constant state of anxiety and depression because of those evil men who objectify women. Okay, maybe she didn’t outright use the word men in her article but she basically implies it when she kept describing the plight of growing teenage girls who are in a state of constant anxiety because of societal pressure, cultural conditioning, media and social media outlets pushing an unrealistic beauty standard on these young and budding women who are to become the leaders of tomorrow. This article was actually what gave me the idea of looking up who these evil perpetrators are and that doing these unspeakable things to these poor helpless, young teenage women.

Upon closer inspection, article after article, video after video, and podcast after podcast, I noticed that these articles, videos, and podcasts are created by women for women. Again, nothing unusual, at least at the face of it but as soon as I realized the underlying factors, it was like an “Ah hah!” moment. Men are not the one’s writing articles, creating podcasts, and videos about how women should dress to look sexy, what women should eat to slim down, how women should wear makeup, and how women should act around men. Women are. Not to say that men don’t do it at all but if they did, it’s to a much lesser extent. It’s more so that women are the overwhelming majority who are creating these unrealistic beauty standards and socially pressuring other women to do the things that the articles, podcasts, and videos tell them that they ought to do because of whatever their reasons are in said articles, podcasts, and videos.

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Women are the one’s creating the wealth of choices for other women to rack their brain over. They are the perpetrators of all the anxiety, depression, and ultimately suffering of other women as counter intuitive as it sounds because choice was the hallmark of what feminism wanted for women. But when given too much choice, women are now in a much more dire state than just a half century ago, mentally, psychologically, and spiritually. They are less happy and content as a result of too much choice. This shouldn’t be surprising. It is the ultimate question that every man ask themselves on a day-to-day basis. With all this choice, which way should I go? Am I making the right choice? What if it’s not the right choice? And how do I know if it’s the right choice? What criteria should one use to determine this? Even this has a wealth of choices in and of itself. Now, women can finally understand what men have to deal with on a day-to-day basis every moment of their lives for as long as they live and for as long as men have been making these decisions, sometimes at the expense of women, but usually with good intentions. This, being the primary good intention, among other good intentions.

Feminism won. Women have choice now. Not just a choice but a sea of choices. I think that this is a good thing but it’s not without their consequences and drawbacks. Just saying.

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