Attraction vs Objectification


People have alluded to this a few times already, but just to have another specific post about it: objectification isn’t just for attractive people. It’s also for ugly people, or for perfectly average people. It just means that instead of being turned into a beautiful object, you’re turned into an ugly object or a perfectly average object.

The shitty part remains being turned into an object.


Is that J Campbell as in Joseph Campbell? I read Hero with a Thousand Faces last year with some friends – one of them is a big Star Wars fan, and George Lucas is very big on Campbell.

What I got out of it was “Western white male academic erasing women from history and mythology by objectifying them”. The passage you quoted as a good example of that, the whole “devil’s doorway” idea.

Also, chastity belts weren’t real things in medieval times:


I will allow that I am guilty of objectification of the highest degree to people who are ugly ON THE INSIDE. And I am not being snarky or sarcastic here. I’ve come across people who are just not nice on the inside and I categorically think they are dickwads and assholes through and through.

It may seem flippant…but honestly…people who have ugly souls; those who are narcissistic and selfish, who lie and manipulate others, who feed on others like emotional vampires…yeah…they can all DIAF.


It’s uncanny that you posted this at the exact same time I was discussing this topic in the other thread. I couldn’t possibly agree with you more.


Yes, the same author. I haven’t read Hero with a Thousand faces. The book I am reading now is The Masks of God. I’ll admit that some of his writing is male-centric, especially in his writings about mythological story lines for either gender. The female models were sorely lacking and not nearly as fleshed out.
But I have enjoyed his writing on mythology and the exploration of it’s significance. If anyone knows of any current or female-centric writings, I’m interested!

What a relief to learn that chastity belts were a figurative and not literal thing! The idea is terrifying. Thanks for that.


Louis CK. He’s a funny man, his observations are very keen, his temerity is laudable. Yet his observations on the stupidity of culture do not look beyond the cultural constructs that underlie it. He knows a thing is wrong, he rages against its stupidity yet fatalistically accepts that that’s the way things are. It is part of his charm.

But that’s not THE problem. You were meant to look at it that way.Objectification happened even before you saw it.

This is objectification:

But so is this:

In the second image, the women is no less an object, we can argue levels of degradation, but in the second image, the woman is not herself but a placeholder for the viewer, or a type of person.

Employees, entrepreneurs and voters are an objectified abstraction of people who are just trying to live their lives. We live in a world of objectification, our inability to see this is part of what leads to dysfunctional behavior.

As @sagoli points out, culture is key here, modern culture is hostage to market forces insofar as pop culture = culture yet there is a biological component to titillation, it underlies the social one. We understand how insincere titillation for commercial purposes is objectification, but we fail to acknowledge how the biological component of desire is tainted by the crassness of commercialism, and this is what Louis CK is talking about here, his drive is a burden because there is no healthy way for him as a man invested in culture to engage in “dirty” thoughts.

Might as well ask if we should stop desiring food to lose weight. Yes, but that’s not the point, we desire food to survive, to desire less would fundamentally alter who we are and our ability to thrive and yet the way we unhealthily consume food is cultural, subject to customs, market forces and availability.
Glad the question was asked, the answer is: No, attraction and objectification are only entangled because of cultural norms, there is less risk in changing the culture than biology.

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So why we’re the threads split then?


No, it really wasn’t; and if that’s all you got from the intentionally provocative discussion, that’s a real shame.

This whole discussion came about because I wondered how the community would react if women posted a thread on male objectification and steered the course of conversation in same way that our male counterparts often do… minus the tendency to be utterly tone deaf when someone of the opposite gender posits an opinion that isn’t widely held.

The end result was both better and worse than I would have expected.


Maybe we should turn this question around.

Is this what you want: men without libido? Men without desire? Or, more specifically: is this what women who resent objectification want? Would they rather prefer a world where men would have no libido?


This is exactly how I predicted this “conversation” would go.


Objectification =/= desire.

Why do you think that desire means reducing someone to an object?


I think this qualifies as psychological projection.
This is not a turnaround of the question and the question you are attempting to turn around is more a rebuke than an actual question.
This question is a strawman of a parody.


Again, the onus is NOT on women, or what we want.

ALL mammals have a sex drive; it’s an ingrained instinct which is hardwired into our very need for survival; it cannot be arbitrarily removed or negated, although higher functioning species can control their behavior which is based upon those primitive impulses.

The question posed is an implausible “what if,” because it’s simply not possible… and even it it were, I seriously tend to doubt that there would be many people of any gender who would willingly turn off a part of their genetic coding in an effort to adjust the behavior of a portion of the entire species.

Disingenuous argument is disingenuous.


What I want is to not be “the tech geek”, but “a person who happens to be good with technology”. I don’t want to be defined by the fact that I’m good with computers and find it extraordinarily dissatisfying when the only reason people keep in touch with me or call me is because they have tech issues, 'cos hey, I’m the tech guy.

Can you relate?

Ok, now let’s substitute “sexy body” for “tech guy”. I know it’s more complicated and oppressive than that, but it’s a close approximation for us privileged folks.


It’s not a fucking zero-sum game; as people have pointed out several times it’s perfectly possible to be sexually attracted to someone without objectifying them. I should hope my spouse is sexually attracted to me. I’ve met many men and women who say they’re attracted to me - but they’re ALSO interested in who I am and what I want. I’ve also met many men (and yes, in this case only men) who have zero interest in me beyond the fact that I’m an aesthetically pleasing object.


I don’t want to be held responsible for anyone’s libido other than my own. Period.


Stop, you’re making way too much logical sense.


This right here was worth me slogging through these comments.

I have to say I’m a little frustrated here because we did have this exact same discussion on the other thread, including a complete, academic definition of objectification with this post.


I’m sorry to have disappointed you. My training is in mathematics not sociology or gender studies.


For female-centric mythology, try Barbara G. Walker. She has her issues too, but her and Campbell would make good bookends.

For a broader, biology and anthropology survey, I like Donna G. Harraway, especially Simians, Cyborgs, and Women.