We’ve all heard the term, and usually “sexual objectification” is not generally thought of as a good thing, and most of the time, I don’t think it’s a good thing. However, this subject is something I’ve spent quite a substantial amount of time thinking about, as most art projects I pursued in the last few years of art school (and ideas I am forming for future projects) revolve around sexual objectification, and what exactly it means to be sexually objectified, and how people objectify themselves, or where is the line drawn between expressing one’s sexuality, and objectifying one’s self.
After giving these issues so much thought, I have realized something: sexual objectification can be a good thing, and here is why:
We as humans are mostly sexual beings, (I say “mostly” because I don’t want to make a generalized statement that doesn’t include individuals who are asexual or just wouldn’t describe themselves as sexual) and therefore we feel sexual attraction towards other people.
I think it is redundant to state that anytime we view a person as anything but, it is not a good thing. So stating that “sexual objectification can be acceptable” feels like a risk to me right now, because I try very hard not to say things that I don’t wholeheartedly believe in, and this is a concept that I am very much within the infancy of exploration right now, so I thought it would be good to write about it, as this is the most eloquent method I have for expressing my thoughts.
Sexual objectification, as stated, can be acceptable. However, I feel that this acceptability is very circumstantial. When people are together in a sexual context it is my personal belief that one will (to some degree) sexually objectify the other person. No matter how loving and respectful the relationship is, there may come moments when in order to fulfil one’s own needs, one might unconsciously or perhaps consciously objectify the other person.
In the context of a sexual relationship with mutual respect, I don’t actually think this is a bad thing. Thinking of one’s partner as a means to an end occasionally, does not necessarily mean that one does not care about their partner’s needs or desires, or that they think of them as less than a person in their daily life. It is simply acknowledging that as human beings we are animals, and sex drive is a huge part of being an animal, and our sex drive can sometimes lead us to be single-minded.
Being in a relationship myself for over nine years, I feel I can say with some authority that especially if your partner is also your best friend, you might not feel attracted to them all the time and you might not think of them in a sexual way all the time. Therefore, a little sexual objectification (in the sense that one temporarily distances some feelings for the other) might not hurt the relationship between two people extremely comfortable with one another, but may actually enhance their intimacy.
I’m going to continue my exploration of this topic, but for now that’s all I’m going to say.