Excerpt: ““What is sexual objectification?” was the question asked by Caroline Heldman. “It’s the process of representing or treating a person like a sex object, one that serves another sexual pleasure,” she says. A solid definition. Feminist scholar and lawyer Catherine MacKinnon also sums up objectification succinctly.
man fucks woman;
subject verb object.”
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I don’t normally do content warnings, but this piece contains some pretty offensive material; I would certainly recommend sitting down for it with a hot drink.
In her online talk The Sexy Lie, Caroline Heldman discusses objectification, questioning the idea that “sex sells”. This is an idea that many advertisers and publishers leverage, but Heldman challenges. Sex, by definition, is mutual – but 96% of objectifying media depicts women. “If sex sold, why wouldn’t we see half naked men everywhere in advertising?” Heldman asks. Because it’s not sex that is being sold, she says: it’s something else.
“To men, they’re being sold this idea constantly that they are sexual subjects. They are in the driver’s seat,” Heldman explains. Indeed, they are. In The Ins and Outsof Work, a booklet produced by the New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective (NZPC) for women in prostitution, a man’s “inability to get…
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