Wednesday 29 May 2013

Objectification and being a chattel

Recently I sat down to chat with a close friend.  She had something on her mind.  As I prepared to go she asked me to look at a card that her husband had received from his best friend.

The card said,' To a lucky bastard, You have it all, nice house, great car, sexy wife.'

She asked me for my reaction.  I had to be careful but I said I felt it was demeaning to her.  She sighed, "He says it's flattering but I'm not a thing.   I'm a person; not a chattel."

She is, indeed, a pretty lady but she is also kind, interesting and intelligent.  And she's right.

Treating women and men as objects of desire is nothing new.  After the initial rush of finding one another attractive, I would hope that people would attempt to get to know each other.  However only seeing them as 'objects' rather than whole human beings is debasing our humanity.

Marketing people continue to objectify, mainly women, with abandon.  However, I also notice that the ads are becoming more offensive, almost parodying themselves as twitter and facebook share them with disgust.  I won't name the companies involved because there is no such thing as bad publicity.  If you are online you will be aware of them.  Personally, I won't be buying their products again.

The vast array of magazines with entire pages of ; 'Losing baby weight in weeks,' 'Putting on weight after a break-up,' 'Are they too skinny?' 'Diets-to loose weight in weeks,' is an undermining and unrelenting diatribe. The constant negative stream about body image seeps through our consciousness.  Men too are becoming subjected to this degradation and it is interesting to note an increase in the numbers of men suffering from eating disorders.

I've also seen the argument that we should be body conscious as obesity has become such a huge problem.  Obesity can be contributed to when people have poor body image and self-esteem, as well as lack of information about healthier food choices. Thank goodness for the likes of Katie Taylor and ladies Irish Rugby team; showing that being healthy should be our aim.  And that it's ok to have a few wrinkles, veins, cellulite etc.

As for my friend, she recently set up a second business and is proving that her beauty is more than skin deep.

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