Every time this twenty year old girl felt low, every time she felt like she needed a little bit of cheering up, she went and looked at this page called ‘Sugar Daddies’ on Instagram. Not porn, nothing vulgar. Just some really fit men. Her big mistake was to share this little bit of good news with some of her friends.
‘Don’t objectify men!’
‘SO, you look at hot guys too? I thought you were different!’
‘Have some shame, how must those men feel lest they find out!’
And she thought, those guys were insanely fit, each picture was getting over a thousand hits, and the comments section was filled with girls saying how amazing they looked, and guys saying how inspired they were. Rolling her eyes in her head she replied,
Those guys would feel amazing ‘lest’ they found out!
That led to some scandalous conversations, and words ranging from misogyny, to rape, to feminism were randomly thrown in here and there by some intellectuals. Imagine a group chat, and some college students discussing objectification of men and women. A serious discussion, links to news articles, Wikipedia definitions of feminism, twenty line messages that basically said, ‘stop rape’, and yet, every group has this one guy who’ll do this. When her phone beeped next, she read this cheesy joke:
How many feminists does it take to change a light bulb?
Just one. She holds it still and waits for the world to revolve around her.
This led to some girls leaving the group, some other guys saying, ‘Dooooode! did you have to?’ and some others, sending squeals of laughter. Not knowing how to react, she decided to talk to her friends about this. So, the next time they met for coffee, she brought it up. She first turned to the one she thought was most knowledgeable. The conversation went like this.
Q: I’m not doing any harm by looking at sugar daddies. Just cheers me up. Am I offending anyone?
Q: Okay, then when does it become objectification?
A: Look, these boys objectify women all the time. It’s time they got a taste of their own medicine.
And her knowledgeable friend, returned to her coffee. She then spoke to the guy that had sent that cheesy anti-feminist joke.
He said, ‘okay, so when I look at a Benz, I’ll think, oh my, what a car, such headlights, what a finish, look at the rear of that car, the feel, damn!’ And she thought, so he objectified an object? And just then he said, ‘Now replace the Benz with Sunny Leone.’
Everyone burst out laughing and the conversation ended there. On her way back home, now more confused than ever, she thought to herself, ‘I was just innocently looking at sugar daddies, hmph.’
Two days later.
After reading up and talking to some grown ups, even though the idea was still growing on her, she realised how important it is to know the correct meaning of these words. Those protests, those hoardings to encourage gender-equality, if understood wrongly, could do more harm than good. So she prepared a survey form. And one of them was in my email.
It read, please take this survey to help me understand objectification of humans. I was to write an ‘O’ against sentences that I thought were an example of objectification. The sentences I read shocked me, intrigued me and confused me all at once. So I have decided to ask you, my reader, for some help. I suggest we do this together.
- Girl applies for job at a bank. Rejected because her shirt shows cleavage.
- Boy visits YRF studios to audition for a cameo in a movie. Accepted because the producer thinks, ‘Damn! what a body!’
- A boyfriend dumps his girlfriend and when asked why, tells his friends, ‘At one point, she got really fat bro’.
- Young girl visits modelling agency to audition for a lingerie ad, and spot-girl, assisting there, tells her, ‘ma’am, I think padded bra will suit you more.’
- Girl drops out of school because someone inscribes on her pencil box, ‘From 32a to 36d in one year?’
Some of us might find all of this offensive, some of us just a few. Taking offence, becoming defensive, slurring angrily, will help us momentarily. But do we need a day to come, when your boyfriend can’t tell you that you look sexy in your outfit, because he is afraid he is objectifying you?
Let’s face it. Women body-shame other women, men do it too. Appearance is important. It’s good to groom yourself. But, if someone judges you, and remembers your rack instead of your face, compliments your ass in a job interview, values your six-pack abs more than your personality, remember to tell them this:
“You are an object. Simply because you don’t have a life.”
And if you just find objects around you, everywhere you go, have some faith,there might be life on Mars.