This blog is no stranger to talk of objectification -- there's this post and this one.
But, despite the sense that I am maybe worrying the issue like a dog with a slightly mangy bone, it's on my mind again due to my reading of the Advice Goddess Blog, to which I am strangely addicted. I say strangely because a) our political views do not coincide and b) I am exactly the sort of weak-kneed liberal she regards with derision/horror. On the other hand, she pretty unflinchingly addresses the issue of women's place in the world and then there's the fascination of knowing what somebody whose views differ almost entirely from yours thinks about things.
And in this post she said that a group of some kind is protesting the fact that the makers of Dove products, who have this whole real women/real beauty public image campaign going, are also the makers of Axe body spray, which has this whole sorority girl/pillow fight/sex in elevators public image campaign going.
The Advice Goddess makes the point that it's stupid in the first place to expect Dove's campaign to mean anything other than an attempt to sell product. Which is probably true, but might still be a point worth making.
This is all so much prelude. This quote is what hooked me:
"Men objectify women and women objectify women -- meaning, they objectify themselves. I think it was my friend, professor Catherine Salmon, who pointed this out in an essay. Male sexuality is visually driven. When men fantasize, they picture the woman (or the gay man) as the object of their desire; women generally picture being the object of desire. (Shouldn't the angry ladies be vilifying women for this, too?)"
This is very clearly put and certainly fits in with my personal experience.
And it does bother me, that self-objectification. In point of fact, it terrifies me, sends me waking up screaming.
While I am not unsympathetic to the difficulties of being the pursuer -- the risks of being shot down, mocked, the difficulties of getting laid -- at least at the end of the day the pursuer wants things, knows he wants things, moves towards them. Whereas, if your chosen role is as an object of desire, you are not supposed to want things. You are supposed to shed your desires, ignore them, go ahead and drift, so that you can eventually be taken by surprise and succumb to the desires of some conscious actor.
Zombie girls from Mars, really.
This mode, blissful non-desire, is often brought back to evolutionary biology. Which is fine; I don't really have any knowledge and/or interest in evolutionary biology. But I refuse to believe, with an almost religious faith, that there is an unalterable biological destiny that forces these roles upon us. And so I am left hoping that, as as Noko Marie suggested, we are somewhere in the middle of the feminist movement, rather than at the end.