source link Nussbaum too argues that we should not see pornography as the primary cause of women's objectification. Sexual objectification is, according to Nussbaum, often caused by social inequality, but there is no reason to believe that pornography is the core of such inequality Nussbaum , , Dworkin , For further discussions about pornography, see also the entries on feminist perspectives on sex markets and on pornography and censorship. It has been pointed out by some feminist thinkers that women in our society are more identified and associated with their bodies than are men, and, to a greater extent than men, they are valued for how they look Bordo , ; Bartky Some feminists have argued that, in being preoccupied with their looks, women treat themselves as things to be decorated and gazed upon.
In her book Femininity and Domination , Sandra Bartky uses Marx's theory of alienation to explain the objectification that results from women's preoccupation with their appearance. For Marx, labour is the most distinctively human activity, and the product of labour is the exteriorisation of the worker's being. Under capitalism, however, workers are alienated from the products of their labour, and consequently their person is fragmented Bartky , —9. All the focus is placed on a woman's body, in a way that her mind or personality are not adequately acknowledged.
A woman's person, then, is fragmented.
Bartky believes that through this fragmentation a woman is objectified, since her body is separated from her person and is thought as representing the woman Bartky , Bartky explains that, typically, objectification involves two persons, one who objectifies and one who is objectified. This is also the idea of objectification put forward by Kant as well as by MacKinnon and Dworkin.
However, as Bartky points out, objectifier and objectified can be one and the same person. Women in patriarchal societies feel constantly watched by men, much like the prisoners of the Panopticon model prison proposed by Bentham , and they feel the need to look sensually pleasing to men Bartky , This leads women to objectify their own persons. In being infatuated with their bodily beings, Bartky argues that women learn to see and treat themselves as objects to be gazed at and decorated, they learn to see themselves as though from the outside.
As Nancy Bauer holds, drawing on Beauvoir, women will always have reasons to succumb to the temptation of objectifying themselves. Bauer mentions the widespread recent phenomenon of female college students who claim that they gain pleasure in performing unilateral oral sex on male students. Bartky talks about the disciplinary practices that produce a feminine body and are the practices through which women learn to see themselves as objects. First of all, according to her, there are those practices that aim to produce a body of a certain size and shape: women must conform to the body ideal of their time i.
Susan Bordo also emphasises the fact that women are more obsessed with dieting than are men. This is linked to serious diseases such as anorexia and bulimia. Ninety percent of all anorexics, Bordo points out, are women Bordo , , Furthermore, a large number of women have plastic surgery, most commonly liposuction and breast enlargement, in order to make their bodies conform to what is considered to be the ideal body. According to Bartky, the second category of these disciplinary practices that produce a feminine body are those that aim to control the body's gestures, postures, and movements.
Women, she holds, are more restricted than men in the way they move, and they try to take up very little space as opposed to men, who tend to expand to the space available. Women's movements are also restrained by their uncomfortable clothes and shoes Bartky , 68—9. Who is responsible for women's situation? The message that women should look more feminine is everywhere: it is reinforced by parents, teachers, male partners, and it is expressed in various ways throughout the media.
Men, then, are not the only ones to blame for women's situation. Because of the pervasiveness of this disciplinary power that inscribes femininity, women's constant preoccupation with appearance has come to be regarded as something natural and voluntary; it is something that women have internalised. Therefore, it is far from easy for women, in Bartky's view, to free themselves from their objectification. Not all feminists, however, share the concern about the inevitability of objectification involved in women's appearance-related pursuits.
Janet Richards takes women's preoccupation with their looks to be a matter of personal preference, and not a feminist matter.
She claims that there is nothing inherently degrading or objectifying with women trying to be sensually pleasing Richards , — Natasha Walter too takes it that women's preoccupation with their appearance is not necessarily objectifying. She also points to the fact that men in our societies engage into self-decoration and seek to be admired by women Walter , 86— Bordo herself acknowledges the fact that men have increasingly started to spend more time, money and effort on their appearance Bordo She emphasises the fact that men's magazines today, like women's, are full of articles and advice on how men should look: how to be more muscular, what clothes to wear, what creams and other cosmetics to use, etc.
Men feel the need to make their looks conform to the prevailing ideals of masculinity.
The fact that men too face pressure to look a certain way, and engage in constant efforts to improve their appearance, however, is not on its own sufficient to show that women's and men's preoccupation with appearance is not objectifying. MacKinnon introduced the idea that there are important connections between objectivity and objectification.
Objectivity is the epistemological stance of which objectification is the social process, of which male dominance is the politics, the acted out social practice. Her claim has become the focus of recent feminist investigation. According to Haslanger, in trying to be objective about our world and function within it, we go about trying to discover things' natures. An object's nature is essential to it, and any change to it will inevitably destroy it. An object cannot exist without those properties that constitute its nature. Discovering an object's nature enables us to explain the behaviour of that object under normal circumstances.
This means that in practical decision-making, we must be attentive to objects' natures Haslanger , , A plausible strategy for discovering a thing's nature is to look for observed regularities. This is because natures are responsible for the regular behaviour of things under normal circumstances. For example, I observe that my ferns die if deprived of water. I therefore come to believe that the nature of ferns is such that they cannot survive without water. I adjust my decision-making in accordance with this observed regularity, and so water my ferns to prevent them from dying. In observing the regularity that ferns die when depraved of water, I have concluded that this is due to ferns' nature.
The above procedure, however, can be problematic. This becomes obvious when moving to the social world. For example, aiming to discover women's nature following the above procedure in patriarchal societies like ours, according to MacKinnon is highly problematic. MacKinnon believes that it is an observed regularity in our societies that women are submissive and object-like and men are women's objectifiers.
This means that one might be led to the belief that women are by their nature submissive and object-like. See the entry on feminist perspectives on sex and gender.
However, the belief that women are naturally submissive and object-like is false, since women have been made to be like that. Women's object-like status is not a natural fact, but rather a consequence of gender inequality. In structuring our world in such a way as to accommodate this allegedly natural fact about women, we sustain the existing situation of gender inequality. Drawing on MacKinnon, Haslanger suggests that there are four conditions that are necessary in order for person A to objectify person B :. Haslanger discusses a norm, which is often used by objectifiers, the norm of Assumed Objectivity , which consists of the following four sub-norms:.
Haslanger argues that, under conditions of social hierarchy, the Norm of Assumed Objectivity would perpetuate the existing patterns of women's objectification. Therefore, our efforts at social change would become unmotivated. The norm in question should be rejected in this case because it has bad practical consequences for women, while serving the interests of men it is pragmatically bad. Furthermore, Haslanger argues that the norm of Assumed Objectivity should be rejected because it yields false beliefs, like the belief that women are submissive and object-like by their nature it is epistemically bad Haslanger , — Langton agrees with Haslanger that, under conditions of social hierarchy, the norm of Assumed Objectivity is problematic and therefore should be rejected.
Her reasons are twofold: First of all, as Haslanger also noted because it yields false beliefs; beliefs which do not fit the world at all, like the belief that women are object-like by nature. The belief is unjustified, according to Langton, because of its direction of fit. In this case, Langton explains, instead of men arranging their belief to fit the world, the world arranges itself to fit the belief of men. Those people who occupy a position of power and pursue the norm of Assumed Objectivity will make the world conform to their belief Langton , Langton explains that objectivity is about the ways in which the mind conforms to the world the way in which our beliefs arrange themselves to fit the world.
When someone is objective, his or her beliefs have the right direction of fit: the beliefs are arranged in order to fit the way the world is. Objectification , on the other hand, is about the ways in which the world conforms to mind conforms to our beliefs. An objectifier's beliefs have the wrong direction of fit: the objectifier arranges the world in order to fit his or her beliefs, which are influenced by his or her desires, instead of arranging his or her beliefs to fit the way the world actually is.
Objectification, then, is a process in which the social world comes to be shaped by desire and belief.
A WOMAN'S DESIRE- REVISED contains the same text as SASHA and A WOMAN'S PLEASURE. Choose the volume you would like by cover preference. Why have scientists been so slow to understand women's sexuality, is revised to ask about in-the-moment feelings – the amount of desire.
An objectifier thinks that her or his beliefs have come to fit the world, where in fact the world has come to fit her or his beliefs. When it comes to the objectification of women, Langton explains that women become submissive and object-like because of men's desires and beliefs. Men desire women to be this way, and, if they have power, they force women to become this way.
Following the norm of Assumed Objectivity, then, men form the belief that women are in fact submissive and object-like, and also that women are like that due to their nature. So, when it comes to women's objectification, the world conforms to men's minds. Men's beliefs, however, have the wrong direction of fit because men arrange the world to fit their beliefs and desires about women being submissive and object-like.
They also were given an electronic pad to record whether or not they felt turned on by what was being shown. Sport videos. Response anxiety is experienced when there is widespread pressure to feel sexually aroused, but arousal does not occur. Modern sexual psychologists are exploring unchartered territories of female desire and trying to understand its complexities. Already a Subscriber? As Mary Roach says, "[Scientists] saying that they want to increase orgasms, or boost libido is much more helpful than saying: 'I want to understand women. The field of female sexuality can be maddening, because each answer seems to lead to even more questions: why can some women ejaculate?
The norm of Assumed Objectivity, then, yields the belief that women are submissive and object-like, which is true but has the wrong direction of fit Langton , — , along with the false belief that women are naturally this way. For a criticism of Langton's argument that the norm of Assumed Objectivity is responsible for yielding beliefs that are true but have a wrong direction of fit, see Papadaki So far, we have looked at various concerns regarding the wrongness involved in objectification.
A number of thinkers, however, have challenged the idea that objectification is always morally problematic. Alan Soble questions the widely held Kantian view according to which human dignity is something that people have. He argues that objectification is not inappropriate. Everyone is already only an object and being only an object is not necessarily a bad thing.
In one sense, then, no one can be objectified because no one has the higher ontological status that is required to be reduce-able by objectification. In another sense, everyone is vulnerable to objectification, and everyone can and may be objectified, because to do so is to take them to their correct ontological level. He writes:. In the case of pornography, then, there is nothing wrong, according to Soble, with treating pornographic actors and models as objects for sexual pleasure and deny their humanity. That is because there is no negative objectification that needs to be taken into moral account.
Soble adds that pornography's task is in fact a good one; pornography takes these people both men and women , who according to him are good at sex, and makes sure that they do something with their lives Soble b. Leslie Green is another thinker who argues that it is permissible and also required to treat people as objects. As Green explains, people are embodied, extended in space, they exist in time, and they are subject to the laws of nature.
People, however, are clearly more than objects. What is problematic therefore, according to Green, is to treat a person merely as an object, merely as a means to one's own ends. We can treat other people as means only if we at the same time respect their integrity as agents with their own purposes Green , Green points to Kant's Categorical Imperative, according to which the prohibition is against treating a person merely as means , and not at the same time as an end. As Green emphasises, there is no prohibition against treating a person as a means as an instrument Green , According to Green, when people are old, severely disabled, or chronically unemployed what they fear the most is that they no longer are of use to others.
Martha Nussbaum too aims to challenge the widely-held idea that objectification is inconsistent with respect for a person's humanity. She offers a systematic analysis of objectification, a concept not at all easy to define and one that writers on the topic have not sufficiently clarified, as she acknowledges Nussbaum , Nussbaum, then, disagrees with Green's view that people are partly objects. According to Nussbaum, there are seven features are involved in the idea of objectification: instrumentality, denial of autonomy, inertness, fungibility, violability, ownership, denial of subjectivity.
A detailed exposition of these seven features is provided in the introduction of this entry. Nussbaum does believe, however, that, among these seven notions, instrumentality is especially problematic, and is often linked to other forms of objectification Nussbaum , According to Nussbaum, objectification need not have devastating consequences to a person's humanity. In fact, Nussbaum criticises MacKinnon and Dworkin for conceiving of objectification as a necessarily negative phenomenon Nussbaum , Objectification is negative , when it takes place in a context where equality, respect and consent are absent.
Among the negative objectification cases she discusses in her article are Hankinson's Isabelle and Veronique , the magazine Playboy , and James's The Golden Bowl. Lawrence's novels is a clear example of positive objectification. The passage from Lady Chatterley's Lover that she quotes in her article describes a sex scene between two lovers.
Consequently, the two lovers deny each other's autonomy and subjectivity, when engaging in the sex act. Furthermore, Connie and Mellor do not treat each other merely as means for their purposes, according to Nussbaum. Even though they treat each other as tools for sexual pleasure, they generally regard each other as more than that. The two lovers, then, are equal and they treat one another as objects in a way that is consistent with respecting each other as human beings.
Nussbaum's list of the seven features involved in objectification and the relations that exist between them provides perhaps the most systematic analysis of the concept of objectification to date. But Papadaki has argued that Nussbaum's conception is too broad Papadaki a. If every time a person is treated or merely seen by another, say, as an instrument not a mere instrument for some further purpose, we take it that the person in question is objectified, then it seems that in our daily lives we objectify nearly everyone, including ourselves.
Inevitably, we use each other and ourselves instrumentally all the time for instance, I use a taxi driver as a means to get to my destination, I use myself as a means to prepare a meal, etc. Papadaki argues that if objectification is to be a meaningful concept, we need to restrict it.
Halwani is also in favor of a narrower conception of objectification.
According to this view, if someone merely sees or regards another in a sexual way, there is no objectification. He believes that we are better off arguing that, in Nussbaum's positive objectification cases, there is no objectification to begin with. Nussbaum herself seems to be concerned, at times, about her objectification category being too inclusive. For example, she states that sometimes we do not treat the occurrence of only one of the seven notions on her list as sufficient for objectification Nussbaum , However, Papadaki suggests, she does not give us enough guidance as to how we can decide whether objectification is present when a person is treated in one of the seven ways she mentions.
In addition she suggests that once objectification's association with the morally problematic is weakened, there is the risk that the fight against negative objectification might be undermined Papadaki a, Recently, Nancy Bauer has expressed scepticism regarding the possibility of laying out a set of criteria for what counts as sexual objectification.
She argues that it is difficult to specify the marks and features of a term that plays a normative role in our mutually shared worldview. And if the term in question is important to my outlook, but not yours, she claims that it is impossible for me to specify criteria for the term's application that pick out the phenomenon from your point of view. Regarding the feminist concept of sexual objectification, Bauer explains that it was coined as part of a feminist shift in how to understand the world and one's experience in it.
According to the shift in question, in a context in which women experience widespread, systematic, diachronic, and structural disadvantages, certain ways of perceiving and representing women tend to cause them material and psychological harm. This is the case even if she is not in a position to exactly specify its marks and features. Much recent feminist work has been devoted to comprehensive philosophical analyses of objectification, which will hopefully lead to more complete and coherent understandings of this notion.
Beauvoir, Simone de feminist philosophy, interventions: epistemology and philosophy of science feminist philosophy, interventions: ethics feminist philosophy, interventions: social epistemology feminist philosophy, topics: perspectives on power feminist philosophy, topics: perspectives on sex and gender feminist philosophy, topics: perspectives on sex markets pornography: and censorship. Martha Nussbaum , has identified seven features that are involved in the idea of treating a person as an object: instrumentality : the treatment of a person as a tool for the objectifier's purposes; denial of autonomy : the treatment of a person as lacking in autonomy and self-determination; inertness : the treatment of a person as lacking in agency, and perhaps also in activity; fungibility : the treatment of a person as interchangeable with other objects; violability : the treatment of a person as lacking in boundary-integrity; ownership : the treatment of a person as something that is owned by another can be bought or sold ; denial of subjectivity : the treatment of a person as something whose experiences and feelings if any need not be taken into account.
Rae Langton , — has added three more features to Nussbaum's list: reduction to body : the treatment of a person as identified with their body, or body parts; reduction to appearance : the treatment of a person primarily in terms of how they look, or how they appear to the senses; silencing : the treatment of a person as if they are silent, lacking the capacity to speak.
Kant on sexuality and objectification 2. Pornography and objectification 3. Feminine appearance and objectification 4. Objectivity and Objectification 5. The possibility of positive objectification 6. This research is crucial for those of us for whom low sexual desire is a result of a physiological problem that might respond to a medical approach. Your level of desire is a problem only if it causes you distress.
Accessible, well-researched, and effective treatments are critical. For a while, they tested some drugs originally created for men, but the results were disappointing. Examples of drugs now sold to men to address erectile dysfunction problems include Viagra sildenafil , Levitra vardenafil , and Cialis tadalafil.
Several potential new drugs have also had disappointing results. Products for women that have been tested in double-blind, placebo-controlled studies include nonprescription remedies such as Zestra which contains herbal oils and ArginMax a dietary supplement , and vibrating apparatuses such as Eros. These are all designed to increase blood flow to the genital areas.