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Oh, for fuck’s sake. Here we go again, in which I have to explain to some dude AGAIN that women are not objects. We’ve been over this so many times, and yet this problem keeps coming up. This time, the editor of Esquire UK “honestly” admitted that the women in his magazine were totally objectified:
“The women we feature in the magazine are ornamental,” he said, speaking on a panel at the Advertising Week Europe conference in London on Tuesday. “I could lie to you if you want and say we are interested in their brains as well. We are not. They are objectified.”
“[Esquire] provide pictures of girls in the same way we provide pictures of cool cars,” he said. “It is ornamental. Women’s magazines do the same thing.”
Douchecanoe (Alex Blimes, for those of you curious to know his name) went on to add that “men ‘see women in 3D’ in many different roles in life ‘but at certain times we like to see them sexy.’” *deep breath*
I don’t care how “honest” you’re being, Mr. Blimes. The fact of the matter is that what your magazine is doing is reinforcing sexism and perpetuating violence against women. Yes, even if the photos themselves do not depict violence, the objectification of women contributes to violence against them. When you encourage men to view women as objects and not people, they see them as “less then,” or as objects for male enjoyment. When women are viewed that way, they are treated that way. When women are seen as objects for male enjoyment, men feel entitled to attention from women or they expect women to behave in a way that aligns with their worldview. When we do not conform to that ideal, these men often react aggressively or violently to their worldview being shattered. They may become angry at us for not knowing our place. They may respond with verbal harassment or threats, or even with actual physical violence. This can occur in homes, in intimate relationships, or on the streets and in public places. When you use words like “ornamental” or state that you are not interested in our brains, you give other men permission to treat us like shit.
As for your point that “women’s magazines do the same thing,” well, it’s horseshit. This statement is problematic and inaccurate for a number of reasons. First of all, women’s magazines may show shirtless photos of men, but in nowhere near the number or explicitness that male magazines do. Futhermore, it’s not just male magazines that objectify women in this way. Objectifying images of women are everywhere you look. Photos of women as possessions, in compromising positions, as submissive accessories, as victims of violence, as props… these are everywhere. They consume the media. Do you see these kinds of photos of men anywhere? No, you don’t. And is violence against men by female perpetrators a worldwide epidemic? Are men being threatened, harassed, assaulted, and killed by women on a near-constant basis? No, I didn’t think so. Therefore, your argument is invalid.
And so, really, what I want to say to you about your comments, Mr. Blimes, is this: women are not objects. We are not “cool cars.” We are people. We expect to be treated that way, and as someone who has an influence on the media that is consumed in our culture, I dare you to step up and really reevaluate the message that your magazine is sending to its readers. You have a platform that could change the way a large number of men view the women in their lives and on the streets. I challenge you to use it.
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