If we were to ask the dictionary… ‘objectification‘ is defined as; to degrade to the status of a mere object, giving the example; “a deeply sexist attitude that objectifies women.
So basically we’re talking about taking a walking, talking, living, breathing human being and treating them, whether via thoughts, actions or perceptions, in the same manner as an inanimate object.
Multi-billion dollar industries are built around the sexual objectification of women, the popularity of cosmetic surgery procedures continue to rise and rise. Consider the cosmetics industry; where a recent report shows that the growth of this sector, involving the manufacturing and production of lipsticks, nail varnish and perfume as well as other man-snaring tools – during an economic period of turmoil – soars at an unprecedented rate. This can be attributed, in no small part, to the emphasis of female attractiveness as being key to securing an economically viable mate.
Yada Yada – Not gonna preach to the choir…. Anyhow, a change-is-a’comin… The rise of feminism means more women now have the option to bring home their own metaphorical bacon. And they do say money makes the world go round…
This then, in turn, effects advertising; where the “sex sells” manifesto has traditionally involved a bikini clad babe luring in a guy and his disposable income, increasingly; it’s more and more likely that the female of the species is targeted to part with their hard earned cash with images of greased up, aesthetically pleasing hunks.
Leading us to the largely, female audience of Magic Mike who, over it’s opening weekend, parted with a massive $39 million for the opportunity to see star of the movie Mr Channing Tatum throwing some sexy shapes. Channing plays the part of Mike, a male-stripper imparting his worldly wisdom onto his protegee The Kid, played by Alex Pettyfer, a newcomer to the profession. The film sees Mike in various states of undress (although at no point do we see any actual full-frontal nudity), performing a series of intricate dance routines to a baying female audience, while off-stage serving as a booty-call for Joanna, played by Olivia Munn.
Despite the theory, largely held by psychologists, that men are visually stimulated – think Hustler stuffed under teenage boys mattress – and women more satisfied by auditory measures – sweet nothings, love declarations, you get the idea – females the world over have got all giddy at the chance to witness an oiled up Tatum and his honed physique out there in all his sex object glory.
In a society where we take varying degrees of objectification of women for granted – in the media, the dating gaming and everyday life, we’re beginning to see a relatively emerging concept; men being viewed as prime cuts.
For women, the female form is commonly viewed a commodity. Let’s consider the situation of Elena, a lap-dancer in a seedy London, U.K strip club. Talking to the Guardian newspaper in 2008 about her experiences, she says; “I thought, well, I’m a sex object anyway, I might as well have it out on the table. It was as though I felt I couldn’t do anything else. Everywhere I look I’m being told that my main source of power is my sexual power, my body is the best thing I have to offer and so to use those things in your job is empowering. But sexual power isn’t power. It’s meaningless in the real world.”
So what effect does it have on the male psyche? And it’s consequences on behavior?
Well, Channing actually has personal experience of stripping, after discarding his garments in front of hoards of screaming ladies to pay his way through college and describes his time in the profession during the Magic Mike press conference in LA; “The world in itself was just a very dark world in a way,” Tatum said. “I don’t think we even scratch the surface of really how dark that place can get and how slippery of a slope it can actually be.”
Channing’s co-star Jo Manganiello disagrees… “There’s no such thing as male objectification, and I think that’s what we’re exposing with this movie,” Manganiello tells MTV. “It doesn’t exist. We really don’t care. I think for the most part, it’s just about having fun. It’s like, ‘Leave all that outside.’”
With an increase in males suffering from eating disorders and other body associated issues as a result of attempting to gain the perfect male body; sleek, buff and ripped – we’re not totally convinced…
So is Magic Mike just a little tit-for-tat fun for the girls? Or are we all setting off on a dangerous path to viewing each other as ‘somethings‘ rather than ‘someones‘? The jury’s out… Busy getting all warm and fuzzy over Tatum shakin’ his tail feather…
Chloe Taylor is a quirky Welsh copywriter with a flair for life coaching and champagne drinking.
Selma: I never I thought I saw the day where men wanted to see a movie about a teddy bear and women want to see the movie about strippers. Not to mention the star in TED made his money posing for Calvin Klein in his underwear. Times are really changing. Men if your woman buys you a gym membership after watching Magic Mike is wasn’t because you were cool with her going to see the male stripper movie. When your partner comes home from watching Magic Mike, put on a show, it’s the perfect chance to step up your game and have some sexy fun. Check out this DiscoveryGame to get some ideas on how to spice things up and satisfy all the needs.
Giulia: Male strippers! Yes please! Give me more! Totally my thing! I am REALLY into this! Okay, I’m sorry. I am only into this if men aren’t feeling pressured or uncomfortable to look a certain way. I recommend this DiscoveryGame for men to see how they handle media pressure.