March 18, 2015

The Continued Objectification of Women

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:40 pm by sacetalks

The following article was written for the SACE blog page by a feminist in our community. While we fully support and respect the work of all feminists, we would like to indicate that SACE is merely providing a platform for this writer’s voice. The views and perspectives represented in this piece are solely those of the writer. To learn about SACE’s mission statement and beliefs please go to https://www.sace.ab.ca/index.php/about-us.  As always, we encourage you to speak with us regarding any concerns, questions, or feedback that you may have. Please email info@sace.ab.ca with any inquiries. 

The Continued Objectification of Women

As a young women who frequently goes out, I , like many other women my age, experience harassment on a regular basis at clubs or bars. A particular occasion I was out for a girl’s night with a few of my friends when we were quickly approached by a group of men also in their twenties. What started out as a casual conversation soon turned frustrating when one of the men repeatedly asked me to move to a quieter corner upstairs with him. Although I said no to his request countless times, it was only when I mentioned that I was in a relationship that he decided to back off and move to a different part of the club, most likely to find a girl that was single.

I was understandably relieved when he decided to leave me alone, but our exchange made me boil with rage. By only leaving when I said I had a boyfriend, this man was showing more respect to my absent partner than to me.

This leads me to a discussion of how women are still perceived as sexual objects. A large part of society still see females as en extension of their male partner, and if they do not have a boyfriend or a husband it is expected that they get one so they can fulfill their domestic and subordinate role.  I suggest that for a man to assume I am single when I go out to a club or a bar is to assume that all women who choose to go out without a male companion are single. This stems from the preconception that women who are indeed in a relationship would most likely be at home. As well, there exists an assumption that the purpose for going out as a single woman is to find a man. When that man in the club chose to stop his advances only when hearing I was taken he was treating me as a part of my boyfriend’s property and completely ignored the possibility that I could choose to reject him for the sole reason that I was not interested.

Furthermore, when being hit on many women feel as if they should make up having a partner, even if they are in single, to avoid hurting a man.  In The Art of “No” by Jennifer P. (for more info about Jennifer P., and to access her blog page, see  http://captainawkward.com/about/), she illustrates the dilemma this puts women in through the scenario of a party. When a guy continuously offers a you a drink and you say “no thanks’ and put the drink down and walk away from it, you’re the one who looks rude” (Jennifer P.). This scenario and the one I discussed above puts the pressure on the women to not only refuse an offer repeatedly, but also to risk being perceived as rude and unfriendly. However, it should not be up to a woman to continuously say no. Rather, her response should be respected immediately without her fearing that she has committed a social faux-pas. As females we should be able to make our feelings known without worrying they might injure male pride. Being ‘polite’ should not mean disguising discomfort, disinterest or entering a situation where we are not completely at ease.

Some might argue that this kind of invasive behaviour should be expected when in a social setting such as a club. It is as if in our current society that night life has become a place where it is accepted for men to prey on women. This is evidenced in the popular term for a night club being a ‘hunting ground’ as if the women there are objects without feeling ready to be claimed.  However, this type of harassment should not be tolerated, nor expected, no matter the venue.

These scenarios discussed above, such as a man assuming a women is single, or a man placing the burden of saying no and risk being rude on the female, are ones most women are familiar with. Although feminism has made great progress in the reformation of laws, our society still needs equality of sexes to create a world where women are not considered sexual accessories and where no venues exist where objectification is acceptable.

Elizabeth D.

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