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On Equality, Sex Appeal, and Chasing Men Down the Street

Tahlia Palmer: Steady Eye

On Equality, Sex Appeal, and Chasing Men Down the Street

Andrew Ryan

Objectification occurs when a human looks at another human and has no recognition of their sentience, and instead only sees a thing with which to have sex. Traditionally this is seen as a masculine trait, but it can be reversed, whereby a woman will look at a man and not give a single shit about what’s going on inside his head because he has good bone structure, or broad shoulders, or piercing eyes, or just looks reeeeeeally touchable.

Ever since empowerment became an acceptable thing for women to have, men have had their place as the supreme dominant animal challenged, with us ladies fighting for equality in most aspects of life and society, and with that has come an increased sense of power over our situations, increased confidence, and brighter, more fulfilling futures for ourselves and our daughters. Openly turning the masculine “gaze” mentality around on men, expressing thoughts to each other about what we’d like to do with that good looking dude over there- thoughts that would horrify most women if they heard it come out of a man’s mouth- is not uncommon these days. But the difference between women objectifying men and men objectifying women is fucking huge, simply because men still tend to have physical and socially constructed psychological power over us.

Sometimes when I walk down the street, I will see a good looking dude, and have a little look. If I’m feeling good I might nod my head and smile a bit, if I’m feeling spritely I might wink (but that rarely happens). Any time I see a boy who looks good, I look at the boy, we pass, and I keep walking, maybe smiling to myself if he smiled back. But when it comes down to it, I have no way of knowing if he actually finds me attractive too, so I figure I won’t bother trying to talk to him because really, what’s the point? What does one expect from that situation- stop and say hi, be all like “Uhhh, wanna go back to my place?” and then have it happen and have the best sex ever and then go back to the supermarket and finish your grocery shopping? No. That never happens in real life. At least not in mine, and I can’t imagine it ever will. It would be cool, sure, but I would never try to make it happen. So that guy I maybe winked at will never have to worry that some girl with a nose ring, doc martins boots and slightly wine stained lips from last night’s drinking session will chase him down and try to pick him up.
I know some of the dudes reading this (maybe most?) will be protesting “BUT THAT WOULD BE GREAT. I’D LOVE IT IF A GIRL DID THAT”. And I’ll bet you would love it, in theory. But here’s the thing. Women wouldn’t do that because when it’s done to us, we fucking hate it.

Picture me walking down the street again. A guy walking towards me finds me attractive, and instead of flirtatiously smiling or cheekily winking and accepting that the moment of seeing a pretty girl was nice, he whistles a little and goes “Hey baby, lookin’ good”, and then yells after me when I don’t stop to drop on my knees and suck his cock there on the street. This has happened more times than I care to think about, especially with groups of men, who seem to expect a response to their hunting pack attitude and get shitty when it isn’t given.

Or walking alone at night- I think every woman can relate to having their heart nearly explode from their chest thanks to the anxiety we feel because someone could easily jump out of an alley way, physically overpower us and then rape us simply because we have a vagina. Most men will not suffer these kinds of fears, because the chances of that happening to them at the hands of a woman are fairly fucking slim. I believe that these situations are what objectification really means, and the instances of men experiencing this true objectification are few. It does happen, I realise that much, but not nearly as much as it happens to women.

Putting rape and other abuses aside for a moment- as I said earlier, women do enjoy looking at a good-looking man. I personally find myself idly staring at skinny boys with tight jeans and long hair for longer than I would idly stare at other men. Surface level attraction is impossible to deny, because if we have eyes and they work properly, then we’re going to use them. And it’s lucky for me that skinny boys with tight jeans and long hair are more common than they used to be- it’s pretty fashionable to be that kind of a guy right now, and girls like me are thankful for it. Eye candy rules. And these guys might create that look for themselves because they know that it looks gooooooood, and they want to be looked at, and they want to get laid, but you know, sometimes they just do it because that’s who they are. The difference between those attitudes are fairly obvious to a seasoned skinny boy with tight jeans and long hair observer like myself, and I behave accordingly- ignore the dude who is out to get laid, talk to the dude who just does it because that’s his aesthetic.

But if I’m going to talk to a guy who’s aesthetic I dig, I’m genuinely interested in his personality, in his hobbies, his interests, his ambitions. Getting to know people is pretty good sometimes. I can’t think of a single occasion where I have spoken to someone simply because I wanted to fuck them, and fuck them only. I wouldn’t know that it was a thing that people do if it weren’t for being hit on by men who wanted to fuck me, and fuck me only, and when that happens I feel vaguely threatened, vaguely amused and a little more than vaguely disgusted.

I’ve heard that it happens all over the place though, that both men and women go out with intention of nabbing themselves a tasty morsel for a one night stand, dressing up to look like what they imagine the opposite sex finds most appealing, and it’s becoming more common for men to give more of a shit about how they look- the occurrence of more men’s beauty products on shelves at supermarkets is testament to this, and men’s fashion campaigns that are just as sex driven as women’s are everywhere, so in some sense you could argue that men are now more willing to objectify themselves than in the past… but again, there is hardly any comparison to make between the plight of the woman and the plight of a man in this respect. Women have been conditioned for generations to look and act a certain way to attract the man they want, while men have been conditioned for generations to do and take whatever they want. Post-feminist western society sees this conditioning taking a different road, which I suppose does make gender roles and societal expectations a little confusing for some folk, but the traditional man/woman thing is still there in our minds.

I guess what I’m really trying to express is that men still generally have power over women, and that true equality is still a fair way off. The vast majority of men on this planet will never experience the level of hard core sexual objectification that most women experience. Sure, things are changing, men are becoming more aware of women’s slow movement towards their dream of equality, and that changes the way they try to impress us, which would explain the fashion sense and the hair styles and the beauty products… it’s like humanity has gotten stuck in a back and forth of surface level improvement, each sex trying to look more and more beautiful and airbrushed in an attempt to get laid by the other beautiful and airbrushed looking people… but that’s not objectification, that is people being boring and kind of stupid.