We all know about the infamous character on the show called ‘Mad Med’ – our beloved Joan Holloway. The sexy office worker, making people turn heads as she walks into the room. She knows how hot she is and what effect she has on the people around herself. She wakes up in the morning and takes her sweet time to look the way she does. The men in her office find themselves irresistible to her charm. The comments that follow are expected.
Instead of being bothered by all the catcalling, or getting frustrated or embarrassed – Joan embraces her sexuality and is comfortable in her skin. She is a siren, who knows the power of her flawless juicy figure. Her seductive nature and charm make men give her attention, and she loves it. But what the reality to this is that they are objectifying her and at the end of the day she might have power over people, but this is not a form of empowerment.
Objectification is when a human being is looked at and treated like a commodity. Like that person is a product that one can have ownership of, and that person usually stripped of their humanity and self-respect. When a woman is objectified, she is only seen for what she looks like, and her abilities and skills are sidelined. It shows the thinking that women are only made for sexual pleasure and to please the needs of a man. The fact that they feel like any other human being or the fact that they have a brain is ignored.
Research conducted regarding objectification shows that when women are faced with such treatment, it leads to more issues like sexual violence, lack of self-esteem and developing complexes regarding one’s looks. Their accomplishments are not taken seriously and are only measured by what they look like.
It is worse when it comes from strangers. It is not just down right demeaning but also comes under sexual harassment. You feel less and less about yourself every day. No one is interested in getting to know the real you, and what you are like. They are only interested in your shallow appearance. What needs to be thought about is, what is it like when you are objectified in a deep romantic relationship?
Objectification has become so familiar that now it’s done subconsciously, without even questioning what is right and wrong. Especially after the freedom of media, advertisement and selling products using women and objectification as a standard marketing strategy. It has been instilled into our minds.
The research was conducted by contacting them through their smartphones, and the participants responded how they were objectified at least once in a day. Men look at them with a sexual intent and even catcall. It has become so common that people do not deem it wrong or even question it. It has become so routine that it has moved into advertisements, television show and even at the workplace.
Women have started to take all these comments and objectification to heart. They have developed complexes that they are not good enough or need to come to a certain unrealistic standard of beauty. Thus the trend of surgery and Botox has also become common. Some don’t like their nose, and some want their lips to be fuller.
A psychologist by the name Laura Ramsey conducted a study keeping this topic in mind. What are the effects on women who are being objectified by their partners – the findings suggested that many women did enjoy being sexualized, but they constantly were worried about how they looked? Their partners would point out how they looked all the time and when it came to meeting their needs, they fell short. Women who find themselves being objectified by their partner were not happy in their relationship, regardless of how they enjoyed the attention. The likeness of sexualized attention leads to a man being encouraged to do more of it. Where as in the long run it is not good for the relationship.
The results are not in favor of objectification, but they also tell us that men giving such attention to their partners could be with a very naive intention. This is some individual’s way of expressing their love for their partners and to a large extent is it healthy and good for the relationship.
Sexual desire is not a bad thing, and it is wanted in a relationship by a partner. Ramsey also questioned hundred and ninety-six women about the measure of sexual desire in their relationship.
Sexual desire always leads to more satisfaction in a relationship, and that is what the results showed. But at the same time, being desired was not the only thing. That did not lead to greater happiness, and it was also linked to objectification more.
Audrey Hepburn is another example of how objectification dulls down a woman’s achievements and just sees them for how beautiful they are. It is great to be wanted by your partner, but physical attraction should not be the only thing in the relationship.
But there are people in real life who are like ‘Joan Holloway’ and objectify themselves for having power over people. The research also tried to find out what affects self-objectification would have on a person’s relationship. The results showed that it certainly did not help their relationship, and such people were not happy in their relationship either.
The researcher did conclude that women who were objectified were less happy in their relationships, besides the fact that they enjoyed attention from their partners.
Evidently, the solution seems very simple that men should not objectify women, but then again women tend to do it to themselves. Which consequently also encourages people to give that sort of attention to women. It is a two-way street, and both partners need to be aware of what is happening.
What needs to be looked at is that objectification from any direction does not lead to women empowerment. It will always lead to their disadvantage and damage their self-esteem and self-respect. It leads to their achievements being ignored and undermined.
Joan might believe and tell the world how a woman should have the right to dress the way she wants and carry herself the way she wants. But at the same time research indicated that how your partners reacted to your choices was also important. Know the difference between when your partner desires you sexually and when the comment is coming from a disrespectful thought process.