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Sex-Objects: a little book of liberation

Sex-Objects: a little book of liberation

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Sex-Objects: a little book of liberation

Lunghezza:
149 pagine
2 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Feb 10, 2015
ISBN:
9781507075319
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

Sex-Objects: a little book of liberation.

How often have you heard feminists reproaching men for the sexual objectification of women? Nothing is more commonplace in the politics of gender as practiced over the last fifty years. The phrase ‘sexual objectification’ is invariably used negatively, in an act of censure to reprimand the perpetrator for a gross offence. In contemporary society it is taken for granted that sexual objectification is immoral and that it is a ‘male crime’.

This little book offers a radically anti-establishment re-evaluation of the concept of sexual objectification. It argues that far from being sexually aberrant, erotic objectification is an integral part of sexual desire. Far from being a social harm created by systemic political misogyny, it is a naturally occurring phenomenon which is found in all human sexualities. It is entailed in your own sexuality no matter what your own sexuality happens to be. Everybody does it, both women and men. People sexually objectify others, and are sexually objectified by others, in all sorts of different ways. It is simply a part of sexuality in humans.

Editore:
Pubblicato:
Feb 10, 2015
ISBN:
9781507075319
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

JP Tate was born into a working class family way back in the winter of 1961 and has spent the last fifty-five years coping with being alive in the world. It wasn't his idea. He spent the first decade of his adult life in unskilled labouring jobs before escaping to become a philosophy student and tutor. Over the next ten years he earned four university degrees including a PhD and became even more alienated from the society in which he lived. These days he is pursuing his desire to write, it being the most effective and satisfying way he has yet found to handle that same old pesky business of coping with being alive in the world. All his writing, whether in fiction or non-fiction, takes a consistently anti-establishment attitude and is therefore certain to provoke the illiberal reactionaries of political correctness. The amusement derived from this is merely a bonus to the serious business of exercising freedom of thought and freedom of speech. Take The Red Pill.

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Sex-Objects - JP Tate

http://jptate.jimdo.com

Contents

––––––––

Preface: An Alternative Perspective

Chapter 1. The Failure of Objectification Theory

Chapter 2. A Non-Normative View of Sexuality

Chapter 3. Sexuality and Sexual Acts

Chapter 4. Sexuality as Communication and Self-Expression

Chapter 5. The Erotic Power of ‘Representations’

Chapter 6. Sexual Objectification is Not a Bad Thing

Chapter 7. Mutuality Fetishism

Chapter 8. Pornographies

Sex-Objects

a little book of liberation

Preface: An Alternative Perspective

––––––––

People have been subjected to objectification in a variety of ways by the societies in which they have lived; ways in which a person is not seen in terms of their whole personality but is perceived solely in terms of one aspect of themselves. There are, for example, many forms of what we might call utility objectification. Men have been objectified as social utilities in the form of ‘man as soldier’ and ‘man as work-unit’, and they have been domestically objectified as ‘man as breadwinner’ and ‘man as bodyguard’ and so on. At the same time, women have been objectified as utilities in the form of ‘woman as child-carer’ and ‘woman as homemaker’ etc. These kinds of utility objectification are facets of traditional gender roles and their correlative gender identities. In each case the person is objectified by being reduced to a specific function. The objectification may be temporary (e.g. a woman perceives her boyfriend as ‘bodyguard’ when danger threatens) or they may be long-term (e.g. an employer who perceives their employees as ‘units of labour’). The traditional objectification of a man as a ‘work-unit’ reduces a human being to the status of a machine that exists to perform work. The woman who is seen solely in terms of her capacity to bear children is reduced to the status of a child-incubator. 

These roles/identities were applied interchangeably across persons of the same gender, so any man could be perceived as ‘breadwinner’ and be judged by his success or failure in this single capacity. The same perception and judgement could be applied to any women in the role of ‘homemaker’. When people are judged by means of these objectifications, the man is reduced to ‘a thing which earns money’ and the woman is reduced to ‘a thing which performs domestic services’. In the past these judgements could be very harsh; a man who failed to provide financially for his family had failed as a man, and a women whose home was poorly kept had failed as a woman. Not that this type of judgemental gendered objectification has been consigned to the past. Indeed, one of the most ubiquitous and powerful examples of objectification in modern society is feminism’s political objectification of ‘man as guilt-object’, where men are reduced to the status of ‘things to be blamed’.

There is much to rightly criticise and condemn in all these gendered objectifications whenever they are arbitrarily and politically imposed. Yet whenever the idea of ‘objectification’ has been discussed in mainstream society during the last half a century the many different forms of objectification which have traditionally been made of both genders have been largely ignored in favour of focussing concern solely upon those which are believed to adversely affect women. Most especially, the focus has been on the sexual objectification of women, i.e. the erotic objectification specifically of women. Not only is it sexist to ignore the objectification of men, sexual or otherwise, in discussions of the politics of gender but it is also a mistake to treat sexual objectification as being something which has been politically engineered or which is subject to political control. It is still commonplace for this error to be made. But of all the many forms of objectification, it is sexual objectification that is the least deserving of criticism and condemnation because, in its fundamentals, it is not an arbitrary political imposition.

Feminism has utterly dominated all discussion of the politics of gender over the last fifty years. Unsurprisingly, this domination of the debate by one partisan ideology which vociferously seeks to suppress all dissenting opinion has discouraged alternative voices from being heard in the mainstream. Instead of a free debate giving due consideration to a diversity of competing ideas, there has been such a level of political conformity that even those robust individualists who have argued against feminists on the subject of sexual objectification have tended to accept and adopt a standard feminist (mis)understanding of what the term ‘sexual objectification’ actually means. As with so much of contemporary politics, the dogma of establishment orthodoxy has not been sufficiently doubted, questioned, and challenged. The purpose of this little book is to offer a perspective on the role played by objectification in human sexualities that is very different from the customary feminist account.

I do not suggest that this alternative point of view will be proven to be true any more than the conventional feminist view has ever been proven to be true, because the character of sexuality in human beings is not the kind of subject of study which allows for an unequivocal statement of ‘the truth’. All theories of human sexuality seem to turn out to be unfalsifiable. When discussing human sexualities we are in the realm of thoughts and feelings. The indisputable truth about those thoughts and feelings is not something which we can expect to be definitely empirically demonstrated to the exclusion of all alternative theories. All we can offer are arguments for perspectives which are more plausible or less plausible than other arguments for other perspectives, and then each of us can decide for ourselves what we think is most probably true.

An evidence-based rational argument will always be more plausible that a theoretical flight of fancy or a piece of ideological whimsy, but unfortunately what is claimed as ‘evidence’ in the gender debate is very often a theoretical interpretation of the ‘evidence’, where what purports to be evidence is actually derived from the presupposition of sizable chunks of feminist ideology. For example, if people have been taught to see an advertisement for women’s underwear as evidence of female sexual objectification but they have also been taught to not see an advertisement for men’s underwear similarly as evidence of male sexual objectification, then the so-called ‘evidence’ is really nothing more than a theoretical interpretation of these advertisements. It’s status as evidence is dependent upon a prior acceptance of feminist theory about the ‘male gaze’ and feminism’s theoretical gender constructs of how-men-perceive-women and how-women-perceive-men.

If we are to free our minds from ideological baggage, we must remember that there is a huge difference between (1) a theoretical interpretation based upon evidence and (2) ‘evidence’ that is derived from theoretical interpretation. The former is a legitimate method of argument, the latter is not. The former takes a piece of evidence and interprets it from a theoretical standpoint. The latter obliges us to believe a theory in advance and then generates ‘evidence’ on the basis of that theory. Feminism is a prime example of an ideology which establishes its conclusions in advance and then supplies itself with ‘evidence’ for those conclusions by means of theoretical interpretations of the world.

To clarify, consider the much-repeated statistic in the UK that ‘only 6% of rapes result in conviction’. What this figure actually refers to is that 6% of all allegations of rape recorded by the police end in conviction. The feminists who make the claim are treating all allegations of rape as being cases of actual rape (including cases where the man is innocent or there is insufficient evidence to proceed or the woman retracts her testimony, etc). There is a presumption of male guilt based upon the ideological belief that women don’t tell lies about rape but men do. Thus a piece of ‘evidence’ is put forward that only 6% of rapes result in conviction and the false belief is disseminated that only 6% of rapists get convicted and 94% of rapists get away with it. But this is not derived from genuine evidence, it’s a theoretical interpretation derived from the ideological beliefs of feminism. In fact, the Stern Review 2010 reported that the conviction rate in England and Wales for people who are actually charged with rape is 58%. https://fullfact.org/factchecks/rape_conviction_rates_deserve_careful_explanation-28408

To clarify further, let’s imagine a fictional parallel case. Let’s suppose that a racist holds to the belief that all black people are liars but white people invariably tell the truth. In a quarrel between a black person and a white person this racist presupposes that the black person is lying, a presupposition derived from their racist ideology, and then cites this quarrel as ‘evidence’ in support of their political policy for more stringent laws to protect white people from black perjurers. Who could take such a position seriously? The so-called evidence is nothing but a theoretical interpretation of the quarrel derived from a prior ideological belief. It is not evidence at all.

It is important to remember this distinction between (1) evidence, and (2) theoretical interpretations, because if we want an account of sexual objectification which is readily comprehensible to any intelligent reader (in contrast to the abstruse and esoteric theories of insular academia), then the best evidence will be the kind that is derived from everyday life and mainstream culture which anyone can see and examine for themselves. But we have to be careful not to view that evidence through a feminist lens with the customary feminist assumptions in place.

The intention behind the present volume is to present a brief account of sexual objectification based upon observations from ordinary life. This common sense non-ideological approach leads to some possibly surprising conclusions. The reader is invited to consider the points raised and to make up their own mind. The author must therefore expect that many readers will disagree and some may even profess themselves offended. But these days that need not intimidate the open-minded because we are all accustomed to living in a society of politically motivated hypersensitivity and knee-jerk offence, and so we’re less inclined to feel inhibited by this passive-aggressive bullying.

Moreover, the intention is not to engage in idle intellectual speculation as some sort of academic exercise but rather to address a practical concern. The subtitle, a little book of liberation, proposes a motivation for reading the book beyond mere intellectual curiosity. The perspective on sexual objectification for which this book argues offers the reader a certain freedom from feeling guilty about their own sexual feelings. In the past homosexuals were made to feel guilty about their sexual feelings. Today, this would quite rightly be thought an injustice. In the past women were made to feel guilty about their sexual feelings (because they weren’t supposed to have any). Again, today this would quite rightly be thought an injustice. Yet in contemporary society heterosexual men are continually being made to feel guilty about their sexual feelings on the grounds that for a man to view a woman erotically is to degrade her by reducing her to a ‘tits and ass’ sex-object. This feminist gendered heterophobia is also an injustice.

What follows will argue that:

(a) sexual objectification is an intrinsic and unavoidable element of sexuality in human beings;

(b) it is not something that only men do;

(c) people should not be criticized, reproached, or condemned for it.

The crucial proposition of these three is the first one. The second and third propositions follow fairly straightforwardly from it. If sexual objectification is actually a natural and fundamental feature of all human sexualities, then it cannot be maintained that this is something which only men do; a ‘male crime’. And if a person’s sexuality will inevitably involve the mental act of sexual objectification no matter what their sexuality happens to be, then reproaching or condemning a person for engaging in sexual objectification amounts to nothing more than reproaching or condemning them for having a sexuality at all. The attitude fostered by

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