Rigth Side-Issues With Objectification
Men Must Stop Thinking With Their Eyes For Women To Truly Achieve Equality
Right Side: The Objectification Of Women
Once again we ﬁnd two men prattling on about “women’s issues.” The way this conversation usually shakes out is that the man on the left (see previous page), will state emphatically that although women have come a long way in our society, we still have much work to do in the areas of equal pay and access to birth control. Then, the man on the right (yours truly), will go through the playbook of debunking the 79 cents on the dollar myth, while also saying something cute about Taxpayers for Viagra. The good news for today’s readers (you), is I’m not going to play along. Well, except for the following two, short paragraphs.
There is overwhelming evidence that women are paid less than men. That would be horribly offensive if it didn’t include factors such as type of work, child birth, time away from the ofﬁce and ﬂex scheduling.
No, women should not automatically be given birth control for free. Part of human responsibility is taking steps to be responsible. Sometimes those steps cost money. Asking a woman or a family to pay $25 per month for birth control is a fantastic lesson in cost-beneﬁt analysis, given that the latest estimates for raising a child to age 18 is around $200,000. Further, there are those who seem to make the case that, “If you don't give it to me for free, I don’t want it.” That is not an argument based on the rights of women. It’s one based on unreasonable expectations. Or socialism.
Here’s the part where we deviate from the usual diatribe. The above topics get all the press, and yes, are very important. But on a day-to-day basis, what we see and hear all around us, from the work place to popular media to cardboard cut outs at the Quick-E Mart, is the objectiﬁcation of women.
Thanks to most men’s inclination to think with their eyes, women are painted, sculpted, and then shoe-horned into outﬁts that would make peacocks blush. From high heels to hose, lipstick to lingerie, and mascara to mammaries, men, the fashion industry, and even women themselves, have foisted much upon the fairer sex. Look at a magazine rack sometime and try to ﬁnd stories on men’s makeovers, or how men can look great, and waxed, for their honeymoon. Since so much of the discussion regarding women already deals with how they look (“Do you think she’ll be able to lose the baby weight?”), is it any wonder that women may feel harassed at times in the work place? It would seem that some men think they’ve been given a pass to put words and actions to an atmosphere that has become so pervasive. It’s in no way an excuse, and such behavior should never be tolerated. But we continue to demand that women strive for this appearance of beauty, this allure of sex. To do otherwise is to be on a makeover show. To succeed is society’s pass to complement.
As far as role expectation, men expect a lot out of women. Even in dual-income families, women do most of the Three Cs: cooking, cleaning and child-rearing. Not to mention, they’re expected to be June Cleaver in one room, and Pamela Anderson in another. Men are taught to give 110 percent on the ﬁeld of play. At home would seem more important.
We can pass laws regarding pay, birth control, abortion and sexual harassment. But until we get past all this silliness of why women must wrap themselves in the 21st-century version of a corset, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue will continue to enthrall men, while shackling women to Stairmasters and Spanx.
Dave Parker hosts The Dave Parker Show on AM 790 WNIS weekdays from 10 a.m.–noon. He can also be heard each afternoon on US1061 and reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He lives in Virginia Beach with his wife and two daughters.
Editor’s Note: Left Side/Right Side is an ongoing CoVa column debating both local and national issues important to Coastal Virginia residents. The opinions expressed by our writers do not necessarily reflect the viewpoints of the Coastal Virginia Magazine staff. To suggest a topic or share your comments, e-mail Melissa Stewart at Melissa@CoastalVirginiaMag.com.