:bism: (In the Name of God, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful)
Originally Posted by czgibson
On a gut level, most women would have a reactive objection to this question. Because the idea of being "toys" is simply offensive as women. However, I think if we contextualized the discussion in terms of objectification and women stopped to think of the way that affects men globally perceive us due to this objectification in our societies, most of us would understand that we have indeed unwittingly turned into "toys." I think pornography plays a big element in this objectification. However, it is only one in the long list of things in society that have turned women into "toys."
I minored in communication and so for example when I was sitting in my communication class, I had never even heard of "snuff pornography" but when I learned the descriptive details in class, I was aghast. And the way advertisements set up women to be passive and sexual with many times phallic symbols or their legs open negates us as anything but sexual objects.
Also, most women don't want to live or base our value on men's perception, yet women are culturally taught to accept exactly men's perception as determination of our value in Western culture. For example, in Cosmopolitan
, laughably a woman's magazine but hardly I'd term pro-women, women are taught to wonder whether they are doing enough to keep the interest of their man with bedroom tricks or how they can get their crush's attention with inane things like wearing a specific brand of lip gloss. And then men wonder why women turn into insipid and needy creatures in relationships - uh
By the way, there's a common misconception that women, because they are women, are exempt somehow from perpetuating this objectification because it's supposed to be men's domain. Nuh-uh.
Women are complicit in this objectification of fellow women because women's magazines are written by female authors who "sell" these types of stories and articles in the magazine geared towards women. And let's for one moment imagine you have a daughter: Would you want her to learn to measure her value by how much a male at any given time likes her? This insanity begins in her preteens, by the way, because there's makeup and provocative clothing style geared towards now that age group and magazines like Seventeen
sell the same type of tripe of Cosmopolitan
except geared towards a younger audience.
And not only that, if you look at the dating and sexual relationship section of a bookstore (as antiquated as an idea as that may seem in the Age of the Internet) or even Amazon, you'll see that women are again being educated on how to hook a man and keep him or ensnare him into marriage if he's not proposing as desired at a given time and place. And all these self-help books in dating and relationships are geared towards a female audience because they are the primary buyers of the book in the first place. And why? Because men feel free all the time to walk away from relationships because they've been taught that marriage is a sucker's game. And men are not introspective enough to usually perseverate on their failed relationships as women usually do, which means they also don't care about learning from their mistakes in relationships and not repeating them and don't care about marriage because they say, "Why buy a cow when you can get the milk for free?" Yes, apparently, men think so highly of women that they are now reduced to being "cows" in the dating and mating game.
When men are teens, they are encouraged to have sex as soon as possible and take the virginity of their respective girlfriends. But not even think of marrying them because of course these men are told by the media and culture that they are too young and have to learn to fully sow their wild oats before they even think of settling down. But when these girlfriends have lost their virginity to the men and are no longer virgins, then emerges the good-old "Madonna" and the "bad girl" (substitute for the w-word) standard.
For example, in the romantic comedy What's Your Number?
the main character is desperately afraid that she's slept with so many men that she's never going to get married until she puts a stop to her sexual entanglements and seriously starts a romantic relationship with the next person. In the movie The Ugly Truth
, the main protagonist has not slept with someone for almost an year and that's a barometer of how she's the "nice girl," the kind a man marries. And then in the movie Barefoot
, a man finds a virgin with whom he falls in love because of her innocence and child-like curiosity. So, basically, the same culture that has taught a woman to measure her worth by a relationship, teaches her that she's now not good enough because the men she loved took her virginity and remaining innocence. If that's not the definition of being a "toy", then I don't know what is. Also, that thing called Oxytocin bonds women to a man when they have sex whereas men can have sex and immediately move on; in fact, neuroscience studies that I'd looked at years ago proved this and probably is still available on the Internet to peruse on this subject. However, in the absence of those specific studies which I don't want to take the time to find right now, I'm linking to the article, "Sex: Why it makes women fall in love - but just makes men want MORE
." (Warning on the article: provocative images.)
Also, whenever there are real and breathing consequences of a relationship, women are the ones who left bearing the responsibility of carrying, birthing, and taking care of the children as single parents when men walk away from these "consequences." In fact, Valerie Polakow wrote an entire book Lives on the Edge: Single Mothers And Their Children In The Other America
about the feminization of poverty due to the men not taking responsibility of these children.
By the way, I don't think women ever stopped desiring commitment and marriage despite what "The Cool Girl" trope that Hollywood likes to sell to men in movies (see article "Men: the Cool Girl doesn’t exist, so stop looking for her
"). What this means is that women are shortchanged when they feel they can't be completely honest with men about wanting marriage, picket fences, and babies.
Please don't misunderstand as I also liked the point that brother anatolian brought up about Muslim societies as well as we cannot afford to imagine for a second that Muslim societies are free of their share of problematic aspects specific to women as well. However, I don't think we can afford to give an eyeroll either to how women are indeed treated like "toys" in Western society in the name of the hollow slogan "freedom." For example, when I think of or look at the word "freedom", I know as a woman what I'd want is to free of all things that would strive to put me down due to my womanhood and negate my personhood. And unfortunately, in the Western societies that we live, "freedom" is just an attractive catchphrase without any of the accompanying reality of being truly free because we're never free of media's influence, society's judgment, nor male judgment or or even our own imperative biological calculations.
Even when women are able to kick and haul ass, as the women in your family might do (which would be awesome in my view as I personally want and love for women to be strong), we're in the end being treated as "toys" and we frankly don't deserve to be so abominably abused in the name of freedom.