Women are often seen as objects of pleasure and gratification devoid of thoughts and feelings. In this context, the focus is objectification along sexual lines and not in terms of male entitlement to disparaging physical labour from women.
The perception that women’s bodies are for men’s sexual gratification causes them to see women simply existing and doing things for themselves as begging for their attention. Women are valued based on how they look and are “marketed” as commodities for men. It starts with reinforcing harmful stereotypes on children and sexualising girls and women. It’s in the harmful projections of body and behavioural perceptions on children that makes boys believe girls are constantly trying to get their attention. It’s in telling them that they are entitled to women’s time, bodies, service and attention. The resultant effects of these harmful bits of socialisation are pervasive through society, from interpersonal relationships to the advertisement industry.
These are some media of sexual objectification:
Controversial maybe, but true nonetheless. Porn sells harmful fantasies that glorify dehumanising women and paints a deeply flawed and misogynistic image of female behaviour. No, random women at work, on the train, at restaurants do not want to have sex with you; get over yourself.
The sexualisation of perceived “exposure”: In 17th century France there was a debate as to whether a woman’s breasts were a sensual enticement or a natural gift. This crassness and disregard for the bodily autonomy of women did not just start. Women are sexualised for breastfeeding publicly and sometimes even outright harassed. Women who wear anything a man finds even remotely sexy (which can *literally* be anything); are accused of posturing for male attention; “begging for it.” Society’s oppression of women is manifest in this area. What passes for appropriate and decent dressing for women is usually measured by men’s responses or probable responses to it. Ankle exposure was considered scandalous in more “modest” times and why? Because some men found them to be erotic.
Ever seen a picture, video or poster with beautiful women with beautiful bodies placed in conspicuous decorative positions in a bid to convince people to buy something completely unrelated to their presence in the shot? Ever heard of the “men pay x, women free” party planning scheme? Well, that is the sort of advertisement that runs on the objectification of women. The commodification and co-opting of women’s images to drive sales in a way that targets pleasing men at the expense of women is a manifestation of objectification.
These things translate into a society where women cannot exist peacefully because the denial of their bodily autonomy and right to self-determination is institutionalised. Women do not exist at the whims of men or to have men gawk at and lust after them. Men must realise that women own their bodies and decide how they want them to be represented and what they want to do with them.