Objectifying: Is it really a compliment?

Over the years I have been the recipient of my fair share of objectification. The interesting thing is that until recently, I was ignorant of just how much I received and its many, varying forms. Already this exploration is taking me to unchartered territory. I had never once thought about being objectified in any other way other than the obvious examples, like being wolf whistled or ogled.

Recently I saw another blog that talked about the differences between a compliment and objectifying in their strict dictionary senses. The author found that objectifying was “to treat someone as an object rather than as a person” while a compliment was defined as, “a remark that says something good about someone or something; an action or remark that expresses admiration or approval.”

The author then proceeded to assess how a comment to the effect of ‘do you get hit on a lot at work’ was in fact objectifying as opposed to a compliment because it insinuated that her apparent attractiveness detracted from her professionalism and her ability to perform her profession. It assumed she was an object, and not a professional. You can see the wonderful blog post mentioned here:

This has taken me to a pretty uncomfortable area where I have realised that I have actually been complicit in some of my own objectification; not only allowing it, but supporting it in ignorance. I may write more on this (with context) at another point, but right now I just want to sit with this thought and, in particular, be mindful of it when I consider how I write my female characters.

In the interim, enjoy a humourous look at objectification from the perspective of one particularly interesting woman:

For ‘Woodstock’ who loved to wolf whistle, but was indiscriminate in his choice of victim and, ultimately, his choice of whistle. 

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