Beauty Redefined Blog

The Guys’ Guide to Seeing Women, Not Objects



catcallMost of our research and nonprofit efforts focus on teaching girls and women to take their power back in the face of an objectifying culture that values physical ideals above all else. This post is about the flipside of that same issue: How men and boys can take their power back. Men’s power has been taken away from them by the ever-constant idea that males are helpless, weak, and hopeless in the fight to see women as humans and not as a collection of body parts to be ogled. This is a lie. Did you see our viral Carl’s Jr. boycott? Lots of guys are sick of being sold short. 

The following post comes from blogger Nate Pyle, who echoes our disdain for objectifying ideals and shares our views on the harms of viewing females as merely bodies. He blogged about his plans for a future chat with his young son about the issue.  These are his words:

Someday I am going to have to have the conversation with my son.  No, not the conversation all parents dread giving and all kids are mortified having.  I enjoy making people uncomfortable so that conversation should be fun. No, I’m talking about another conversation.  The one that happens after I catch his eye doing what male eyes do well – following an object of lust.  We will probably be out at the mall, because that’s what dads do with their sons, and I’ll catch the look.  Maybe we’ll go to the beach and see it.  Doesn’t matter where it is, there will come a time when I will see it.  And then it will be time for this conversation:

“Hey, come here.  Let me talk to you.  I saw you look at her.  I’m not judging you or shaming you.  I know why you did.  I get it.  But we have to talk about it because how you look at a woman matters.

A lot of people will try and tell you that a woman should watch how she dresses so she doesn’t tempt you to look at her wrongly.  Here is what I will tell you.  It is a woman’s responsibility to dress herself in the morning.  It is your responsibility to look at her like a human being regardless of what she is wearing.  You will feel the temptation to blame her for your wandering eyes because of what she is wearing – or not wearing.  But don’t.  Don’t play the victim.  You are not a helpless victim when it comes to your eyes.  You have full control over them.  Exercise that control.  Train them to look her in the eyes.  Discipline yourself to see her, not her clothes or her body.  The moment you play the victim you fall into the lie that you are simply an embodied reaction to external stimuli unable to determine right from wrong, human from flesh.

Look right at me.  That is a ridiculous lie.

One of our sticky note designs, available for purchase by clicking the image!

One of our sticky note designs, available for purchase by clicking the image!

You are more than that.  And the woman you are looking at is more than her clothes.  She is more than her body.  There is a lot of talk about how men objectify women, and largely, it is true.  Humans objectify the things they love in effort to control them.  If you truly love a person, do not reduce them to an object.  The moment you objectify another human – woman or man, you give up your humanity.

There are two views regarding a woman’s dress code that you will be pressured to buy into.  One view will say that women need to dress to get the attention of men.  The other view will say women need to dress to protect men from themselves.  Son, you are better than both of these.  A woman, or any human being, should not have to dress to get your attention.  You should give them the full attention they deserve simply because they are a fellow human being.  On the other side, a woman should not have to feel like she needs to protect you from you.  You need to be in control of you.

Unfortunately, much of how the sexes interact with each is rooted in fear.  Fear of rejection, fear of abuse, fear of being out of control. We fear each other because we have been taught the other is dangerous.  We’ve been a taught a woman’s body will cause men to sin.  We’re told that if a woman shows too much of her body men will do stupid things.  Let’s be clear: a woman’s body is not dangerous to you.  Her body will not cause you harm.  It will not make you do stupid things.  If you do stupid things it is because you chose to do stupid things.  So don’t contribute to the fear that exists between men and women.

A woman’s body is beautiful and wonderful and mysterious.  Respect it by respecting her as an individual with hopes and dreams and experiences and emotions and longings.  Let her be confident.  Encourage her confidence.  But don’t do all this because she is weaker.  That’s the biggest bunch of crap out there.  Women are not weaker than men.  They are not the weaker sex.  They are the other sex.

I’m not telling you to not look at women.  Just the opposite.  I’m telling you to see women.  Really see them.  Not just with your eyes, but with your heart.  Don’t look to see something that tickles your senses, but see a human being. My hope is that changing how you see women will change how you are around them.  Don’t just be around women.  Be with women.

Because in the end, they want to be with you.  Without fear of being judged, or shamed, or condemned, or objectified, or being treated as other.  And that’s not just what women want.  That’s what people want. Ultimately, it’s what you want.”

Check out our new See More Be More T-shirts!

Check out our new See More Be More T-shirts!

For more information on how boys and men can help take back beauty for girls and women, click here for a massive list of strategies. Read this for a great guide on how to help everyone in your life figure out girls and women are more than just bodies and this for ideas on how to teach modesty in a more empowering way. Like us on Facebook to join in on the conversation with our awesome fans. 

Need more help developing body image resilience that can help you overcome your self-consciousness and be more powerful than ever before? Learn how to recognize harmful ideals, redefine beauty and health, and resist what holds you back from happiness, health, and real empowerment with the Beauty Redefined Body Image Program for girls and women 14+. It is an online, anonymous therapeutic tool that can change your life, designed by Lexie & Lindsay Kite, with PhDs in body image and media.

Need some sticky notes to slap on the mirrors or lockers of those you love that need a reminder that their reflection doesn’t define their worth? Or that they are capable of much more than looking hot? We’ve got you covered here. 

  1. Gerry Dorrian
    Gerry Dorrian08-21-2013

    Very well said – I loved the paragraph about how it’s our responsibility to look at the human being and not the clothes. Sections of our society need to get this message loud and clear.

  2. Steve Pokorny
    Steve Pokorny08-21-2013

    An excellent post. So very important. Sadly, most guys have never received this advice and believe it’s normal to lust after women. We have to break the cycle. The challenge is to be able to see a woman in and through her body, b/c she is body-soul composite. The body is not something to fear nor does it have to be a cause of lust. Instead, the body reveals the person and we must learn how to see them.

    And when a man lives this, he has the ability to heal so many women who have been trained to try to evoke the lust of men, simply b/c they’ve been programmed to think that’s what men really want. But it’s not. in their core, men want to lay down their life for every woman, but sometimes they forget. It’s time to wake them up. – Steve Pokorny,

    • Pri

      What about the men who get all this, are raising daughters and don’t want them to be objectified or to feel that their job is to be attractive to men, but are completely conflicted because they like to look at pictures of hot women on the internet?

      • JL

        Those men should be smart enough to know the difference between a picture on the internet and a real flesh & blood woman.

      • Steve Pokorny
        Steve Pokorny11-16-2016

        Pri, what you mention is at the heart of the issue. Women are not “hot.” They are person who are meant to be loved, not used. The men who are using pornified images have been programmed to believe that a woman’s value is only that which arouses his lust. A male who is a father needs to be a man of integrity, b/c his daughters can tell how he looks at them and other women simply by his body language.

  3. Katie

    I really like this, and I’m seeing more lately (or perhaps I’m just looking for it!) conversations about how old ways of thinking about “modesty” are really harmful for both men and women (for all of the reasons you outline above).

    I wonder though, sincerely here, where is the room for men to find women physically attractive, and for women to have space to dress/makeup/accessorize/etc in a way for men to find them beautiful, *without* it crossing the line into unhealthy?

    I mean, yes, I’m well aware that I am capable of much more than being looked at. And so is my boyfriend. I wholeheartedly support this idea. My guy loves my nerdy brain, and my ability to go toe-to-toe with people on politics or religion or whatever else. And I love those things about him, too. But he also thinks I’m beautiful, and I like that. I want him to think I’m beautiful. I know that he loves when I wear a certain dress, and he knows that I love when he loosens his tie and rolls his shirt sleeves up to his elbows. Neither of us feel the need to always and only dress in each other’s favorite clothes, but putting in a special effort for the one you care about is nice and fun.

    So I guess I’m asking, from a philosophical perspective, where’s the healthy middle? Men are supposed to find women *attractive*, and vice versa. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with women desiring to please by the way they dress. But I also think you’re right and want to protect the idea that it shouldn’t ever be the core of how women define themselves. Am I making any sense here? Can you help me think through this a little bit?

    • Brian Mansur
      Brian Mansur08-23-2013

      Katie, your comment provides an excellent balance to the article. I doubt the article’s author would disagree with you. I think it was geared more to how men see women in general, and not so much the people they are in a relationship with. That said, boyfriends/husbands should take care. Whatever you do should be mutual and believe it or not, her saying yes to something doesn’t necessarily make it okay. Be wary that her consent to wearing something or doing something is born from a desire to love and not a fear of losing the relationship. Really communicate. Really listen to what she wants. Easier said than done.

    • Beauty Redefined
      Beauty Redefined08-23-2013

      Katie, awesome question! And great response from Brian. There’s a major difference between being objectified and everything else. When someone cares about you (like your bf in this situation), he sees you as a whole person – an attractive, living, breathing, funny, smart, etc. person. Being attracted to people is part of love, as you know! Physical attraction is awesome. You can dress for him sometimes, you can dress for you all the time, you can do whatever you want. If someone is objectifying you, they are viewing/treating you as less than human. You are parts to be used, abused, and judged. You are an object. If you are self-objectifying, you are viewing yourself the same way. It leaves you feeling less than, demeaned, and needing to be fixed, displayed, etc.

      You’ll know how to feel when you’re objectified. You feel it in your gut. It’s de-humanizing and it’s not empowering. It’s not rooted in love and compassion. And based on your deep and thoughtful question, I think you’ve got it figured out. Everyone experiences and feels things differently, so everyone’s comfort zone is a bit different. But every person deserves to respect and be respected. Objectification is the antithesis of that.

      Thanks for your comment! You are wonderful!

    • Lorenza

      I’m a gay woman, so it give’s me a perspective of both sides. I do notice women when I’m out and I can see sexiness. However there is a different between glancing to appreciate someone and ogling. Sometimes I may catch their eye and then I just give them a happy smile, not a smirk or a leery grimace. A while ago I had a man come up to me and say, “wow, I’m really don’t mean this as a come on and I hope you are not offending,but you look gorgeous.” I thanked him, as he was genuinely nice. I also have had other men stare at me and with a smirk say “nice tits” and then get offended when I take offence, as they think they are giving a compliment. I also have many men hound me when they have found out I’m gay and completely think just because they have seen a fake lesbian on their cheap porn, I’m going to agree to have sex with them and they do not take no for an answer and once they realise finally I’m not interested,they then get aggressive. There is a right way and a wrong way too appreciate someone and the body they have. Lusting isn’t the problem,it’s how you show that,that is.

    • Ian

      I hear this absolutely! I am a straight guy, who’s also a virgin, but obviously, I’ve had thoughts about girls in that way before. I’ve noticed that there are more than a few people out there who take an excessively hard-lined stance on objectifying women, even in the context of a relationship. Thank you for your comment, it really hit home. :)

  4. kashdoller

    Dear poor objectified women,

    Hi. Dr Doublestandard here to tell you that yes, we as men can certainly try to stop all this objectifying immediately. We are sorry for causing such a ruckus.

    Can I ask a favor though? It would be foolish of me to do that without expecting the same in return? Right?

    So I proclaim, Dr Doublestandard himself, to the following: women must also stop viewing men as objects!

    Now lets not be silly and act like it matters if women view men as objects for their appearance too, who cares! Women generally don’t do this. And for good reason: women don’t care. And if women do happen to do this, it’s generally considered flattering and a good thing for men. In summary: Unimportant. We don’t care about this.

    However Dr Doublestandard is here to assist you women on how to stop your own objectying by letting you know what you do. I know it’s silly that a man is telling you this. But apparently you don’t know this because you evidently didn’t bring any of it up. You just complained about what men do. Weird.

    Anyhow women are just as guilty for rampant objectification of men too. So are you ready?

    Women need to stop viewing him as
    a wallet,
    and a dollar bill,
    and a big house,

    And seriously this is all over the place, stop viewing him for being a child support payment ATM center and place some value into him being a father. How low can you go here?

    And also stop viewing him as
    a suit/tie,
    and a job title,
    and a University.

    Yep everyday all the time we’re viewed as these things. Pretty good if you happen to have a law degree with a high salaried lawyer position that requires a suit/tie isn’t it? For the rest of us it kinda doesn’t work out as due to excessive objectification from women. Stop being shallow, we’re more than a number! Who cares if we went to Harvard or not, it’s just a college name!

    No more objects! No more viewing him as …
    type of car,
    a college degree
    or a salary.

    Just because I drive a Camry and not a Lexus doesn’t make me any better or worse, stop making me out to be a car. How shallow can you be?

    So – when women stop objectifying men as all of these objects, I’ll most certainly return the favor. I’m fully ready to start this if you are.


    Dr Doublestandard

    • Beauty Redefined
      Beauty Redefined08-23-2013

      Dear Kashdoller,
      You’ve obviously been used by someone at some point, and you’re hurting. We sincerely apologize for your obvious pain. Being used is the worst. But I think you chose the absolute worst site to address this concern to the women reading. First, you do realize a man wrote this post as advice to his son, right? Also, do you realize this is a feminist site full of awesome fans who respect men, feel compassion for people who experience pain, and are fully capable women who are very often super educated, driven, successful, and independent? Your comments would be better served elsewhere – like a site for ladies looking for a sugar daddy.

      Plus, your comparison is pretty laughable. Violence against women, including rape, murder, abuse, genital mutilation, etc., are the result of men’s objectification of women. Women “making men out to be cars” just doesn’t compete. So I apologize on behalf of whatever woman thought you’d make a good ATM, but if you don’t have compassion for the violent, rampant, hateful, often totally NORMAL objectification of women, you can get off this site.

      Thanks, Kashdoller!

      • Heather d
        Heather d08-23-2013

        Besides which… When that kind of male objectification happens, where the woman views the man as a wallet etc, that’s a result of her having absorbed the message that she’s just supposed to be a helpless girl who looks pretty in order to catch a man who will then provide all her heart’s desires. She just has to be sexy and she’ll get what she wants. For decades, girls were even taught this in school (think 1950’s) — how to be attractive and presentable in order to catch a man who will be a good provider for you and your children.

        This was not borne out of objectification of men. It was a result of the fact that women were not empowered to earn income themselves and they DID have to ensure their children would be cared for. So what was important in a mate? Having a good job and providing the household’s money. And why, again, was that important? Oh yes, because the woman wasn’t allowed to make money herself. So… who is being objectified here again?

        In other words, this ‘objectification’ of men is indeed real. Some women have taken feminist empowerment to mean “I will use my wiles to control men so that they don’t control me”. But it’s just the other side of the same coin. It’s still submission to the idea that “girls = sexy, men = providers” and all the assumptions that come from that.

        If men treat women like objects to ogle who are just pretty bodies and not whole people, then they should not complain when women respond by acting like empty, pretty bodies — who need someone to look after them, because clearly they can’t look after themselves. Because that’s what the men have taught them. It’s all the same issue.

      • Ashley

        I was just getting ready to say this. Women wouldn’t see men as objects of money if that part of society didn’t pressure men into being the main breadwinners and pressure women into staying at home with the kids. I have always said, let women make their own money. If they are making on their own, this will eliminate men being seen as an atm machine.

      • Angel

        Ashley- I think women should be a stay at home mom if they choose to do so. Since when in 2013 did they pressure women into staying at home? Stay at home mom and, dads do hard work. If anything these days society looks up to working moms than stay at home moms.

      • PJA


        (^that just seems a likely way to get/provoke your attention – sorry you can breath again now – I am grabbing your attention for what I believe is a just cause, because I think this needs to be said, sorry about the opening :D )

        What you have said to kashdollar is a classic false dichotomy. Either you are being raped and abused or your concerns are completely unimportant? If you worked in a hospital would you tell people coming in with a broken leg that their concern is pretty laughable and they should take it elsewhere because there are people here who have no legs?

        The issue is about people being treated unfairly. We would like everyone to be treated fairly. We should be talking about all points of unfairness in both genders, and if there are more severe cases in a certain gender where people are being treated unfairly then talk about those more proportional to severity. But musn’t neglect and spit at the guy with a broken leg because there is a women with no legs. They are both concerns and should both be talked about, and the fact that a woman has no legs should be talked about proportionally more relative to severity, but musn’t dismiss/scold the guy with a broken leg.

        I think the term feminism is suboptimum, because it implies side taking, and dectracts from the true goal, which is for everyone to have fair treatment. I think it should be replced with a term encapsulating both genders which makes it absolutely clear you are against all gender discrimination.

        Likewise the term empowered being used in conjunction with one gender is suboptimum, because it implies a war like force and might. I think it should be replaced with the term enabled so as not to subtly provoke a female vs male argument.

        All we want is for everyone to be treated fairly regardless of their gender, and hopefully you can see where I am coming from with that. Respect.

      • Lorenza

        Burn :)

      • PJA


        [Sensitive to the possibility that my smile could appear in a self-satisfied way, I would like to be clear that this smile is not one of those………………………haaaaaaa now it looks like it issss… Lorenza’s comment (despite minute length) seems favourable/supportive of my comment = smile, no subtext implied]

    • Doti

      Dear Kashdoller,

      I agree on many of your points, those are true. However, under one condition. As a woman with many of girlfriends i can share my experience on the objectification of man. This happens mostly on unconscious level (as for man), usually when we are very young (and not for all, as not for all men). This objectification is somehow understood for teens and early 20ties (both men and women). However, when woman gain her independence (and most do those days) we want another human being for love, companion and sex. We do not see this trend in man as much. I am 30 years old this year, and as much as i find young man looking at my body as they couldn’t help it i see the same from men in their 30ties, 40ties or 50ties (even when they walking with their girlfriends and wife’s). Unfortunately, i need to say that it is just getting worst and worst, probably because all the media shout sex, man cant help it it is sooooo natural…and maybe it is but when woman try to go beyond that men dont really.

      Kind Regards

  5. messmann

    Dear Kashdollar and Beauty Redefined,

    what you’ve got in your replies to each other is a classic double-straw-standard.
    each of you has put the other in a position they are not in, in order to argue points not mentioned in the article, and are going off in an unbalanced direction.

    I agree with the general sentiments of both of your statements, and the polarization of the discussion is an excellent example of why these steroeotypes persist.
    we take a little nugget of truth about how each sex can (at times, but certainly not exclusively) view the other and use so much hyperbole and emotion behind our words that we stop truly listening to each other. (not just men listening to women, or women listening to men, but all of us to all of us.)
    when both sexes (all humans, yes all of us…)keep their ego in check and can be aware of where rationality diverges and irrationality takes over, then these things begin to heal.

    kudos for the well written original post and subsequent comments. Lets’ just keep it from turning into an ego battle. I think kashdollar wasn’t really trying to pick a fight, per se, but to echo the sentiment that men need not be victims to a double standard. which I agree. the satirical nature of kasdollars post the very obviously made light of the double standard could easily be read any way one chooses to read it. taking it to the next level and countering ‘men are wallets’ with the sentiment ‘men are rapists’ is so far removed from the original post, and in the opposite direction of healing.

    mess mann

    • PJA

      I agree. (Except, rather than it being an issue of ego causing hyperbole/emotional responses, I would suggest it’s also more to do with misinterpretation/preconception of the others intentions = subsequently retaliate)

  6. JP

    I liked your article and agree with many of the points you made, but I think you are missing at least one critical aspect. Let me preface all this with the fact that I have been very happily married to my wife for 17 years and she has opened my eyes on a few aspects of how women think and what they want.

    Yes, women want to be loved for who they are (inner beauty), but they also want to be seen as physically beautiful, attractive, and desirable. Why in the world would they spend an hour(s) each day doing their hair, applying their makeup, trying on different outfits, changing their earrings, etc.? Many women watch what they eat and go to the gym to look their very best. And you think they don’t want their man to ogle or stare at them? Of course they want that. They love to know that their husbands, boyfriends are wild about them. Wouldn’t it be a waste, if we only complimented them on their intellect?

    Feminism has done so much more harm to women than it has helped. Women need to hear they are beautiful, loved, and desired. The culture of pornography and political correctness has made it more difficult to comment on a women’s figure. There is never a reason to be crude or to focus solely on her body, but a well placed compliment will do wonders for a woman.

    • Shaye

      Please think about what you said for a second. Even if the point of this article were to say that women shouldn’t try to be beautiful (if they want to) or that men shouldn’t tell women they are beautiful (which it’s not; that is missing the point spectacularly) – EVEN IF that were true – do you REALLY think that being told they’re beautiful is more important to the well-being of women than things like:

      The right to vote
      The right to own property
      Equal pay for equal work
      Legal protection against all kinds of sex abuse and harassment
      The right to pursue any profession of their choosing
      The knowledge and understanding that they need to be able to care for themselves, and the skills to do it
      The ability to choose whether and when to get married
      The understanding that they are more than their appearance
      …and I could literally go on for HOURS.

      These are the things that feminism has done for women. So your quaint idea that feminism has done more harm than good because YOU are imputing a message in this father’s advice that is not there is – to put it simply – not just wrong, but entirely wrong-headed. Even if feminism required me to wear a burlap sack, skip brushing my hair, and shun anyone who dared comment on my appearance (hahahahaha IT DOESN’T), I would still be on board with it because THE THINGS FEMINISM HAS DONE, nOT JUST FOR WOMEN BUT FOR SOCIETY IN GENERAL, ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN PHYSICAL BEAUTY.

      Jesus Christ, it’s 2013, I can’t believe that has to be said out loud.

      • SMcE

        Well said Shaye, right down to your last line.

      • PJA

        *until the last line

    • Jamie

      You asked this question: “Why in the world would they spend an hour(s) each day doing their hair, applying their makeup, trying on different outfits, changing their earrings, etc.?”
      Why indeed? Answer: Because the culture they live in tells them that they have to. If women felt they could get love, respect and attention any other way, do you think they would go through this tedious ritual? Of course not. But they do it because their mothers did it, and their grandmothers did it, and because the media keeps telling them over and over daily that they have to do it as well. For most women it becomes a habit, passed down over generations, one that people don’t even think about as anything other than normal expected female behavior. Of course women want their men to find them attractive. But if they thought they could do it without all the extra cosmetic emphasis, I suspect most of them would be much happier. Men don’t feel compelled to wear earrings, makeup, and lingerie just to impress their mates- why should women have to?

      • Angel

        You know some women want to wear ear rings and make-up because they like it. Not just because they want men attention but because they want to do it for themselves.

      • PJA

        That is bs, giggle. No one wear earings for themselves :P lol why would they do that? Common. lol. I don’t think so.

        I have heard that one a few times now but it doesn’t make sense in the way expressed. No hard feelings btw, I am not making fun of what you say or anything, only playing devils advocate, to make the point that from my perspective the language you have used isn’t communicating what you mean effectively.

        If you mean because they like to be creative with their appearence then = clearly communicated = understandable = probelm solved. I think the reason they like it needs to be expressed as opposed to they just like it.

      • Jake

        By your logic, men who wear earrings are trying to attract women?

      • PJA

        Jake, you missed the point. I didn’t say women who wear earings are trying to attract men.

      • Bbb

        I would argue that I dress more for other women than for men. Not that I’m gay or Bi but because we like pretty things. I often get compliments from other women about my appearance. Far more than from men. I also like to decorate my house in pretty things and plant pretty flowers in my yard. I wouldn’t mind at all if men paid more attention to decorating themselves. Remember how so many women though Johnny Depp was sexy in the first Pirates movie? Make up and accessories can be sexy on men too. However when I look at a beautiful man I do it in the way that the OP would like his son to. I enjoy beautiful men immensely but I never imaging doing things to them or their bodies because that is only enjoyable when it is with his consent and mutual desire.

      • dee

        Brilliant..most of this men are just obsessed with what they want from females that is even why they don’t know anymore how they are connected to their bodies

      • Jahanpanah

        Nothing brilliant dee. Such comments only make me question why I haven’t sided with MRAs. I’m all for equality between sexes but when it comes down to the sexual behaviour of men and women it’s all about compatibility, that’s how nature has made us. Women want to look beautiful for variety of reasons, not always to attract men but to stand out among their peers, to feel confident and sexy for themselves and many other reasons which you would understand better (as you are a woman). If you think women dress like that and apply makeup that makes them look beautiful only because of the culture we live in then you are wrong. Even in tribal cultures where there is no presence of media they have their own notions of what makes them look beautiful, even 3 or 4 year old girls, away from their mothers or grandmothers have this notion of looking beautiful. This trait of females species adorning themselves have been seen even among the animals like Gorillas and Chimpanzees.
        Once upon a time when religion and code of conduct had a strong grip over the humans and controlled their behaviour, women were expected to behave in a certain way but that all changed gradually, only because of media? Do you think women themselves didn’t want it? No. I think their present state is how women always wanted to be but weren’t allowed to.
        And frankly men wouldn’t do those things because the concept of beauty is different. Evolutionary psychologist will say that women are more attracted to rough, rugged and robust men because of our hunter, gatherer origins where such men used to be considered as strong and dominating who could provide security to them and their children gradually with evolution it transformed into guys with more money and power.
        the concept of equality doesn’t apply everywhere you need to understand, otherwise there wouldn’t even have been a genuine attraction between a man and a woman. Feminism is only a subset of the larger goal of liberalism, in this present era what we see is the basic human nature coming out that isn’t suppressed by any systems. Certainly pop culture has some influence on it but not much (for example in my country pop culture had always depicted autonomous marriages in positive light but they become vogue here only when the economic liberalization occurred which forced people to adopt new economic choices and new social systems based around it). Changes don’t occur because of the presence of a certain media or pop-culture it depicts unless the political and economic conditions are equally conducive.

  7. MotherEffie

    Dear Kashdollar,
    If you are waiting for women to stop turning you into an object before you return the favor you will most likely be waiting a long time. To repeat the wise words of Ghandi, ” become the.change you wish to.see in the world.” That is the ultimate message of this article, for us to see each other as human, because ‘thats what people want, it’s what you want”

  8. SMcE

    Super article, I did think there were a couple of sentences which could have been more inclusive of both genders (and transgenders) but really good to get a detailed and coherent vision of where we men and women could go with this.

  9. Jamie

    Wow, forgive me for my cynicism, but I am so relieved to know that there is a man out there who think this way! I love how he points out the two flawed viewpoints of how women are expected to dress. I have often heard that immodest dress is inappropriate, but is it unfair that the emphasis on modest dress is almost exclusively aimed at females. I also completely reject the common notion that women are somehow responsible for the lustful thoughts of men, as if we don’t have enough criticism aimed at us as it is! Ideally we should all dress modestly, so that we can see and relate to each other as human beings for a change.
    I rather resent the comments on women who don’t work, however, and the feminist notion that they are somehow oppressed. I am an educated mother who chose to stay at home and raise my children because I believe it is the best thing for them. I was the daughter of a working mom, so I understand that not all women have, or want, this opportunity, and I certainly don’t think any woman should be forced into it if it’s not for her. It should be noted, however, that single mothers are among the poorest segment of the US population- working women are not always as happy and liberated as feminists make them out to be. I would really like to see the emergence of a new type of feminism that respects, rather than prescribes, female individuality, and embraces the good in both traditional and modern female roles.

    • Alison

      Thank you Jamie. I am a stay at home mom too. I especially liked your last lines.

      I think like any movement feminism can go too far and alienate people. Women voting, owning property, being educated, and entering and excelling in the workforce, not being sexualized or victimized- great. I think there is value to traditional roles of men and women though. My husband is the provider and I take care of the children. There have been times when I’ve helped earn money and I was able to graduate from college. He helps with the kids and around the house and is a great cook. I think I have a lot in common with feminists, but I hear too much about the abortion rights, anti-SAHM, in your face sexuality side of feminism to be able to reconcile it with my life and religion. BR rides the right line for me, precluding some of the comments.

    • Jarrod

      I think the ultimate goal of feminism is equality, that is, if a woman wants to work she can go out and work (and get equal pay for an equal job) or if she wants to stay at home and look after the kids she can choose to do that. That’s what should be focused on.

  10. Ken

    “Be with women.

    “Because in the end, they want to be with you.”

    Umm … well, there’s just one problem with this: in my case, it isn’t true. “They” don’t want to “be with [me].”

    I’m not complaining. I’m just stating a fact. Now, don’t get the wrong idea: I’m not arguing against the post’s main point (or against an idea brought forth in the comments): neither men nor women should objectify or should be objectified by the other. And I’ve always treated women … on the rare occasions when they’ve actually cared how I treated them … with the respect they deserve. And I know I’m not a slave to my culture or my hormones (well, I’m not a slave to those, in part, because, largely, I no longer have them, but that’s another story) or to how a woman looks or to how she dresses, etc. etc. etc.

    I have sole possession of the remote control, and hence, I can watch what I want, when I want.

    I can eat what I want, when I want.

    I can watch whatever movie’s playing that I happen to want to see and that matches my schedule without worrying if it matches anyone else’s taste (or her schedule) and without worrying about what “she” will think of it (or of me for [wanting to] see it).

    I can go where I want, when I want (schedule permitting).

    I don’t have to care whether “she” agrees with what I think about anything.

    I don’t have to care whether “she” agrees with what I (want to) do.

    Now, are all of these things a poor substitute for a relationship in which I would have to care about
    those things? Yeah, maybe. And I’m not saying that I wouldn’t care about these things if I had (the prospect of) such a relationship. But I’m a pragmatist: I’ll take what I can get.
    Do I sound like a pessimist? I’m neither an optimist nor a pessimist when it comes to women … just a realist.

    But are you telling me the reverse isn’t true? Are you telling me that women don’t care about how guys look? With all due respect, that’s a crock of crap. If that were the case, I have enough going for me otherwise that I long ago gladly would have surrendered the “benefits” of my “single, unattached, and prospectless” status to “Become One” with someone. If she can’t see … really see … what she’s looking at, that’s not my problem.

  11. thomas

    I’m a guy and I’m more than a paycheck which is how many women perceive men. Women have to find men who look past the paycheck and men need to look past the body, because neither will be the way they are forever.

    • thomas

      Sorry, there seems to be no edit option. That should have read “Women need to look at men past the paycheck” and men need to look past the body, because neither will be the way they are forever.”

  12. Ber-Henda

    We have to reclaim Eve and adjust how women are viewed on all fronts. This articles speaks to pressure of oneness that Is placed on women because our presence is misunderstood and our natures demonized. We should fill up the senses and mystify, We nurture and titillate. We protect and destroy. We wonderfully and fearfully made! Men must protect and honor our virtue and allow for us to be fully expressed. Thank you for this article! I love and will repost it!

  13. william dean parker
    william dean parker01-12-2014

    If a girl caused harm to boys somehow, in the way she over-admired the athleticism of males as a replacement to her not enjoying athleticism in herself., every woman, and every butt-kisser of women on the planet. would instantainiously realize that the solution would be to teach the girl to admire athleticism in herself – not correct her methods of admiring male athleticism in a way that her admiration of males was exercised in a way that better benefitted males.
    We have 7 billion people on this earth and no one thinks that the solution here is to teach boys to see sexual beauty in themselves – not correct their metod of seeing beauty only in females.
    I have 2 dogs. Both do not grasp the difference between athletic and sexual beauty , but one of them does. Everyone on the planet is discussing how important it is for girls to be seen as athletically beautiful but no one discusses the need for boys to feel sexually – not merely athletically beautiful . Teach them this and they will not only quit controlling women’s lives but you will also never have to look at or touch a man’s body ever again.

  14. Alison Moore Smith
    Alison Moore Smith01-27-2014

    I’ve been ranting on this for so many years and it is SO good to have such a great, organized resource to point to for solid info.

    Thank you for your work in this cause. It is important.

  15. Kaley

    Well, well done. Sharing everywhere!

  16. Luke

    Yes, yes, agree agree, I just question the implications of

    “We will probably be out at the mall, because that’s what dads do with their sons”….mmm k.

  17. Psychology Matters
    Psychology Matters01-28-2014

    Evolutionary psychology – men are literally geared to seek out and find attractive mates. This shows that the offspring will be have a better chance of survival in the ‘wild’. As a female, I understand that men have evolved with this trait and there is simply nothing we can do about it as this is the one characteristic that has literally perpetuated the human species. If you learn about evolutionary psychology, you will learn that women are naturally more promiscuous than men as selective mating is less advantageous for women..

    If men were to morph into asexual, mindless drones, we simply would not survive. Of course there is a line between looking at a female and sexual harassment, but when did an innocent glance ever kill anyone?

    • Beauty Redefined
      Beauty Redefined01-29-2014

      You’re totally disregarding the role media and culture plays in defining what’s “attractive.” Because of pervasive, coherent, idealized imagery of female bodies in mass media over the last few decades, our culture’s idea of “attractive” has morphed into something highly unattainable for the vast majority of the population. By becoming critical of the ideals we have been led to seek after, we can re-program what we perceive as ideal.

      • Psychology Matters
        Psychology Matters01-29-2014

        I find your argument unrelated to the article, however, there is and always has been an ‘ideal’ form of what people in society find attractive. In Western culture, today, it is slender – because we know that is healthy. During the Renaissance, chubbier women were found to be attractive because they were more affluent and their offspring would have a higher chance of surviving. The article mentions that men should “really see women” – all I was saying is that men are naturally geared to seek out and assess perspective mates. Just as women naturally do this by assessing how well a potential mate can care for them. This is our evolutionary history, and we would not exist if this didn’t occur. Any science book can easily back me up.

        The media is its own machine and is independent of what this article is addressing. I was trying to put to you the biological reasons for why we act the way we do. And secondly, you mention the media as a source of objectifying women. However, there is a high demand for glossy magazines and bad reality television. If there was no demand for this, it wouldn’t exist.

      • PJA

        Not quite I don’t think. Or at least I think I have a couple of additional thought provokers:

        a) Your train of thought has falsely assumed that slender woman are attactrive because that’s healthy, when in fact slenderness as attractive is a result of cultural conditioning. Men are genrally attracted to women who’s physique is shaped by having a good amount of fat, and a good amount of muscle underneath (curvyness as it is often described). Men have evolved this attraction likely because 1) good levels of fat organ indicate good levels of esseential fats essential for healthy developing babies 2) good levels of muscle indicate good mobility etc, useful for evading predators + finding food + fleeing famine + etc etc.

        b) (repeat: Men are generally optimally physically attracted to women who’s physique is sculpted by having good amounts of fat + good amounts of muscle underneath) Men are turned on by an physically attractive women, but they are not geared to seek out and assess perspective mates in the form of staring at assess and boobs. In wild human populations today, they have found that naked tribes people give each other 100% eye contact and are not interested in ponography of any kind. The reason men in western culture look at assess and boobs is massively a result of people being clothed and with scarcity comes high demand.

  18. ted

    sorry, for the most part women and society have no one to blame but themselves, from 3 year on in life parents encourage a girl child to dress and attract a male with sex, and it is the be all in entertainment as an adult, if parents were interested in raising a person, not a sex symbols perhaps attitudes will change

  19. Maggz

    Sorry but this is a typical ‘men are wrong’ article. I do 100% agree that men can choose to ‘see’ the woman. I always look at a woman in her eyes, if she’s wearing something revealing my eyes will notice (that is human nature).

    However, let’s change this around a bit. Imagine for a minute that guys started wearing short tight bike pants style, and let’s assume for arguments sake he’s an attractive guy. Do you honestly think that women would look him in the eyes? No, they would most likely look and giggle, It’s human nature, yet when men do this they are labelled things like chauvinistic. The only difference is that society allows women to wear revealing clothes but not men. So the problem isn’t men or women, it’s society.

    My personal opinion is that a woman knows how she is going to be perceived when she puts her clothes on. This implies more about her self-esteem than anything, which is another issue with society.

    • PJA

      I think that’s a very fair perspective

    • Jahanpanah

      I’d say its not the fault of the society but something more inherent psychological trait of women. Its related to women being the one with choice as to what mate she will choose and in order to choose her mate first she needs to attract one and hence will always try to look attractive and stand out from among the rest. For example in many countries (not talking about the western countries) which are very conservative in general, it is commonly frowned upon if a women wears a sexy revealing cloth or a tight fitting dress and yet women with such dresses are not unseen, so who is making her do this? Society? I don’t think so, surely many people will blame the influence of the western world for this but then she ain’t so naive to realise that these places are not the west and this is particularly more common with highly educated independent kind women. They surely are capable of making their own choices without any influence by any kind of media. I think the reason is that asserting their sexuality through the kind of clothing that can turn men’s eyes (not in a creepy kind of way) gives them power over them (men are slaves of their desires) also it gives the sense of liberation to them, as a woman who has always been suppressed in the past isn’t afraid of asserting her sexuality. Sexual liberation has always been core to the women’s overall liberation. isn’t it?
      A boy doing the same as you suggested will automatically make people think him as homosexual, the reason being same, it’s men who are driven by the visual appeal of beauty not women (in general). Women tend to visceral appeal.

  20. Justin Thomas
    Justin Thomas02-02-2014

    I had a (male) cousin with a cranial-facial birth defect. He attracted attention where ever he went because of his looks. His face was flat, his eyes bulged and his hands only had three fingers each. Originally, his hands had a thumb and “mitten”, but that was corrected so that he could use his hands a little more easily. Obviously, he was not traditionally beautiful.
    You may notice I refer to him in the past tense. He recently passed on, and his funeral/memorial service showed what true beauty was.
    The services were packed. In a large church, there was standing room only. He had touched so many lives, and will leave such a big hole in so many lives. The service groups, the church groups, the neighborhood where he lived, his relatives, those who were touched by his music, the list goes on and on. He was much loved, and he was a beautiful person. My cousin was beauty redefined in truth.

  21. Tom

    I know for a fact there are women pushing this article who are also on trying to get gullible men to buy them free vacations. Today’s “feminist” is defined by her complete and utter lack of self-awareness and a self-serving ethic that holds her to no ethical or moral standard whatsoever. Have fun living and dying alone you bigoted alpha widows.

  22. Joseph Dowdy
    Joseph Dowdy02-24-2014

    Will you also try to get women to see men in a different way so that when a guy asks a girl out on a date that she doesn’t take into consideration how he is dressed, how wealthy he appears to be, what kind of job he has and all the other things that women use to assess if they will say yes to a date…or even a cup of coffee? Don’t men also deserve to be seen for the human being they are instead of their job or their car or their hair or their clothes?

    I think your article is more aimed at creating androgyny and trying to get men not to be men–or worse to try and get men to be like women. This is not to say that there aren’t men, even a lot of them, who have a societal dysfunction with the parts of the woman rather than the whole… But for every guy you think is misbehaving because he looks at a girl’s boobs when they are talking, I’ll show you a girl who wants a prince to take her off on his horse to live in a castle and live happily ever after.

    If you don’t want a prince to take you away on a horse and live in a castle to live happily ever after, then you probably have been hurt by one or more guys in your life and articles like this are around to make you feel better and to avoid dealing with reality. There is no “perfect guy” out there who is going to see you as a woman first unless you are friends first, so why don’t you focus on making peace with men and see if it doesn’t turn out better that way?

    • Psychology Matters
      Psychology Matters02-24-2014

      I totally agree with you Joseph, and I’m female! Feminism today has turned into this fight to create effeminate men with no sex drive or sexual attraction whatsoever. Why is feminism focusing on this rather that creating more female CEO’s and leaders? This I’ll never understand.

      • PJA

        Those are excellent points I think guy and gal.

        The word “feminism” is a big part of the problem from my perspective – biased in favour of one gender, implies side taking, deters from balanced discussion of all sexism including women’s + men’s sexism…

        “Counter-sexism” seems a more appropriate term to me. Then discussion is around achieving fairness for everyone.

    • Fuzz

      Joseph I completely disagree with the first part of your last line: “There is no “perfect guy” out there who is going to see you as a woman first unless you are friends first,.”

      It sounds like you are saying it’s difficult to earn a man’s respect unless you are platonic first. So, are you saying the men I briefly come in contact with at work, or at the gym, or at events that I see occasionally see me as….what? a piece of meat? I disagree with that but I am hoping and thinking I have misinterpreted your statement.

      Just because there are also women out there that view men as sources of finances does not mean it’s okay for men to view women as objects to be used sexually. This article was aimed at a son. I am sure this author could easily write an article aimed at a daughter encouraging her to make her own money and solely rely on or look for a guy with money to support her.

      • PJA

        I think that is a good point Fuzz, I am not sure exactly what is meant by this either: “There is no “perfect guy” out there who is going to see you as a woman first unless you are friends first”?

        Regarding your last paragraph – Joseph, as far as I could tell, unless I missed something whilst checking just now, never said or implied that “because there are also women out there that view men as sources of finances it’s okay for men to view women as objects to be used sexually” [intentional edit]

      • Joseph Dowdy
        Joseph Dowdy03-03-2014

        Yes, I said, “There is no “perfect guy” out there who is going to see you as a woman first unless you are friends first, so why don’t you focus on making peace with men and see if it doesn’t turn out better that way?”

        This is really quite simple and I think you are making it much more difficult than it needs to be, which by the way, completely reflects how many women approach men. Women think they aren’t safe so they must control the men and keep them from being attracted to women; instead the men must see them as human beings first and foremost.

        This quote from the article: “Humans objectify the things they love in effort to control them.” is just hogwash. Humans objectify what they lust after and not so that they can control them! Have you never heard that guys are afraid to ask a girl out? Have you never considered that there are guys who ARE shy? Do you think that fear of rejection is just some myth that guys perpetuate?

        Sure it’s great to have a guy see a woman for the human being that she is, but you can’t avoid those times when hormones get involved. Otherwise, you have androgyny and “friend zone” relationships which may be perfect for a work environment but not when it comes to this thing called life where our own bodies scream at us to procreate. And I do mean SCREAM.

        So, I’m going to say it slightly differently so that there are no misunderstandings. What I’m talking about moves far beyond “ogling” or “objectifying” women. A guy who treats you like he isn’t interested in you sexually (when he is) is a liar and isn’t treating you like a human being. A guy who treats you like he’s interested in you sexually (when he is) is honestly flirting and honestly stunned by your beauty, but you call that ogling and lusting and so you try to get him to see you as a human being first as if turning him off will keep him honest. So your stuck with either dishonesty or a man-hating fantasy. In your world there is no room for guys who want to be winners or heroes…your fantasy world that is.

        There isn’t some “perfect guy” who can avoid this trap and he cannot escape. By getting men who are attracted to see the human being only is to deny reality. And if there is a time when it’s OK for a man to be attracted (and not see the human being) is based solely on the notion that women are the ones who are the police in a relationship instead of partners… And what gives women the right to be the relationship police? Why not just consider that men and women can be partners with things like “give and take” and “mutual attraction” and “hot couples” unless you think these things are impossible.

        And while you are trying to make the impossible a reality, guys and girls and getting it on like they have for millenia because there was nothing wrong with it then and there is nothing wrong with it now.

        And by the way, I think it’s pretty shocking that you people who use these funny names like Fuzz and PJA are not afraid to disagree as if I’m saying something dishonest, but you don’t have the honesty to reveal who you are. What are you hiding?

      • Joseph Dowdy
        Joseph Dowdy03-03-2014

        Yes, I said, “There is no “perfect guy” out there who is going to see you as a woman first unless you are friends first, so why don’t you focus on making peace with men and see if it doesn’t turn out better that way?”

        Perhaps I should have used parentheticals: “There is no “perfect guy” out there who is going to see you as a woman first (unless you are friends first), so why don’t you focus on making peace with men and see if it doesn’t turn out better that way?”

        This is really quite simple and I think you are making it much more difficult than it needs to be; which, by the way, completely reflects how many women approach men. Many women think they aren’t safe when men flirt or ogle so they must control the men and keep them from being attracted to women; instead the men are forced to see them as human beings first and foremost. Who is trying to control who?

        This quote from the article: “Humans objectify the things they love in effort to control them.” is just hogwash. Humans objectify what they lust after and not so that they can control them! Have you never heard that guys are afraid to ask a girl out? Have you never considered that there are guys who ARE shy? Do you think that fear of rejection is just some myth that guys perpetuate? Wanting and controlling are two different things. First you have to “have” something before you can control it so there is a GIGANTIC assumption that a man also wants to control what he has. LOTS of men would prefer to have nothing to do with a woman once he has had her and that’s the truth! Of course, that would be bad behavior, so men would never admit it but there were times in my life when that is how I operated.

        Sure it’s great to have a guy see a woman for the human being that she is, but you can’t avoid those times when hormones get involved. Otherwise, you have androgyny and “friend zone” relationships which may be perfect for a work environment but not when it comes to this thing called life where our own bodies scream at us to procreate. And I do mean SCREAM.

        So, I’m going to say it slightly differently so that there are no misunderstandings. What I’m talking about goes far beyond “ogling” or “objectifying” women because that precedes “having” what a guy wants.

        A guy who treats you like he isn’t interested in you sexually (when he is) is a liar and isn’t treating you like a human being. A guy who treats you like he’s interested in you sexually (when he is) is honestly flirting and honestly stunned by your beauty, but you call that ogling and lusting and so you try to get him to see you as a human being first as if turning him off will keep him honest. So you’re stuck with either dishonesty or a man-hating fantasy. In your world there is no room for guys who want to be winners or heroes…and that’s only in your fantasy world. It’s not reality.

        There isn’t some “perfect guy” who can avoid this trap and so he cannot avoid being controlled by this. By getting men who are attracted to see the human being only is to deny what is really happening.

        And if there is a time when it’s OK for a man to be attracted (and not see the human being), it is based solely on the notion that women are the ones who are the police in a relationship instead of partners… And what gives women the right to be the relationship police and have total control? Why not just consider that men and women can be partners with things like “give and take” and “mutual attraction” and things like “cute couples”…unless you think these things are impossible?

        And while you are trying to make the impossible a reality, guys and girls are getting it on like they have for millenia because there was nothing wrong with it then and there is nothing wrong with it now. Men and women are attracted to each other. Get over it!

        Ogling is just not socially acceptable, but you can’t use “getting men to see the human being” to control their hormones. That is a form of social neutering.

        And by the way, I think it’s pretty shocking that you people who use these funny names like Fuzz and PJA are not afraid to disagree as if I’m saying something dishonest, but you don’t have the honesty to reveal who you are. What are you hiding?

      • PJA

        I wasn’t intending to disagree, just to seek clarification.

        PJA are my initials. I prefer not to give out my name on public websites. I don’t think giving my full name is relevent to this discussion, and I presume it makes no relevent difference to you what my full name is. There are reasons that giving my full name could be problematic, as for beneficial, I can’t think of positives from my perspective at the moment, except to avoid the time it takes to reply to anyone saying “What are you hiding?”

        Besides possibly the phrasing in which your wording seems to be making generalisations about women doing this, men doing that, you make some really good points there I think. Interesting perspectives which I haven’t really thought about before. Honesty when it comes to sexuality is largely neutered and that does seem to be a problem.

        I don’t personally think men or women being physically/sexually attracted before knowing the others personality is objectification (as I understand it, because I don’t think that is degrading)… If it does count as objectification, I don’t think that is a bad form of objectification, seems quite fine+natural.

  23. Autochron

    So… maybe I’m just a bit stupid, but what I took away from the article is that I should never notice women’s bodies, and if I do notice, I deserve to feel ashamed. If I am ever physically attracted to a woman, or notice what she’s wearing or how good she looks, I am treating her as less than a person because I’m on the “wrong” side of the object/person dichotomy. That’s what I take away from this.

    I want to be wrong, though. I want to not hate myself anymore.

    • Beauty Redefined
      Beauty Redefined03-03-2014

      Autochron, we don’t want you to hate yourself. There’s no need for that. When you look at women, do you feel like you are objectifying them? Do you feel like you’re viewing them as parts or pieces to be ogled, judged, or consumed for your own pleasure? Are you seeing a woman as an object and blaming her for you perceiving her that way? By your description, it doesn’t sound that way. If you feel like you’re perceiving women as objects and not as people, then that’s where all the advice in this post comes into play. Perceiving someone’s beauty or attractiveness, or simply noticing a woman, is not objectification. Objectification is dehumanization. There is no dichotomy here — there’s a spectrum!

      • Autochron

        Thanks for your response, and I appreciate that you don’t want me to hate myself, I really do. That said, I am quite confused by your response. I hope you don’t mind, but I’m going to try to respond to a couple of points.

        “When you look at women, do you feel like you are objectifying them? Do you feel like you’re viewing them as parts or pieces to be ogled, judged, or consumed for your own pleasure?”

        I honestly have no idea. I’m sorry to have to get a bit explicit here, but there’s no other way to say what I have to say than to just say it. I apologize in advance if this causes any discomfort.

        It embarrasses me to admit it, but I do know that I look at women sometimes, and I sometimes think about what they might look like naked, and I occasionally have sexual thoughts about them and about their bodies and find myself somewhat aroused by these thoughts. And yes, I do sometimes find these thoughts pleasing. Is that objectification? I would have thought so. I would have thought that treating another person with kindness and dignity would mean that these things would not happen because I’d be “[seeing] her, not her clothes or her body,” to borrow a phrase from the letter. Maybe this is a place where I’m missing the mark?

        And if I’m right, and it really is objectifying and dehumanizing… how do I train myself to not think about women sexually? I’ve tried, but it seems impossible to do so for me. Does this make me a bad person?

        When I read your statement about “[seeing] women as objects and not as people”, I felt a little better, as these things don’t *feel* to me like they are incompatible with seeing someone as a person, but to me the phrase “as a person” seems so vague and nebulous (apologies) with regard to sexual desire and its expression that it’s tough for me to tell for sure.

        On another point, if I’m not the one that’s being potentially harmed by this behavior, then why does it matter what I think? The only thing that really matters is what she thinks, right?

        Finally, if there’s a spectrum… how can it be possible to know where is an “okay” place on the spectrum to be? I mean, it’s not like there’s an authority that I can ask — everyone has different feelings about this, in my experience. How can I tell what practices are morally acceptable in the absence of a clear delineation between right and wrong? That might just my OCD acting up, though. I just really want to feel like I’m not doing anything wrong, or “objectifying” in this case, and at the same time have it possible for me to get into a sexual relationship if I want one. I’ve struggled with that all of my adult life.

        Anyway, thanks for your response. :) And yes, I have been in therapy a lot, but it doesn’t seem to help this issue. Sorry to unload on you.

      • dustin

        I have written papers and articles before on “the look” or voyeurism, because it is a very hot-button issue in the art world for the past (forever) years, and this is what I have come up with. If i have learned anything about ethics/morality, it is that thought alone is not intrinsically bad. If I see beauty in someone, why shouldn’t I look? The line between thought and action is quite broad, while the line between thought and look is almost non existent. It is possible to tell what someone is thinking by the look they are giving you. While I agree that certain types of looks are degrading, should we as a culture be encouraging the restriction of how our fellow members think? Meanwhile, if someone gives me a look that says, “Im gonna rape you” I would probably stay away from that look. This serves as an important defense mechanism to everyone’s survival, and not just in a sexual manner. I think the real issue is the lack of clarification between the reality of the situations and our perceptions of it. We are all objects. BAM, i said it. A human is an object, and a noun for that reason. Conversation makes us more than objects to others, but how can we become more in the eyes of another person without exposing our soul to them in conversation or actions? we cannot. We are all objects to each other until we know one another, which in turn cannot happen without a look. If i desire to know someone, i will never get the opportunity without letting them know that i desire their company with a look. Otherwise we would all be people passing each other on the streets with over polite and PC conversations about the weather while staring at the ground. This is distinctly separate from someone staring at your breasts or someone who ‘hollas’ in an animalistic fashion. which of course is incredibly indecent behavior. Summary: We cannot reach unity by building barriers between each other based on gender. a cat call builds a barrier just as well as being ashamed or afraid of attraction to another person. I think it is better to write off people who give you that look rather than be offended, because a person’s mind is their last sanctuary. Who are we to belittle the minds of others? I think things that i am not proud of, no one can control that. And to control a look is to control a person. but that is just my opinion i suppose i am just a man with a man’s brain trying to see past that fact. I am also not trying to stir up any trouble, what do you think? I am open to redefining my outlook on the subject.

      • Autochron

        dustin: I agree with most of what you wrote, but my main issue is this. I’m leaving the catcalling, leering, and other stuff aside, because I think we agree about how terrible that is.

        Suppose I am physically and sexually attracted to someone (that I have already gotten to know), and I decide to let them in on my intentions by asking them out or whatever. Isn’t this an action, and thus on the other side of the thought/action divide? Shouldn’t I be ashamed of myself because my motives are not pure enough, too tainted by physical attraction? Shouldn’t treating others as people necessarily imply not trying to express these objectifying things, even if indirectly?

      • Beauty Redefined
        Beauty Redefined03-03-2014

        That’s awesome that you are genuinely interested in this topic. We might not be able to answer all your questions to your satisfaction, but what your questions show is that you are taking a very critical look at the way you perceive, think about, and interact with women. That is really the key here. Questioning our own thought patterns and beliefs is the point of all of this. Once you identify thoughts or behaviors that are inconsistent with what you believe about yourself or other people, then you can work on changing them. At the same time, we’re not in the business of regulating anyone’s thoughts. If you are uncomfortable with the way you think about women, and feel it is damaging to your own mental health, then that’s where the problem is — it’s not in the harm that is inflicted on others, since that is presumably nonexistent if it’s your own thoughts we’re talking about. The best spot on “the spectrum” is where you feel comfortable with your thoughts and actions. No one else can pinpoint that for you, since most of this is going on inside your own head!

      • Autochron

        Again, thanks.

        I understand that your position is that you don’t want to regulate anyone’s thoughts. It just seemed to me that a couple of phrases in the letter you posted drift uncomfortably close to that for me. As I see it, when he talks about how his son should “see” women, he isn’t just talking about how to treat the people he interacts with; he is literally talking about what should and should not go on in his son’s mind.

        I have done enough reading in sexology to know that the vast majority of people (men and women) fantasize about others sexually, and for most of us it goes hand in hand with feeling physically and sexually attracted to someone. And how is it possible to get into a sexual relationship if these feelings of attraction are buried or repressed? If you look at it that way, we all have to “give up our humanity” a little bit in order to live our lives fully.

        Maybe I’m wrong, though. Can you give me an example or two of a man who looks at women as a “collection of body parts”? What kind of thought process does that entail? I’ve been confused to the point of paralysis for fear of making women feel uncomfortable with the notion of my sexual attraction to them. If I have said fantasies, and they are motivating behaviour such as respectful flirting or dating, would that count as “seeing a woman as a collection of body parts/less than human” and acting on those feelings?

        Thank you. I appreciate that this might be difficult for you to answer.

  24. dustin

    I got out of bed and put on some pants to answer this question.

    Progressing a relationship is a little off topic for the intentions of the blog written by Mr. Nate Pyle here, but I will diverge to say at that point, you should know this person already. This article is more addressing strangers and how genders will perceive and react to other genders. You already know this person (hopefully), so you are not giving them the old “up and down” that people seem to be offended by. There is absolutely no shame in physical attraction, however people will feel degraded and objectified if these advances are thrown in their face without a prerequisite.

    What I was trying to get across is that thought is quite separate from action, while thought is almost indistinguishable from look (unless you are good at hiding it). Physical attraction is not impure. To deny physical attraction is to deny our very biology. The problem is when physical attraction becomes more important or obscures the “soul” (i use the term loosely) of the person you are attracted to. Which I have learned from experience. It is also a problem when physical attraction is the only reason you have sexual desire for a person.

    While I agree with many points in this article, I would also like to note that yes, Mr. Nate Pyle and this article support the control of thought. When we sit our children down and say

    from the article:
    “You have full control over them (eyes). Exercise that control. Train them to look her in the eyes. Discipline yourself to see her, not her clothes or her body. The moment you play the victim you fall into the lie that you are simply an embodied reaction to external stimuli unable to determine right from wrong, human from flesh.

    my god there are so many things wrong with these couple of sentences. I will address two, so i can go back to sleep. First, we have as much control over our eyes as we do our thoughts. We can think something and immediately dismiss it, just as something can catch our attention and we can also dismiss it. This does not prevent us from lusting, or harboring thoughts of lust. What matters is the action, the lingering of the eyes.

    I rue the day we must discipline our children on how they must think. discipline is not acting on your thoughts. for example, a sociopath wants to kill someone who inconveniences them. do they? not usually, because they have disciplined themselves not to, but they sure as hell think about it. We are not victims to external stimuli. If you hear a car accident, you turn to look. You are rubbernecking if you linger. Why should we force ourselves to ignore external stimuli?

    It is like saying, Here is life, but you must ignore these parts of it to be socially acceptable. (which is a whole different can of worms i will not open here)

    looking someone in the eyes does not make them human in your mind. In fact, sociopaths are noted for staring into people’s eyes when they see them as prey. (sources are available upon request) The way a person behaves makes them human in your mind.

    No one can ever understand another person. Ever. We can guess, we can accuse, but we can also just bloody accept each other without trying to change anything. Evolution is a natural process, and I firmly believe these things are only an issue because we think too much about changing ourselves and each other for social evolution to take place. (sources available upon request) (looks like i opened the can a little bit)

    • Autochron

      dustin, thanks for the detailed reply! Again, I agree with most of it.

      Yes, I definitely wouldn’t openly leer (or give the “up and down” as you put it) at someone I didn’t know — I can definitely see how that would be seen as dehumanizing. However, I still don’t understand how becoming aware of the sexual attributes of someone’s body is any *less* offensive if I know them. In fact, it feels even *more* offensive to me to do something like that. If you know someone, and like them, and have interacted with them on a person-to-person basis, wouldn’t that just mean that I’m throwing that back in their face if I suddenly notice their body?

      Maybe I don’t understand why there is absolutely no shame in physical attraction. It seems to me that anything that involves sexualizing the human body is inherently shameful, because it detracts from the person inhabiting that body (or so I am told). I don’t understand why knowing that person in any other way legitimizes such a degrading thing.

      I appreciate your response.

  25. Objectificator Prime
    Objectificator Prime03-04-2014

    I hate to burst the little feminist bubble here, but men aren’t simple creatures whose minds have to be put on one track or another. You don’t have to retrain us, and it’s insulting to think it would be that easy.

    There’s a girl I run across at work occasionally. She has a pretty amazing body, and when I see her heading my way down the hall, I take a moment to enjoy the sight of it. It’s aesthetically pleasing to me. But I’m a gentleman, so I don’t stare or leer. As we get closer, I exchange a smile with her, and we stop to talk about our respective kids and plans for the weekend. She’s very sweet and friendly, and I enjoy talking with her before we head on our way.

    Holy crap! Did you see that? I just objectified her AND saw her as a human being! It’s freaking magic!

    See, it’s not necessarily an either/or thing. For a while I managed to not look at women as anything but sexually neutral human beings. While nice, it had trouble sticking, because beautiful women are beautiful. That doesn’t diminish their other qualities, which I strive hard to view from an unbiased perspective. I would chat just as amiably with that girl from work if she wasn’t pretty; in fact, there’s another lady at work who is older and not attractive at all, and I speak with her in almost the identical way.

    Just because a woman is aesthetically pleasing doesn’t mean that men are incapable of seeing her as a human being. Believe it or not, we can do both, sometimes at the same time.

    And I haven’t even gotten into the fact that, outside of the psycho feminist movement, people actually LIKE being attractive. Who am I to deny a woman the pleasure of knowing that she is beautiful? If I treated her exactly like any other old crone when she obviously takes great pains to look good, what does that do to her precious self-esteem? Why, it’s borderline abuse to not appreciate something that means so much to her.

  26. José Pablo
    José Pablo03-04-2014

    I remember reading an article about a woman who identified herself as an ex-feminist who explained that she was very angry on the two occasions that she traveled to Italy. The first time, while she was a college student, because men kept ogling her on the street. The second time, some twenty years later, because no men did.

    I will look at a woman any damn way I want to look at a woman (especially if she dresses provocatively), but I promise I will always try to be as inconspicuous as possible. Two reasons for this: 1) until I´ve seen proof of the contrary, most women like to be desired; 2) women look at men as objects, too.

    I will take one of these manuals, though. I may run out of toilet paper some day…

  27. Derek Knox
    Derek Knox03-04-2014

    The idea that “a woman is more than her body” is a really interesting one. Especially when coupled with the scenario of your son looking at an “object of lust” in the shopping mall.

    Speaking from the position of an educated white male of the age 21 – 50, I can say that I understand her argument, but I don’t entirely agree.

    I believe that you also have to consider the context in which the woman is being viewed. For example in the situation of the boy in the mall described in the article, the woman can be seen as nothing more than a body of flesh moving briefly through the boy’s life. This girl will pass his eyes for only seconds as she walks past, and in all likelihood, he will never see her again. The first and last side of her that he will observe is her physical body. He will never meet her, he will never converse with her, he will never see her views on moral issues or how she interacts with others. Essentially, she is just another anonymous, albeit attractive, being. Now I’m not saying that people should be allowed openly ogle and leer at attractive strangers, which would make them feel uncomfortable, but I am saying that objectifying a person in certain scenarios isn’t exactly wrong, its actually quite acceptable.

    On the other hand, when you meet someone, get to know them and form a relationship with them – you should be expected to see them as a ‘person’ and acknowledge other sides of their character outside of their physical appearance. You must weight all of their personal characteristics, physical appearance included, when forming an internal assessment of the person. it’s just good manners.

    TL;DR: If you know someone, see them as a person and interact with them accordingly. If they are an brief and anonymous stranger, be polite and don’t ogle them, but feel free to enjoy them for the attractive soon-to-be-gone body that they are. Regardless of sex.

  28. Nancy

    Thank you. This article written by a man made my day. Over the past 4 years in dating all I have heard is that is how men are programmed and they can’t help it. So … I had given up dating thinking that being seen as a person was not possible in today’s world. Again, thank you for givng me re-newed hope that men can have control and can be honoring. I just need to find one that is, might take a long time because over 4 years I haven’t meet one yet that felt he could control his sexuality, his lust, and his ability to see me as more than an object to please that. I guess I will keep searching for that rare find of someone that see me as a person. I will continue to date poor men, fat men, bald men, diabled men, in an effort to be seen as a person, surely the one that can honor me as a person is somewhere out there. Again, thank you because most articles focus on this is normal behavior and men can’t control themself. I was married for 25 years and felt like my only value was measured in how I looked and the sex appeal I eluded. Now that my ex is broke and looking for someone to share living expenses with it appears I have more value that what he had assigned to me as he asked if we could move back in together to share expenses. It feels good to be a person and not an object, scared to death (fear as mentioned in article) of finding myself back in the same type of relationship were I am not viewed as a person.

    • PJA

      There may be the odd (male/female) narcissist or sociopath or sex addict or etc who is genuinely programmed to be lustful at the expense of seeing others as people (to varying extent), however:

      Most men are CERTAINLY not programmed to have an aversion to seeing you as person. Maybe many are conditioned to varying degree in ways which cause them to focus on appearence more than personality etc, but there are definitely men out there who will see you as a person etc – it sounds like it’s hard work finding them though.

  29. Huffrey

    As a victim, I will never forget that rape culture isn’t just men raping women. Men unfortunately get their fair share. They’re also less likely to report it because society says we should be macho and suppress our feelings and that a woman physically overpowering us is more shameful than us overpowering a woman. That’s just so so wrong. It’s just plain bad both ways. Anyway point is, men AND women are viewed as objects, wallets, cars, etc. etc. because that’s (sadly) the way people are. We objectify things we love in order to feel like we have control in our relationships with them. So don’t forget the plight of us raped guys when discussing the plights of the poor women out there. It may not be obvious, but men are sexually objectified more and more in today’s world. So I guess just food for thought.

    • Huffrey

      please dont’ misunderstand the implications of things like, “Men unfortunately get their fair share. ” It’s unfortunate for anyone to be raped. That’s all I meant. I didn’t mean that it was any less unfortunate for females.

  30. rlsmith

    “I’m not telling you to not look at women. Just the opposite. I’m telling you to see women. Really see them. ”

    that’s all well and good but how can a woman tell the difference between a look and a see? it’s all based in the perceptions of the woman…a man sees, a woman feels a look….one mans look is another mans see…how am i as a man to know if my see is being perceived as a look?….(im not talking about really obvious looks i mean when its subtle) how can each woman tell the difference between each mans look and each mans see? its different for everybody because we all perceive what we expect to perceive….so a women who has spent her whole life being looked at will always perceive a mans see as a look….in order to really see a woman a man must risk being perceived as looking at her…basically the only way to completely ensure a women never feels objectifed by your son is to cut his eyes off…or but blinkers on him like a horse… my point is that some women will always see mens eyes as up to no good..i wonder how many blind guys have been accused of staring at a woman because thats what she expects his eyes to be doing…maybe this is why blind guys always wear sunglasses.

  31. Richard

    Good post. I needed this right now. This father’s message can be applied to women you pass on the street, or to your relationship with your partner. I like the idea of “seeing her”. It really helps to overcome a lot of the difficulties that come up when it comes to objectifying your partner. It is one thing to tell men to simply not sexualize random women, it is another to understand the difference between being sexually attracted to your partner and objectifying her. The differences can be very subtle. Some of my own ideas stem from the simple act of putting the focus on her, satisfying her needs as a human being, and just respecting her. Think of her sexually when you and she are being sexual. Otherwise, focus on the woman within.

  32. John Brown
    John Brown10-08-2014

    Obviously, the people who contributed to this article do not understand men.

    Sorry, but men automatically see women as body parts. That is just the way their brains work. It is actually very difficult for a man to only look into a woman’s eyes. Moreover, for high testosterone males, the sight of a shapely leg on a woman can give the man an electric shock, which pretty much clears his brain of noble thoughts about seeing a woman as something other than a sex object.

    As a man spends time with a woman and learns that she is a wonderful woman, then he will see as far more than the sum of her body parts. Indeed, most men marry for love and companionship. On the other hand, women marry primarily for social status and wealth or potential wealth. Women objectify men primarily as resource objects, but that is socially acceptable, I guess.

    Of course, women also objectify men as sex objects as well. Leading men in movies are always very good looking, for example. Women rave about men who have well defined muscles. Teenage girl magazines are full of photos of very good looking men, not ugly men.

    By the way, for most men, the shorter a woman’s dress, the more he thinks she is open to casual sex. This is a cultural construct, of course. In societies where men and women wear very little clothing, then this thinking doesn’t apply. Perhaps then the solution is for society to require all men and women to dress in loin clothes in public, maybe a heavy jacket when it is cold.

  33. red

    All of you need to get off the pc and live a little. Women and men both cannot be generalized. Not all women are victims not all men are aggressors. This gender issue will never change. Men will be men and women will be women. Everyone is an individual. One persons ethics doesn’t apply to everyone else. So why don’t we all agree to disagree and quit beating a dead horse. Personally i think the author of this post is wrong in many areas and sounds more like a woman than a man but that’s my perception and my opinion. I find it funny that we’ve gone from punishing women in the 50s to punishing men in the 2010s. I wasn’t around in the 80s even. I barely remember elementary in 1991. So all the past sexist horror means absolutely nothing to me. I just know i see quite a bit of slutty looking women that demand respect. Respect must be earned. Genders don’t quality for better treatment. As far as i know sexes are equal as much as they can be right now. Maybe change will come and we can all stop blaming each other for bullshit our grandparents did. All that is irrelevant to the kids now anyway.

  34. Jack

    Telling somebody to stop objectifying is like asking her when she’s going to stop beating her dog. It’s hard to prove you’re not doing it, especially since the term is practically nonsense. (Nevermind that, I could prove it but just go with me.) Worse, even when you have real offensive mindset, it’s not in the actual ‘objectification’ that you have the harm done! Sarah and I are objects to everybody EXCEPT Sarah and I, there’s no harm in noticing that fact. The harm is in failing to acknowledge anything else.

    A lot of real harm would be stopped if people would start talking about “How to personify.” {Cue the music, “Colors of the Wind” from Pocahontas.} We know some cultures respect the person in everything they see, cats and birds and rocks and trees. They don’t ignore that a rock is an object. But they also appreciate the idea that it has a spirit, too.

    That’s the thing. You could sell the idea that men shouldn’t feel guilty about lust, they should feel cheated because that’s about 1/10th of the pleasure that they can get from women!

  35. RM

    In terms of objectification I feel it necessary to propose an alternate reading which is that men have been trained by society to respond to women in very specific ways that go beyond the objectifying “lustful” gaze well described here in this article. Essentially, men have been trained to avoid being hurt by women. They are not effected by them, at least that is the goal. When a man is eventually hurt, he most often does not deal with the pain in a healthy way. He will draw from the early lessons he’d been taught by society, “objectification”, which helps to abstract her into parts. In a sense “objectification” is a forms of tearing something, or rather “someone” into tiny scraps., sort of like tearing a photograph up of a past lover. It helps his broken ego cope by taking abstracted parts that are then more easily processed. If he has been trained his whole life by being told that women cannot and will not ever matter as much as men, then he will never be able to understand why a woman he has fallen in love with has been able to effectively hurt his feelings as much as she has. Society has told him he can resort to replacing her, since objectification leads to the abstraction of women which in turn identifies them as replaceable “objects'”. In this way, he can avoid the hard work, at least initially, of grappling with his emotions full-on. To do so would mean to fully recognize her as well. Thus it is not uncommon for men to look for familiar qualities in new women, qualities that the original shared. That is the result of splintering her qualities into parts through the process of objectification.

  36. Andy

    I think the original post is fine and well meant and has a great deal of depth and wisdom. For the boy in question I suspect this advice will be all that he needs. At the same time it might be useful to think about some of the (my) assumptions that may be behind it.

    I would assume that if the OP is giving this some thought then he is very dedicated to his family, is a strong-minded man who will do a great deal of other good stuff with his son. He will teach him to throw/kick a football, take him out hiking, talk to him about everything, encourage him to be outgoing, to be self-reliant to take risks, to build his confidence.

    The reason this is relevant is that one of the other posters made the excellent point that men have a sexual impulse “screaming” at them the whole time. And one benefit of traditional parenting and education is to build a boy into a man who is strong enough to deal with that, who has enough skills, interests and motivations such that the sexual signal is not the strongest motivation.

    A man needs to be able to see himself with self-esteem and see and enjoy his sexuality as an important, but lesser part of who he is as a whole.

    This is a very long-winded way of saying that this issue is about men owning their own sexuality. A man who owns his sexual feelings can look at a woman with appreciation and without fear and a woman feels no threat from it.

    So it’s not so much about how men see women, as how men see themselves. A boy or man who ogles a woman does not necessarily lack respect for women. He could be a world away from a confident guy who likes to stare and doesn’t give a shit. It may be that he doesn’t trust himself and may not have that strong male example that the OP offers. It’s not about the words “you must see the whole woman”, the words are just a small part of that parent’s presence and actions in developing his child.

  37. Google Name
    Google Name11-17-2015

    This is a COMPLETE load of crap. You can’t give women a free pass to look and act however. It is not wrong for a man to think certain thoughts when he sees a women who looks a certain way. Advertising, tv, the internet pound into men’s minds beauty, sex, etc. and now you want to undo this? It’s everywhere. You can’t have it both ways. How many men look at fat women? How many attractive women date ugly men? You two faced hypocrite! We are visual. If not to be noticed why do women dress the way they do? Why do they plaster on the makeup? Why is vanity (pride) a deadly sin? Half of what women do is a deadly sin. The reason men act the way they do today is becasue of women. Women allow men to be jerks. They marry jerks. They sleep with jerks. When women hold themselves and men to a higher standard society will be better off. The ultimate problem though is hedonism. If women want to be seen as something other than objects they can start by believing it themselves. Remove the makeup. Stop obsessing about beauty, fashion, their looks, etc and exercise modesty. Start seeing men for who they are! The author of this ridiculous article is clueless. This is more feminist BS designed to emasculate men. There is a reason for example Amish women act and dress the way they do. It’s not because they are inferior or men are weak. It is because actions have consequences. Obsessing about beauty takes emphasis off what is really important. Humans sin. Temptation is all around. Etc. etc. Why is this so difficult to understand? It is plain as day! Please stop writing garbage like this until you wake up.

  38. SJ

    I am probably a bit late in this discussion but I am not sure I agree with the authors ideology. Firstly, you’re assuming your son is going to be objectifying women at some point in the future. Give him some credit please. Children tend to follow by example rather than words. Being his father, if you treat women, especially your wife but also other women and men as well with respect, this should be enough without some big chat that might just screw with his tender young mind and his sexuality. Also, does his mother treat you, other men and women with the same respect ? I’m guessing yes. This should be enough. There is only one thing I wish all young boys/ men were taught right from the get go and that is to accept rejection gracefully. This is the best example of not objectifying women. Idealising women is just as dehumanising as only seeing them for their appearance. Allow him the joys of finding a woman attractive. It’s simply the initial feeling that sparks interest in another person. Please don’t make him question why he is not thinking about her as a ‘human being with all these wonderful qualities’ right at that initial attraction point. Because that’s basically BS. It’s what happens after meeting her that counts and where objectifying does the most damage to women. Most men I meet or those that approach me are respectful and nice. If they are not, I tell them to get some manners and move on. It does not determine my feelings of self worth nor affect my self esteem because my self esteem and worth is not rooted in what a man thinks of me. As a woman myself, I have never felt objectified by men looking at me nor complimenting me on my looks. Just the same as when a women compliments me. I think it’s nice and appreciate their good taste. :) I can only speak for myself but I also look at men and love a great physique. I particularly love watching men swim. When I do this, I am not thinking about their personality nor what a great husband or father he would be. Is this objectifying him ? I guess so if your article is the general consensus for most people. Getting back to my main point however, the most powerful lesson you can teach men is that it’s absolutely fine to admire women, even have lustful thoughts about her BUT, she more often than not will return the feeling. Respect her decision to choose the men she is genuinely attracted to. I honestly believe that the root of male anger and aggression towards women is idealising and fantasising about some feminine ideal that doesn’t reflect the reality of women and feeling entitled to her affection and attention. Women are sexual beings too, we even lust after men. Appreciate our beauty but appreciate and respect our choices. Lastly, women ARE just as visual as men. If this were not true, all female dating site profiles would read ‘Don’t care what you look like, chemistry is not important, I will date a guy purely on personality traits. You finding me attractive is enough for me’. Yep, please direct me to a profile like this if one exists.

Leave a Reply