But some of those who enjoy the hobby (as receiving it, feeling sexy and special in the eyes of strangers etc) are women. And yes, when a minority of people feel their pleasure, their sense of self is getting attacked by what they see as a big, overbold and bigoted horde (the rest of us, or the "silent or not-so-silent majority", whatever) it can get very raw and ugly. And personal.
Besides it's objectification focusing on some people's looks, appeal and presence - real or imaginary people - I am talking about, not equality as a general thing. Welcome to keep reaching into equality but I'm no part of that discussion topic as far as this thread goes.
*checking out now for some time*
Okay, but I don't think the line is a razor sharp one. Some people do enjoy it a good deal when they're showed off, or get to play off against other people's gazes - past, present or anticipated round the corner - even though they are aware on some level that those gazes pass by (deny) some of their more human, live and ordinary sides. Or that you, the attractive person, are acting under more or less strict directions from behind the scenes: walk the carpet like this, talk in this vein, smile like this etc. And at the same time, this incites envy in other people - "that person is stealing the spotlight on all of us" - and that's part of the reason why discussing it can get so heated.
Certainly some people that enjoy comic books, video games and that culture are women. Just as black people enjoyed movies at a time when racism was rampant in Hollywood and there are homosexual people that enjoy hip-hop despite the many lyrics and artists that are hateful of them. People can enjoy a part of culture that does treat them poorly without enjoying that aspect of the culture. Many women that play video games and read comic books have spoken out against such genres. This does not mean that women will just throw down their comic books which they have grown to love, simply demanding as a paying audience that better female characters are presented to enjoy.
Also, objectification is not simply admiring someoneís physical presence and beauty. Objectification is more complex than simply looking at a womanís breasts or a manís behind. I believe the definition has been brought up many times before as being different than simply admiring a beautiful body or a sexual pose. Immanuel Kantís thoughts on objectification are quite influential to modern feminist theory and involve the lowering of a personís rational self so that another views that person as an object or a thing. Feminist Theory has several aspects to objectification.
instrumentality: the treatment of a person as a tool for the objectifier's purposes;
denial of autonomy: the treatment of a person as lacking in autonomy and self-determination;
inertness: the treatment of a person as lacking in agency, and perhaps also in activity;
fungibility: the treatment of a person as interchangeable with other objects;
violability: the treatment of a person as lacking in boundary-integrity;
ownership: the treatment of a person as something that is owned by another (can be bought or sold);
denial of subjectivity: the treatment of a person as something whose experiences and feelings (if any) need not be taken into account.
None of these involve admiring, looking or ďchecking outĒ another person or giving them a compliment.
In a sense we are discussing equality. We are discussing the equality of female characters to be on par with male characters for their treatment and depth. Just as myths, legends and faerie tales set the tone for a culture; women are asking that icons of our modern day culture reflect the accomplishments and complexities of a modern day woman.
Writing of people who "enjoy the hobby" and don't want it challenged, I was thinking of real-life objectifying behaviour - real life gestures, talk and interplay, and including the one who is receiving it (often women, but not always). A lot of the arguments about objectification as a choker of equality that I've heard over the years (not just this thread) draw sweeping parallels between objectification in comics, books, art and in real life: the one is attacked as a means of undermining the other, and the underlying idea often is "if you accept objectifying images in art, adverts, comics, movies you will perpetuate them in your own life as well "or in the lives of other women. And vice versa: if you're a guy and objectify women irl you're likely to want the female characters in your video games and movies to be big-boobed props who are not driving the story. As far I can see Anita Sarkeesian's criticisms of video game gender mapping and gamer culture relied to some extent on those lines (but I haven't read her in depth).
But anyway, when I said quite a few women accept and enjoy getting objectified in some situations, as long as it does not lead to long-term serious loss of control or reputation, I was thinking more of r/l objectifying activities, gazes, hints and talk than how game characters are framed and pictured. Some women actually do enjoy receiving a measure of objectification in daily life, they are not against it on principle and they like it personally, but it's not seen as kosher today to come out and say that in a public space, in print, especially not for women. I honestly think we need to realize that
1) Not all women feel the same about clearly receiving objectification themselves, of being "dolled up", getting clearly looked at for satisfaction and nipped in the butt, playing up to get that kind of thing going, or receiving the protective cover of a man (often, but not always, the partner) that allows them the space to act the coquette in a safe way. Some women loathe all of that, but not all women.
2) What you wish for yourself doesn't have to translate directly to what you think is right on principle for everybody else. And if somebody claims that her general (political and moral) principles are perfectly aligned with what she wants for herself, we don't have to buy that without questions.
3) Many people want their relationship at home to be permeated by flavours that they do not see as a yardstick for wider society. Just because a woman wants things to have some feel of Bacall vs Bogart at home, likes old musicals and loves vintage clothing doesn't mean she wants to be treated like a fifties housewife or secretary when she steps out the door, or when she is discussing let's say politics, religion or books. Or wants to see a sharp throwback to what colleges or courtrooms could be like for women in the old days. I think we have to acknowledge that people are not of one piece in that way.
One more point, objectification and reducing someone to a powerless tool are often discussed in a way that starts on one level, maybe a language level, and then moves to harder and more real-life stuff. That kind of thing might happen when someone is getting pushed down too, of course, but it's also a way to trump up an argument, to make a hen out of a feather.The other day I saw some columnist in a paper around here saying "I think the question must be raised, can you ever accept taking somebody else's name upon your marriage without bending down into submission for the guy with part of your person? ---My name is so unique to myself that I can barely even envisage losing it without losing a vital part of myself!" (though in the next part of the piece, she noted that there was actually one other person with the same first and last name, someone living in the same city of course, and due to googling they were sometimes getting confused by strangers, "name contamination" sort of:they had never really met). That kind of "raising a question" talk can sometimes be done as just a loud, contrived way of really stating "This is HOW it works: no one can adopt the family name of the person she's marrying without letting herself be objectified and forced into submission". It's ostensibly argued from "this is how I feel about it" to "this is a general law that can or does apply to everybody, especially all women". Logically it's paper thin and besides there's not such a rock hard social pressure these days on women to adopt their hubby's family name, so you could say it's really raising one's own prickliness to a pristine virtue, but it's precisely the hook-up between a personal "I feel this way, this happened to me" (no matter how embellished that part may have been) and a general claim: "Everybody needs to think this way" that makes it hard to discuss without risking to be pictured as sexist or patronizing just because one *is* discussing it, and not just buying the claim. A technique for making one's own doodled tune sound unchallengeable and morally superior,