One of this blogs key contributors, TonyN has been looking at the issue of Objectification. He has reached some compelling conclusions and asks prohibitionists some uncomfortable questions.
1. instrumentality: the treatment of a person as a tool for the objectifier's purposes;
2. denial of autonomy: the treatment of a person as lacking in autonomy and self-determination;
3. inertness: the treatment of a person as lacking in agency, and perhaps also in activity;
4. fungibility: the treatment of a person as interchangeable with other objects;
5. violability: the treatment of a person as lacking in boundary-integrity;
6. ownership: the treatment of a person as something that is owned by another (can be bought or sold);
7. denial of subjectivity: the treatment of a person as something whose experiences and feelings (if any) need not be taken into account.
According to Martha Nussbaum, objectification need not have devastating consequences to a person's humanity. In fact, Nussbaum criticises MacKinnon and Dworkin for conceiving of objectification as a necessarily negative phenomenon. Nussbaum believes that it is possible that ‘some features of objectification… may in fact in some circumstances… be even wonderful features of sexual life’, and so ‘the term objectification can also be used… in a more positive spirit. Seeing this will require … seeing how the allegedly impossible combination between (a form of) objectification and “equality, respect, and consent” might after all be possible’
So even some of those people who have defined objectification can view it as a positive. So lets move to the current acceptable face of Objectification, David Beckham, sports person, model, brand. When someone becomes a Brand we are treating them like an object, a role model is an object of desire as we desire to become like them. When working we are objects seen by bosses as tools to be used to complete tasks. Objectification surrounds all of us, yet it is one groups view that it doesn't exist except when men look at women. Well someone better tell all the women who talk about men's packages on line that careful you may be objectifying men.
So we have people who have different opinions about objectification and if it is negative, positive or natural. Men and women have desires and urges and we create fantasies a lot of the time. Why all of a sudden does natural responses become a moral issue on which we are judged? Moralists ask yourselves by what criteria are you judging others about objectification and are you not making those men you judge objects by the way you judge them?