Stop Objectifying My Mind!

We have all been trained to reprobate something called “sexual objectification” of women. This, I believe, originally meant a specifically sexual violation of Kant’s Practical Imperative, or the Buber principle of treating someone as a Thou rather than an It. Objectification thus meant treating someone else as a mere means to your ends, with no recognition of her equal personhood. A walking hole, to put it nastily. As far as I can see, however, it then developed into a synonym for finding a woman attractive; which, as we all know, is only acceptable when the woman fancies you back. This was an update of the medieval canon-law position that a man and woman should make love only out of a cool, steady affection and not out of any kind of urgent sexual desire; and the ideologues of both ages need to explain how the human race can propagate itself on that basis. But perhaps it shouldn’t.

I myself have never been sexually objectified, or if I have, I failed to notice. Other forms of objectification, however, are possible. In some parts of the world white males are known as “walking ATMs”, and once you realise what you are in Thailand or Africa, it is hard not to see the same objectification at home – the predatory “female gaze” that speculates how much money you have in your account and how much boobage needs to be displayed to get it. (If being stupid means we deserve this objectification, please Miss, can we objectify bimbos now?)

I have experienced the ATM objectification a lot, and also a third kind, whereby people want to pick my brains and throw the rest away. I am just a cornucopia of knowledge without further humanity. One may acquire information from me as narrowly as a man may stick his dick into that walking hole. If it is wrong to appreciate a woman’s body and ignore her mind, why exactly is it all right to appreciate a man’s intellect and ignore his body? The obvious answer is that we “are” our minds, not our bodies; and so admiring the mind is a “higher” thing than liking the body; but who exactly taught us to think that way? Nietzsche blamed Christianity, though I think it goes back further than that. But why does no one notice that the asymmetry, including the failure to make an incorrectness offence of treating someone as an “intellectual object”, perpetuates the Christian assumptions?

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