Object of Whim

Objectification, the act of reducing a person into an object. The de-personification of a human being. As per the theme of this site, I ponder the case of female objectification, and it is usually a matter of the flesh. My view of it is comical, and I’d read this as would an announcer at a circus, and yes I’d use the jargon freak-show for fetishes. Let’s begin…

There is the deconstruction of a woman into body parts, and because sex sells, it is better if they were in suggestive stances, e.g. perked bossom, splayed legs, jutted buttocks, arched backs etc. No, they do not just advertise women’s clothing. The scantily clad assistant of an announcer is literally a more wholesome picture, but she does usually move flirtatiously or even tantalisingly. And of course, the ever welcoming smile of the hostess, without which, she isn’t fully dressed.   

Expressed as a fetish, she is limbre. Her limbs fold and wrap around you like rubber, as is exciting. And yes, she is unbelievable aroused by your amazing massive virility. Barbie-like in appearance, she is not embarrassed and very comfortable in skin baring attires. Usually at the gym, or perhaps swimming pool maintaining her athleticism, she is ever ready for a fling. What better cardio than getting down and dirty? It does break a sweat, after all.

There is the perfect home-maker. She’s perfectly primmed up with every curl and lash in place. Dinner is always ready, waiting your return home after a long day at work. She pours you a drink to occupy you while she puts your jacket away, and then scurries off to set the table for dinner. And just in case you confuse her with mommy, later she’ll cater to your every whim as a lady should in bed, i.e. freak in the sheets. Devoted and loyal, you will never have to explain yourself to her, nor will you want for anything in her hands.

There is the domestic, perhaps even an exotic foreigner. The mysterious peasant, always toned and a little rough even. Her uniform, unwittingly flattering of her natural gifts, so as to not get in the way of her chores. The fall of the fabric off the vicinities of her erogenous zones with every bend, scrub and stretch, as she cleans and polishes vigorously rocking back and forth on her knees, or dusts whimsically with slight jolts to reach higher corners, leaves you barren of chastity.

Then, there is the workplace fetish. The naughty nurse, to reward the doctor after his life-saving performance is surgery earlier. Perhaps, the more accomodating sexy (slutty) secretary, of the dynamic business exec., who is as taken by his charms as she is by his talent and intelligence. Readily available to assist, she’d bend over back to be of service to him. Always discreet, she remains hidden behind framed glasses, bangs and serious coiffures.

The forbidden sexualisation of the matron, e.g. the teacher, warden, even priestess or nun. She is to punish you, when you misbehave. Dedicated to discipline and order, she keeps you toe in line, attentively. Until she succumbs to the passions of the flesh, to your young rebellious self, her virtue remains formidable. But of course, as do all women, she craves love. She requires the touch of a man, and it is unjust to deprive her of it. Perhaps a variation of mommy issues, or a less objectified dominatrix?

The dominatrix, a welcome relief from the usual dominant role of a man in the world. Popularly explored in video games and action flicks featuring women in ‘empowering’ roles of skilled martial artists and assassins. They tend to be scantily clad, unashamed of their sexuality and fierce in disposition. Solemn only when they are catching their breaths, breathing heavily as they scour the terrain ahead. In fetish format, it is essentially BDSM, the use of pain to provoke sexual pleasure and excitement. She is often pictured with straps, shiny long whips, and sharp stilettos, invokes images of medieval, even gothic attire, décor and torture chambers.

Now, I will say that Angelina Jolie as the archaeologist Lara Croft in Tomb Raider, and as the beautiful and mysterious FBI profiler Illeana Scott in Taking Lives, do make for some of the earliest strong female lead roles in cinema. Yes, the woman is a bombshell and she has played nude scenes, and her social work is practically emotional blackmail, at least until she started adopting, but she can perform. As a young girl, I welcomed the bolder female images she personified. Aside from that, notably, there is Jennifer Garner as assassin Elektra who even matronises a young martial arts prodigy, Kate Beckinsale as Selene in the Underworld series which almost sings the ode of a woman’s narrative in a world dramatised into a gothic marvel, the more good-humoured role reprised by Sandra Bullock as detective Hart in Miss Congeniality, and far more recently Jennifer Lawrence as lead protagonist Katniss in Hunger Games. Furthermore, there are the less physical displays of dominance in the female leads in Shonda Rhimes productions, as plagued with scandals and ‘relatable’ faults as they are. However, this does seem a guilty pleasure if at all actually popular, particularly when one considers the state of politics everywhere e.g. Hillary Rodham’s career.

Fetishes aside, I will admit to one thing; that there is only so much a picture can do. A thousand words as it may be worth, nude or not, it is one image. The video on the other hand, e.g. music videos, soap operas, movies, etc. provide a more blatant manner of marketing via eroticism if only to amass a larger viewership. Along these lines of marketing, i.e. sex sells, as long as participants are of mature ages, informed and willing, is there any issue with objectification? I find this issue widely debatable, especially when we factor in viewer ratings and content disclaimers.

Pertaining to this subject, I find Tina Fey’s success to be an interesting case study. In my eyes, she is a marketing whiz. She saw her angle based on popular notions and perceptions of her and femininity, and she rode it to the security of her own obnoxious wealth. Her character in 30 Rock probably embodies this the best. Sceptical as I was initially, I am today a fan of her work. Boldly deviant from convention, her unique style of humour capitalised on every manner of social inappropriation up to objectivism without her being the butt of every joke. Her ‘self-deprecation’ seems to be more by way of presentation, where she is often uncustomarily un-done-up for a female lead. In general though, in comics we have seen many unconventional performers who make us too happy to not be beautiful, e.g. Whoopi Goldberg, Fran Drescher, Sarah J. Parker, Ellen deGeneres, Melissa McCarthy, America Ferrera, Raven, Melissa J. Hart, Mindy Kaling etc. These women seem indispensable to the entertainment industry, and once they make their first curtain call, they remain in the limelight for lifetimes. They are intelligent, and have successfully navigated their own way into successes we find almost shocking in media and entertainment. They exhibit muti-dexterity in terms of the functions they can play within a production, predominantly behind the camera. Other than that, they present and represent their teams well whilst addressing issues still deemed sensitive and controversial, such as gender representation. Naturally, this contributes to their longevity in their industry and I do awe at them.

What about the bombshells, the gorgeous women who actually epitomise some standard of beauty, or even sex appeal? They tend to be vivacious, sexy, vibrant, daringly flirtatious (perhaps to the point of intimidation) and even surprisingly witty. A few favourites in comedy, mine alike, are Phylicia Rashad, Leah Remini, Vanessa Williams, Jennifer Aniston and Sofia Vergara.

Sofia Vergara with Bill Cosby, on Letterman’s Late Show

Of course, there are more in acting, and beyond that in other areas of entertainment, e.g. music, reality shows, talk shows etc. I will flesh this out better in a later piece, but here we encounter is the pressing question of favourability. Is the use of sex appeal, to market oneself, perhaps over-shadowing whatever skill they possess, a bad thing even when it does increase profit? I truly perceive it as one aspect of entertainment, and I can tune out should I please. For the most part, I do, and as much as I don’t want to encourage objectification, these women are committing the very legal act of supplying a demand. What more, they do it in the most superficial manner possible, strictly in appearance and in choreographed, staged performances. In a way, it is satire in itself.

Personally, my introduction to the idea of romance began during my preteen years with teen flicks on Disney and Nickelodeon. It grew into a curiosity based delve into romance novels. As a result, I still awe at the number of things even a man can do to a piece of wood placed, against every work-shop safety code, between his thighs that are always obviously muscular through fabric that clings to his make or is too tattered to be of much purpose. I find it more satirical than actually inviting. In fact, when the subjects carelessly succumb to their libidos, in heat, and roll about in wood chips and nails, innuendo ridden as it may be, it is evocative of splinters in too many uncomfortable places to entice me. And so, I prescribe to the pedestrian classic of deeper sentiments and practicality, when accounting for matters of the heart.      

Pleasant times…

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