The objectification of men is not something we really talk about. The “O” word comes with the assumption that it is about women’s bodies. Yet men are, and always have been, objectified albeit in different ways. Here are just four of them.
The Success Object
What is it you value most about him: his character or his status? When are you most proud of him, when he achieves a small personal goal or when he gets another promotion? Would you leave him if he lost his job tomorrow? If a man was physically attractive to you, made you laugh, put you at ease but was unemployed would you still date him? Depending on your answers… perhaps, just perhaps, you value him more for his success than you do as a human being.
Marilyn Monroe said that “a man being rich is like a girl being pretty”. Like it or not, men are valued for wealth and status. Hypergamy, whether nature or nurture, is important to women no matter how much even the most staunch feminist claims otherwise, most would choose a rich man over a broke one anyway. Yet when all you see is the wealth, the job and the status, you are objectifying him.
The Romance Object
Do you just want a tall, dark and handsome stranger to sweep you off your feet? Do you have a long set of steps you expect him to follow and to know, before you deem him worthy of your time? I’m talking about things like knowing when he should buy you chocolates, when he should open a door for you, when he should kiss you, when he should do this that and the other, when you are ready for sex (and how he should know). He should read your mind, be a good doggy and follow your rigid set of romance rules. Every time he puts a step wrong is a black mark against his name.
Aside from making you controlling, this rigid definition of how a relationship should progress is far less about him and more about your princess fantasy. You could put any man in that place because you are less concerned about his feelings and desires than you are about your own expectations.
Man The Appliance
Do you expect him to fix you or fix your devices? Do you treat him like an errand boy from day one? Maybe he’s just an appliance to you, a taxi, a DIY professional, a gardener… anything but a boyfriend or husband. When all you see is what he can do for you and improve your life, you stop seeing him as a human being with his own wants and needs. Some of this stems from the rigid and outdated ideas of romance presented in rom-coms and romance books. You will expect him to crawl over broken glass while showing him no gratitude for anything he does as though it is his duty.
Man The Accessory (Or The Stepford Husband)
The Accessory Man fulfils the list of her requirements. He is the right height, right weight, the right job, the right education. He wears the right clothes, wears his beard the way she wants it, has the right tattoos, likes the same things she likes, shares your religious and political views, drinks and eats the same food and drink, speaks only when spoken to, waits on her hand and foot.
This is perhaps a phenomena of modern online dating, treating a man like an accessory – like a bit of furniture or an item of clothing. You will never meet this man because he doesn’t exist and few will be impressed with your 25 strong list of demands on your POF profile, especially if you aren’t as fabulous as you perceive yourself to be. When you value a man for a long list of things that in the grand scheme of things are not important, you are guilty of valuing him more complementing your lifestyle and are unconcerned (and perhaps unaware) that this is a human being.