In a Facebook conversation about my last post, Renee of Hardy Girls Healthy Women brought up the idea proposed by Dr. Sharon Lamb that enjoying being the object of someone’s attraction or desire is not always unhealthy. This is an important distinction which I plan to explore more in the next few posts, using Dr. Lamb’s work as a springboard. The idea is that when we look at sexuality within the context of the person and their relationships, one will necessarily at times be both the admirer and the admired. When anyone is in a relationship, they do want to feel desired by their partner. This goes back to the points I made in my last post on what I view as sexualizing. In particular, these two components:
- The exclusion of a comprehensive view of sexuality that places it into the context of one’s identity, emotions, and relationships
- The exclusion of a depiction of females as complex social, emotional and physical beings
Our sexuality is a component of our identity. When we try to divorce it from who we are, how we live, and the relationships in which we function, then it becomes confusing. What bothers me about the consistent depiction of women as objects of desire, is that it leaves no room for the nuances of relationships and even of feelings and emotions. We are human beings, as are the children and adolescents in our lives, and we function in social contexts. To see a dichotomy of roles that one can play as either object or subject seems false when considering the complex interplay of human interactions.
In this analysis of recent research on objectification that I read on the SPARK Summit blog, the point is made that even advertising that attempts to present women as empowered may in fact lead them to feel objectified. So you see, the idea of sexualization is a complex one. As I said in my last post, I think it behooves those with different perspectives to talk openly with one another and exchange ideas rather than fighting amongst ourselves. This is an area that I’ll continue to explore within the context of media messages and their effects on children and adolescents.