Psychology is formally called the study of the human mind and functions, and one goal of a Psychologist is to help those with disordered minds to see the world without that disorder. In pursing Psychology it’s been a struggle to look at all of the things that are wrong with the world, and the people in it, and see that as something that is possible to help fix.
What has me disquieted recently is how women are viewed as objects. I don’t think there is an issue that touches more women, more frequently, than this. From the moment you wake up in the morning to the moment you go to bed, you are perceived as something of an object. One of my professors put it best: you are there to be consumed.
Having a presence on the internet and writing about sexuality and relationships allows me to have constant unwanted contact from people who view me as an object. Not a human being, not a woman, but a thing. Any other woman who writes online – be it about sex, or politics, or technology, has likely experienced the same thing. Your opinions don’t matter, your words don’t matter, what matters is that you are there and you are there to be consumed.
I have an exhaustive sadness about this, but not for the reasons that you might think. Taking an exceptionally long time to finish my degree has given me time to really linger over the courses that I’ve taken and the messages in those lessons. What I have been caught on lately, and what I’ve been wanting to focus on most, is the disorder of viewing a woman as an object.
Of course this particular thing is not a disorder in itself, but I do view it as a disordered way of thinking. I am curious how the media is changing the way our brain physically interprets women. If you are told over and over again that a woman is a certain type of thing and that a certain type of behavior is to be expected (as seen in advertisements, film, television) how might that influence your behavior to women over time?
Harassment takes all shapes and forms but I think that the stepping stool for harassment is viewing women as objects. There are certainly articles out there and studies out there that would support that theory. What if the harassment isn’t a singular event, but a disordered way of thinking, a real physical change in the brain that prevents men (and sometimes other women) from viewing women as people? Can this type of thinking be prevented, or changed? What type of experience would someone need to have to re-learn that women aren’t objects? How might we prevent similar ways of thinking when it comes to men and prevent harassment or degradation of men?