Me: So, I’ve been thinking about a lot of things…
You: Oh yeah, like what?
Me: Well, like the objectification of women and gender roles in our society.
You: Have you, now?
Me: Yes. And I’m just really confused and a little upset.
Me: This girl I went to high school with posted a story on Facebook early this morning about an incident she had at work. She’s apparently a waitress in a bar in Hollywood where the uniform is short-shorts and fishnets.
Me: Right, and she’s totally a hottie. So I guess she was waiting on this table of guys who were hitting on her all night…
Me: …and when the bar was closing and they turned on the overhead florescent lighting, the guys made some loud, obnoxious remarks about how she didn’t look as good with the lights on.
You: Ooo, what dicks.
Me: Totally. She was kind of horrified and embarrassed, but tried to just keep her cool and let it roll off her back.
You: As I suppose you would, as a mature human being in the presence of drunk imbeciles.
Me: Agreed. But then she was in the car on the way home and got to thinking that she should have stood up for herself to those guys and let them know she was strong and beautiful, inside and out. To sort of let them know it’s not ok to do that to any woman.
You: Or any person, for that matter.
Me: Yes. So this story led me down two roads –
1. Holy shit. She’s super hot! And like exactly my age. Plus she hasn’t even had kids or anything. So if she’s getting heckled for being old under the bright lights of reality, why should I even bother attempting to look presentable? I’m clearly so far past my prime I should just give up and let myself dry out and blow away into the wind like dust. I’m going to go put on sweatpants and eat the rest of the mint chocolate chip ice cream.
You: Of course you went there. I should have known this wasn’t a Gloria Steinem think-piece.
Me: And 2. Those douche-canoes treated her like a thing. At first she was a ‘pretty thing’, a thing they wanted to have, and then, when they couldn’t have her, they discussed her ‘flaws’ in front of her and discarded her, like a thing. She was just an object to them. I think I finally understand this whole ‘objectification’ concept.
You: …welcome to the latter half of the twentieth century?
Me: No, but really, I think I always just thought it was a kind of meaningless feminist term thrown around to make men feel like assholes for checking out T&A. I sort of felt like, So what if they (we) look at pretty things and enjoy them for being pretty? Women wear hot outfits to look hot. Men do the same thing. Objectify me, please, if it just means you think I’m cute!
Me: I see now, that it becomes problematic because the objectifier only sees the object for its beauty. You stop being a human being who means anything besides how tight your top is. This makes you expendable. You can just be discarded when a shinier (newer) model comes out. You’re just a thing.
Me: I don’t want to be a thing! I want to be loved for who I am, whether I look fantastic, or like roadkill. And I bet my Facebook high school friend does too!
You: I’m sure.
Me: So then I got to wondering, maybe these establishments that have their waitresses wear shit like that are really contributing to the objectification of women everywhere. It seems like they’re kind of saying to men-
Me: People, it’s ok to look at women-
Me: People like nothing but sexy pieces of sculpture that will bring you drinks and potentially satisfy you sexually, but if they don’t look how you want them to or perform correctly, you can just get rid of them.
You: Well, I mean, yes, that’s the theory behind the entire 1970s wave of feminist logic, but-
Me: And maybe all those articles I thought were ridiculous that I’ve read lately about how grooming your pubic hair means you’re not a feminist are actually right! Although I still don’t see how it’s radically different from shaving my legs, so maybe I should stop doing that, too…
You: OK, now, wait, we’ve made quite a leap in logic here-
Me: And I watched this French short film the other day that portrayed a world of gender role reversal where this poor guy is sexually harassed and assaulted and his wife is totally a dick, and it made me wonder if that’s really what life is like for a lot of women. Which is such bullshit and it makes me want to burn a goddamn bra right now. Additionally, it made me wonder if women would actually want to go running topless, because I think, in general, it would be uncomfortable.
You: No, seriously, that’s fairly unrealistic. Don’t burn your running bra.
Me: I also read another article about a study attempting to show gender equality in a marriage means a less satisfying (or at least less frequent) sex life. And while that neither seems true, nor makes any sense to me, I’m not sure I would trade inequality for sad, infrequent sex. Does that make me a bad feminist, too? This is all so confusing.
You: Oh… my god. First of all, the dickheads at your friend’s bar were just dickheads. It doesn’t matter what she’s wearing, where she’s working, or even what gender she or they are, people who treat other people with that lack of consideration and respect for his or her feelings are piles of shit. That’s really all there is to it. Objectification isn’t a condition unique to women. Humans need to work harder at treating each other like humans.
It sounds, however, like she has a fairly decent handle on her own self-worth and who she is as a person, so she’ll live to tend bar another day, hopefully without a thought to them.
Secondly, do whatever you want with your pubic hair and please stop discussing it on the internet. No one cares and it means nothing about any of your beliefs. Unless, I guess, you wax it into the shape of an O to show your support for Obama. Even then, the people you show it to are going to mistake it for your support of the other Big O.
Lastly, you really, really, need to stop getting all of your news from Jezebel. You’re getting a little brainwashed and obsessed.
Me: Ok, I can see that. It’s probably a valid point.