Its all just a big misunderstanding.
Some blame men for objectifying women “because they are pigs.”
Some blame women for objectifying themselves “because they are sluts and ask for it.”
So who is really responsible? And how does this objectification end?
Objectification means to present as an object, or to depersonalize. Women are objectified sexually when they are viewed, presented, or used as a tool for sexual stimulation, fantasy, or pleasure.
I have come across so many exclusive ideas and attitudes when it comes to this issue. One end of the spectrum: “It’s the woman’s job to dress modestly so she doesn’t tempt a man into anything.” Here the woman is primarily responsible and at fault. Another end: “As a woman, I should be able to wear whatever the hell I want without a guy objectifying me.” Here the man is primarily responsible and at fault.
Both views are only partly right.
The truth is, both men and women are equally responsible for our culture’s objectification of females and we have an equal role to play in ending it. When we put all of the responsibility on the opposite sex, we are lessening our role in bringing God’s Kingdom to earth. And isn’t that sexist? So yes, both men and women need to step it up. And since I am a lady, let me encourage the ladies:
- If you have been sexually objectified in any way by a man, you are never responsible for a man’s sinful actions, no matter how you dress or act. A man is always responsible for his own actions and if he tries to blame you for “tempting” him into behaving a certain way, he is not a man. He is a coward.
- However, with that said, are you objectifying yourself? Do you dress provocatively, to flaunt a particular body part? Or do you dress to creatively express yourself as a person? What is your motive for wearing what you wear? Modesty is a hard subject to address because there are a lot of gray areas...what is modest to one person might not be modest to another. However, if you are in Christ, you “have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16) and a “sound mind” or “good judgement” (1 Timothy 1:7). You have the conviction of the Holy Spirit to dress in a way that brings glory to God. The Lord is more interested in our motives for wearing the clothes, than the actual clothes themselves.
- Please do not participate in objectifying your own kind by mindlessly singing along to songs with lyrics that are degrading to women. Critically evaluate what you listen to, and especially what you sing and bop your head along to. I have been guilty of singing and dancing to popular songs, only to be horrified when I learned the type of objectifying behavior I was encouraging men to engage in just by participating in the song. By participating in such songs, we’re saying that this type of behavior is okay, and it absolutely is not.
- I always tell my high school girls that they set the standard for what kind of men the men in their life need to be. Keep the bar high. Most men will try to live up to it. And don't be easily swept off your feet. Many girls are far too easily “satisfied” with being used, because at least they’re getting attention. Isn’t it a tragedy that many girls would rather be used than ignored?
- While many women are objectified and used sexually, I really believe that women are just as guilty at using men. We use men for emotional fulfillment, attention, and security. Many women do not love a man for the man he is, but for how he fulfills her. It is unfair to accuse men of always using women and not take responsibility for how we ourselves use men. When women stop using men, they will stop flaunting themselves provocatively to get their attention...and maybe that will help men to stop using women.
- Your sexuality is beautiful. It is not bad, ugly, or dirty. It is so beautiful and special that it is only meant for a man who will commit himself to you for the rest of his life and lay down his life for you. Hold out for that. If you haven't held out for that, there is grace and it's not too late to change. And men have the same standard to live up to. His sexuality is equally as special and important that he needs to reserve it for his bride. Sex is meant to be shared with mutual pleasure. The husband and the wife should seek to serve the other and to equally give of oneself in it.
- You bear the image of Almighty God and you have unique dreams, gifts, passions, and desires to make an impact. And you are so beautiful. On the outside and the inside. And I guarantee if you focus on your inner beauty just as much as or more than you focus on your outer appearance, then your outer beauty will shine all the brighter.
With that said, your role in ending the objectification of women is crucial. Your role in bringing God’s Kingdom to earth is crucial. When God’s Kingdom comes to earth, brokenness is healed, people are made whole, regret is outshone by grace, sex is sacred, beauty isn’t used (it is revered), and trust in the opposite gender is restored. Don’t you want to play a part in bringing these things about? May His Kingdom come.