Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Dear Cameron Diaz

"I think every woman does want to be objectified. There's a little part of you at all times that hopes to be somewhat objectified, and I think it's healthy."
-Cameron Diaz
Dear Cameron Diaz,

Let's jump right into this.
I think every woman does want to be objectified.
It's nice of you to begin with "I think," as if you're merely stating a humble opinion.  However, following it up with such a blanket statement encompassing "every woman" was a mistake.  You do not get to announce that the desire to be objectified is some universal experience which all women share.
There's a little part of you at all times that hopes to be somewhat objectified
You keep backing away (just a little part of you, just somewhat) and then going full tilt ("at all times," as if this is a constant, eternal, never-ending state).  At all times?  Women wish to be objectified while at work, while driving, while walking the dog, while shopping for new tires, while brushing their teeth, while cutting onions, while on the toilet.  AT ALL TIMES.  IT MUST HAPPEN UNCEASINGLY.
I think it's healthy
I don't.  You know what I think?  I think that it makes women sound needy.  Also shallow, vain, desperate for validation and approval, and so on.  Is that how you want people to think of you?  Is that how you think of women?  Is that a natural, healthy state you genuinely believe every woman enjoys?

Here's what you didn't say:
I think that most women enjoy feeling attractive. 
I think that many women appreciate getting some flirtatious sexual attention and sincere compliments, and I think that's normal.
Here's what you communicated to me:
The patriarchy has taught me to work to attract, and place value upon, the male gaze.  Instead of questioning that, I accept it wholeheartedly as a healthy feature of my womanhood. 
I think very little of myself and/or very little of other women. 
I don't know what "objectified" actually means. 
I, like all women, want to be treated like an object, not like a full human being.  That's healthy.  It would be unhealthy to hope to be treated like a human being at all times, the way that men do.
If you enjoy feeling attractive, good for you!  If you enjoy the flattery and compliments you receive from your friends and partners, great!  If you'd rather be viewed as an object, lacking in autonomy, not a person with your own ideas and personality and desires but a mere thing to be used and owned, you might want to consider why that is.  And you also might want to stop assuming that all other women feel just the same way.

A lot of women fight hard to be viewed as people, as not less-than.  When you say things like that, you make their work that much more difficult.

With love,
Frank Lee

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