Feminism is tricky. Sometimes I want to remind women (and myself) that it’s really hard to turn an idea on its head. Or, as Audre Lorde once put it in her essay, ‘The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House.’ Stop Objectification is a new website that asks women to send in a picture of a body part and then explain why they are more than that particular body part. I’ve already talked about how I think reclaiming the femme body is difficult (or impossible, or even unimportant), but I also think it’s silly when campaigns that seek to empower women choose to focus on the body which is what I see happening here. Check out their video and join me inside for one more feminist quandary for us to tackle!
So here’s what I do like about the site. First of all, it should be acknowledged that any real attempt to challenge ideas of objectification is better than nothing; I’m glad one more person decided to do something with their ideas. This is important. But the idea is just as important and there’s something about the idea of this site that doesn’t sit well with me. Telling women to send in pics of their bodies and then write about how they are more than their body seems counterproductive. However, many women send in photos of their face, and those are on the site as well, which I can appreciate.
The best part of the site, IMO, can be found in the captions, which are superimposed over the body parts:
FITNESS, HEALTH AND WELLNESS IS MY POWER
FIGURE SKATING STARTING AT THE AGE OF 4 HAS GIVEN ME INDEPENDENCE
STARTED COLLEGE WHEN I WAS 16…PAID FOR IT ON MY OWN.
I STARTED A MUSIC BLOG TO PROMOTE MY FAVORITE ARTISTS
MY HAIRSTYLE GIVES ME FREEDOM FROM THE TRADITIONAL FEMININE STANDARDS.
ORGANIZATION IS MY SUPER POWER; AND WITH IT I FEEL EMPOWERED.
NEVER GAVE UP ON FINDING A JOB THAT ALLOWS ME TO BE CREATIVE EVERYDAY
These are great! And I understand that every website needs a visual, but I don’t see why each caption needed a woman’s body part attached to it. All this makes more sense if you go to the site, lol. But even in the video, you can see what they’re trying to do and I kind of hate it! It’s that thing where it’s embracing the idea of women and their bodies as sexual objects but then trying to show you how they’re more than their bodies or more than sexual objects. Sexualizing women to show that sexualizing is bad? I personally don’t think that ever works. She’s sexy… but she has a degree! What? Why can’t you just talk about the degree then?! When you focus on the body and then try to throw in the degree thing, you’re trying to use the master’s misogynistic tools to dismantle his misogynistic house; you can’t do that with complete success, in my opinion.
I like that this is a simple idea; it reminds me of the Who Needs Feminism campaign. But it’s still problematic to me, on a lot of levels.
What do you guys think? Is a website like this one empowering? Or does it embrace too many problematic ideas, even as it seems to fight against them?