They’re Not Commodity, Either


As promised, the “male counterpart”, so to speak, to the last post on commodification. Hah.

I should clarify up front that I believe the fetishization, hypersexualization, and sexual commodification of any person is wrong, regardless of their gender, age, race, location, etc. My ideal world would be one in which we choose to learn about and relate to other people, celebrating diversity while exploring commonalities– which means, sexual objectification has got to go. I know, you love your shirtless firefighter calendars and your semi-pornographic “news” websites, but that shit got to go. (Non-sexual idolatry, admittedly, is still one of my major weaknesses, but putting someone on a pedestal of aesthetic appreciation, amazement, and/or worship is still rather othering, isn’t it? What are people’s thoughts on this?)

The fact of the matter is that every group of people gets objectified. Sometimes it’s racist. Sometimes it’s pedophilic. And sometimes it happens to men. In fact, it probably happens to men more than we acknowledge it does.

Men are not immune to being portrayed as fetishized accessories. It may stand out to us as unusual, however, when we see them posed in ways that reduce their dominance or emasculate them. Male sexual objectification typically idealizes the male body as strong, powerful, visceral, whereas the female body is merely a prop or confection. Male bodies can be admired and envied, and are consumed by males and females alike, whereas female sexual objectification is chiefly for male consumption and female bodies are desired for consumptive (and thus disposable) purposes. Also, it is not so much male sexuality that is being commandeered as it is the male body. It is more common for female sexuality to be appropriated for consumption and sale in conjunction with the appropriation of their bodies and body parts.

Cisgender, straight males may even be offended by the overly effeminate or emasculated portrayal of their gender; it is socially abnormal, even unacceptable. The female body, however, is perceived socially as much more aesthetically pliable, and can be feature in situations which play up either hyperfeminine or masculine traits– so long as the woman is still visually sexually consumable. It’s also common to see the blatant pricing of female sexual entities, but this form of commodification would still be perceived as offensive by cisgender straight males.

It remains, however, that “real” men do the consuming, and aren’t consumed. If you are consumable, you are something less than a man– maybe you don’t even deserve that penis, which is why society semantically castrate you by calling you emasculated. Emasculated men are consumed, real men consume.

One could rephrase Rich Zubaty’s extremely effed-up quote, “Our job is not to get along with the Goddess. Our job is to fuck the Goddess.” as “It’s not our job to accept mutual consumption with the Goddess. Our job is to consume the Goddess.”

So, at the end of the day, everyone is commodified and everyone suffers. As commodification is an unsurprising side effect of Patriarchy, we should really say, everyone suffers under Patriarchy. But some people definitely suffer more than others. Maybe that calls for a post about the particularly horrid depiction of the black female entity.

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