Objectification can refer to the practice of treating a human being as an object. The term is often used in the context of sexual objectification, the viewing or using of a person for the sole purpose of sexual pleasure. In any form of objectification, the person is viewed for a specific purpose or ends, and not viewed as a whole person. Objectification is against the beliefs and practices of Why This Way, because it clashes with our core beliefs that all people are valuable and that in a healthy state, people view and treat each other as whole people. Communications (whether written, spoken, or otherwise) that objectify a person break our rules of communication, which specify to talk about each person as a whole person.
Objectification lacks a clear definition
The term objectification carries a negative connotation in society, but there is no societal consensus about what exactly it means to objectify someone. Definitions range from just admiring someone's body or parts of their body to taking advantage of someone sexually, or taking advantage of people in different ways without consideration for their well-being. Not everything that some people might consider to be objectification is agreed to be harmful.
To avoid objectifying someone in a harmful way, we can apply these principles:
- Treat everyone with respect. Avoid taking advantage of people, and consider how your actions and words affect someone's well-being.
- View everyone as a whole person. Objectification can involve a mentality of disconnecting a person's body or parts of their body from the rest of the person. Keeping in mind that every body part belongs to a person with thoughts and feelings can make it easier to treat people with respect.