February 24, 2010

Objectify Me ...

A few years ago, someone made a movie called Super Size Me. It featured a man who ate nothing but McDonald's fast food for an entire month.

Someone should make a movie called Objectify Me about how young people in particular are subjected to overtly sexualized images in our culture.

We live in a time where men and women are shamelessly objectified in the media, in art, and in society at large. This, of course, is nothing new. The human body has been objectified for thousands of years in thousands of ways. What makes today's objectification so egregious is the ubiquitousness of the "new media" that promulgates such images. Movies, DVDs, cell phones, web cams, blogs, television and so on, have all been used to advance a sexualized culture to sell everything from cars to video games.

Before continuing, let's define our terms. To objectify a human person is to focus exclusively on his or her sexual value. In other words, to objectify someone is to focus on the body or the physical to the exclusion of all else.

A person is more than his or her physical parts. For one thing, we are "ensouled" beings. The fact that we possess immortal souls, made in the image and likeness of God, is just one of the reasons that we are above all of creation while still being a part of it. We also have minds with which to think and reason. Our capacity to reason is another thing that makes us unique.

Pornography is the ultimate objectification of the human person. By focusing exclusively on a person's "sexual parts," we ignore their character, their emotions, their hopes, dreams, and ambitions. We ignore the rich inner life each of us have. We ignore the unrepeatable gift and infinite value that each of us are in our humanity.

The young are especially suseptable to this sexualization and objectivication. Imagine hitting puberty and being innandated with sex related media before you even knew what hit you. Is it any wonder that adolescant girls in industrialized countries are growing up faster and having sex earlier than just a generation ago? In a recent poll of sixteen year-old girls 70% of respondants said they would rather be seen as sexy than smart.

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