Why I Despise the Philosophy of Objectification
One of the philosophies I, as a Christian, hate the most is the philosophy of objectification. For those who don't know what objectification is, it is the worldview that basically announces that human beings have no internal worth. This worldview is super prevalent in our modern society. For example, the rich are treated better than the poor. Why? Because objectification would have us believe that human beings are simply objects with no internal value. Therefore, if you are rich you are more valuable than if you are poor, not because of your humanity, but because of your wealth and possessions.
Another more popular version of this worldview is seen in the way human beings are portrayed in the media. Seldom are we taught in our culture to value someone because of their inherent worth. Instead we are taught to value them based on their fashion, looks, and other external variables. In my culture men are treated as men, not due to their inherent manliness, but due to the size of their muscles. The more muscular you are, the more manly you are. Those who do not fit into this category are viewed as less manly. Likewise, the adult and fashion industries have practically turned women into objects of sexual appeal. Thus, if a woman is not sexually appealing no one pays attention to her. And even those who are sexually appealing are given attention, not because of their inherent beauty and value, but because of their physique. As a result countless men sacrifice their health at the altar of steroids all in an attempt to attain a manliness they already possess. Likewise, women sacrifice their health at the altar of fashion to attain a beauty they already own even if that fashion demands they be practically anorexic, revealing, and self-deprecating.
Popular music, movies, TV shows, commercials, advertisements, and products all testify that our culture views human beings as objects. Popular music artists boast of the many women they have (though they often replace the word "woman" with a more denigrating term). A movie does not sell unless there is some scantily clad female exposing her dignity to some degree. Commercials about cars and burgers are marketed with half naked women (whats a woman in a bikini have to do with a burger?). Advertisements such as billboards and magazine covers portray women in ways that suggest "this is true beauty" even though they have all undergone extensive plastic surgery via Adobe Photoshop - a commodity the average Jane does not have. And countless young ladies are left wondering if they will ever be beautiful without realizing that they already are.
The philosophy of objectification is powerful. It redefines the way we think. The way we see. The way we perceive and interpret reality. Even the church is not exempt to this. It is common to hear preachers say to men, "when you see a beautiful woman, look away. If there are more than one, bounce your eyes!" While I agree that men need to have self control and honor women by not drooling over them, the problem with such an approach is that the woman is still objectified. Only now, instead of being an object of lust she has become an object of fear. A stumbling block to your spiritual growth. We pride ourselves in not looking, but we don't realize that while we have overcome the wandering eye, we are still bound by the chains of objectification because we have not learned to see women as inherently valuable and beautiful. Instead we quickly shoot our eyes in a million different directions in order to avoid seeing the object that can cause us to stumble. Now, I am not saying that there will never be times when we must do this. What I am saying is that we should not settle for this, but strive by prayer to break the chains of objectification and learn to value human beings for their inherent worth.
And what exactly is that worth? Is it determined by society? Culture? Philosophy? The church? No. Not at all. The worth of every human being is determined by one thing only and here it is:
...you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold... but with precious blood... the blood of Christ. - 1 Pet. 1:18-19