Image stolen from this article, who stole it from the artist.
I know this photo is "old news" by now, but a few days ago, someone was arguing with me about the idea of objectifying people. My argument was that you cannot convince me that chronically treating people (namely, WOMEN) as objects is good for society. The other person's view was that it's okay to objectify people who willingly allow you to objectify them, but not anybody else. So, it's IS okay to objectify, say, a porn model because she agreed to it and got money to be an object, but it is NOT ok to view a woman walking down the street as an object the way you would a porn model. I basically said that was BS because people have lost their ability to distinguish fantasy from reality and have thus demanded every woman "allow" herself to be an object, which is why women have such terrible image issues these days. If a woman does NOT give her consent to be an object, everyone just ignores her and opts to pay attention to someone else who will agree to be treated like home decor.
"Pull up a chair. I'm a desk!"
Then the lovely aforementioned "artwork" came up....and all I could think is, "Well, this black woman clearly volunteered, maybe even received compensation for this photo.....so we can't be outraged or upset because, hey, she agreed to be an object!"
I don't doubt that it's possible that the artist intended to express something that we're just not all getting. I wouldn't dare say an artist can't or shouldn't express something like this, even if he means for it to be horrible, because we all get to express our distaste for it (hopefully) influencing future work. Alas, those are arguments for another time.
It's interesting how the WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLE dynamic seems to change when race is brought in....but if it's "just women" then it's okay. It's "consensual objectification" or "free expression" or "art" or "free speech." I've seen this time and time again. A news anchor makes a statement about Muslims and airplanes. He loses his job. A comedian decides to shout the N-word. He loses all his fans and future prospects of work. An artist uses a black woman as a chair, he sparks international outrage.
It's not to say that outrage for these things is not fully justified, but it shows to me how little anyone cares about how women are treated in general. If a comedian talks about a well known female politician, "squeezing a retard baby from her filthy cunt," weeeelllllllllll that's just funny because, you know...like...he's a comedian...and like...she is a stupid person so...like...it's totally okay. Somehow, I feel like if that same comedian called Louis Farrakhan a nigger and then tried to get away with because, "Well, Louis Farrakhan is a bigoted, insane, jackass," even if that's something we can all agree on, the reaction still would not be the same.
We dislike idiocy (well, we dislike racist idiocy, but worship other forms of idiocy), but we prefer to leave people's races out of it. We, as a culture, have basically come to understand that racism is NOT okay. Otherwise, republican politicians would just admit they hate Obama for being black instead of pretending they hate him for some legitimate political reason (not that there aren't good reasons to hate Obama's politics, but you all know what I mean). That's a GOOD thing. We realize racism doesn't only hurt the cultures it's perpetrated against. Racism stifles and damages our entire culture. It inhibits our progress as a species.....
Yet, if this photo were a black man sitting on a black womanchair, or a white man sitting on a white womanchair, hell, if this were a regular ol' ad for shoes or nail polish like what we see in magazines EVERY DAMN DAY, somehow I doubt anyone would raise a brow...well...maybe, like...Jezebel magazine, but nobody else; because we're ALWAYS looking at men sitting on women or throwing money at women or using women as props or blatantly abusing women and calling it "rap music" or "network TV."
...and nobody cares! Nobody says a bloody word, or if they do, it falls on deaf ears. You're a "feminazi" or a "party pooper" or "just need to relax" or "are just jealous" or "a bitter, old hag" or "can't ever take a joke." But, nobody thinks that showing a rich, white woman sitting on a black womanchair is very funny....because it IS NOT funny!
WHY can't we come to the same understanding of sexism that we have of racism? WHY does everyone seem to back away when it's sexism? WHY does everyone seem to shrug their shoulders and become suddenly liberal about discrimination is when it's sexism? WHY is there a whole counter-rights culture when it's sexism? WHY is it, "A bad a opinion, but he has every right to express it," when it's sexism? Why do we think we don't need feminism anymore, but we CLEARLY need people fighting against racism? Why do we pick and choose which discrimination "matters?"
WHYYYYYYYYYY?!?!??!?!?! Pin It