Ah, “objectification”, one of those buzzwords - like “empowerment” - that I’ve heard so many times, it just sounds like gibberish. And really, I’m not sure if I ever knew what it was supposed to mean in the first place.
This topic is one of my major headdesk issues with anti-porn crusaders. They say, “porn objectifies women!” as though that’s some kind of end-all analysis. I address this topic from two directions.
Firstly, as a porn model and cam girl, it’s my job description to “be a sex object”, (as the anti-sexers would define it), and it’s a job with which I’m very happy. My friendlier customers treat me like a multi-dimensional person, too- but it’s not required of them, and I don’t resent the ones who don’t try and get to know me. (Hell, I know it annoys me when I, as a customer, get an overly chatty waiter or cab driver who tries to impose socializing on me when I’m not feeling up to it.) On cam, my customers pay $3 a minute for the expressed purpose of not having to wine and dine me and pretend to care what I’m saying in order to get me to take off my clothes. It’s so much more honest than dating.
Secondly, everyone at their job is “objectified” in their roles. I don’t profoundly care for the cashier at the grocery store, but no one’s ranting online about how he’s being oppressed and “objectified” because, at work, most people see him as “a cashier”. I don’t care to delve into the inner intellectual passions of the woman who made me tea at a cafe, but I’m not aware of any college courses being taught on the “objectification” of baristas. I have never fallen into deep romantic love with a nurse who’s weighed me and taken my blood pressure at the doctor’s office, but if there are protesters outside the clinic that day, their signs don’t read, “Stop the exploitation of women! Planned Parenthood objectifies nurses as mere one-dimensional healthcare workers!”
In the "fail" category is yet another anti-porn documentary Overexposed. It was made a few years ago, but has gotten some recent buzz over the Film Talk blog, which is unfortunately lapping it up. Trailer and website for the film here. It appears to be a kind of right-of-center version of The Price of Pleasure (featuring Drew Pinsky, Pamela Paul, and evangelical Steven Arturburn) that was produced at USC of all places, and focusing on the claimed addictive and degenerative effects that porn has on men. The centerpiece is Drew Pinsky spouting off some piece of junk science on the evil that porn does to men's brains. (Aparently, such images stimulate pleasure centers in the brains of men – uh oh, can't have that!) Pinsky is up there with Dr. Phil as being among my least favorite sex-negative pop psychologists. The negative messages coming from these guys don't get enough attention and response from "sex positive" community, even though each probably ultimately have more direct influence on public attitudes toward sexuality, sex workers, and sexual minorities than Robert Jensen, Gail Dines, and Melissa Farley put together.