Meanwhile, a study published last year in the journal Psychological Science titled “Objects Don’t Object,” found that when college women were asked to merely think about a time when they’d been objectified, they became subsequently less supportive of equal rights.
— Peggy Orenstein, “The Battle Over Dress Codes“
The title of this study. I just can’t.
It’s not just dress codes, of course. (Which have been based on not only problematic notions of the “disruptive” female body but also an aggressive dismissal of all young people’s full and equal humanity since…well, well before John Marshall High School’s faculty grabbed its collective pearls in horror at the visible bra straps of me and the rest of my Madonna-inspired ’80s cohort.) The total range of interactions throughout the lives of girls and women in which such gendered objectification occurs — and the subsequent acts of self-silencing so many retreat to — hurt me to think about.
But. Perhaps I exaggerate. Maybe I’m putting more weight into an academic-clever title than the issue really warrants. Perhaps that howling in the back of my head, that urge to Hulk Smash everything and everyone that I’ve been resisting throughout this latest round of well-publicized rape apologia…well, maybe that’s just my survivor privilege showing again.
Consider this my objection.