Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Combating hidden sexism with Objectify A Man Day

4:00 PM on 01.25.2013 // Stephen Beirne

Of course, they all have lovely bottoms

For men to compliment women is far more common than for the reverse to happen. It’s one of those socialized traits people barely notice unless they’re particularly alerted, what with it being so widespread as to be ubiquitous. Unsurprisingly, the majority of compliments directed towards women tend to praise appearance as opposed to ability or personality. The overall effect is one that can breed frustration in recipients as it reinforces harmful gender roles.

It is on this basis that Leigh Alexander and Ben Abraham have organised Objectify A Male Tech Writer Day (or simply Objectify A Man Day). On February 1, participants will see to their Twitters and Facebooks as per usual, with the caveat that anything they link which is authored by a man will be supplemented with a needless compliment on the chap’s appearance. With the hashtag of #Objectify, the goal is to raise awareness of how well-intentioned remarks can nevertheless make you feel undermined and patronized.

Gendered compliments are of that type of benevolent sexism that generally flies under the social radar. Getting praise is lovely, right? Surely it raises self-esteem and spreads good will to all the boys and girls.

The problem is that benevolent sexism goes hand-in-hand with the more obvious hostile kind  (your torsos and your booth babes) and reinforces the subconscious values hidden therein. In essence, it’s the friendly face to those overtly harmful practices and behaviours, making it far more insidious in nature. Unwelcomed and irrelevant compliments on a woman’s appearance can also elicit emotions of self-objectification and shame. By subtly endorsing appearance as a top priority for women, they boost socially ingrained values of superficiality and unrealistic beauty standards.

Like individuals, videogames don’t exist in bubbles isolated away from society. The subconscious values of game makers manifest in industry practices and game design, such as the belief that men will foremost want to protect their female protagonist, or the idea that girlfriends are lovely and all but simply dreadful when it comes to the pew pew. I wonder how many developers have passed on the notion of having a female protagonist on the basis that girls are too dainty for all that running about. The effects of media representation on audiences is something we should always bear in mind.

Well-intentioned though some beliefs may be, when they carry adverse connotations which support wider spread gender roles, the overall effect is merely an endorsement of deeper structural problems. While it is nice to receive a compliment on your hair every now and again, when it becomes a recurring thing everywhere you go you start to get a message about what’s commonly perceived as important.

Speaking of well-intentioned, personally I remain sceptical of whether Objectify A Man Day will succeed in its goal or obscure it. It’s true that a bit of awareness and empathy can help men to see sexism to which they’re normally blind, but the condoning of benevolent sexism is a much harder thing to shift. The event stands no chance of emulating the problems of misguided compliments, what with the lack of everything else that makes benevolent sexism so disconcerting (including, odiously enough, the sincerity).

Those in on the joke need no convincing, while those outside might barely even notice anything’s different. Most likely it will bolster the belief of many that getting complimented on one’s appearance is flattering, not insulting. And if well-intentioned men can get through one day of receiving superficial compliments, it may just encourage them to think that benevolent sexism isn’t so bad after all.

That being said, the event can prove indirectly productive simply as a gateway for conversation on the subject. Certainly the more people that grow aware of the many facets of sexism, the better we become at correcting our errors in value and judgement. For this, I wish Objectify A Male Tech Writer Day all the success in the world.

You can check out the #Objectify FAQ here.



Stephen Beirne, Contributor
 Follow Blog + disclosure Tips
There once was a man from an island Who preferred his spare time to be silent. He liked Final Fantasy XIII, Epistemology, And when gamers got mad he got violent. more   |   staff directory





 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

Atleastimhousebroken avatarAtleastimhousebroken
Weird brutal death metal song about Majora's Mask (Reminds me of Gorguts)! My life is complete! Lyrics in comments. https://profoundlorerecords.bandcamp.com/track/tales-of-the-majora-mythos-part-1
Dreamweaver avatarDreamweaver
I SWEAR the Goddess is trolling me. I HATE having dreams where everything's finally okay with my life, only to wake up and realize it's all been a delusional lie. I'm starting to think this is a sign that maybe I should just keep sleeping forever... T^T
jak2364 avatarjak2364
It's taking every ounce of power within me to act like a responsible adult and save for this instead of using a credit card to get it now. http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00VRCLHYS/ Everyone, tell me bad things about it.
gajknight avatargajknight
My cat touched my dick.
ScionVyse avatarScionVyse
Oh boy, extra damage weren't Ike's only buffs this patch. They also made his n-air combo better, made his Fsmash better (sourspot damage and angle buffs) and increased the range of his f-air. Ike may be tied with Sheik for best f-air in the game now. :D
Voodoome avatarVoodoome
What's your guys thoughts on repros? I ran into these a couple years ago at a con and I just couldn't resist. I know there are some repro makers out there that reproduce official US releases, and that's wrong, but if a game was never released here?
Niwannabe avatarNiwannabe
There's people who defend WB putting season passes in LEGO games. Real talk for a sec, there is literally no reason a season pass should even exist, let alone in a LEGO game of all things. Preordering DLC is pointless. I'm saltier than I need to be.
Mike Wallace avatarMike Wallace
Remember the Xenogears combat system? That was really fun. They should bring that back.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I hope Bloodborne goes down to $20 again, very tempted to get it. I've been using my Playstations a lot lately and want to continue doing that
Ckarasu avatarCkarasu
So, one of the artists for SMT4, Yasushi Nirasawa, passed away very recently. Quite the shame, as his work was interesting.
Gameroo avatarGameroo
Drive Any Track is wild, wild fun. Surprised I only came across it because of the steam sale, I thought I'd have at least heard something about it earlier. Can't wait to see how it progresses!
Heat avatarHeat
Quick thoughts about my first hours of XCOM 2: The new Sectoid is a bastard, Shen's daughter looks like she escape from Life is Strange, Tygan has a really cool necktie (i love neckties) and officer Bradford need a drink... a strong one. And a a hug.
Browarr avatarBrowarr
Quality music over there: http://jetsetradio.live/
Titannel avatarTitannel
In between work and, uh, work, I've been buying PS Vita games. Not playing them. Buying them. There are a whole lotta obscure games on the Vita. And a lot of them involve either dating anime boys or underage girls doing decidedly non-underage-girl things.
Browarr avatarBrowarr
JET SET RADIOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
TheKodu avatarTheKodu
Still better than Aliens Colonial Marines.
BaronVonSnakPak avatarBaronVonSnakPak
The good news: XCOM 2 is installed on my pc. The bad news: It runs about as well as a fat kid on ice.
Fuzunga avatarFuzunga
Get your Devil's Third, here! Hot, fresh Devil's third! [url]http://www.gamestop.com/wii-u/games/devils-third/118963[/url]
EAPidgeon avatarEAPidgeon
Glad I can support the site again with HUGE since my life is mostly back in order. Curious though if anyone knows what happened to the Merch Shop for the site.
TheBlondeBass avatarTheBlondeBass
Give me an open-world game and I'll find a way to mistreat children and the elderly.
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -