Sexualization that Presupposes Equality …

There really is nothing on TV at 4 am, which is usually when I get up. Actually, there’s very little on TV at 5 am either, which is when I used to get up. But since I like having some noise on while getting ready for work, I found myself watching a daytime TV show called “Steven and Chris”, which was re-run at that time. As is the case, it seems, with most daytime TV, it’s aimed primarily at women, which means that the majority of the experts they bring in are women. This is not only limited to their fashion and cooking experts, but also to their medical experts and financial experts.

I find that I pay a lot more attention to their medical and financial experts than I have on other shows that I’ve browsed. Mostly because they’re really, really attractive.

And, in general, this is true for me. In most situations, I would rather be served by an attractive woman than an attractive man. So, I prefer my wait staff to be female, for example. In another case, I had been going to an eye doctor who moved to a new location, and followed him there. He then moved on, and the administrative staff made sure that the doctor that saw me the next time was male. The next time, the whole office was female, and it didn’t bother me one bit. That’s because the reason I had asked for the first doctor was because I knew him, not because he was male. Getting in later appointments attractive female eye doctors was actually a benefit to me, not a detriment.

Now, at this point I can see everyone screaming “Sexualization!” and likely even “Sexist!”, based on the idea that I am judging the women by their looks, and not their abilities. But this is a false perception. When I go to these sorts of appointments or get these sorts of advice, my main goal is to get the right sort of advice or to have them do whatever it is I need them to do correctly and efficiently. So if I prefer an attractive female, it isn’t my choosing her looks over her competence. If I really thought that she was less competent than an equivalent man, I’d ask for the man hands-down. So this preference is predicated on my assuming that a woman, even an attractive woman, is at least as competent as a man would be. And making that assumption — that either way I’m going to get competent service — then the ability to look at and interact with an attractive woman is simply a benefit that I’d get. It’s like trying decide between two steak restaurants, and choosing the one that gives you a free dessert because you know that the steak is equally good at both places, but the free dessert is a bonus that settles the tie.

The same thing happens to me in sports. The one sport where I far prefer the women’s game to the men’s game is curling. Part of this is that I’d rather watch attractive women for three hours than attractive men. But if I didn’t like the women’s game, I wouldn’t prefer it; if I’m going to watch basketball, for example, I’m not likely to watch the women’s game but instead an NBA game. But I actually not only prefer the … uh … visuals in the women’s game, but I, in fact, actually prefer the game. Since women simply don’t have the weight than men do — insert your own joke here — they are forced away from a straight hitting game and more into a draw and tap game, which is much more interesting because the building of the end is undone far less by having someone simply toss a really strong shot at everything and start it all over. I prefer the game, and get to see attractive women. What’s not to like?

But, again, all of this is predicated on the ability of the women involved. If I believe they are as good or better than the alternative, then their looks are a bonus. But if I believed that they couldn’t deliver what I wanted — good advice, a good game, etc, etc — then their looks wouldn’t carry the day. Thus, even if they were model quality in terms of looks, I’d still ask for someone else or watch someone else or watch another game.

So, is this sexualization in any bad way? I can’t see any reason to say that preferring to look at what I find sexually attractive over what I don’t is a bad thing, and I’m someone who is on the “conservative” about that sort of thing. I already presume that they are competent, and so am not reducing them to their looks; their looks are part of the package but not the whole of it. So, is this sexualization? If it is, is it wrong?

2 Responses to “Sexualization that Presupposes Equality …”

  1. Héctor Muñoz Says:

    There’s nothing wrong with sexualization or objetification. It’s an strategy used to filter and value possible mating candidates fast and women do it too, all the time, it’s just thay they objectify men for different reasons because women value different attributes than a men in a mating partner. Also it can’t be turned off, it’s a constant process running on the background of our minds all the time and it affectw how we “feel” towards other people.

  2. verbosestoic Says:

    I think when sexualization or objectification is bad is when it is inappropriate, either because you are judging them on their looks instead of on their abilities, or when you treat them as only a sexual object when the interaction shouldn’t be sexual. Ultimately, that dynamic is always going to be there because the sexual drive is so strong in humans, but we can and should suppress it when it’s inappropriate. That’s why in the cases I give it is important that I think they be competent first; then, the attractiveness is a bonus, and not the “main course”.

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