The other day, I called out a minor in my family. There are a number of minors in my family, and I will NOT state in this public forum who they are.
I called them out for sexually objectifying behavior. They posted something inappropriate to their Facebook wall, and within the bounds of Facebook privacy, I called them out by name within the limited public exposure of intersecting Facebook “friends.”
Shortly thereafter, I received a number of comments from assorted parents of males under the age of 18, some public, some private. But ALL of the comments, in some form, excused the inappropriate posting by stating that the minor was a “hormone-crazed male under the age of 18.” And some of these “parents” are people I consider to be a LOT closer to the epithet of “rabid feminist” than I am (and they are not ALL women).
You know, I might be 46, but *I* remember being that age. And yes, EVEN THOUGH I AM FEMALE, I was JUST as hormone-crazed as any male of that age. In fact, in my experience, there are still some people I know, who are OVER the age of 18 and under the age of 80, who are STILL hormone-crazed individuals (again, of any sex or gender identity). Even at 46, and KNOWING that there are negative consequences for bad choices, I still occasionally can be persuaded to make a mistake by a rise in certain hormones in my body.
But, NO MATTER THE AGE, NO MATTER THE SEX OR GENDER IDENTITY, sexually objectifying behavior is STILL inappropriate.
Now, let me be VERY clear here. If I, or any other person, CHOOSES to publicize naked photos, or partly clothed photos, of ourselves – THAT IS OUR RIGHT. If anyone ELSE publishes those photos of OUR bodies, that is not only an invasion of privacy but also objectifies the person.
Porn stars, nude models or partially nude models (of any gender), or other “titillating” type workers are making a CHOICE to reveal themselves to the public. And it is THEIR choice. Any OTHER form of titillating media (TV, film, photography, Internet video, what-the-fuck-ever), done without the person’s knowledge AND consent, is both an invasion of body autonomy AND is objectification of the person. And yes, this includes CHILD PORN – which is ALSO an abuse of the child.
I like looking at the naked bodies of males. But I will ONLY do so with the consent of the person being viewed, whether it is a blanket consent (such as only a fully sane adult can sign, but a child CANNOT) or a specific to me consent. I know others who like looking at MY naked body. But only those whom I have CONSENTED to show (and photograph or video) my body to have permission to see it. Any person I have given PERSONAL consent to, does NOT automatically have the right to publish my photo in ANY format.
Going back to the age issue, NO person has the right to sexually objectify another. And ANYONE – teen or adult – who does so, should be CONFRONTED about their behavior – in the same forum in which they made their choice. That means if you and your friends are hanging out on the street and catcall someone who walks by (and yes, I know a few women who will catcall men) – then those around the catcaller NEED to stand up and confront that person RIGHT THEN. It is abusive, harassing, and threatening behavior.
Judgmental behavior – such as “would you LOOK at what she’s wearing? She DESERVES to be raped!” – ALSO should be confronted WHERE IT HAPPENED. I no longer stand by and listen when I hear someone state something like that in a public place – such as a grocery store. Hell, I no longer stand quietly and allow some judgmental asshole critique the contents of my shopping cart based on my body size. You critique my food choices, or try to give me some fake concern, or in any other way attempt to fat-shame me, you WILL be confronted with your behavior immediately.
And THIS is what I am confronting. I am confronting the abusive, bullying, harassing behavior. I’m confronting the belief that someone ELSE’S body is YOURS to do with as you please – whether that is by physically raping them, OR by sharing a nude (or nearly nude) photo and making clearly objectifying statements about it. I am defending the apparently astonishing idea that each human being has a right to have control over their OWN body autonomy, and that NO ONE has the right to infringe upon it.
I’m not confronting the sexual appreciation of a human body.
I am confronting the idea that anyone else but the person INSIDE that body has the right to JUDGE the person inside that body.
I’m confronting the loss of decency and courtesy to other human beings. It’s not HARD to treat others with politeness and civility.