How many American feminists have raised their voices against the look-alike strippers at a gentleman’s club in Las Vegas who were judged based on how much they resembled the senator wearing a swimsuit? What is the reasoning behind such reductionism? That she is a former beauty queen? How about a contest for McCain lookalike war heroes? Or Obama-type lawyers? Or community workers? Or Joe Biden anti-Viet heroes?
The sexism isn’t restricted to gender alone, but to a certain kind of woman. Strange. Mother Teresa was against abortion and she got a pedestal. Hillary Clinton ‘stood by her man’ and was deified. And what about her make-over? They are talking about Sarah’s wardrobe. Yes, it costs a lot of money, as much as getting cheerleaders and other symbols of support.
There is not much issue-based opposition going on. It is not necessary to respond to bimboesque behaviour in a similar manner. Dumbing down does not work when the stakes are high.
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The idea of objectification itself is complicated.
Someone told me at a time when I was posting pictures of parts of me that I was objectifying myself. It led to an internal monologue (parts of it were posted earlier in the soliloquy series):
Me 1: “Why do you do it?”
Me 2: “Perhaps I want to put myself up there by removing myself from me.”
Me 1: “So you objectify yourself?”
Me 2: “One gets objectified anyway by others.”
Me 1: “Why do you want to play their game?”
Me 2: “It isn't the same. They see disembodied parts. Eyes, mouth, nose, neck, breasts, waist, hips, hands, fingers.”
Me 1: “And you are not? You are doing precisely that.”
Me 2: “I am turning this objectification on its head. If you notice, I have distorted as well. I do make a statement. In my put up ‘parts’, I made a cross over it, essentially saying this is cut out, deleted, unimportant.”
Me 1: “So you are reducing yourself?”
Me 2: “I am reducing the idea of the Self as parts.”
Me 1: “Who is going to see the metaphysical when the physical hits you first?”
Me 2: “I know I am not a Barbie; you cannot just put a key in me and get me started. That level of self-esteem is there, which is why it is possible for me to do what I do. That is also the reason I do not feel devastated by feministic critiques that tend to be hugely one-dimensional.”
Me 1: “The question remains: will anyone get it?”
Me 2: “That’s not important. Seeing something is of the senses; understanding requires more. Besides, don’t people visualise things?”
Me 1: “I still feel there are pitfalls here. It can become a cause for humiliation.”
Me 2: “One does not have to put parts of oneself to invite humiliation. People find ruses – words, actions, shared moments, confidences, the past, the present…everything becomes removed from the person one is. I do not fear the kind of humiliation that comes with putting up these ‘objects’ because I have control over them. They are truly mine and do not need the crutch of another. But it depends on the way of seeing. And perceiving. There can be several truths.”
Me 1: “As in truth is relative?”
Me 2: “Also, the truth has to work within the parameters of several lies, so it breaks itself up into several truths.”
Me 1: “Can truth be objectified?”
Me 2: “It can be ‘subjectified’ to fit into our worldview. Therefore, what we call objectification is what I see as ‘subjectification’. As subject I do not fall prey as object because I have the benefit of a conscious decision. This exhibit can raise hell, so to speak.”
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Returning to Sarah Palin, I think she is aware of her role. Her gaffes may become as comedic as Bushisms, but no one walked the ramp in a fire helmet or a torchlight aimed at some godforsaken cave to humour him.