Objectification  

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"In loving from sexual inclination, they make the person into an object of their appetite. As soon as the person is possessed, and the appetite sated, they are thrown away, as one throws away a lemon after sucking the juice from it." --Immanuel Kant in his Lectures on Ethics likens lust to sexual objectification, see ""Kant and Eros.

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

In social philosophy, objectification is the act of treating a person, or sometimes an animal, as an object or a thing.

Definitions

According to the philosopher Martha Nussbaum, a person is objectified if one or more of the following properties are applied to them:

  1. Instrumentality – treating the person as a tool for another's purposes
  2. Denial of autonomy – treating the person as lacking in autonomy or self-determination
  3. Inertness – treating the person as lacking in agency or activity
  4. Fungibility – treating the person as interchangeable with (other) objects
  5. Violability – treating the person as lacking in boundary integrity and violable, "as something that it is permissible to break up, smash, break into."
  6. Ownership – treating the person as though they can be owned, bought, or sold
  7. Denial of subjectivity – treating the person as though there is no need for concern for their experiences or feelings

Nussbaum has argued that the topic of objectification is not only important to sexuality, which has been discussed at length, but to the Marxist view on capitalism and slavery. Nussbaum argues that potentially not all forms of objectification are inherently negative acts and that objectification may not always be present when one of the seven properties is present.

Rae Helen Langton, in Sexual Solipsism: Philosophical Essays on Pornography and Objectification, proposed three more properties to be added to Nussbaum's list:

  1. Reduction to body – the treatment of a person as identified with their body, or body parts;
  2. Reduction to appearance – the treatment of a person primarily in terms of how they look, or how they appear to the senses;
  3. Silencing – the treatment of a person as if they are silent, lacking the capacity to speak.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Objectification" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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