Objectification is not gender-specific

Cam Hart, Editor-in-Chief

When Mr. Valentine starts in the coming weeks, go ahead, enjoy it. Laugh with your friends. Cast your vote. But, remember that when you do, you are playing into the very same system that objectifies you as a woman. 

A woman feels pressure from society to wax her legs, whiten her teeth, pluck her eyebrows, paint her nails, maybe even starve herself, all to satisfy the male gaze. That, we as women have decided, is wrong. 

Women have to be funny but not idiotic; beautiful but not fake; smart but not nerdy; classy but not boring; flirty but not sexual. Our personalities are also always being judged. By each other, by social media, by men, by ourselves. 

We know it isn’t okay, and that’s why we call out sexism when we see it. We call out that judgment because it’s wrong. 

If I were to walk into Memphis University School (MUS) and be judged as “Ms. Valentine,” we would, without hesitation, call that out as wrong. 

That can’t be a double standard. We must fairly apply this thinking to everyone. 

When boys that come to St. Mary’s to be judged as Mr. Valentine, it’s meant to be funny (and, I admit, I do find a lot of it funny), but the undertones of engendered judgment remain. We can’t say it’s wrong to judge women by their personalities, looks, and charm, and then do the same to the men. 

Objectification in any form and applied to any kind of person is wrong. 

I’m not saying that Mr. Valentine is meant to be a game of objectification. I don’t think that is anyone’s intention. But, that’s what it is. We need to at least recognize the inherent judgment that Mr. Valentine is built on. 

We can laugh at the jokes all we want, but at the end of the day, when we vote on the next “Mr. Valentine,” we’re applying the very same judgements and standards that have been used to oppress women.

So, pot meet kettle.