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the film criticism aspect of cyber | by maryann johanson

come play with Galadriel’s breasts, boys!

What was I just saying about indulging male fantasies?

I always check new postings to make sure everything looks okay, and when I looked at my post about the Jennifer’s Body trailer, what the hell do I see in the lefthand column but this ad:

What the fuck? Are we — or boys, aka “lords,” at least — being invited to play with Galadriel’s breasts? There doesn’t seem to be anything else we’re invited to play with.

I clicked through the ad — which is for an online game — and found this:

The breasts again, with another invitation to play with them, and the assumption that the prospective player is male. Oh, sure, you could sign up as a girl, but the signup asks for your “Lord Name.”

If you go to the main page of the Evony site, there’s a different signup that doesn’t make assumptions about the prospective new player’s gender. But the breasts are all over it again. The male character depicted is, of course, fully clothed, though there is the implication that he’s probably got a boner as hard as steel. Which I suppose is meant to pander to the “lords,” too:

(The typo — Registered, which should be Register — is fun, too.)

Needless to say, I’ve turned these Evony ads off, and they shouldn’t appear here again.



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easter eggs
  • Well, I’m not sure about all that subliminal bullcrap, but I know I clicked it!!

  • Tim1974

    I don’t want to see either gender objectified. This ad appears to be a problem for females. On the surface, I don’t see the problem with it. However, if I reversed the roles I can better understand why females would be upset by this. I would like to support either gender not being presented this way. That brings me to another point. Why is it that feminist have no concern for the male gender in reference to all the gratuitous amounts of male genitals presented in films within the last two years ? I have mentioned this before but don’t you think it would serve a better purpose if both males and females banded together in an attempt to stop this type of thing ? I see too much gender discrimination in ads, films, plays, cable programs, and even animated films. I believe the old saying that “United we stand, divided we fall.” is point on. Maybe it is time to see through the opposite gender’s eyes for a bit and realize the frustrations that gender is dealing with. Then maybe we could put aside any differences that exisit and work for the same cause of equality for both males and females.

  • Priceless. And by that I don’t mean “free forever.”

    The guy’s helmet alone is none too subtle. Reminds me of a friend from college who referred to the male organ as “the purple-helmeted warrior.”

  • Der Bruno Stroszek

    I have mentioned this before

    Boy, have you ever.

  • @Tim1974:

    I think your intention is admirable, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. I haven’t noticed the glut of onscreen wang you speak of, but I’ll take your word for it. Nevertheless, the fact is that unlike you, most men don’t mind being physically objectified. I’d go so far as to say a majority even welcome it.

    I can’t see equating the causes of men and women being sexually objectified. I’m not saying it’s right to objectify anyone, but I would say that we men have no precedent that even approaches the centuries of subjugation (sexual and otherwise) to which women have been subjected.

  • doa766

    I don’t thik that kind of “play” would be unnoticeably at work or school

  • MaryAnn

    I don’t want to see either gender objectified.

    Neither do I. And I’ve complained about men being reduced to stereotypes more than once (most recently: in my Ice Age 3 review).

    But there are no ads for Evony that I’ve seen that objectify men: only ones that pander to them.

  • Accounting Ninja

    I think your intention is admirable, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. I haven’t noticed the glut of onscreen wang you speak of, but I’ll take your word for it. Nevertheless, the fact is that unlike you, most men don’t mind being physically objectified. I’d go so far as to say a majority even welcome it.

    That’s because females objectifying males doesn’t have the same cultural power behind it that male-on-female has: Centuries of being denied basic human rights, “Othering” of women and denying them their full humanity, the very real threat of rape (at worst) or slut-shaming (at best) behind every instance of objectification, the sense of male entitlement that comes with their gaze on females (that they need to make themselves sexually appealing for males at all times, especially in the public sphere). I mean, there’s lots of reasons why I don’t find being objectified flattering at all. A man, statistically, doesn’t have to fear that a female objectifying him will later rape him or beat him up should he refuse her attentions. I know it’s always in the back of MY mind when I’m confronted with an aggressive male making sexual comments at me. You just never know, as a woman…

    I can’t see equating the causes of men and women being sexually objectified. I’m not saying it’s right to objectify anyone, but I would say that we men have no precedent that even approaches the centuries of subjugation (sexual and otherwise) to which women have been subjected.

    Quoted for Truth!

  • t6

    Derek said:

    I think your intention is admirable, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. I haven’t noticed the glut of onscreen wang you speak of, but I’ll take your word for it. Nevertheless, the fact is that unlike you, most men don’t mind being physically objectified. I’d go so far as to say a majority even welcome it.

    Really, you find that men don’t mind being physically objectified? That the majority welcome it? That isn’t my experience. When I was in the Army, most of the men I knew there were so disturbed by the thought of being objectified by other men that they threatened violence on any man who might dare look at them as sexual objects. And also, the large number of gay bashers who used the gay panic defense shows that those threats also carried over into actual violence.

    Furthermore, I teach music history, and there are female figures who own sexuality in a way that makes my male students feel objectified and not in an empowering way. Mae West and Peaches being the two best examples.

    This is similar to when I had male buddies say that women couldn’t rape men…laughed at rape. How they’d love it if some hot woman tried to rape them. I always replied, “Really? How about if they tried to rape you up the backside with a baseball bat after knocking you around a bit?”

    Physical objectification is not about complimenting someone’s physical self. It is about erasing their selfhood completely. If you were ever truly objectified and fetishized…trust me, you wouldn’t like it.

  • Accounting Ninja

    Really, you find that men don’t mind being physically objectified? That the majority welcome it? That isn’t my experience. When I was in the Army, most of the men I knew there were so disturbed by the thought of being objectified by other men that they threatened violence on any man who might dare look at them as sexual objects. And also, the large number of gay bashers who used the gay panic defense shows that those threats also carried over into actual violence.

    I think this is due to homophobia more than anything else. The problem lies with the person who is violently homophobic; the gay man may be perceived as “objectifying” another man, but as we’ve said before here, simply being attracted to someone is NOT objectification. Another way in which patriarchal attitudes hurt males, btw. And correct me if I’m wrong, but are you actually insinuating these homophobes are correct to beat down a gay man because of the sin of “objectification”? Which, from your definition, could include something as innocent as a glance or comment? Seriously??

    Furthermore, I teach music history, and there are female figures who own sexuality in a way that makes my male students feel objectified and not in an empowering way. Mae West and Peaches being the two best examples.

    I’m not quite understanding this. So, sexually forward women scare your male students? What sort of things about them specifically threaten your students? Is their only crime “owning their sexuality”? Women should “own their own sexuality”, and nuts to whoever may “feel uncomfortable”. This says more about sexist attitudes about women’s sexuality and its “proper place”. These women are a drop in the bucket compared to the legions of misogynistic lyrics and male musicians I had to grow up listening to, and I wouldn’t even call these women misandrist, especially not Mae West. She loved men, she just didn’t like society’s rules saying that “good girls don’t”.

    This is similar to when I had male buddies say that women couldn’t rape men…laughed at rape. How they’d love it if some hot woman tried to rape them. I always replied, “Really? How about if they tried to rape you up the backside with a baseball bat after knocking you around a bit?”

    Physical objectification is not about complimenting someone’s physical self. It is about erasing their selfhood completely. If you were ever truly objectified and fetishized…trust me, you wouldn’t like it.

    On this I agree 100%. Rape should never be belittled, and it does happen to men, though statistically it is more often other men who rape men. But no rape should be trivialized.
    What your buddies fail to realize is that a rape fantasy is not rape, because ultimately the fantisizer (sp?) is in total control and wants it to happen. Notice how they specified “hot woman”. Um, the rapist isn’t always of your choosing, that’s why they call it rape, amirite? And your last paragraph is spot on.
    The majority of het males like your buddies have never really had to be concerned with rape, so it’s understandable that they would confuse it with rape fantasy. That just showcases the privelege males have in this area, to be generally unconcerned with rape’s realities. (Note I didn’t say rape of men never happens!)

  • t6

    I think this is due to homophobia more than anything else. The problem lies with the person who is violently homophobic; the gay man may be perceived as “objectifying” another man, but as we’ve said before here, simply being attracted to someone is NOT objectification. Another way in which patriarchal attitudes hurt males, btw. And correct me if I’m wrong, but are you actually insinuating these homophobes are correct to beat down a gay man because of the sin of “objectification”? Which, from your definition, could include something as innocent as a glance or comment? Seriously??

    I’m not saying it is correct for men to gaybash. I’m saying that the fact that some straight men respond badly (and by badly I mean to go so far as to commit homophobic violence) when they are viewed as sexual objects by other men is evidence that, contrary to what Derek said, men are not welcoming of being physically objectified. You say the discomfort comes down to homophobia…which it is partly without a doubt, but in listening to these homophobic fellows, the issue they focus on is on being looked at. Often they say things like, “I don’t care about gay men…but if they dare look at me, or hit on me, I’d have to kill them.” The problem is not just homophobia, it is discomfort in being placed in the position of sexual object rather than just sexual subject–it is in essence patriarchy. And to note this discomfort is why I bring up Mae West and Peaches…

    I’m not quite understanding this. So, sexually forward women scare your male students? What sort of things about them specifically threaten your students? Is their only crime “owning their sexuality”? Women should “own their own sexuality”, and nuts to whoever may “feel uncomfortable”. This says more about sexist attitudes about women’s sexuality and its “proper place”. These women are a drop in the bucket compared to the legions of misogynistic lyrics and male musicians I had to grow up listening to, and I wouldn’t even call these women misandrist, especially not Mae West. She loved men, she just didn’t like society’s rules saying that “good girls don’t”.

    Mae West, owns her sexuality…additionally she often objectifies men (this is an understandable reversal strategy as part of her reclamation)…the men in my class have never felt what it is like to be objectified before, and to hear Mae West or Peaches talk about men sexually without caring about male desire…the way the West and Peaches reduce men to sexual objects without any sort of implication that they would in anyway please men sexually in return really made my male students uncomfortable.

    I am NOT saying that it is justified for my male students to feel that way. (Pointing out that something happens and why it might be happening is not the same as endorsing that thing–pointing out that men are patriarchal doesn’t mean I’m endorsing patriarchy) My post is about refuting Derek’s claim that men have no problem being objectified. Because in my experience, some men–in their position of power and privilege within the patriarchy almost never actual experience what it is like to be the objects of the gaze. And when they are the objects of the gaze–and they don’t control it–they really freak out. Their freakout seems to stem from the fact that they are comfortable in their position as holders of the gaze, as sexual subjects and subjugators. Does this mean that women or sexual minorities should not claim their place as equal subjects because it makes some straight men uncomfortable? Certainly not! Dismantling patriarchy and asserting equality often makes those in the positions of power (i.e. the subjugators) uncomfortable. So? They’ll just have to get used to it.

  • doa766

    wow, that’s a lot of discussion for this

    about genders been objectified I think the problem is just that people take what they see on public media (ads, movies, games, TV) as a general comment and never as a particular case

    if a guys looks at a playboy centerfold and decides to hang it on the wall then people will say he’s objectifying women, when actually he’s objectifying only the woman on the picture, a woman agree to be objectified in exchange for a lot of money

    there’s no way not to objectified Megan Fox for example because she’s is shown to us as an object, and saying that you don’t like looking at her body because the way she’s portrayed it’s pure hypocrisy

    there’s nothing wrong with that

  • JoshB

    I have mentioned this before

    Boy, have you ever.

    This gave me a good chuckle.

    Needless to say, I’ve turned these Evony ads off, and they shouldn’t appear here again.

    Now if you would just get rid of the damned World of Warcrack ads…

  • PaulW

    Now if you would just get rid of the damned World of Warcrack ads…

    Yes! Start promoting City of Heroes instead! >:-)

  • Accounting Ninja

    t6, thank you for clarifying. The internet can fail to translate intent sometimes :). But I think the gay panic is more than just being skeeved at being objectified. Your average guy views female objectification benignly (or at least they are pressured to by other males), but by other men is unacceptable. If it were just the act of objectification, men would feel opposed regardless of who was doing the objectification. There definitely is the element of privelege being violated, as well. I think, because patriarchy puts strict codes on male behavior, anything viewed as “the feminine”, like closeness with other men, tenderness, compassion, is automatically viewed as the lesser. For a man to put himself on a woman’s level is to make himself lesser. I know most gay-bashers don’t think about it this deeply; it just translates as a violent gut reaction against those demonstrating this “lesser” behavior.

  • Newbia

    What’s wrong with breasts, MaryAnn? Obviously, women should be treated as more than just sex objects. However, does that mean that we should eliminate anything that *does* show their sexual side? Sex is a fact of life, and sex appeal is a perfectly legitimate advertising tool. Why should we pretend that it doesn’t exist? Pretending that men don’t like boobies won’t serve much use. And don’t you often complain about how prudish this country is?

  • t6 wrote:

    Really, you find that men don’t mind being physically objectified? That the majority welcome it? That isn’t my experience. When I was in the Army, most of the men I knew there were so disturbed by the thought of being objectified by other men that they threatened violence on any man who might dare look at them as sexual objects.

    I’ll grant that yours is an example of men reacting badly to a type of sexual objectification. However, it is a departure from the subject of MaryAnn’s post and the comments first few comments.

    We were talking about a web ad for a fantasy/adventure game that was a blatant ploy to lure horny fanboys with the bait of Galadriel’s bodaciousness – i.e., objectifying the female form in an attempt to get males to spend money. Women have been sexually objectified in our culture for ages, almost always to indulge men (though rarely as clumsily as in the Evony ad). It’s a hetero sexual politics issue.

    Maybe I should have been more specific. How about this, I’ll just speak for my own subset of the population: most straight men don’t mind being sexually objectified by women, and would most likely welcome it were it to happen. By “welcome it” I don’t mean immediately book a motel room: if for example a woman I found unattractive was blatantly checking me out and then threw herself at me, I would fend her off – but I would also take it as a compliment, and it would probably boost my confidence a little. And unlike a woman in the same situation I would not fear for my safety because, as the Accounting Ninja has said, forcible rapes of men by women are exceedingly rare.

    As for the sexually empowered woman/Mae West question, I don’t know what to tell you. I wasn’t in your class, I don’t know who those guys are/were (music history majors?) or in what context Mae West’s sexuality was presented to them. But I am familiar with Mae West and her sexual demeanor, and I can tell you this: if I were to be time-warped back to 1927 and she regarded me as a sexual object, I would have no problem with that. Nooo sir, no problem at all. And, your students notwithstanding, I’d venture to say the great majority of straight guys (or at least the straight guys I’ve ever known) would second that emotion.

  • t6

    Maybe I should have been more specific. How about this, I’ll just speak for my own subset of the population: most straight men don’t mind being sexually objectified by women, and would most likely welcome it were it to happen. By “welcome it” I don’t mean immediately book a motel room: if for example a woman I found unattractive was blatantly checking me out and then threw herself at me, I would fend her off – but I would also take it as a compliment, and it would probably boost my confidence a little. And unlike a woman in the same situation I would not fear for my safety because, as the Accounting Ninja has said, forcible rapes of men by women are exceedingly rare.

    And I’ll still counter that the straight guys I know who actually have been sexually objectified by women…not hit on, not told that they were hot..but treated like a piece of meat and with no interest in their pleasure, were not welcoming of that treatment. They didn’t take it as a compliment. It made them feel creepy. It doesn’t happen all that often. And most of the times it has happened in my experience it has often been linked to creepy race fetishism as well.

    I think guys who say they would welcome being objectified haven’t actually ever experienced objectification. There is a difference between hitting on someone because you think they are hot (which can be a compliment) and objectification.

    And while I always have a few straight male students who find Mae West uncomfortable, a have a LOT more who find Peaches uncomfortable (especially her song Casanova). But generally my students male and female find Mae West’s empowered sexuality without mitigating it by presenting as a sexual object very scandalous. Students who are not at all scandalized by Britney Spears get all red faced and embarrassed by Mae West. There are a number of empowered sexual subject women over the course of the 150 years I cover in American Popular Music and a good portion of my straight male college students get really uncomfortable. Now, the more feminist the guy, the less uncomfortable. Just a few weeks ago I had a frat guy complain that Mae West’s “I like a Guy What Takes His Time” was objectifying…he used those words…that the guy didn’t matter at all in the song…and he didn’t like it. A couple of my other frat guys nodded in agreement. And they felt the same way about Betty Davis, and Peaches…and a couple of others.

    So I don’t think it is so universal as you say that guys welcome objectification.

  • t6

    Just to add, I’m a straight guy, (more or less)…and I have had women (mostly in Germany) come up and fetishize my race and physically objectify me and I did not take it as a compliment. I did not welcome it. The far too frequent harassment got old and was not fun or okay. And when you are dating someone and you realize that they are only seeing you as an object…as an ass, broad muscular shoulders, and skin color…etc…and they keep talking about it…and commenting to others about your physical attributes as if you were a horse that they were having do them rather than an actual person…that actually isn’t complimentary.

  • Bree

    if a guys looks at a playboy centerfold and decides to hang it on the wall then people will say he’s objectifying women, when actually he’s objectifying only the woman on the picture, a woman agree to be objectified in exchange for a lot of money

    there’s no way not to objectified Megan Fox for example because she’s is shown to us as an object, and saying that you don’t like looking at her body because the way she’s portrayed it’s pure hypocrisy

    there’s nothing wrong with that

    doa766, I’m not sure to what you are referring in ‘there’s nothing wrong with that’, but I felt compelled to say that your response above can be typical of the male attitude to the issue of objectification of women, wherein the fact that women allow themselves to be objectified (and often demeaned) for money or fame is seen by men to exist in a vacuum and somehow explain/excuse exploitation, when in fact it is the very manifestation of patriarchal culture itself – wherein women are first and foremost judged on their physical appearance and rewarded handsomely for it, which is of course designed to cater to the needs of men and perpetuate the status quo.

    Keeping women ‘in their place’ as objects for pleasure/duty rather than fully-realised, equal, complex, messy human beings is in the best interest of the patriarchy, and boy will they pay handsomely to keep it that way! Changing the paradigm is difficult; so long as men continue to pay handsomely for the exploitation of women and women continue to fall for it, nothing will change. But it doesn’t mean ‘there’s nothing wrong with it’ – for men, perhaps, but after all men are only half the population of the planet.

    What’s wrong with breasts, MaryAnn? Obviously, women should be treated as more than just sex objects. However, does that mean that we should eliminate anything that *does* show their sexual side? Sex is a fact of life, and sex appeal is a perfectly legitimate advertising tool. Why should we pretend that it doesn’t exist? Pretending that men don’t like boobies won’t serve much use. And don’t you often complain about how prudish this country is?

    Newbia: you have noticed that it’s OVERWHELMINGLY women’s bodies that are exploited in said manner, right? Why do the terms ‘sex appeal’, ‘sexuality’, etc., so often boil down to FEMALE nudity? Would men like to see male nudity everywhere? Unlikely. There’s nothing wrong and everything right about healthy sexuality for men and women, but the exploitation of primarily female sex organs for the gratification of men has everything to do with power and control, and nothing to do with healthy sexuality.

  • David Cornelius

    I’m worried more about the fact that her neck is eighteen inches long.

  • JoshB

    And while I always have a few straight male students who find Mae West uncomfortable, a have a LOT more who find Peaches uncomfortable (especially her song Casanova)

    Really? Are you sure they weren’t just responding the way they thought you wanted them to? I mean, aside from the fact that the song is unendurably awful (god almighty, if something about the song offends me it’s the melody…Peaches is not gifted with musicality) it’s just a garden variety S&M fantasy.

  • Frank

    That advertisement keeps following me, I’m glad I’m not the only one who finds it slightly disturbing…

  • Keith Z-G

    Gene Roddenberry said something once about how he had nothing in theory against people being sex objects; having more than once been one, he declared it had been quite fun!

    His point, going on, was that appreciation and focus upon a person’s sexual attractiveness wasn’t in-and-of-itself a bad thing; if I recall, he was talking at the time of how the network had always fought against him whenever he tried to give a woman any important role. He figured that in the enlightened future there’d be nothing holding back women from fulfilling all the same roles as men, but he also didn’t think people would entirely stop being superficially attracted to eachother (considering that attraction is quite tied to human nature). The network, by contrast, only saw women as notable if they were being used as sex objects, and thus were always pressuring him to display female characters as such; it’s especially notable in the third season of the original series, where Roddenberry refused to participate on principle and coincidentally Kirk seemed to have a new alien girl every week.

    I guess what I’m saying is that it seems like most of the objectionable objectification going on seems to be on the marketing side of things, so honestly it’s less patriarchy that’s the problem and more capitalism.

  • Mathias

    “This is similar to when I had male buddies say that women couldn’t rape men…laughed at rape. How they’d love it if some hot woman tried to rape them. I always replied, “Really? How about if they tried to rape you up the backside with a baseball bat after knocking you around a bit?”

    Hmm, that’s not really rape, now is it?
    I mean, does shoving a baseball bat up a guy’s rectum bring sexual pleasure to the woman? Can she cum to this? No. That’s just anal abuse.

    I do think that it’s possible for a female to rape a male, but only in rare situations. Like the 40 year old teacher agressively taking advantage of a 13 year old boy who has just entered puberty. In that case, it would be frightening.
    Especially frustrating would be trying to get other guys to see things your way when they can’t understand what your complaining about.

    But 99% of the time, even if she tries to humiliately and degrade the male, sex is still sex and she’s giving him what he (presumably) wants.
    It’s just hard to think up of many scenarios where the woman wants it and the guys doesn’t. Where she physcially overpowers him and prevents him from moving/running/screaming. Where she derives sexual pleasure from intercourse while denying him any.

  • Ben

    But there are no ads for Evony that I’ve seen that objectify men: only ones that pander to them.

    Right.. because showing all the men as hyper masculine warriors isn’t objectifying them?

  • t6

    Hmm, that’s not really rape, now is it?
    I mean, does shoving a baseball bat up a guy’s rectum bring sexual pleasure to the woman? Can she cum to this? No. That’s just anal abuse.

    No, it is rape. Rape is not only about sexual pleasure for the rapist, it is about exerting power over your victim. If you rape someone with an object and try to defend yourself by saying, it wasn’t rape I didn’t get off…you are still going to be prosecuted for rape. If you rape someone but don’t cum, it is still rape.

    1 in 10 victims of rape are men. Men are raped not all that infrequently, but attitudes that say that men always want sex, that men can’t be raped, make it hard for male survivors of sexual assault to come forward and to be taken seriously. Posts like this don’t actually help.

  • MaSch

    MaryAnn: I really think it is a worthy cause not to give publicity to sexist advertisement and removing such advertisement from your site.

    However, talking about publicity … This article provides rather a lot, doesn’t it?

  • t6

    ?Really? Are you sure they weren’t just responding the way they thought you wanted them to? I mean, aside from the fact that the song is unendurably awful (god almighty, if something about the song offends me it’s the melody…Peaches is not gifted with musicality) it’s just a garden variety S&M fantasy.

    I doubt they were responding the way they thought I wanted them to, because I don’t present the music as, “Watch out! This music is going to make you guys feel creepy!” The first time I taught those pieces I was stunned when so many straight frat guy types responded with offense and discomfort. I thought the music was fun, and examples of various forms of female sexual identity. We also talk about flappers and blues women as different forms of female sexual identity. And we talk about male sexual identity from 1920s crooners to cock rockers of the 70s to Prince in the 80s. Throughout the course we look at the ways in which music and identity and culture interact in lots of different ways in different genres. And the guys never had a problem with sexually liberated female artists who still presented themselves as sexual objects. I was surprised when it first happened that they got all uncomfortable with those female artists who objectified men…and then clearly articulated that that was why they were upset. This caused some interesting debates between the female and male students in the class.

    And I think the thing is that Casanova is a garden variety S&M fantasy…but not a male-centric one. Some guys, not you clearly, are not used to being the center of attention and discourse…and when it happens they feel uncomfortable.

    I attended at a women’s college for a while, and there were a bunch of men in the grad program. They’d always say to me…the women here hate us and give us mean looks. I said…really? I’ve not notice any. So we went out together and they pointed out the mean looks…and they weren’t mean looks, they were just not interested. These guys were not used to being catered to and made the center of attention. And when they were in an environment where they weren’t the most important thing, they interpreted that as hostility and not okay…and they weren’t comfortable with it. Of course there were other guys who were fine with not being the dominant force and just continued to do there thing. But there were a lot of guys who’s dream of free sex all the time at the women’s college withered and couldn’t handle not being the dominant subject position.

  • t6

    Right.. because showing all the men as hyper masculine warriors isn’t objectifying them?

    No, because the hyper masculine warriors are still the protagonists and subjects of the story. Not objects.

    Unhealthy beauty standard is not the same as objectification.
    Stereotyping is not the same as objectification.

    Both things are bad, and men also suffer from them…but it isn’t the same as objectification.

  • MaryAnn

    Yes! Start promoting City of Heroes instead! >:-)

    I can turn off ads I don’t want to run, but I cannot solicit ads I might want to run. Sorry!

    What’s wrong with breasts, MaryAnn? Obviously, women should be treated as more than just sex objects. However, does that mean that we should eliminate anything that *does* show their sexual side? Sex is a fact of life, and sex appeal is a perfectly legitimate advertising tool. Why should we pretend that it doesn’t exist? Pretending that men don’t like boobies won’t serve much use. And don’t you often complain about how prudish this country is?

    Oh. For. Fuck’s. Sake. Do you really — really and truly and honestly — believe what you’re suggesting here, that even the objectification of women *and the removal from the equation of women’s sexual desires* is healthy and indicative of an open acceptance of sexuality?

    Of course sex is a fact of life. But complaining about how our culture subverts female sexuality in favor of male sexual pleasure is not “prudishness.” This ad is not about healthy female sexuality: it’s about presenting a female for male pleasure, regardless of what she might actually want. It’s inviting men to take pleasure in her.

    I cannot honestly believe that you think I’m advocating here that we pretend sex doesn’t exist. Do you really, really not get it?

    MaryAnn: I really think it is a worthy cause not to give publicity to sexist advertisement and removing such advertisement from your site.

    However, talking about publicity … This article provides rather a lot, doesn’t it?

    Ignoring stuff like this ad and pretending it doesn’t exist doesn’t work. It has to be talked about. If that means Evony gets a few more members: fine. It’s also likely to mean that a few more eyes will be opened, and that’s worth it.

    Gene Roddenberry said something once about how he had nothing in theory against people being sex objects; having more than once been one, he declared it had been quite fun!

    His point, going on, was that appreciation and focus upon a person’s sexual attractiveness wasn’t in-and-of-itself a bad thing

    As I’ve said many times before, OF COURSE people find other people sexually attractive, and OF COURSE people like people who are attractive, and OF COURSE we couldn’t change that even if we wanted to. But it’s not at all the same thing to find people sexually attractive and enjoy sex and enjoy feeling sexually attractive oneself… but that IS NOT AT ALL the same thing as treated people as objects!

    I’ll still counter that the straight guys I know who actually have been sexually objectified by women…not hit on, not told that they were hot..but treated like a piece of meat and with no interest in their pleasure, were not welcoming of that treatment. They didn’t take it as a compliment. It made them feel creepy.

    Maybe those guys now understand how women feel about it. Though probably not. Because those guys can walk away from those uncomfortable encounters and not have to worry about encountering the same thing on a regular basis, whereas women deal with it all the time. Also, those guys need to understand that the ONLY power Mae West had over them was the power to make them a little uncomfortable: she knew that, and that’s why she used it.

  • Victor Plenty

    MaSch, often I’d agree with your point about giving publicity to an offensive ad, but in this case the resulting discussion has been worth it. T6, Bree, and Accounting Ninja in particular have made some excellent points here.

    Most men have no idea what it means to be objectified. The few who ever experience even a tiny hint of it can easily flee back into the mainstream cultural arena, where they immediately resume dishing out what they were unable to take.

    There is nothing natural about objectifying women, and there is plenty wrong with it. It creates barriers to real emotional connection in every intimate relationship between women and men. Many men think they benefit from it, but only because their cultural blinders have shut them out from the much greater potential of relationships between fully equal partners.

    The anemic substitutes for real intimacy in any oppressive patriarchy (or any oppressive matriarchy, if such a thing were ever to exist) impoverishes the lives of both men and women.

  • t6

    Maybe those guys now understand how women feel about it. Though probably not. Because those guys can walk away from those uncomfortable encounters and not have to worry about encountering the same thing on a regular basis, whereas women deal with it all the time. Also, those guys need to understand that the ONLY power Mae West had over them was the power to make them a little uncomfortable: she knew that, and that’s why she used it.

    I try to teach them empathy, I really do. It is hard work.
    And certainly I don’t think that objectification of men is equivalent to the objectification of women. I’m just trying to counter some of the statements that men love being objectified…because that just evidences a serious lack of understanding of what objectification actually is.

    I had an argument about this with a friend who was trying to argue that racism is racism no matter who does it, hate is hate no matter who does it. And I had to keep reminding him that it isn’t just about an individual, it is about structures of power. It is about the bigger picture.

    Hating someone you are beating up is not the same as hating someone who is beating up on you.

    So it is Misssissippi in 1950. There is a black person who hates white people. So what–he or she can’t do anything about it. It doesn’t impact the lives of the white people in anyway, or disadvantage them. As a matter of fact, if the black person acts out on that hate in anyway, that could be enough to get them lynched. Now, the white person who hates on black people? Can whip up a lynch mob, kill the black person and be reasonably certain they would be acquitted regardless of the amount of evidence. Not the same at all.

  • JoshB

    @t6:

    I guess you read them right. Color me baffled.

    I wish I could have sat in on some of those conversations. I gather that they turned around and defended misogynist pop culture?

  • t6

    @JoshB

    They did at first. But since I also deal with constructions of masculinity as well as constructions of femininity (as well as race, class, region, etc) by the time we get to the end of the class I’ve tended to get most of the students a bit more sensitive to the sketchiness in pop culture.

    But the biggest thing I have to deal with is not misogyny…but it is this idea that being really poor is awesome, and wanting not to be poor makes you a sell out and bad. Which of course is coming from a bunch of pretty well of college students at a pretty expensive University. The constant weirdness around “fake” and “real.” Rock is real, Pop is fake. Stax is real, Motown is fake. Anger is real, Love is fake. And all of that.

    Though really I spend most of my time just trying to get them have better critical thinking skills in general.

  • t6

    But I should also say, that I also get some really smart and perceptive students who, when they realize this is going to be a real class where we do real work, even if the class does involve listening to Madonna and Frank Sinatra, they really excel and do amazing cultural/musical analysis.

  • Mathias

    “1 in 10 victims of rape are men. Men are raped not all that infrequently, but attitudes that say that men always want sex, that men can’t be raped, make it hard for male survivors of sexual assault to come forward and to be taken seriously. Posts like this don’t actually help.”

    http://www.secasa.com.au/index.php/survivors/10/207

    According to this website, 97-98% of perpetrators of rape are male. I’d like to know where you got this info that males are raped by females frequently.

  • t6

    @Mathias

    I never said men were raped by women frequently. Please look at what I said again. I said 1 in 10 victims of rape are men. I did not say anything about who was raping those men.

    That stat is from RAINN:
    http://www.rainn.org/statistics

    And going back to the website you mentioned to give the full quote: “Although the majority of perpetrators are male, (97 – 98%) women can also sexually assault men.”

    I am trying to refute these claims that men welcome being objectified and that men can’t be raped by women because they’d only be getting what they want anyway.

  • Shadowen

    That’s pretty much what I thought the first time I saw this ad.

    “Wow…it’s like Galadriel. If Cate Blanchett had implants. And her costumer was Theiss.”

    I’ve never been enticed to play the game, though. Mostly because I don’t have the time. I’m already a very busy geek. I have shit to do, and one single ad of a pretty woman with her breasts hanging out is not enough to get me to change my schedule. I’m far too ad-savvy to believe the actual game would be anything like that, either.

    And I have heard from other articles discussing these stupid ads (and they get worse) that the game is just a clone of Civilization’s gameplay, which is an empire-building game with about 0.1% sexual content.

    This is also weird, because this is the second time today I’ve seen an article about these ads. Just last night (the night before…?) I was discussing them with a friend who hadn’t seen them. Apparently they’ve reached critical mass?

    Anyway. Won’t be sad to see ’em go.

  • Mathias

    I understand that 1 out of every 10 victims of rape are men.
    But they got raped by other men.
    There are zero statistics about this.
    For many reasons, chiefly, ‘cuz male victims don’t dare come forward.
    Experts are even debating on whether or not men can be raped by women.

    Here’s a great article about that:

    http://charmandrigor.com/clips/details-raping.html

  • Mathias

    Edit: I meant to say that there’s zero reliable statistics about women raping men.
    The 1 in every 10 that you’re talking about, there’s a 99% chance that the perpetrator of that 1 crime was a man.

  • Mathias

    Apparently, i was wrong there is 1 such case but it’s not rape, but sexual harrasment. In 1993, a man in California sucessfully sued his female boss of sexual harrassment. It’s the only such case in American history.

    This paper states great reasons why it is impossible for a woman today to get arrested, much less convicted and sent to jail for raping a man.

    http://www.malesurvivor.org/Reversal_of_Fortune.pdf

    I don’t know about you guys, but i just love read about sexual politics and role reversals like these. ;)

  • Dr Rocketscience

    I dunno, are we all sure this isn’t just bad fantasy art for a bad fantasy game? Cause isn’t the genre of fantasy art famous (infamous?) for women in armor that wouldn’t protect their modesty, let alone vital organs?

  • Liz

    t6 said:

    I thought the music was fun, and examples of various forms of female sexual identity. We also talk about flappers and blues women as different forms of female sexual identity. And we talk about male sexual identity from 1920s crooners to cock rockers of the 70s to Prince in the 80s. Throughout the course we look at the ways in which music and identity and culture interact in lots of different ways in different genres.

    That actually sounds like a really interesting class. Do you mind saying where you teach?

  • Keith Z-G

    As I’ve said many times before, OF COURSE people find other people sexually attractive, and OF COURSE people like people who are attractive, and OF COURSE we couldn’t change that even if we wanted to. But it’s not at all the same thing to find people sexually attractive and enjoy sex and enjoy feeling sexually attractive oneself… but that IS NOT AT ALL the same thing as treated people as objects!

    Actually that’s very close to exactly what I meant in my loose quotation, but maybe my point got a bit muddled by my preoccupation with trying to remember quite how Roddenberry actually said it. This is one of those cases where, on the internet, sometimes agreement can sound like disagreement!

    One of the points I was thinking of (hey, ’twas 3AM) was that there’s often a line that’s crossed when things become business. If I remember, the personal example Roddenberry alluded to was a consensual relationship, and there’s a HUGE difference between that and employing decontextualized and dehumanized images of people to sell a product…especially since, to varying degrees, that tends to blur into selling that aspect of the person (or even an imaginary person, which in some ways is just as bad since it trains people to think in those terms).

    So you have the difference between Roddenberry’s personal example, where someone appreciates someone else for a superficial aspect of that person, contrasted with the Network directly selling an aspect of a person and thus reducing the person to just that superficial aspect (and of course you can’t give those women any substantial roles, they’re just there for staring at). Worse, it sets up the actresses as commodities.

    Of course, it speaks volumes about the mindset of the Network (and society at large) that they fought so hard against Roddenberry on this despite TOS’s fanbase being predominately female! It wasn’t coldly rational business sense, it was bias and misogyny. And I suspect much of the draw of the show at the time was the amount of relative diversity (with women having roles OTHER than as objects) that Roddenberry managed to successfully keep in against the network. It’s worth noting that originally Roddenberry had a woman in the role of first mate, with the network forcing him to drop her…..but I’m getting DANGEROUSLY off topic now.

    But, err, does that make more sense? I mean, other than the last paragraph where I’m just rambling ;)

  • Ben

    No, because the hyper masculine warriors are still the protagonists and subjects of the story. Not objects.

    Eerrr well you seen the hype female enchantresses are also the protagonists and subjects of the story.. seeing that you know, you can play as them and all…

    Just saying…

  • Hugo

    And when you are dating someone and you realize that they are only seeing you as an object…as an ass, broad muscular shoulders, and skin color…etc…and they keep talking about it…and commenting to others about your physical attributes as if you were a horse that they were having do them rather than an actual person…that actually isn’t complimentary.

    Interesting material on objectification of males here; by the nature of things I have never experienced this, but it does not sound like fun.

    I note with gratification the implied contrast between “real” objectification of women and alleged-but-not-real objectification, but I don’t think this has been nailed down yet. May it please the Court, what complaints of objectification can mean is that a woman is being admired by an unattractive man. In that case, his interest in her reality, her pleasure, her soul if you will, are not taken into account; whereas an attractive objectifier will not necessarily get called on it.

  • blake

    Oh, man…
    I’ve been seeing these adds everywhere. I’m glad I’m not the only person who gets annoyed at them !

  • eh?

    I found this article looking for a thread about people who find Galadriel sexy, because I feel like the only person who absolutely wants to get all up in that. Seriously. Something about those powerful women.

  • You mustn’t have searched the Internet very hard.

  • bronxbee

    except her power is in her mind and soul — not her breasts.

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