I work part time in an art gallery to supplement my model earnings. Recently a woman came in with a male companion and she tut-tutted about how there were a lot of naked drawings of women on the wall and none of men.
I agree – men’s bodies are just as interesting and worth looking at. I remarked to the woman that I am equal opportunity when it comes to objectification. She was immediately like “Whoa – no – I’m not saying the drawings are objectifying women. Except maybe that one – ” and she pointed to a figure study of a woman who happened to be wearing stockings and a bra.
I didn’t want to argue with a customer so I let the conversation peter out, but it was obvious this was yet another person thinking objectification has to be sexual.
Objectification is treating someone like an object, dammit. It doesn’t have to be an object you want to fuck. And I would argue that any drawing/painting/sculpture of some random person, where the only point of the piece is “hey look at this body/face”, is objectifying. You’re putting that person up there for the sole purpose of looking at their body, or looking at how the artist rendered it, just as you would with a still life of literal objects. It’s not a bad thing. Bodies and faces are interesting to look at! But if there’s no deeper meaning to the piece than “hey look, a body,” then yeah, it’s objectification. Whether the portrayal is sexy or not.