" the giving of pleasure is not objectification - but turning oneself into an object without subjective significance for the purposes of giving oneself or another pleasure is "

- philosophy of the body  

                              - immaturity has a cost -

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Representing Humanity

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physical and psychological abuse


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Letters

Letter 1 (January 2011)

The toleration of objectification in public advertisments on government property

The government's toleration of the use of sexual objectification in public advertisements on government property must end. Three corporations exploiting their freedom in the creation of advertisements for public consumption have already been contacted by Subjectify on separate occasions. It is now the X government's (and if necessary the Y government's) responsibility to ensure this does not happen again.

The toleration of public objectification should be addressed immediately to provide an integrated approach to targeting psychological and sexual abuse of Y citizens. The toleration of Primary Objectification in all contexts must also be addressed, which has had no place in society (public or otherwise) over the last two millennia, and forms the rational basis for the tolerance of more minor incidents such as those herein described. Leadership is required on behalf of the X (and Y) government to prevent the misrepresentation of human beings in Y, and the tolerance of such misrepresentation on government property is unacceptable.

For reference, organisations have already been contacted for the following violations (from June 2010);

1. Is your marketing team aware of what objectification is? If they cannot show a person without hiding their face then I am afraid Company 1 should not be advertising their products in public. I suggest the advertisement campaign on Z buses is suspended until appropriate study has been conducted on the purpose of your product and how it can be advertised without misrepresenting your models in particular and humanity in general.

2. This email is regarding your use of bus stop advertisement placements in Z, Y. You have been charged with objectifying a human being in a public place. Is your Y marketing team aware of what objectification is? To show a person's body and hide their face is objectification (especially where it is likely that no model would wish to involve themselves in such a creation otherwise, regardless of the amount they were being paid). I suggest that you find another way of advertising your products or cease your advertisement activities all together. On a side note, you need to re-examine your concept of beauty. Physical attraction to the exclusion of personal attraction is not beauty.

[For reference, an extract from follow-up correspondence with Company 2 reads as follows:] The illusion created by the isolation of the human body (or part thereof) fades quickly and does not last, providing little to no credit (let alone dignity) to those involved. As such, this representation cannot be used to advertise a real or effective use of your product, and can only in the long term disappoint your customer base. Compromises cannot be made in the representation of our citizens, and even slight discomfort or apprehension during [the creation of] such a representation is sure indication that justice is not being served - regardless of the normality of the procedure.

3. [contact in process] This is a notification that complaints have been made regarding your organisation's use of the human body in the public advertisement of their products. The following violations have been cited against a recent campaign of yours on X buses; a) either over representing a female body or under representing a male body in the same scene, b) the positioning of an advertisement message across exposed female body parts in a socially unnatural (ie, undressed) state, and c) the representation of an objectified female as in a state turned away from the viewer. Are you convinced that your models were comfortable during the creation of this scene? Would your models be more or less comfortable with creating the same scene while looking into the camera? It is suggested then that the creation of such a scene is inappropriate. Unless you are able to represent a human being in their entirety (ie, their person inclusive), it is best you refrain from using humans in the advertisement of your products.

...

Letter 2 (February 2011)

Government X's tolerance of the sexual objectification of human beings has world wide implications for the treatment of women, including but not limited to the trafficking of women and minors, the psychological abuse of young women, and the dignity and respect bestowed upon women in general. It also has significant implications for family, and provides a rational basis for the disregard and abuse of minors - the denial of their innocence at any age and on any level.

I personally operate a number of websites to help rectify this issue, the core of which being Subjectify.org (representing our Australian organisation Subjectify).

I adamantly believe that this is not a free speech issue - it is a human rights issue.

The production of objectification in the media by X corporations must finally be ruled for what it is...

... I believe that all peoples must now seriously reflect upon the infiltration of this base growth into their respective nations - as it does not require an educated mind to understand how this might happen (and at such a rate as it has already occurred). The psychological process of objectification has been documented for millennia (see for example, Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics).

... I know that you can take action on this. You have the capacity to lead X and the world in a new direction. I personally believe that... it must be made clear to the public that the X government does not condone the objectification of women in the media, and that all misrepresentation of their citizens is apprehensible. The exploitation of women for commercial gain is unacceptable, and contradicts all primary education systems. In the development of society we cannot trade one freedom for another.

...

Letter 3 (May 2011)

Subjectify offers a unique, integrated approach to end the objectification of women, ranging from the deconstruction of traditional objectification theory (psychological influence of imagery in the media for example) to the development of resources to protect human rights and dignity. We facilitate communication of the consequences of corporate exploitation of human beings (their bodies) and its inherent misrepresentation of humanity. We do not directly target physical abuse (including trafficking and violence). Instead, we recognise the psychological abuse - emotional and sensual - suffered by persons, directly objectified (in the creation of sexualised media/presentations) or indirectly objectified (through the objectification of their sex), as broad and mainstream. We argue that this has flow-on consequences for physical abuse (through for example the feeding of demand for prostitution, the sexual abuse of minors including children, and the encouragement of unreal sexual relationships and the termination of their consequence). We briefly theorise regarding these consequences on Subjectify.org. We treat the misrepresentation of human beings as a violation of human dignity - a crime against humanity in itself. Yet we also associate with this crime dire physical consequences for not only our own citizens, but those abroad or of foreign nationality. The latter involves the exploitation of their financial (and mental) circumstances, and encapsulates the more obvious (yet still grossly under-recognised) cases of sexual slavery...

We therefore argue that the issue of slavery is much broader than even as it is considered at present... I understand the X agenda at this time does [not] appear to wish to equate forms of psychological abuse - the commercial manipulation of sexual desire (including the desire to be desired) with the mental condition/conditioning of those sold by threat of force in sexual slavery, and neither do we - the latter being a much stronger violation/manipulation of a person. Yet the supply and demand chain... is undeniable, and must be addressed - even if this be the only motivation to start taking sexual manipulation seriously, which it is not.

...

Any exploitation of a woman's mental state (or that of a man's) is slavery. The boundary between forced and unforced prostitution is weak, and the symptoms/underlying causes are often identical. We need to start talking about crime against humanity, especially in our own countries. I particularly admire Y for addressing the issue of sexual slavery in 1st world nations. However we cannot just address supply (poverty included); we must begin to address demand.

...

Subjectify is a self-declared leader in the abolition of physical and psychological slavery. We see the demand of all forms of sexual slavery (physical included, such as trafficking and forced prostitution by threat of violence), and interdependent with this the formation of psychological slavery (such as forced interpretation and self-interpretation), as originating in the objectification of a sex in the media (or more generally the tolerance of the sexual objectification of that sex). Subjectify therefore targets commercial exploitation of human beings (such as through the pornographic, prostitution, and performance industries, to be explicit) - their misrepresentation, and the consequently the misrepresentation of humanity.

...

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" one's voice may be used to objectify oneself or another (eg by offering a unrealistic presentation of one's intelligence) - which is different than its use in highlighting true ignorance of another's difficulties in life or appreciation of their fortitude "

- philosophy of the body