The Cancer of Objectification
Objectification. It’s a word that elicits eye rolls and tired sighs from most red-blooded, heterosexual men. Whenever uttered, echoes of moralizing, man-hating, and radical feminism come to mind. I, however, want to explore the taboo of objectification not so much for its ethical connotations, but because, for most guys, I believe it’s the glaring piece that’s missing in their ultimate success with women. Because whenever we objectify someone, we fail to fully understand them — and understanding people is one of most important aspects of attraction and healthy relationships.
First, let’s clearly define objectification. The obvious definition of “objectification” is when you look at woman as a sexual object — not a human. While this is correct, the definition runs much deeper than that. Objectification simply means reducing someone as a “means to an end.” So while an objectified woman may be a means to a sexual end, there are plenty of other examples of objectification: you could see your friends as a means to your social status end, dating a writer as a means to an information end, etc. We objectify people every day without even realizing it. Just think about the cashier you only see as a means to a purchasing end or the boss you only see as a means to a financial end.
The brutal truth is that objectifying people makes life simpler. It makes tough emotions easier to swallow. It’s easy to hate a boss when you objectify him, seeing him only as a hindrance to your financial success. If you had to imagine your boss humanized — imagine tears running down his face over a recently passed away parent, imagine him as a 6-year-old boy who’d just unwrapped his first bicycle at Christmas, imagine him as a living, sentient person — it would be much harder to hate him. You couldn’t sit there and blame the faceless boss for all your financial troubles. Objectification happens because it’s too hard to resist. As humans, we don’t want to make our lives any more complicated than they need to be.
And, harsh as it is, beginners to men’s dating advice do well to objectify people. While I don’t like to admit it, a newbie guy simply cannot see every woman he approaches as a human or else he won’t last a day. Instead, he benefits by approaching woman after woman, seeing them simply as a means to better his attractive qualities. Fortunately, because newbies almost always suck, no real harm is done — to women or men. Women just brush him off and the newbie guy learns how to appropriately approach women.
This situation gets messy, however, when that newbie guy starts to get good. Over time, the newbie guy will objectify women more and more. The rejection that once stung now doesn’t matter. He becomes callous, able to approach 20 women a night completely numb to the anxiety and negative emotions he previously felt. And he’ll be rewarded for his callousness. Obviously one of the most important factors in effectively cold approaching women is not coming off nervous or anxious. Unconsciously most newbies equate objectification with being attractive.
This is why almost every guy who gets into this stuff goes through a “player phase.” You see it all the time, guys who are just into sport fucking, who equate their self-worth with the number of women they took home that month. And while it’d be hypocritical of me to condemn such thinking, I can tell that living in such a way won’t make you happy, and it’s not the success you envisioned for yourself when you got into dating advice. Instead, habitually objectifying people will extend well beyond your interactions with women, corrupting every other aspect of your life — from your relationships with your friends, family, coworkers, and people you encounter throughout your day.
Life is not a zero-sum competition.
Moreover, living in such a way will prevent you from ever meeting your dream girl. Now I’m not going to go all Disney on you and start talking about soul mates, but I know every guy reading has an image in his head of his “ideal girl.” You probably can imagine how she looks, acts, dresses, smells. And I’ll bet any of one of you would trade sex with 100 random women just to be with that one girl. That dream girl, however, will remain just that if you don’t learn how to stop objectifying people. By definition you cannot build a relationship — which hinges on human emotion — while seeing your partner as a “means to an end.” The only relationship you can possibly have with your dream girl is one that is a relationship for a relationship’s sake — not merely a means to some twisted end.
Therefore, once you get over your jitters of approaching women and you don’t feel butthurt after a “rejection,” it’s time to rekindle your empathy. See the girl in front of you as more than a means to an end, and instead enjoy her for who she is: an attractive woman you’re getting to know. Tapping into your empathy will make you naturally curious about her — a universally sexy trait. Cultivating your empathetic side will make you a better listener, more passionate lover, and an overall more attractive man.
Don’t let habitual objectification become a cancer that destroys your life — both romantic and nonromantic. Instead, want to get the know the person in front of you — whether it’s that hotty as the bar or the awkward teenager handing you change at the grocery store — because that’s the only way you’ll be ready to attract your dream girl, when you find her.
About Rob J. Rob J. is a writer and dating instructor in New York City. Themes that resonate in both his teaching and writing are masculinity, genuineness, rational self-interest, and general awesomeness.