While human beings can be objectified by others, they can also be objectified by themselves. What this means is that someone can feel as though they are being taken advantage of by others and it is the outside world that is victimising them, or they can take advantage of themselves, and they are then the perpetrators.
When someone is objectified, they are going to be seen as having one purpose, and that purpose is to gratify other people’s needs. They will not been be seen as a human beings that has feelings and needs, for instance.
In this case, someone sees the other person as being an extension of themselves, and unless they can fulfil their needs, they are not to going to be seen as having any value. What this will show is that they are unable to empathise with them and as a result of this, it is normal for them to see a fellow human being as an object.
However, if they were to get in touch with their heart and took a step back from their own needs, they would be able to see that the other person is not an object. Through putting themselves in the other person’s shoes, it will be possible for them to treat them like a whole human being.
When someone objectifies themselves, they are less likely to be effected when other people treat them in the same way, and this is because it will allow them to feel accepted. What this can show is that their sense of self is based around them pleasing others.
Their own needs are then secondary and the needs of others are of primary importance. It could be said that this is a sign that they don’t value themselves, and this has then set them up to place the needs of others above their own.
As they don’t have a strong sense of themselves, it has meant that they are dependent on the positive feedback of others. And one way for them to attain this feedback is to present themselves as someone who is there to fulfil other people needs.
This could mean that they do everything they can to look a certain way in order to be ‘desirable’, or they may become highly competent at something and this will allow them to be ‘useful’. Although the positive feedback will make them feel good on one side, it is also likely to make them feel used on the other.
So if someone doesn’t value themselves and they objectify themselves to feel as though they are valuable, they are likely to end up where they started. They might be able to feel better for a short time, but there is not much chance of them being able to maintain their inner state for long.
In the back of their mind they may be only to aware of why they are getting positive feedback and how the feedback they are getting has nothing to do with people seeing them as a whole human being. Yet all the time they are getting positive feedback through objectifying themselves, they may be able to keep their true feelings at bay.
For many years, the media has been criticised for objectifying women (and men to a lesser degree), and this is because of the effect it has on them. It can play a role in them believing that their value depends upon their physical appearance, and their intelligence and inner beauty, amongst other things, end up being overlooked.
It can then be normal for women, from a very young age, to see themselves as objects; with their sole purpose being to please other people. Fortunately, as time has passed, they are beginning to be seen as human beings, and this is important step when it comes to them feeling valuable for who they are and not for what they look like.
In the past, objectification was largely something that took place in the media, but this is no longer the case. Nowadays, this is something that can be seen on social media, and what this shows is that people are objectifying themselves.
This can happen when someone shares pictures in order to receive approval from others, and in these pictures, they might only show their body. Their main focus is then to use their body to please others, and even though they are more than their appearance, they can end up playing a part in people seeing them as objects that are there to fulfil their needs.
The Perfect Picture
Once a picture has been taken, all kinds of adjustments can be made, and this then gives someone the chance to maximize their value in the eyes of others. This can then cause them to completely transform their appearance, and they may be able to receive more positive feedback.
When this happens, it is going to be harder for someone to accept themselves as they are, and it is also going to be harder for them to realise that they are more than their appearance. This is a two-way process though, and the kind of comments people leave can also play a part in someone seeing themselves as objects.
While this is something that can have a bigger impact on people that are younger, it can also affect people of all ages. The reason it can have a bigger impact on people who are younger is because they are still developing a sense of themselves
Younger women who are told they are ‘beautiful’, ‘attractive’ or ‘gorgeous’, for instance, can gradually come to believe that this is where their values lies. On one level, they are going to feel good through hearing these words, but at a deeper level, they are being conditioned to believe that their value depends on how desirable they are.
When someone is at an age where they are still developing, it will be important for them to be seen as a whole human being, and not as someone who is only affirmed for their appearance or their ability. The same could be said no matter how old someone is, and while it might not be someone’s intention to objectify another person on social media, this is something that can happen.
Through using social media, someone only sees images, words, and sounds, for instance, and so it can be normal for them to objectify others. If they were talking to them in person and an emotional exchange was taking place, this is not as likely to take place.
And while it might not have been someone’s intention to self-objectify, this can easily take place without them realising what is happening. How they feel about themselves is then being defined by how other people respond to their pictures, and this means it will be important for them to take a step back and to reflect on what is happening.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.