unify, diversity and equity in an objectifying cyber reality in real public lives…and the question… “is objectifying a weapon when used as a social control?”…for whom?

unify, diversity and equity in an objectifying cyber reality in real public lives…and the question… “is objectifying a weapon when used as a social control?”…for whom?

the state of being united or joined as a whole.

the state of being diverse; variety.

the quality of being fair and impartial.

2 points
The point of contact and union

the means of supply from the rest of the body as it receives

mutual sympathy and influence of the parts in contact

The point of order and unity

Order and unity are the conditions of growth

There is diversity in unity, not a uniformity.

The parts do not look alike, they do not function alike, yet, they are all important, needed, interdependent, and all work toward the same end, the purposes for which each member was designed in the function of the body as directed by the head and in accord with the creative purpose.

Some of the parts are covered, others are within the body and are unseen, but nevertheless, very important.

Some gifts are more in the fore front, they are more obvious and others less so, but all are essential to the effective work of the body.

if something is “illegal” yet ubiquitous is that a “mixed” message? if so what are the roots of that “message”?

when a market is illegal… do you objectify all parties involved? why?

objectification reduces a person to a job

A manipulative person derives power by inhibiting the people around him from acting with full understanding of a situation, undermining their autonomy.

You can see how this relationship only makes sense from the manipulative person’s perspective: He is the subject of his own life and has objects to improve it, but what about the other people’s lives? Who is their subject? Him? Wait, how did he get all of those lives?

What is “objectification,” and what’s wrong with it?

October 20, 2011 by Julia Galef 33 Comments

I was pleased to discover that one of my favorite bloggers, Luke Muehlhauser, had recently tackled a topic that’s been on my mind too: what do people mean when they talk about men “objectifying” women, and why exactly is it a bad thing? As per usual with Luke’s posts, it’s a clear-headed and thoughtful analysis, and it’s obvious that he isn’t trying to attack anyone — just genuinely trying to parse the concept and determine the degree to which it makes sense.

Luke lists several typical ways people define “objectification,” most of which center around the idea of treating another person as a means to an end, without being conscious of their feelings and goals and preferences. I’ve always felt this is an odd definition for two reasons, both of which Luke raises: First, it seems like an incomplete definition, in that there are many cases that match that definition perfectly but which no one would call instances of objectification (Luke has a clever photographic example).

And second, if objectification is “using someone as a means to an end,” it isn’t clear why objectification is inherently bad, even though the word typically carries a strong connotation of condemnation. After all, we all use each other as means to an end all the time! When I buy a cup of coffee, I’m treating the barista as a means to the end of getting a cup of coffee. I’m not really thinking about his feelings or goals — and I don’t think he expects or particularly wants me to be.

Of course, if not-thinking about someone’s feelings means that you harm him (like if I were rude to the barista) then it’s easy to see why that’s bad. But the proper conclusion from that fact is “harming people is bad,” not “objectification is bad.” It’s certainly possible to use someone as a means to an end without harming him, and so it’s still not clear why objectification per se is bad.

At least, that’s the form my argument typically took until yesterday. I thought about it a bit more after reading Luke’s analysis, and concluded that I had been missing part of the picture. So to the extent that I’m now sympathetic to arguments against objectification, it’s for this reason:

Objectification’s not necessarily a problem at the individual level. When Person A uses Person B as a means to an end, as long as B’s not being harmed, then it’s ethically unproblematic (at least for us utilitarian-minded folks). The tricky thing is that when you have a lot of A’s systematically treating a lot of B’s as a means to an end in the same kind of way, it can start to become a problem. Because at that scale, it can affect the way A’s and B’s think about each other — people’s attitudes are influenced by the way the people around them think and act. So it can have this self-reinforcing ripple effect that ends up stifling other kinds of interactions and relationships that many A’s and B’s would’ve found fulfilling.

So, that’s my current theory. It’s the best I can do at reconciling the facts that (1) I’m not at all bothered by the idea of a particular man being interested in a particular woman only for sex, and (2) I hate the idea of a society in which most men are only interested in women for sex (and I think such a society would be seriously sub-optimal for both men and women).*

I think this is a very under-appreciated aspect of the objectification debate. I also think it poses interesting problems for utilitarian ethics; how do you assign blame in situations where any single person doing X is harmless, but many people doing X is harmful? It’s somewhat akin to problems like pollution, where each individual actor can truthfully argue, “Given that everyone else is polluting, it’s not going to make any difference if I do it too.”

And with objectification, not only do you have the fact that no single person’s actions are going to measurably change the overall culture, you also have the fact that the overall culture is partly to blame for each individual’s actions. And all of the individuals’ actions, in turn, are to blame for the overall culture. The circularity makes it especially tricky to figure out the degree to which any individual actor deserves blame for his actions.

*Of course, men objectifying women isn’t the only kind of objectification; you could fill in any gender in place of either “men” or “women.” I just used that pairing because it’s the typical one in these discussions, but my argument isn’t actually gender-dependent.

Common Biases and Judgment Errors in Decision Making Organizational Behavior

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