But don’t some women find sexual objectification empowering?

But don’t some women find sexual objectification empowering?


Arguments that women posting pornographic images online, being subjected to violent, abusive and degrading porn-sex acts or being paid for sex by men are all “empowering” render the word meaningless.

Is empowerment nothing more than a feeling, a state of mind, a defence of misogynistic practices? Or does it involve real-world conditions, advancing the status of women as a whole – women globally having rights, education, a voice (actual power)?

In a culture that teaches women from the earliest of ages their value lies in their physical attractiveness and sexual appeal to men, being wanted sexually may feel validating. But individual validation for being ‘hot’ is not meaningful power, nor is it advancing women’s collective rights. The ‘power’ that comes from being desirable is temporary and conditional.

If pornified portrayals of women as passive, interchangeable, sexualised props are really the means of obtaining power, why isn’t the same treatment being extended to men? And why is it that this so-called ‘empowerment’ is only found conforming to narrow demands about how women should look and act, and not in our resistance to harmful cultural practices?

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