Is It About Health or Beauty?
The Objectification of the Female Body: A Response to Jordan Peterson and Ben Shapiro
Coming around my side of the desk, he reached and took my hand in his. Glancing down, I saw the telltale stocking feet. Pulling free, I turned for the door, but even more quickly he reached back over the edge of his desk and flicked a switch I had learned from Colby was a remote door-locking device. I was trapped. Like the cartoon of wolf and piglet, once again we circled and reversed directions around his furniture. Blessed with the agility of a young dancer and confronted by an amorous but overweight producer, I had little difficulty avoiding passionate clumsiness.
-Shirley Temple (Source: https://www.ranker.com/list/tragic-shirley-temple-stories/rob-chirico
Presenting the Body to Be Judged
The above quote is simply one example of how women's bodies were and are treated as a consumable commodity. Shirley Temple, an actress who's era men like Peterson and Shapiro hearken back to as the good old days more than once, was the subject of perverse male advances much of her career.
It serves to sound the alarm on many issues, but one is fundamentally poignant for this article today: VALUE.
A woman is first and foremost seen and not heard. Shirley Temple often wrote about how her career was flooded with advances and exploitation. Her producers often told her that sex was simply part of her contract.
What were these people saying to young Shirley? They were telling her that her contract wasn't about her skills as an actress. Her contract was about her willingness to be exploited and used by men.
Any woman who's ever applied to be a secretary knows this all too well. Your employer doesn't need your skills so much as they need your looks.
I remember when I applied to be a paralegal my appearance was scrutinized by my employer. Not simply for the way I dressed, but for the way my body was built. I was constantly compared to a previously hot secretary who has since lost her appeal when she had children.
I couldn't help but ask myself, "Why doesn't this attorney remember her skills? Why don't they remember her abilities? Why do they remember her appearance and complain that she's since become less appealing thanks to the miracle of birth?"
When a man applies to be a carpenter he might be judged for his physical capabilities. But what he's not judged on are the following criteria (which have NOTHING to do with the job):
- His waistline
- The size of his nose
- The closeness of his eyes
- A stray hair on his chin
- Eye color
- Skin texture
Women are valued by their appearance. I don't mean to say people can't find certain body types appealing or sexually arousing. Many of us are hardwired by our ancestry and evolutionary desires to want certain things.
But why are women valued by their appearance first and for their skills secondary?
There were several Tweets I saw recently by Jordan Peterson which really upset me. And a video by Ben Shapiro which I felt was whiny and lacked any foundational logic.
I'll jump into these issues below. I just wanted to set the stage with this opening section to solidify something about society: Women are seen. Not heard.
It Was Never About Health!
Jordan Peterson recently shared a Tweet which was a shared image by another user. The Tweet he shared was an image of Marilyn Monroe with a caption which read, "Ladies, why don't you look like Marilyn Monroe?"
Jordan Peterson gave the thoughtful response: "Carbs." He boiled the obesity epidemic down to a simplistic explanation. Women are fat because they're glutenous and have no self control.
He has stated many times (along with other male influencers) that fat models are perpetuating unhealthy life styles for women. I don't want to get too far ahead of myself, but I want to solidify something before we disect his and Shapiro's arguments: they claim this is about health.
They claim they're concerned about women's health. They claim the left's "authoritarian" regime is forcing women to get fat and celebrate their unhealthy lifestyles.
I'm not going to claim that not a single person on the left is advocating for this. But I'm not worried about them today. I'm worried about Peterson and Shapiro.
Okay, so they argue that a chubby woman appearing in Playboy is pushing unhealthy beauty standards. Yet, you have the irony of sharing an image of Marilyn Monroe claiming women are not as healthy as her because they eat too many carbs!
In reality, Monroe, Brittany Spears, and many other thin icons were addicted to amphetamines! For those who are unaware, amphetamines artificially accelerate the heart and burn calories. They're an effetive way of keeping weight off.
They're also an effective way of killing yourself!
That's right. Why don't women look like Marilyn Monroe? I don't know, maybe we don't use drugs to control our weight. Maybe we know that killing ourselves isn't worth it for male attention.
Don't claim you're concerned about women's health and hold anorexic models who are sadly addicted to drugs as our role model. You never cared that Playboy showed anorexic models for their magazine. It's only when they use a chubby woman that you're suddenly so concerned about women's health!
If we were truly advocating strong women for other females to idolize, we'd have Serena and Venus Williams in Playboy! We'd have athletes and bodybuilders in Playboy. Do you guys want that?
Got a message for you, Peterson and Shapiro: stop worrying about us, because you were never worried about us. You're worried about men's arousal and that's all.
Beauty Standards in History
Maybe you've seen the Venus statues carved by our ancestors? If not, please check out this link to have a look at these idols.
This image is the statue of the Venus of Willendorf. She dates back over 25,000 years. She's not the only one, either. The Venus of Hohle Fels is believed to have been carved by the Neanderthal people over 35,000 years ago.
The isle of Malta has an entire temple dedicated to these obese-looking women.
I bring this up because what we see as beautiful today isn't what we always saw as beauty. Why would our ancestors choose to build idols and entire temples for large, rotund women rather than skinny women?
There are probably a few reasons for this, but the vital point is they found these women beautiful. These women were fertile, robust, and powerful.
Many of these men, like Peterson and Shapiro, claim that we're changing beauty standards. They'll claim that we've idolized thin women for centuries and this is just another example of us idolizing mediocrity.
But this isn't true. It's not even historically true. We've changed beauty standards millions of times throughout our history.
There's nothing wrong with finding certain body types arousing and not finding others arousing. What is wrong is assuming all men find the same body types arousing.
If you buy Playboy (why conservative men like Matt Walsh, Shapiro, and Peterson know so much about PORN is beyond me, but we move on) and see a chubby model look or don't look! If you like skinny models, look at them. If you like chubby models, look at them.
Don't go on a crusade because you don't like chubby women. And do not couch your misogyny in concern for our health and then ask why we don't look like amphetamine addicts.
It's not about health. It's about power.
Thank you so much for reading this article! I don't usually like to write these kinds of posts, but I felt I needed to say something.
I'm not on the left or the right. I prefer hearing arguments and weighing them for myself. I agree with some things conservatives say and I agree with some things the left says. More than anything, however, I oppose those who use their morals to control others.
I don't need your beliefs to tell me what to do. I'll decide right and wrong using my own moral compass.
I wanted to write this to shed light on this hypocrisy. The thing is, I've admired Peterson a lot in the past as a logical thinker and someone who believed in the fundamental principles of liberty. But lately, he seems to have gone off the deep end.
I never wish to downplay the pains, sufferings, and struggles faced by men. I believe discussing their struggles and helping them is vital for all of us and something I care deeply about. But men like this seem to think the only way a man can be powerful is to oppress women. To keep our "traditional" female/male values so men can feel good about themselves.
This is completely untrue. We can all thrive as our authentic selves if we just stop worrying about what other people are doing all the time! You do you. Let them do them.
Lots of love everyone :)
About the Creator
Emily Marie Concannon
I am a world nomad with a passion for vegan food, history, coffee, and equality.
You can find my first novel on Kindle Vella here: https://www.amazon.com/kindle-vella/story/B09V4S7T4N :) I appreciate all your support and engagement! :)
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Wonderful article. Congrats on the Top Story.
Thank you, I totally agree. A well written, thoughtful piece.
Fabulous!!! Loved ut!!!💕💖
This is so powerfully and eloquently worded, Emily! Thank you so much for writing this very important piece!! Congratulations on Top Story! I am so glad this is getting the recognition it deserves!! ❤️😍
YES!! Congratulations on getting Top Story for this important piece!!!
Thank you so much for sharing your well-thought out points and expressing them well. 😎
I hear you on this and appreciate the honesty you shared in your thought process. It is so frustrating and pisses me off when people try to push their agenda under false pretenses. Women, globally are entirely too sexualized and judged, taken advantage of and oppressed. We are half the population, carriers of life and yet even in 2023 this is how we're viewed. I know everyone does not have these unjust views, but certainly enough in power do. Great writing on this!!
This was really well written. Thanks for expressing your point of view on this, really good to hear these well thought out arguments!
This is excellent, the patriarchal society disgusts me. I have had to deal with this so many times, sometimes even women treating other women as just something to use. This should be a top STory, it needs exposure