Celebrities say all sorts of stupid stuff. So we in this movement tend to ignore most of it, don’t we? I cannot, however, ignore that Cameron Diaz is purportedly speaking for me these days. In an interview with The Sunday Times, published Tuesday, Cameron relayed the universal truth that:
I think every woman does want to be objectified. There’s a little part of you at all times that hopes to be somewhat objectified, and I think it’s healthy,” she said, adding that she finds revealing photo shoots to be “empowering.”
No. Just no.
Do I like it when my husband randomly tells me I look good? Yes. Do I like feeling pretty? Sure. Do I like men hollering at me when I walk by on the street? Heck no! That’s objectification and it makes me feel uncomfortable, unsafe, and just plain yucky. And I identify as a woman, so I’m pretty sure, “every woman” is meant to include me. I’m also positive there are a lot of other women like and unlike me who do not enjoy being objectified and who do not find it empowering. You know, maybe the thousands of women actively working to end street harassment through Hollaback!, for instance?
Dressing up objectification in the guise of empowerment is the oldest trick in the book. And as a popular twitter hashtag exclaims, we’re #notbuyingit. Cameron’s comments may make women feel better for liking attention, and that’s great, but let’s get real about calling objectification healthy. Women know all too well the personal and social ramifications of objectification, and if I hear one more guy tell me to smile because he says his unwanted attention to my body is actually meant to flatter me…
Disgust aside, comments like these open up room to discuss healthy behaviors and norms. For tips about how to approach healthy sexuality and relationships in your sexual and domestic violence prevention work, visit Prevent Connect’s wiki and review past web conferences on the topic.
To learn more about Hollaback!, listen to this podcast with Executive Director, Emily May.