Wednesday, December 22, 2010


A Revelation in the Louvre,
José Jiménez Aranda
The boys of Alpha Phi Omega fraternity at the University of the Philippines staged their annual guys-get-naked-for-the-delight-of-the-ladies-fest last week, the iconic Oblation Run, as hordes of shrieking, hollering, blushing college women, their cameras and cell phones carefully aimed at their subjects' groins, cheered on a parade of bouncing penes and scrota attached to owners whose only clothing covered their faces. The raison d'etre for the yearly cavalcade of guy flesh is male-for-female exhibitionism. 

It is a spectacle one female blogger called "interesting for most women."  Another young lady was more blunt: "the whole male anatomy de-mystified. :)) I never thought that their organs actually bounced, you know?"

Another young woman said this: "We were practically spazzing out as we talked about it."  Another exclaimed: "I was totally BLOWN THE [crude term for intercourse] AWAY.  Honestly, I don't remember anything anymore. I kinda looked at their chests and their backs. . . . .I meet a tall guy I look at his chest and his face. (hair actually) I can only remember 'it' vaguely. Whatever. I was just riding on adrenaline. I love the fact that everyone was screaming and tossing about." 

Still another woman praised her (female) prof for letting her class go watch: "Just when I have finally accepted the depressing fact that I would miss the Oblation run this year, enter my professor (BLESS HER!) who generously gave us the time to witness the thrill of the streaking =p"

Oblation Run 2010

What, pray tell, would happen to a male professor who specifically let his class out early to witness naked college girl runners? I shudder for any man who would even allow that passing thought. But a male professor is unlikely ever to have that choice. The fact is, a female-only Oblation Run would be inconceivable in the Philippines, or for that matter, in Philadelphia, or anywhere else.  The event, as presently constituted, is mildly naughty when the guys shed their clothes; but it would be wholly offensive and politically incorrect in the extreme if the genders were reversed -- even though, it is fair to speculate, the reaction of a hetero male crowd wouldn't be anywhere near as spastic, over-the-top, or downright excited as the reaction of the female spectators.

It is well to note that if any of these boys ran around outside in their birthday suits at any other time of the year, more than a few of these shrieking, empowered young women likely would be sufficiently "offended" that they would call the police.  But the nudity is just fine in the context of the Oblation Run because the boys are naked for the express purpose of titillating, and being ogled by, the women.

And that's really the point. You see, dear readers, it is OK for women to objectify men. Attending a bachelor party with a stripper is disgusting and depraved; attending a bachelorette party with a stripper and a raunchy cake depicting an ejaculating penis is empowering and a fun girls' night out.  Feminists dismiss any suggestion of a double standard because "oogling involves an exchange of power; usually the oogler gains it and the oogled loses it. But many other activities and day-to-day experiences also involve exchanges of power, and in those exchanges, men are more likely to come out on top. If power was distributed equally in other situations, perhaps women should refrain from oogling. But it isn’t, and women are still in the red on the balance sheet of power. Until we’re in the black, I think it’s probably OK to objectify men, in certain circumstances . . . ." Therefore, "when you find yourself drooling over beautiful men, make the best of it."  See here, too.

Get it? Objectification is wrong, but since they have more advantages than we do, it's OK when we objectify. 

So much for silly things like principles, honesty, and integrity.  If you want young women and men to buy into the notion that objectification, as a practice, is "wrong," you do a damn pathetic job of selling that point when your actions send the exact opposite message.  That's called rationalization, ladies, and it smells a lot like the most ham-handed hypocrisy.  When you try to have it both ways, is it any wonder nobody's buying it?

But all of this ignores the elephant in the room, the real double-standard at play here. Women objectify men every bit as much, and actually -- cue the feminist eye rolls -- a lot more, than men objectify women. Just not in a sexual way. "We live in a world where men are largely valued by how much money they make, what kind of job they have, and how much power they wield. While we may not objectify men in terms of appearance to the extent we do women, there is certainly a tendency to equate a man's worth with his position or power or fame."  See here

And the objectification of men goes way beyond money.  It is culturally acceptable for women to concoct a whole fantasy man out of whole cloth, an object of their deepest wishfulness, and to use their imaginary little man as a yardstick to judge and grade the real life man with whom they're stuck.  Because no flesh and blood possessor of the Y-chromosome can live up to that, it's the most deadly kind of objectification.  Is it any wonder women initiate the vast majority of divorces?  A female blogger said it better than I can:

"There is a cultural hangover of dependence, need and a desire to be rescued in which men are objectified by women not as strippers, per se, but as domestic saviors, knights-with-wrenches, good guys who come and repave your driveway, who make a lot of money and still have that youthful charm, who will read to the kids in their pajamas and start the coffee for you in the morning.

"While many of us won't admit it, we are as judgmental, critical and angry when our men fall short of these images and wishes we carry around as men are when we gain twenty pounds, appear haggard and spent, nagging the kids to brush their teeth and want sleep instead of sex.

If you listen to women talk about men it can be quite scathing.

We blanche upon hearing the foul language and cold tone in the conversations of men with regard to women's bodies and their sexual appeal; but listen to a group of girls or women discussing every flaw, every nuance, every shortcoming of a boy or man they are dating/seeing/flirting with/engaged/married to, and you will be able to deduce that while women are often speaking from a place of justice rather than mojo, their indignant perfectionism is a thing of intensity and, yes, objectification.

For when we assume a man should be all of these things we want them to be, aren't we ignoring their thinking, feeling, laughing, struggling, flawed selves?

And here endeth today's sermon.