I recently came across a Facebook discussion featuring a Peru this Week article titled "Why I Complain About Ubiquitous Female Nudity in Peru." It's an interesting and well-meaning article, but I think it represents an interesting cultural clash that the author isn't even aware of.
You see, the argument that "taking pictures of women in very little clothing 'objectifies' them" is something that is taken for scientific fact in the US, even though it's not one of those things you can really measure. I always thought it was odd that there is such a contingent of people in the US who scream and yell how "bad" it is for a woman to walk around in a bathing suit, when there is also a contingent of people in the US who scream and yell how "bad" it is when oppressive societies like the Taliban force women to wear bulky robes and cover their body from head to toe.
Somehow I don't think the Taliban is doing that because they want to draw attention to these women's intellect.
The other implied thought on all this is that somehow the instigators are men. But I think if you stop and actually look at these things scientifically (instead of just the knee-jerk assumption act), I think you'll recognize that many of the magazines that the author of the above article is complaining about are women's fashion magazines, or advertisements designed to get the attention of women (the picture I used at the top of this article is an exception).
My guess is that using images of scantily clad women is as likely or more likely to attract the eye of ladies with the message, "you too can look like this?" Does the fact that this kind of argument work imply that women have been brainwashed into overemphasize seeking an "object" status?
I don't think so.
Honestly, isn't everybody enticed by the idea of having an attractive, healthy body? Doesn't everyone want the type of body they can flaunt at the beach without embarrassment? What's unhealthy about that?
It always makes me laugh how Americans are ONLY bent out of shape by how "delicate" female minds perceive things (as if young boys NEVER have any acceptance issues with their own bodies).
Actually, I think if it's a matter of self-esteem, women are far more likely to be attacked by other women than they are by men. For example, if a woman is walking along looking lovely in a nice summer dress, and some woman approaches her and says, "why are you objectifying yourself, don't you have any self-respect?" that's more likely to cause permanent damage to the woman's psyche than some man complimenting her on how nice she looks.
Honestly, this whole "pictures of attractive women objectify the gender" is completely bunk. I remember how my wife used to get all kinds of crap from other women just because she was more attractive than them. Luckily my wife is a strong enough person to say, "screw you, I like how I look, and if it bothers you that I'm attractive and you're disgusting then that's your problem."
Really, this whole issue, not just the article referenced above but the fact that this "objectification" theory is constantly tossed out there like it's indisputable, only represents an assault on women by women. That it's under the guise of "we want to empower women" makes it all the more despicable.
You can look attractive and healthy, and still develop and be known for a remarkable intellect. Just because a bunch of old shrews don't like that you steal their attention by looking and dressing nice doesn't mean you're under any obligation to hide your beauty.