When people say men don’t understand the valuation that society puts on their bodies I tend to nod and say your right. I don’t want to rock the boat but that tends to be when we are talking about sexually abusive qualities. Cat calling, wolf whistling, lingering stares and unwarranted harassment and groping.
However I do know what it means to have a value placed on your body, actually I understand fully the whole ‘price’ or ‘worth’ a healthy body carries especially in an all boys school. If you didn’t play sports or were ill or didn’t get into fights then your worth was significantly devalued this was made clear by teachers and staff and was one of the reasons I tried to kill myself.
I spent much of my childhood in and out of hospital, I nearly died trying to fit in Basket ball of all things hospitalized me I was bullied, threatened and intimidated. One day I snapped and went “fuck you” I stood up for myself it wasn’t easy far from it and took every ounce of willpower. The teachers constantly put me down “you’ll never amount to anything”, “Your terrible at math” and my favorite “your a copy cat and a thief stealing every breath you take”.
At least I was of value to medical staff as their latest research project I generated grants I had monetary value. Hell I even heard the ICU staff betting on my odds of survival.
Perhaps its why I support the feminist cause I’ve been objectified for all the wrong reasons, I’ve been stripped of my humanity, dignity and respect. I no what it feels like to be treated as a piece of meat, to be paraded around and to be humiliated.
Its also why I get mad when people say men don’t understand what its like to be objectified. Yes they probably don;t get it when its phrased around gender however if you reshape the question in a way to do with say, sexual orientation, health and social status I think you’d find that many men would suddenly sit up and be a lot more attentive to the issue.