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If a man is objectifying a woman, he’s not valuing her as anything more than an object of sexual desire.
In simple terms, he’s not seeing her as an equal. He thinks it’s ok to value her by the way she looks rather than the way she thinks, and that he has the right to view her in this way.
This way of thinking is derogatory, disrespectful, and outdated. It’s unhealthy because it’s diminishing the importance of a woman as anything other than something to look “sexy” or “hot” for a man’s pleasure.
No woman is anything less than a man; we all have brains, interests, likes, and dislikes. We are so much more than just the way we dress or look.
You might not even realize you’re objectifying women. But if you’ve ever catcalled at a woman, thought of her as only “hot,” rated her out of 10, or even laughed and commented on a woman’s body with your friends, then you’re guilty of objectification.
Every time you talk with your friends about a girl based solely on her looks, or swipe on a dating app just because of someone’s profile pictures, you’re keeping the unhealthy and ugly reality of inequality alive.
When you’ve grown up thinking it’s ok to think a certain way, it can be hard to break the habit and start being an advocate for change. But if you want a long-lasting and happy relationship, you need to start valuing more than just sexual attraction to find what you’re looking for in a partner.
The foundation of a relationship is built on all-round compatibility, not just in the bedroom. You need a partner that will be there for you when you need support, when you’re stressed or going through a hard time, and when you need a good laugh. You want someone who can make your family fall in love with them, hold their own with your friends, and make every day better just because you’re with them.
Looks fade, but if you pick the right person, your relationship will only get better over time as you become more in tune with each other.
If you’re approaching a woman just because of her looks, you’re never going to find this type of relationship. Women want an equal relationship and will see right through your flirting and realize that you’re not viewing them for the person they really are. If you don’t start making changes in the way you view women, you could be missing out on finding the perfect one for you.
It’s ok to admit when you are wrong sometimes and that you could use some help to avoid objectifying women. Knowing that you could be doing it without realizing it is the first step, and wanting to know how to stop is the next. If you want to stop objectifying women so you can become more open to the right relationship, then keep reading for our tops tips.
Speak to an accredited and experienced therapist to help you stop objectifying women. You may want to try speaking to one via BetterHelp.com for quality care at its most convenient.
1. Get to know her.
There’s more to a woman than just how she looks and the way to realize that is by getting to know her.
If you find yourself looking at a woman and judging her on the way she dresses or her figure, why not have a conversation with her to get to know who she actually is.
Once you remind yourself there’s a brain in her head too, you’ll soon begin to see her as more than just a pretty face and a body for you to admire. If you’ve forgotten to see a woman as a person and are objectifying her as just something you like to look at, speaking to her, finding out about her, and hearing what she thinks should soon put you in a different frame of mind.
2. Pay attention to what you’re thinking and doing.
Objectification is equating a woman to an object, while forgetting that she’s a capable and thoughtful human being. Why don’t you see her as a person with thoughts and feelings rather than just a pretty picture or an attractive shape?
If you believe that you see men and women as equal, then allowing yourself to look a woman up and down and seeing her as anything less than yourself is completely contrary to this.
Make sure, when you look at a woman, your first thought isn’t “she’s sexy,” and catch yourself if it is. Remind yourself not to just think of a woman as “pretty” or “hot.” Consider how you might compliment her in a way that isn’t so physically focused.
She’s more than something to look at, she’s an equal to you because she can think and feel and has a personality all her own. You don’t see yourself as a robot put here for other people’s pleasure, so stop yourself if you begin to treat anyone else that way.
3. Put yourself in her shoes.
Would you want someone looking at you, thinking of you only as something sexual or someone to conquer?
If you find it hard to put yourself in a woman’s position, then try imagining if you had a daughter or sister and a man was looking at them the same way you’re looking at a woman now. Would you be comfortable with them thinking of her only as a sexual object, not caring about her feelings, personality, or what she has to offer?
It can be easy to ignore the reality of objectification if it’s not happening to you. By placing yourself in the position of someone being objectified, you can put it into perspective so you can see just how dangerous and damaging it can be.
You would never want someone you loved feeling as though they’re being rated on their looks, with men thinking only about what they’d want to do with them before moving onto someone else. So don’t be one of those people; be an advocate for change against those who are.
4. If you’re not sure whether something is offensive, don’t say it.
If you’re not sure if some of the comments you make cross the line or if you’ll offend someone, then the best thing to do is to just not say them.
If a small part of you isn’t comfortable with what you’re thinking, saying, or doing, then you know there could be something wrong with your actions.
Listen to the better half of yourself and take the safe option—avoid commenting or acting on an impulse you’re not sure is going to go over well.
It could be as simple as a sexist joke or a catcall. It may seem harmless, but if there is a chance that someone could respond negatively, then it’s better for all concerned not to do it at all.
You never know the emotional damage that something that you think of as a joke can have on someone else. You might think it’s harmless or funny to comment on how a girl looks, but that comment could stay with her and affect how she sees herself for the rest of her life.
5. Would you expect the same thing to happen to a man?
It might be hard to imagine calling a man “sexy” or coming onto them if you’re not into men, but the same rule can still apply. If you would find it weird if a man said the same thing to another man that you’re about to say to a woman, then you’re not treating her equally.
It doesn’t matter who you find attractive, if you would like to be valued for more than your body and think it would be weird if some over enthusiastic girls kept calling out to you and wouldn’t leave you alone on a night out, then there’s no reason to treat a woman in the same way.
If you know you wouldn’t enjoy the kind of attention you’re about to give, then don’t give it. If you can’t imagine a man being treated in the same way as you approach women, then the way you’re treating them isn’t with the right level of respect.
6. Focus on her other qualities.
If you find yourself objectifying women a lot and only concentrating on how they look, then challenge yourself to focus on their other attributes.
It could be that they have an interest you wish to learn more about, a great work ethic, a hilarious sense of humor, or are very kind.
It doesn’t matter what it is as long as it’s not just physical. Teach yourself to look beyond what’s right in front of you and start placing more importance on a woman’s personality.
Not only will you get to know her better, but you’ll begin to appreciate the way she could enrich your life and the type of person she really is. Women aren’t on this earth just for your pleasure, so treat them with respect and get to know more about them than just what you see.
7. Give her your full attention.
There is nothing worse than feeling as if someone isn’t listening to you when you’re trying to talk. It’s demeaning and rude. It shows that the person who is meant to be listening has no respect or interest in what you have to say.
It’s made even worse if it’s a man who is very obviously not listening and instead can’t stop staring at a woman’s chest or checking out the room.
It shows that they have no genuine interest in what she has to say and gives the impression they’d prefer she stop speaking so they can get physical instead.
Whatever a woman has to say, she deserves to be heard and not just stared at as an object. You should be engaging in conversation to get to know her and definitely not making it so obvious that the only reason you’re around her is because of her physical assets.
You wouldn’t stand in front of a man and stare at his crotch, so don’t do the equivalent to a woman. Treat her with the dignity and respect she deserves and give her your full attention.
8. Speak up if your friends are in the wrong.
It might feel embarrassing or awkward, but if you’re around a group of men who are clearly objectifying a woman, then it’s your responsibility to speak up.
Peer pressure can make people do things they’d never do in any other situation, but that doesn’t excuse their behavior. If you really want to make a change and stop the objectification of women, then you must start close to home.
Have the confidence to speak out if you see one of your friends treating a woman in the wrong way. Make yourself heard, and tell them that it’s not ok. Your friend might take more notice if they hear this coming from someone close to them.
Even if they don’t listen to you, you can have more respect for yourself by standing up for what is right rather than shying away from saying something when you know your friends are in the wrong.
Encourage a better, more respectful attitude between your friends and the women they meet, and be the example of how they can change for the better.
9. Be an advocate.
You might say that you want to stop objectifying women because you think it’s wrong, but there’s more work to be done than just on yourself.
Be an advocate for the cause and speak up if you see something wrong happening. Don’t stand by if you see a woman is in trouble. Lead by example and make these more positive habits and ways of approaching women a constant feature in your life.
Educate yourself, surround yourself with people who can tell you more, put more positive habits into practice, and encourage others to as well. Be an advocate for the right reasons and be the change we all want to see.
10. Educate yourself.
It’s ok to not get everything right straight away. Breaking out of toxic habits that have taught you to see women in a derogatory way takes time to unlearn, and it is a process.
It will take time to educate yourself to understand not just what is wrong and right, but also why you should be an advocate against objectification.
Take the opportunity to read some feminist literature or listen to some conversational podcasts to understand life from a female perspective to put your actions into context.
There may be things that you think are ok, that are still microaggressions that can be causing a woman emotional harm. Educating yourself can help you identify what habits you need to be working on, how to better approach a woman, and why it’s important that you reframe the way you—and maybe even your friends—value women in society.
11. Think beyond the present.
When you meet a woman and are attracted to her appearance, do you ever consider what a future could look like with her?
It might not be the first thing you think, as it takes time to develop an initial attraction into a potential relationship, but gradually, you should be equating her worth with more than just how sexually attractive she is.
As a potential partner, you need to be thinking about more than just if she looks good next to you. Our appearance changes over time; it’s the personality and a person’s values that remain constant and will be the basis of your relationship.
You need to understand if you’re compatible on an emotional and intellectual level rather than just sexual, otherwise your relationship won’t have a foundation strong enough to move forward with.
12. Get to know your female role models.
Everyone has them. It could be your mom, grandma, sister, good friend, even a teacher you really valued in school. Whoever your female role models are, think about them when you want to know why you should stop objectifying women.
You probably don’t see these females in the same sphere as the girls you meet out and about that you think are “sexy.” But there are men out there who could be doing the exact same as you to these women that you value so highly and care about.
If you want to know how it feels to be objectified as a woman, and how you can help stop this behavior, talk to the women in your life that you respect. When you already value someone so highly, you’re more likely to take what they have to say seriously. You could learn about how to transfer the way you respect these women to the way you approach women you don’t know.
They can help you see from a personal perspective why it’s important that you stop objectifying women and start treating all of them with the respect you have for those you already love.
13. Think about how you approach women.
Are you guilty of persistently flirting or catcalling? If so, have you ever thought about how it feels to be on the other side of that?
You might think it’s funny or harmless to call out to a woman, or grab her in a club for a dance, but what do you expect to get from this behavior?
What makes you think you have the right to shout at a woman across a street just because of the way she looks? What do you think she should do in response to this? If she can’t respond, then you’re not only objectifying her, you might be scaring or embarrassing her just for the sake of your own entertainment.
Equally, if you’re out and a woman says no to your flirting or your attempts to get her attention, what makes you think it’s ok to keep pursuing her? From her perspective, you’re a complete stranger who won’t leave her alone. You’re not respecting her boundaries and are forcing your attention on her.
Neither of these ways are appropriate for approaching a woman. They’re bullying tactics, based on objectification. Think about how it would be best to actually approach a woman if you want to talk to her. Give her space, be respectful, and listen to her if she says no.
14. Take an unconscious bias test.
You might think that you’re not that bad when it comes to objectifying women, but you’d be surprised at how you could be unconsciously more biased than you think.
The best way to understand yourself better is to take an unconscious bias test. You might be surprised at the results and at how little behaviors that you thought nothing of actually contribute to your objectification of women. These tests are designed to get you to answer authentically, without being able to guess the right approach, and give an honest overview of how you really feel toward women.
It’s a good way to identify small actions that you can work on that will help you treat women in a more equal and respectful way. You can’t argue with the results of a test, and it may show you that your thought pattern is much more prejudiced than you realized, with more to work on in yourself than you ever expected.
Keep working on yourself and checking in, taking tests every so often to see if, once you know how and what to work on, you’re making a positive difference.
15. Don’t be patronizing.
Part of objectification is the idea that you are in some way better than the women you meet, because you see them as nothing more than a sexual object; whereas you view yourself as more than that.
Talking down to a woman, assuming she doesn’t know something that you do, is just as much a part of objectification as catcalling or commenting on a woman’s looks. You’re dumbing down what you have to say so she can better understand you. In doing so, you are assuming a position of power over her.
Even if you’re talking about a subject she doesn’t know a lot about, it doesn’t mean she’s not able to understand if you talk to her in the same way you’d explain to a man. She might not know much about this subject right now, but that’s not to say she hasn’t got the mental capacity to learn. Not to mention, she could know more than you about a whole number of other things. She doesn’t need you to simplify your explanations, she needs you to talk to her like an equal.
If she doesn’t understand, she will ask more questions. But don’t immediately oversimplify what you have to say just because you think she’s too pretty to have much of a brain. You never know, she might just be humoring you; she could know more about the subject than you ever could.
Not objectifying a woman doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate if she’s attractive. Much of a relationship is still based on whether or not you feel that sexual chemistry with your partner. But that’s not the only thing a relationship should be about.
Recognizing a woman is attractive is different from thinking a woman is attractive and not caring about anything else. It’s about realizing that a woman is more than just the way she looks and appreciating her for her physical beauty as well as everything else that makes her unique.
Small changes can sometimes make the biggest difference. Start by just checking yourself mentally whenever you approach a woman. Think, am I being respectful? Would I act like this toward anyone else? What can I do to get to know her better?
Start by being an advocate in your own actions and help to stamp out outdated, unfair, and harmful behavior that keeps all of us from a better future.
Still not sure how to stop objectifying women? Talking to someone can really help you make the changes you want to see. It’s a great way to get your thoughts out of your head so you can work through them.
We really recommend you speak to a therapist rather than a friend or family member. Why? Because they are trained to help people in situations like yours. They can help you to explore why you think and act the way you do toward women and give tailored advice on how you can alter those thoughts and actions.
A good place to get professional help is the website BetterHelp.com – here, you’ll be able to connect with a therapist via phone, video, or instant message.
While you may try to work through this yourself, it may be a bigger issue than self-help can address. And if it is affecting your relationships, or life in general, it is a significant thing that needs to be resolved.
Too many people try to muddle through and do their best to overcome issues that they never really get to grips with. If it’s at all possible in your circumstances, therapy is 100% the best way forward.
Here’s that link again if you’d like to learn more about the service BetterHelp.com provide and the process of getting started.
You’ve already taken the first step just by searching for and reading this article. The worst thing you can do right now is nothing. The best thing is to speak to a therapist. The next best thing is to implement everything you’ve learned in this article by yourself. The choice is yours.
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- 16 Signs You’re Being Objectified By Your Partner