The Instigator
Volkov
Con (against)
Losing
12 Points
The Contender
Danielle
Pro (for)
Winning
14 Points

Sexual Objectification is Degrading Society

Do you like this debate?NoYes+3
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
Danielle
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/17/2010 Category: Society
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 15,481 times Debate No: 10866
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (16)
Votes (6)

 

Volkov

Con

Hello DDO, and welcome to my *third* instigated debate. I hope to make this a learning experience for not only myself and my opponent, but for the voters as well.
_____________________________

The first round for both contenders will be for definitions, and revisions if there are to be any.

This debate is a tricky one to define, but I'll try my best. But first, a little background

The topic at hand stems from a remark made by InsertNameHere (http://www.debate.org...) on Nags' (http://www.debate.org...) profile, during a discussion about Islamic values. That remark was:

"Which just comes to show that society is degrading."

This was in response to a comment before about beer commercials showing scantily-clad women as a way to get males to buy the beer - aka. sexual objectification. It brought up an interesting point in my mind about the status of sexuality in societies and cultures across the globe, and its central, if reluctant, role in the world's major religions, including Islam, Christianity, and Buddhism. Which has brought me here, to debate this interesting topic.

Now, on to definitions.

Sexual objectification:
"Sexual objectification is the viewing of people solely as de-personalised objects of desire instead of as individuals with complex personalities. This is done by speaking/thinking of women as only their bodies, either the whole body, or as fetishised body parts." - http://finallyfeminism101.blogspot.com...

That paragraph - from a feminist blog - just about sums up what sexual objectification is. Instead of a focus on personality traits or emotional attachment towards a member of the opposite (or in some cases, same) sex, the focus is solely on sexual attractiveness. How good a girl looks, how nice her body is, how exposed she is, etc. People often connote this with shallowness, however it is pervasive throughout Western society, and the remark by InsertNameHere about beer commercials is an apt one.

Degrading/Degradation:
"changing to a lower state (a less respected state)" - http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...

I chose this Princeton University definition of "degradation" because it connotes a specific feeling in regards to society and culture. A change to a "less respected state" seems to fit perfectly, because the loss of respect for a culture usually leads to a loss of association, and loss of association will eventually lead to that culture's demise.

Society/Culture:
"The institutions and culture of a distinct self-perpetuating group." - http://www.thefreedictionary.com...

This is the hardest to define, as the term "society" can connote many different things. However, I believe this definition - that "society" and "culture" are a distinct group of people which is self-perpetuating - is the best in regards to this topic. Because, if you are to "degrade" society, then it stands to reason that you are taking away that society's ability to renew and replenish itself with constant association.

I believe these definitions fit well, however I am not married to them - just in a relationship. I will allow for some revision, but only for the purpose of mutual understanding - meaning that the definitions provided, are provided for the purpose of understanding where the other is coming from, and hopefully creating a debate where we can keep confusion down to a minimum. I just ask that my opponent keep within the spirit of the debate, which means that I will not argue over the existence of society (I'm talking to you, Objectivists/anarchists/libertarians) or sexuality, or any other thing that people can think up.

I will be the first to present an argument, as I'm the instigator. Thanks in advance to my opponent.
Danielle

Pro

Many thanks to my opponent for beginning this debate!

To clarify, I didn't accept this challenge to go on a feminist rant. I think I know Volkov well enough to assume that he's not going to present some light-hearted chauvinistic argument. Rather I looked over his presented definitions and presumably agree with the resolution according to those standards. So, because Volkov doesn't officially debate a whole lot (so this'll be exciting!) and because I am genuinely interested in his argument and respect him very much as a debater, I figured I'd hear him out and see if we can both offer some interesting perspectives on this hot topic. I'm actually looking forward to a good challenge. Good luck!
Debate Round No. 1
Volkov

Con

I thank Lwerd for accepting, as well as the compliments (flattery will get you anywhere), and equally look forward to this debate, and the resulting opinions that come out of it. This is a learning experience for me, so I'm more than happy to hear her opinions on this.

The phrase, "sex is destroying society," is one that has been thrown around quite a lot in some circles. A cursory search on Google nets you several results which range from this topic of sexual objectifiction, to how feminism itself is destroying society[1]. Sexuality itself is a controversial subject, and there have been many thinkers pondering on its effects on societies and cultures the world over. Some have theorized that openness and objectification of sexuality was the downfall of Rome[2], and others say that sexual openness is a positive, to the point where they create political parties to advance that ideal[3].

Now, I'm no Sex Party member, but I do believe in the positive reinforcement of sexuality in society. My view is that if we cannot talk about sex openly, then quite a lot will be lost. Indeed, if we refuse to be open about the realities of sexuality, or refuse to reinforce positive views about it, we will be harming our society, or at least individuals within it. Repression and negative attitudes have proven themselves helpful to the proliferation of HIV/AIDS in some countries[4], as well as the oppression of women, homosexuals, and others in cultures around the world[5]. I am fully against this sort of detrimental policy, whether it comes from government, religious authorities, or your own mother and father.

But what does this have to do with sexual objectification? Well, quite a lot to be honest. Allow me to explain.

In my view, to be open about sex is to admit three things:

1. Sex is important - or the belief that sexuality is an intrigal part of our nature as humans

2. Sex isn't going away - or the belief that no matter how hard you try, sexuality will always somehow affect your life

3. Sex dominates our relations with others - or the belief that sexuality is a factor in a majority of our relationships with other individuals

I believe my opponent will agree that these three points are something that you essentially have to admit in order to be open about sexuality.

I won't focus on Points 1 or 2 for this debate, as Point 3 is the one that relates the most to this subject - sexual objectification.

It relates because in order to accept that most of our relationships are predicated on sexuality, you would have to realize that objectification plays an important role as well. While objectification can indeed be detrimental to our relationships, few ever explore the important role is has played throughout all cultures, mythos, and authorities. And if objectification has been influential in all of our affairs, how can it degrade our society? I personally think the question should be "how has it helped *build* society"?

To make a point: Egypt, one of humanity's earliest cultures, was also one of the most open about sexuality[6]. It was far from a taboo subject, to the point where even the gods of Egypt joined in from time to time. Indeed, the most attractive females were often considered the most fertile - an idea that has been proven by modern science[7] - and were often the first ones to marry, and considered sacred. 'Prostitutes' and virgins were similarly considered 'sacred', and there exists to this day multitudes of figurines of the women of the era, with large hips and shapely bodies.

But even more important is to note the societal implications of sexual objectification. Women who were the most attractive and had the ability to bear children rose to a higher status in Egyptian society than those who could not bear[6], and there exists theories that there were performing groups of virgins that would go around and attempt to get pregnant, since that was a sign of fertility, an important thing in ancient Egypt. And if we go further in history, we see one of the most powerful women in history, Cleopatra, being venerated because of her attractiveness, and her ability to use objectification to keep power[8].

Of course, Cleopatra was led to her downfall by objectification, however it is important to note that this doesn't explicity mean that society suffered because of objectification, but rather by abuse of it. As Shakespeare noted in his brilliant play, Cleopatra was as much empowered as hindered by her sexuality, and the flagrant abuse of objectification that came with it[9].

But the point is that regardless of the end result, objectification had played a huge part in Egyptian society. It pervaded the hierarchal nature of its social classes, and led individuals to power, to their downfall, and to eternity in history and literature. Objectification helped build Egyptian society, as much as it did degrade and destroy it.

And this is not a theme solely limited to ancient Egypt. Similar stories can be found not only in Mediterrean societies, such as Greece[10], Rome[11], or even the now-dominant Israel[12], but in the Far East, in places like China[13] and Japan[14].

This isn't to say that objectification was always and entirely positive in nature. In Greece, women were essentially second-class citizens. In Israel, and the Abrahamic religions that came out of it, women were treated as almost foreign in nature. In China, women didn't always get the best treatment either. But, the recognition of objectification, even if it lead to negative consequences, is still important to my point: it dominates relations between individuals in a society. What shape these relationships took is, to me, more dependent upon the social ideology and history of the society in question, rather than objectification being a culprit itself.

Which brings me to my conclusion: objectification does not degrade society. As I've shown, sexual objectification is indeed a simple part of human relations - it can build, it can destroy, or it can be completely neutral. I believe the effect of objectification is much more dependent upon the ideology that pervades the society of which it is within. As I've shown, this can vary between the honour bestowed upon it in ancient Egypt, to the fright and indifference expressed by Greek and Israelites, and now, in today's world, and Western society in particular, the pragmatic view of sexual objectification that is slowly gaining recognition among people of all views, including feminists[15]. Is this because of objectification, or is it because of the pragmatic, liberal ideology of Western society? I'll leave it for my opponent to answer.

In the next round, I'll also expound a little more upon the biological aspect of sexual objectification, and how we, as nearly all mammals, are fine tuned to act as such, and also on how ideology, rather than objectification, is the culprit of the negatives that can come from objectification.

Thanks again to Lwerd for accepting, and I look forward to her response!

Sources in comments (I tried to fit them here, really, but it just didn't want to work. Deduct points if you will, but my sources still stand).
Danielle

Pro

Again, many thanks to my opponent for this interesting debate!

I'll begin by pointing out what seems to be obvious: Con has done absolutely nothing to explain why sexual objectification is beneficial for society. While I realize that this is not exactly his burden given the resolution, it would appear as if it has been a point that he tried to make in listing the various historical cultures in which sexual objectification played a uniquely important role, such as the ancient Egyptians making assumptions about which females were probably more fertile based on their attractiveness. Additionally, yes, it's true that Cleopatra used blatant sexuality to maintain her grip on the Egyptian throne. However, this proves absolutely nothing and certainly does not negate the resolution. All Con has managed to do is prove that one's sexuality was significant in the past. Further, I'd argue that while sexuality was relevant (ie. it determined one's position or influence on society), it doesn't prove that sexual objectification was positive or had any type of positive impact whatsoever.

Similarly, Con has explained that his main thesis will be "I believe the effect of objectification is much more dependent upon the ideology that pervades the society of which it is within." But... so what? Even if it's the ideology that's pervading society, that in no way means it doesn't degrade society. Sexual objectification regardless of its causes degrades society because of the effects it has. The effects of sexual objectification are what I will be discussing in this debate, and what will affirm the resolution: the effects of sexual objectification degrade society. Again, degrading means changing to a lower or less respected state.

Let us remind the readers that sexual objectification is the viewing of people solely as de-personalized objects of desire instead of as individuals with complex personalities. This is done by speaking and thinking of people (we'll use women from here on out until otherwise mentioned) as only their bodies: either the whole body, or as fetishized body parts. When this happens, men desire women to be submissive [1] and therefore expect them to be submissive. In doing so, they neglect to utilize or value a woman's prowess in any other field besides sexuality and physical attractiveness. This can have devastating effects insofar as oppressing women (not giving them equal or realistic opportunities to succeed), thereby also restricting the masses from experiencing the probable positive effect of a woman's success on society (ergo missing out on a great leader such as Queen Elizabeth I, or Oprah's entertainment and charitable contributions, etc.).

If women like these were ignored for their other qualities or contributions besides their looks, then they never would have gotten anywhere. Queen Elizabeth I isn't exactly known to be history's most good looking woman (especially as she aged) and certainly we all remember Oprah from the 80s pre-diet and in the midst of the big hair era. Yet these women have impacted society in a great way because we valued characteristics and traits that were positive ASIDE from physical appeal.

Meanwhile, let us look at the value of what basing appreciation based on physical attractiveness gets us in the modern day. If Bill Clinton or FDR had married women based on their physical attractiveness over other qualities (like for example, the man who chose to marry Anna Nicole Smith) then the world would have missed out on Eleanor Roosevelt and Hillary Clinton. Now liberal and Hitlery jokes aside, these women have obviously made drastic positive impacts on society (ie. empowering women) and their sexual prowess was irrelevant. Meanwhile, what contributions has AN Smith made to society? Sure, she's fun to laugh at but she hasn't done anything significantly positive that has made a long-lasting and powerful influence on society.

The only "advantage" Volkov had mentioned regarding valuing a woman for her looks was helping to determine fertility in the past; however, one's looks is no longer necessary to determine who is and isn't fertile (technology now tells us). So, while I have proved that sexual objectification can and does negatively impact society (thus already affirming the resolution), you'll notice that Con hasn't mentioned any positive uses of doing so. The only one I can think of is help advertising, but again this is circular: provoking people to value something based on sex does not help or benefit society in a big way.

Yes, it might be biological - and yes, sex is relevant and important in society. However, our society can value, appreciate and enjoy sex openly without having to sexually objectify people. In other words, if Sarah Palin was a competent leader (this is a hypothetical example lol) and you wanted to fantasize about her when she became president - then that would be natural and acceptable. However to dismiss or automatically accept her as a candidate simply BECAUSE she was an attractive female (electing her into office based on her sexuality) then that would not be acceptable or appropriate. I hope I am making this distinction clear for my opponent and the audience.

And while we're on the subject of sex, let me clarify that I agree with one of my favorite modern philosophers - Martha Nussbaum - that what renders objectification benign is the right sort of relationship between the participants; symmetry, mutuality, and intimacy render objectification less troubling [2]. For instance, if I am having sex with Vi and I want her to spank me and make me her daddy, it isn't necessarily immoral or wrong for her to do so because we mutually agree to adapt that mentality to fulfill a sexual need or desire for a given sexcapade. It does not negatively impact our relationship, society, etc. However if Vi and I had chosen each other as romantic partners simply based on our sexual desires, it would have a negative effect.

Yes, we have evolved physiological responses such at sexual attraction, arousal, feelings on infatuation, and love that act as mechanisms to promote pair bonding and procreation and thus continuation of the species.
However studies show that relationships based on sex or sexual attraction alone have a much less chance of both longevity and fulfillment [3].

In conclusion, sexual objectification is degrading to society because it values a frivolous (on balance, unhelpful) value over others that can be of more positive use on the individual and society. Basing relationships on physical attractiveness or sexuality negates the other important qualities the individual possesses, and discourages the celebration or improvement of said traits. If we use sexual objectification to make important decisions, the bias will not help or improve society in any way let alone on balance. We will essentially dumb down society and instill values that cause self-loathing (ie. promoting an unrealistic sense of beauty like the fashion industry does). However, there is nothing paradoxical or wrong about consenting to objectification in a sexual context (within a mutual relationship or agreement, ie. casual sex encounter). So, our biological and sexual needs can be fulfilled and even celebrated without having to forfeit maturity, civility, intelligence, morality or class.

Thanks, Volkov, and good luck in the next round.

[1] http://www.britannica.com...
[2] http://philpapers.org...
[3] http://www.dataguru.org...
Debate Round No. 2
Volkov

Con

I thank Lwerd for her prompt and well-versed response.

I'll begin the second round by addressing my opponent's argument, and then move on to exploring deeper the biological benefits of sexual objectification, and then explain a little further why the negatives - and positives - of objectification on a societal level are dependent upon the ideology of the society and culture.

As my opponent duly noted, the resolution stated does not give me the burden of proving positives of sexual objectification. Instead, my burden is to prove how sexual objectification does not degrade society - and while giving positives is the most obvious argument, I prefer to go with the idea that objectification is indeed *neutral*. Instead of simply listing negatives and positives, my goal is to show that sexual objectification is a prevalent, important, and neutral part of society and culture, but one that helps shape and move society - an engine, if you will - similar to what economics, politics and religion do.

My opponent begins these rebuttals with one about sexual objectification driving "... men desire women to be submissive and therefore expect them to be submissive." While I cannot dispute this entirely, I can through some doubt upon it as a viable argument, by pointing out that submissiveness/nurturing in females, as well as aggressiveness/strength in males, or commonly called "gender roles," is not a simple social construct, but may indeed be biologically fine-tuned in humans - also known as the "Nature vs. Nurture" argument[1][2]. And while this in no way excuses flagrant abuse in gender roles, it does create a biologically-relevant argument about the neutrality of objectification in this matter, for if it is a biologically driven thing, inherently apart of our species and therefore our culture, how can it be a negative?

The second point my opponent makes - about famous women making their mark through sheer personality and prowess, instead of from sexual objectification - is a little easier to handle. Just because Elizabeth I and Oprah weren't objectified and made it, doesn't mean women like Cleopatra, noted for her use of objectification as a benefit for her power in the round before, or Catherine the Great of Russia, a woman who also had a claim to fame the same way[3], are somehow negatives in history.

The third point, which will cover more broadly what my opponent has said, is that essentially, sexual objectification has not positively benefitted either personal relationships, political culture, or society at-large. I disagree with all instances, and here is why:

1. Personal relationships; while it is important to create a meaningful connection with someone you love on a personality and intellectual level, it is also equally important to have sexual attraction and, yes, objectification. While it may seem counter-productive to any real relationship, there has been studies down that indicate sexual objectification within personal relationships is *positively associated* with sexual satisfaction[4].

2. Political culture; as I noted with Cleopatra and Catherine, there is definitely a big place for sexual objectification in politics. And while Hilary might not be the best looking Sec. of State, lets note that Bill Clinton was nearly impeached on the basis of his sexual objectification of Monica Lewinsky, and yet among popular opinion polls, most sympathized with him[5]. From testimony told to me by a Kentucky man, he respected Clinton because he was a regular guy who liked his girls, but hated Obama and Bush for being 'tards. I mean, if sexual objectification really had that bad of an impact, it hasn't shown up yet.

3. Society at-large; one of *my* favourite authors, Camille Paglia, stated that "Turning people into sex objects is one of the specialties of our species." Though I can't quote directly from her book, Sexual Personae (damn you Google books!), she goes on to talk about how objectification is related to human concepts of arts and design - ideas that can be backed up by studies[6] and multitudes of other books on the subject[7] - for better, or for worse. Its clear, however, that objectification has a major impact on society at-large. I could also go into detail about how throughout history, objectification was a huge focus of art, literature, as well as modern advertising, etc., but I think I've made my point.

And now, for the second part of my argument:

To repeat a quote: "Gender... becomes a social construction when it is treated as an unchanging, fixed difference and then used to deny opportunity and equality to women."

That quote truly embodies my main argument - ideology is a main factor in deciding the positive and negative actions of any societal engine, whether it is economics, religion - or sexual objectification. I base this conclusion on what I've seen occur, and what seems to fit into place. Allow me to explain:

One of the main ways Western society differs from the Far Eastern cultures, like China, is because of a general trend of liberalism that started in the 1700's and has continuously marched forward, from America to Europe. Compare this to China, where even to this day, traditionalism is the dominate theme[8]. Traditional roles, traditional politics, traditional attitudes, traditional control - China is a society essentially in static, with little progression, or want of progression, among its population.

So, when we look at objectification and gender roles in light of the differences between these societies, what do we see? In Western liberal culture, women are granted a lot more freedoms by law and by personal standards - not perfect freedom, as there is still a lot of discrimination, but indeed quite a lot in comparison to other cultures - yet sexual objectification is a fact of life, as we can see with shows about creating models[9] or InsertNameHere's beer commercial. To make a point, models are willfully using sexual objectification to make money, and as Cleopatra did, to get power - and empowerment, whatever way you do it, is generally considered a positive. Yet, despite all this, women enjoy all rights that men enjoy, and in general Western Society has trended away from making gender roles and objectification a social construct, to put it in the context of the beginning quote.

In China, its quite different. In popular opinion, women still fit into the traditional view - women are subservient, women are expected to please others before themselves, women are expected to center themselves on the home, women are expected to perform the brunt of manual labour and take most of the blame for things[10] - essentially, women are viewed as objects and tools, worthy only if they actually conform. Women also used to be expected to bear many children, but that changed when the One Child Policy was installed out of the necessity for curbing China's growth, and what has happened is possibly the biggest affront to women imaginable - baby girls were thrown out in the dumpster, because in Chinese culture, having a female child is worse than having a male child[11]. Once again in the context of the beginning quote - gender *is* a social construct because of the traditionalism of this society.

In light of this example, I put forward the idea that objectification, gender roles, and the whole shebang - they're predicated on the ideology of a society, rocking forward from negative to positive to irrelevant, instead of being a negative in and of itself. We can see that objectification is a biological and normal function of an individual (and therefore society), and that the effect of it depends on how traditionalism, progressivism, or other ideologies construe it. And if this is true - that ideology creates the negatives - how can objectification by itself degrade a society, if it is an inherent, neutral, fact of it?

Thanks to Lwerd for the debate, and I look forward to Round 3!

Sources in comments.
Danielle

Pro

Thanks, Volkov.

I'll begin by citing Con's goals: to prove that sexual objectification is a prevalent, important, and neutral part of society and culture - one that helps shape and move society. To clarify, I'm not denying that sexual objectification is prevalent (widespread) and that it shapes society. But there are plenty of things that are prevalent in society and that shape society, but aren't positive such as crime. Just because slavery, for instance, was important in shaping a culture and fueling an economy doesn't mean that it didn't degrade society. Similarly, sexual objectification runs rampant but that doesn't mean that it is positive or non-harmful (degrading).

So, first off my opponent brings up the argument that sexual objectification is rooted in biology. In his own words, "if it is a biologically driven thing, inherently apart of our species and therefore our culture, how can it be a negative?" I do believe that he lost this argument with that statement. There is a plethora of evidence that proves things like prejudice are "hard wired into the human brain" but that doesn't mean that (a) being prejudice is not harmful or (b) that it can't be rectified. Social psychologist Steven Neuberg says:

"People sometimes assume that because we say prejudice has evolved roots we are saying that specific prejudices can't be changed. That's simply not the case... What we think and feel and how we behave is typically the result of complex interactions between biological tendencies and learning experiences. Evolution may have prepared our minds to be prejudiced, but our environment influences the specific targets of those prejudices and how we act on them" [1].

Similarly, we as animals may be prone to first see people in a sexualized manner; however, to take it a step further to the point of objectification (speaking or thinking of people as ONLY sexualized objects - as the definition implies) is beneath us. That is not a visceral, biological function but rather a conditioned one. Since it is culturally permissible and even promoted, people do not see it as a negative thing when in fact it is.

The second point Con makes is again mentioning Cleopatra and noting how women sometimes use their sexual prowess against men to gain or keep power. My answer here is the same as it was in the last round: just because women are equally as guilty of men at manipulating sexual objectification to their benefit does NOT mean that it is right. Cleopatra may have used her sexuality to gain and maintain power, but is sexuality all that is relevant or important regarding a leader? No. When a person is asked about qualities they want in a leader, the typical responses include honesty, integrity, dedication, etc. [2]. Nowhere is attractiveness deemed a necessary or even necessarily positive quality. So again, while our first instinct may be to note someone for how they look, to value someone solely based on their looks would be to degrade society's positive values. Once again we can look to Sarah Palin, for instance, and note that just because she's an attractive woman does not necessarily mean that we should make decisions (such as voting) on that basis alone.

Next my opponent makes the claim that sexual objectification has benefited personal relationships, political culture, and society at-large. Regarding personal relationships, Con writes, "while it is important to create a meaningful connection with someone you love on a personality and intellectual level, it is also equally important to have sexual attraction and, yes, objectification." This statement right here completely contradicts itself. Yes, it's important to be sexually attracted to your partner; however, once again objectification according to Con's definition is the viewing of people SOLELY as *de-personalized objects of desire* instead of as individuals with complex personalities. Anyone would agree that attraction is important, but by Con noting that a "meaningful connection" on a personality and intellectual level is equally important, he rejects the idea of sexual objectification.

In trying to explain how sexual objectification has helped politics, Volkov provides one example of a random Kentucky man expressing sympathy for Clinton (regarding the Lewinsky scandal) but who doesn't like Bush and Obama. With all due respect, this does absolutely nothing to prove my opponent's point. I know plenty of people who like Clinton and dislike Bush and Obama, and sexual objectification has nothing to do with it. Actually, sexual objectification has nothing to do with this entire argument. I've already shown how objectifying a female politician, for instance, means making political decisions based on her attractiveness... which can obviously have detrimental effects on society. Meanwhile, my opponent has proven that some Americans were blase about Clinton's rendezvous with his intern, but just because people still approved of him as a president doesn't mean that sexually objectifying people in general does not degrade society.

Finally, Con claims that sexual objectification benefits society on the basis that it has an impact on art and aesthetics (which is in fact all his link to the book says). I have already agreed that regarding people as sex objects is prevalent in society, and since art is a reflection of society (or at least an individual) then obviously this is going to be the case. However I completely reject the idea that somehow because China is dominated by tradition and traditional roles that it somehow makes it morally superior to the West which has adopted a more progressive social structure. Additionally, I disagree with my opponent's view on gender and how objectification is merely part of a broader ideology. In fact it is the objectification which shapes the degrading ideology.

Gender schemas are hypothesis about sex differences that affect our expectations of men and women, our evaluation of their work and their performance as professionals. Men are consistently overrated while women are underrated. Fact. Further, prescriptive and descriptive stereotypes define what people ought to be like, and deviants from those norms are often punished by society. For instance, women in leadership roles tend to deviate from the prescriptive stereotypes that have historically affected women (ie. hyperfeminine) yet they are punished for it - ie. Hillary Clinton was trying to appear 'softer' because of negative stereotyping [3]. The result is women caring about these frivilous things which again mean nothing in terms of contributing to society - such as the values of integrity, honesty, vision, dedication, etc. would. At best, they fulfill a minute sexual fantasy if you're lucky. Is that on balance comparable to doing great things that the other qualities would achieve?

Con believes objectification is neutral and can have both positive and negative effects. However in acknowledging that it can have negative effects that degrade society, you're affirming the resolution. Objectification is not a neutral dependent on ideology. Objectification is an ideology itself; it's the choice and application of ignoring any other quality aside from sexuality in judgment of another. Yes, it can be useful in certain situations, but yes, most often it DOES degrade society. The resolution does not imply that sexual objectification does not have its place, but rather that it does in fact degrade society - perhaps even more than it helps. Resolution affirmed.

Thanks, Volkov!

[1] http://www.sciencedaily.com...
[2] http://www.hrworld.com...
[3] http://books.google.com...
Debate Round No. 3
Volkov

Con

Volkov forfeited this round.
Danielle

Pro

Regrettably, my esteemed opponent has forfeited his final round leaving me no choice but to sum up the arguments I've already made and demonstrate how and why the resolution is affirmed. My opponent's burden was to prove that sexual objectification (valuing people solely for their sexual attractiveness and prowess) does not degrade society whereas I must prove that it does degrade society.

Where my opponent went wrong in this debate was citing several examples in which sexual objectification has been used as a tool in the past, which is not only irrelevant to this debate (seeing as how the wording of the resolution implies current society) but also only establishes the reality that sexual objectification does indeed play a prominent role in society - a fact that I have never disputed. While it's quite obvious that sexual objectification is prevalent in the media and all over our culture, the reality is that it DOES currently degrade our society. Some examples I've given to prove my point include the neglect of relevant or positive values in an individual in favor of seeing them only as sexual objects as a desire. As a result, it appears as if we value frivolous attributes over more important ones. While sex and sexual attraction may be important within a personal relationship, how sexually attractive we find someone else should not play a role in whether or not we elect them into office or hire them for a job, for instance.

Further, sexual objectification leads to the perpetuation of gender schemas which dictate social norms and create both prescriptive and descriptive stereotypes that categorize people and punish those who do not fit the mold. Yes, we are biologically inclined to observe people in a particular way - ie. note whether or not we are attracted to them. However, to objectify people is to willingly choose to implement that biological process into our decision making about others; a choice that we do not HAVE to make but instead choose to make based on cultural conditioning. Social psychologist Steven Neuberg agrees as noted by my source and citation.

Additionally, I'd even go so far as to say that the only real uses society has for sexual objectification is (a) masturbating and (b) advertising. Obviously sexual objectification should NOT be used to establish a relationship - an idea which my opponent has agreed. However, I realize that while masturbating, one is not looking for a relationship but rather just help to achieve orgasm. In that instance, objectification is useful and sometimes even necessary. But again, just because objectification has a purpose does not mean that it can also not degrade society and currently does not degrade society in some or many instances, which is all I've had to do to prove the resolution (and I believe I have).

Regarding advertising, subliminal messages about sex help to sell products. However, that constant reinforcement of a sex-only mentality in the media is precisely what conditions us to over-value sex in other areas (ie. giving someone a job based on their attractiveness). So even that "benefit" to objectification can be considered to have detrimental results. Overall, I think it's pretty obvious that sexual objectification in society does far more harm than good.

To clarify, some more instances of sexual objectification degrading society include sexual harassment (especially in the workplace), physical domination and other violent or sexual abuse - like rape - especially towards women, in addition to playing too big a factor in important decisions (such as employment or political) and creating near impossible standards of beauty which undoubtedly negatively effects one's self-esteem and subsequent mental health. Also, sexual objectification requires that one view another individual solely as a sex object - not a person with thoughts, emotions or feelings of their own. In that way, it allows the individual to take advantage of the victim (the one being objectified) and use and abuse them without consequence, sympathy or regret. I believe the negative impacts from employing this ideology/behavior is self-evident, and the degradation it enacts on society is profoundly evident as detailed within Pro's rounds throughout this debate.

Con's proposed defense of objectification is that it is not S.O. itself but rather the ideology behind it that causes people to utilize it in a bad way. But -- is there a GOOD way? Again, the only benefit I see from the act is help masturbating. Even then, it reinforces our tendency to use sexuality as a prominent factor in decision-making when it should probably not be an issue in typical, every day circumstances. Once again, nobody's denying that sex and attractiveness isn't important and that it shouldn't be a factor regarding many choices that we make. However, seeing someone as ONLY a tool for sex and in no other light only degrades the individual and ourselves and our standards.

Resolution affirmed.

Many thanks to my opponent -- I'd love to debate again!!!
Debate Round No. 4
16 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Volkov 7 years ago
Volkov
RFD:

B&A: Tied; I never really swayed to either side, as this was an exercise in academic thought, more than anything. PRO didn't convince me of it, though.
Conduct: PRO; obviously because of my (CON's) forfeit, though I still had an arguent done up.
S&G: Tied;
Arguments: Tied; as I said, PRO never convinced me positively with her argument, and while, had I posted my fourth round, I would have shown how it was unconvincing, I cannot in good faith give myself a point for an argument never presented.
Sourced: Tied

Lwerd - would you be willing to debate this again? I'm really sorry about the forfeit - I had simply gotten caught up in so much else that I wasn't even able to get to a computer from 9am to now (1am the next day). I'd like to prove myself later, however.
Posted by Danielle 7 years ago
Danielle
I'm a feminist; I agreed with Pro before and After. Conduct goes to Pro for Con's random forfeit lol and arguments go to Pro for obvious reasons detailed in R4.
Posted by Volkov 7 years ago
Volkov
Excellent response, Lwerd. I'm going to have to think this one over.

Oh, and Brian: http://www.thesexparty.ca...
Posted by brian_eggleston 7 years ago
brian_eggleston
"I'm no Sex Party member"

No link to the Sex Party I notice, Volkov. Please oblige!
Posted by Danielle 7 years ago
Danielle
"If you mean to say that if people were to constantly sexually objectify others, then yes this can be VERY degrading given that the rights and dignity of many women will be likely ripped away. But... temporary sexual objectification isn't harmful"

Yes, Skeptic, that's exactly what I said in my round :)
Posted by Cody_Franklin 7 years ago
Cody_Franklin
This topic rox my sox.
Posted by TheSkeptic 7 years ago
TheSkeptic
The problem here is in what way we conceive of the resolution, namely how the key term "sexual objectification" is used. If you mean to say that if people were to constantly sexually objectify others, then yes this can be VERY degrading given that the rights and dignity of many women will be likely ripped away. But if the resolution implies that occasional or temporary sexual objectification isn't harmful, then I would definitely agree - watching porn is all about sexual objectification, but I don't close my computer and walk around in a condescending manner towards women.
Posted by Vi_Veri 7 years ago
Vi_Veri
You killed it, baby :) In the best way
Posted by InsertNameHere 7 years ago
InsertNameHere
Well said, LWerd. So far, Pro has my support in this.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by I-am-a-panda 6 years ago
I-am-a-panda
VolkovDanielleTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:50 
Vote Placed by InsertNameHere 7 years ago
InsertNameHere
VolkovDanielleTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:05 
Vote Placed by kaylitsa 7 years ago
kaylitsa
VolkovDanielleTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by Volkov 7 years ago
Volkov
VolkovDanielleTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:01 
Vote Placed by Vi_Veri 7 years ago
Vi_Veri
VolkovDanielleTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:04 
Vote Placed by Danielle 7 years ago
Danielle
VolkovDanielleTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:04