Sex in the Dressing Room

It's a metaphor.

I was thinking about this sort of dichotomy in how we talk about the objectification of women but not men. How there's a perception that a man asks a woman to dress for him, or more specifically dress sexy for him, that it means the man is objectifying the woman and that's bad and he's a bad person. However, if the woman wants the man to dress "nice" for her, it is completely different and she has no untoward agenda.

I know that deep down it is a matter of degrees. Women are much more so objectified than men. At least that's how it seems on the surface. Look up Halloween costumes and you'll easily see how sexist they are, with women's costumes being predominantly sexual or revealing, while men's are mundane and matter of fact. Likewise do a search on "dressing sexy for her" and you'll pull back 99.9% pictures of women in very revealing outfits and then if you search for "dressing sexy for HIM" you come back with 80% pictures of women in very revealing outfits, 10% of pictures of men in suits, and 10% pictures of scantily clad men. Sex is much more directed toward the objectification of women.

However, who buys those costumes? Who wears them? Is there something to be said about market forces providing product that there's a market for? Are women their own worst enemy in their own objectification? Or is there something more hear. Is it possible that we have this objectification thing all wrong and we do it equally but differently.

For instance I regularly get compliments from women on everything from the color of my shirt to the "sexy" curl of my hair to my "good butt" jeans, even at work, despite never having heard anything similar from a man to a woman where I work. I've been asked to wear certain clothes that are appealing or not wear other clothes that aren't appealing. I've been asked to shower or shave or make sure to brush my teeth before a date. These are all things that women fairly regularly say to men without batting an eyelash. Whereas I think men tend to be more obnoxious, crass, and trashy in their statements they are also less detailed and make fewer real requests versus implications. A man would never tell a woman how to groom herself really.

A woman will groom her man. She will encourage him to dress the way she likes him to, in the clothes and the colors that she likes him in. She will do so often very overtly by making specific demands of him. Other times she may be less specific like saying "I've never seen you in a suit" or "You don't have anything orange in your closet do you?" Likewise she may make moves to adjust his diet or exercise or get him to drop bad habits in trade for habits that the woman prefers.

Men can be piggish and brutish, but we also tend to be somewhat shallow in our demands and much quicker to give way without getting what we implied or joked about. That fact makes us seem even more shallow, that we can just give up without much of a pause, as if they prize we seek just isn't worth the effort.

I think that's a misrepresentation though. Men prize what they get, when they get it. The fact of the matter is that they're used to rejection and they know timing matters, they just don't know what the timing is. So they tend to be shallow and repetitive. Women are not so much used to rejection.

Studies show that when a woman approaches a man in almost any situation, the man will acquiesce to the woman's request more often than not. For instance one study had a woman approach a man and offer sex if no one would ever found out. 76% of men responded positively, while only 54% of women did the same with a male counterpart.

So women are empowered to make specific and detailed requests and be reasonably certain that they will be fulfilled. Whereas men are not specifically empowered but attempt a buckshot approach to approval, seeing what sticks, and retrying often.

I've encountered this disparity multiple times before. I've come home to an SO who's bought clothes for me thinking that I would look great in them and been asked to try them on and model them. But when I've suggested doing the same with her that was asking too much. I was told not to be dirty and the request was quickly shelved as absurd. Likewise going into a department store I've been pointed in the direction of clothes or had clothes pulled off of the rack and forcefully handed to me, but when I've take similar action I'm greeted with wrinkles noses or outright derision of my choices.

For the most part a woman get's to choose what she feels sexy in, while a man is told what he looks sexy in and is expected to wear it. I'd personally like to see more flexibility and equality in this realm. I want to be able to have an opinion and it be honored like I'm expected to honor other's opinions.

I say let's be free to objectify each other now and then, when it's fun and mutual and we'll be subjects to each other the rest of the time.