Objectification literally means to hold oneself as subject and everything and everyone else as object, the object of one’s actions and thoughts. According to this definition, traditional feminists objectify strippers. This paradox grows increasingly obvious considering the us/them construct such discussions inevitably employ. “Those strippers undermine our ends.” Are not strippers and their patrons the objects of these women’s disapproval ?
Or maybe they mean “object” as a thing devoid of humanity. But a stripper’s humanity, including her sexuality, is intrinsic to her profession. In my experience, few men would talk to me at length and grow aroused by my personality while simultaneously denying my personhood.
I maintain that a man isn’t denying a woman’s humanity if he admires her breast and not her intellect in the appropriate context. Human phyisicality takes precedence in many arenas. As long as theses instances remain free of sexuality, no one complains. Few people argue that Martine Navratilova and Mary Lou Retton, much less men such as Michael Jordan or Mikhail Baryshnikov, are dehumanized when others admire their physical prowess.
Stacy REED, “All stripped Off”, in Jill NAGLE, Whores and other feminists, Routledge, 1997, p. 182