THE DIGNITY OF INDECENCY


We live in a socio-cultural context that sexually objectifies the female body and equates the value of a woman with the sexual appearance and functions of her body.

Objectification is a form of dehumanization. Dehumanization is the denial of humanity.

Objectification places the subject in a context of objective definition with the typical parameters of the object, of the commodity, it evaluates it.

Through this operation, not always directly derogatory and indeed sometimes exalting, it denies the unobjectable human component and in this way dehumanizes it.

"Objectifying" behaviors are directed to the sexual functions that are examined in isolation, separated from the other identifying components, as if - these sexual functions -represented the whole person. In other words, it is a phenomenon that depersonalizes the human being and evaluates it on the basis of a part of himself, in this case the sexed body, neglecting the aspects of personality, dignity, empathy and uniqueness, which make the subject unique and different from the others ( Pacilli, 2012).

Already Kant, in the Metaphysics of morals had introduced the concept of objectification, indicating with this term the reduction of a person to a sexual instrument. 

While more recently, the construct has been deepened by the feminist thought, which focused on sexualization of the woman and on her reduction to a sexual object. (Mackinnon, 1989, 2006; Papadaki, 2010). 

«In this perspective objectification indicates the restriction of a person's evaluation to the consideration of their sexual functions that come separated from the rest of his personality and reduced to a mere tool and looked at as if they were capable of representing it in its entirety ». (Chiara Volpato)



Martha Nussbaum (1999) has identified in the sexual objectification seven dimensions not necessarily simultaneously present: the instrumentality, the denial of autonomy, the inertia, the fungibility, the violability, the property of others and the denial of subjectivity. Finally for Nussbaum, the most dangerous dimension of objectification is instrumentality, because: when an individual is considered a tool, it is its quality that makes it useful and interesting for those who intend to exploit it.

Thus, we can conclude that, the sexualized subject, in quality of object, only has value to the extent that it responds to a need, in this case male sexual desire.

Barbara Fredrickson and Tomi Ann Roberts (1997) proposed the theory of sexual objectification. According to the authors, the sexual objectification occurs when, instead of considering a person in their entirety, we focus on their body, or parts of it, which are considered tools of male pleasure and desire.

When they are objectified, women are led to internalize the perspective of the observer and to treat themselves as objects to be evaluated based on physical appearance.

In fact, the term self-objectification refers to the process by which women and girls are gradually pushed to adopt the perspective of an external observer on their physical self, to the point of seeing themselves primarily as an object looked at and evaluated based on their appearance.

Therefore, undressing is frightening, especially when the matter itself of which we are made, is instrument of repression and judgment.

The women in these photos have decided to show themselves exactly as they are, and use their body as a weapon of revolt, as a means of protest. They claim their right to exist.

These photos are honest, brutal and delicate at the same time. A look that is posed simultaneously before and behind the lens. The artist herself poses in front of the camera with her army of women.

Photography is used as a deconstruction of media language and criticism of the mass media.

The woman stops being the object others’ vision,  to give life to a process of re-appropriation of the body and sexuality. 

Self-determined, indecorous, powerful and naked.


Olimpia Soheve

 

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Olimpia Soheve