Rules of attraction – or have I turned into a sexist myself?

Objectification. An ugly sounding word about an ugly issue that feminists rightly campaign about. Women have suffered hugely over the centuries from the reduction of their worth to just how good their body looks and the problem rages on.

Just look at the recent Protein World ads effectively body shaming women into thinking only those with unrealistically skinny bodies should be allowed to go to the beach. Because of course, the only reason women might want to go to the beach is to spice up the view for some sleazy men.

So imagine my confusion when myself or female friends get accused of objectifying men when we express a favourable opinion on the male form.

I’m not going to lie, there are male celebrities out there I think are rather good looking. Anyone who has had the misfortune of being around me in the run up to the latest Avengers movie knows I have a ridiculous crush on Captain America. Cap, for those who don’t know, is a fictional character that requires the actor, Chris Evans, to maintain a six pack. There are men with normal jobs I think are rather good looking too and me and my friends will discuss “phwoar worthy” individuals amongst ourselves. Does all of this make me a raging hypocrite and dirty sexist myself?

Well, I’d like to think not. There is nothing morally wrong with noticing that someone is attractive and more importantly, at no point have I ever expressed my views on a man’s form in a way that hurts them. I don’t wolf whistle, I don’t scream “show me your abs” or anything derogatory to men passing by that would make them uncomfortable. Nor would I ever judge them on their looks alone if I were to have to interact with them; “you’re just a pretty piece of meat so I’m not going to take this conversation with you seriously” is not a stance I’ve ever taken.

With male celebrities, I don’t troll them or stalk them or send paparazzi to hound them and readily write articles slagging off every fluctuation in their weight or twist and turn in their personal life. Nor indeed do I constantly confine them to a two-dimensional sidekick role in movies where they are constantly required to conform their body in an almost unhealthy way to my ideal of pretty.

In other words, girls and boys, it’s alright to look at someone and swoon a little bit inside. It’s how that reaction informs your treatment of them that decides whether you’re a sexist pig or not.

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