Men objectify women for their looks. It happens all the time. And it's important for men to learn how to not objectify women for their physical beauty and to treat them as human beings. But here's the thing: when a man learns how to do this, it is one of those happy situations where it's possible to do good AND do well.
First of all, it's the right thing to do. Nobody likes to be objectified, whether it's a woman and her looks or a man and his wallet. Or vice versa. Human beings don't like be reduced to objects. Period.
But that's not the only good reason to do it...
Second, not paying attention to looks will help you attract good-looking women. Attractive women have a lot of male suitors, so unsurprisingly, they often have their defenses up. A generic compliment -- nice eyes -- is likely to fall flat. But when a man comes along who acts nonplussed about her looks, it's a signal of high status. This guy must hang around a lot of attractive women to not care about it anymore.
Third, as a man, it's really quite liberating. You have no idea how much brain-energy most men devote to thinking about attractive women. It's not fun to be objectified on the basis of looks, but nor is fun to feel enslaved by desire for an object that you can't have.
So don't get fixated on looks. Easy to say, hard to do -- I love a woman with a 0.7 waist-to-hip ratio as much as the next guy. So here are a few concrete things men can do to learn how to not objectify women:
1) Interact with attractive women
For a lot of men, it can be hard to speak with an attractive woman without fawning and drooling. The solution is to speak with enough attractive women -- ideally date them -- but of course, if that were easy, then it wouldn't be a problem, now would it? So you've got to find opportunities to speak with attractive women where you don't feel any pressure to pick them up.
Here are three possibilities:
1. Live with them. Not everyone has this opportunity, but it's a great life experience. When you live with someone -- male or female -- you get the good, the bad, and the ugly. As it turns out, attractive women have the same bodily functions as the rest of us, including burping, farting, and throwing up. Be sure to lay down an ironclad rule that there is no hooking up between roommates and stick with it. This is prudent for a number of reasons, but it also takes the pressure off, and allows you to deal with them just as people.
2. Visit high-end clothing stores, which are usually staffed with attractive women. If a male staff-member asks if you need help, say you're just browsing. If a female staff-member asks, take her up on it. Have her help you pick out a few things to try on. Tell her to give you her opinion. Take her opinion into account, but don't necessarily agree with her out of some misguided attempt to ingratiate yourself to her. Go in there knowing that you aren't going to ask for her number, which will take the pressure off. Remember, she's working and might be on commission, so if you know you're not going to buy anything, go in when it's not busy so you don't waste her time.
3. Go to a gentlemen's club, but don't buy any dances and just have a beer at the bar. Maybe watch whatever sporting event they have on TV. Dancers will approach you and start a conversation. Remember, they're on the job and are there to make money, so if you're not going to buy a dance -- which I suggest you don't -- don't string them along. Be respectful and straightforward, and just tell them that you're not buying a dance at the moment, but if they'd like to chat for a bit, they're welcome to. If they move on, it's no big deal. If they stay and talk, then you've just taken the pressure off. Don't say anything that a 46-year old, overweight douchebag might say, which includes pretty much any question about dancing. Once the pressure is off, and if you're enjoying the conversation, then buy her a drink. But don't buy her a drink as a way to ingratiate yourself -- that's not the point and it won't work. Just buy her a drink as a nice thing to do. It's sucks to buy a drink for a girl when you expect something in return and she feels entitled to the drink. It's much more enjoyable to spend money on someone when neither of you expect anything in return. It allows you to be generous and her to be appreciative. Also, don't go during peak hours.
2) Interacting with unattractive women
- Don't ignore them. It doesn't matter where you are or in what situation. Part of not caring about looks is also learning to care about other qualities in people.
Note that these points can apply equally to women in relation to men, though the emphasis may not be on physical attractiveness. If it sounds awful to say that men ignore unattractive women, please consider that women also reject low status men. And when men ignore women, at least there's no active rejection because women rarely approach men. Women often have to reject men to their face. The average man has been rejected, to his face, lots and lots and lots of times. That ain't a pleasant feeling. So perhaps we can agree that it isn't very much fun to be ignored or rejected.
Of course, I'm still aware of a woman's attractiveness and value it. And there are two ways in which I unabashedly objectify a woman -- even to her face.
First, when I consider a woman's health and beauty, I pay special attention to things that are under her control and reflect the choices and decisions she makes. Does she respect her body? Does she exercise? Is she a little too self-absorbed with her own beauty? These may manifest themselves as superficial qualities, but they aren't superficial at all -- they reflect her character and values. That said, it's hard to get a read on these things when people are still young, because health comes so effortlessly to young people. I didn't start getting healthy until a couple years after college, so who am I to talk.
Second, if we've screened each other for deeper qualities and respect each other as human beings, that's when it's the most fun to start treating her as a sex object. And vice versa. Read the plot of any romance novel -- women want to feel sexually irresistible to the man she covets. She WANTS to be the OBJECT of his sexual desire. She wants him to objectify her. If I hear one consistent complaint from women about men they're dating or married to, it's that once they're in bed, men don't objectify women ENOUGH.
So men, here's the bottom line: don't objectify all women as sex objects-- just the one you care about. And then objectify the hell out of her.