Ladies, want men to stop objectifying you? Don't treat yourself as objects

Ladies, want men to stop objectifying you? Don't treat yourself as objects

I learnt a new word last week: underboob. I first saw the word in an online link to a newspaper article that said, "No Underboob Selfies!"

Some days, I live my life in a thick fog, because without any accompanying photograph or text, I couldn't quite decide what the word meant.

I thought it might be that part of a woman's body below (but not including) her breasts. Intrigued, I clicked on the link to find a photograph that showed a woman with her t-shirt hitched up to expose the "bottom" of her breasts.

The wordsmith in me immediately decided that "bottomboob" would be a more accurate term to describe this part of the breast.

When I mentioned this to a friend, also a writer, she disagreed. "A bottomboob sounds like something a woman would end up with if she were to have breast implants surgically inserted into her derrière. You know, to give herself a bigger butt."

"I've never heard of someone doing that before," I said, poohooing the idea.

"Scoff if you must," she said, "but I'm sure that many bottom implants are nothing more than a pair of huge fake breasts. Of course, there's a limit to how big you can go with those silicon babies. For example, I don't know what singer Nicki Minaj has in her bottom, but she must take the prize for the biggest, fakest butt of them all."

"I agree. She looks as if she has two extremely large scatter cushions embedded in her bottom. I'm sure she can comfortably sit just about anywhere, even on a bed of nails."

But I digress. Back to the underboob newspaper article.

According to the report, the military-led Thai government has warned women that posting "underboob selfies" on social media could result in them facing up to five years in prison.

It seems that such selfies have really taken off in the country, to the extent that they are all over Facebook, Twitter, Instagram et al.

Like, what sort of rock have I been living under? None of my Facebook friends have posted an underboob selfie on their newsfeeds.

There have been a few bikini shots and some evening dress photos with a little bit of "overboob" (cleavage) on display, but not even a hint of an underboob.

In contrast, over in the US, you'll find that some women are not content with being able to flash their underboobs; they are fighting for the right to expose their boobs in their entirety, and not just on social media.

"Free the Nipple", according to the website, "is a film, an equality movement, and a mission to empower women across the world."

It stands against female oppression and censorship, both in the United States and around the globe. The movement aims to nationally legalise a woman's right to go topless in public, in the same way that men are allowed to.

Some celebrities, like Miley Cyrus, have been quick to support the cause.

But then again, Miley doesn't need an excuse to get naked in public. The last time I saw her exposing herself, she was swinging from a wrecking ball with nothing on but a pair of safety boots.

It seems that you can risk having your head crushed and your boobs squashed, as long as your feet are safe.

The fashion industry has also showed its support for the movement, in the only way it can. During London Fashion Week, many of the top designers showed outfits with sheer tops that put the breasts on full display.

This caused one fashion pundit to gush that nipples are this season's most stylish fashion accessories.

Not that there is anything fresh about such statements.

Fashion usually favours a certain part of the female form. Last season it was the space between a woman's thighs, this season it's the nipples, and next it might be the navel - all over again.

But not once have they celebrated the space between a woman's ears.

I don't think the Free the Nipple movement is going to gather much steam in the short term.

I suspect the female breast has been objectified and over-sexualised for so long that it will take many generations and a huge change in mindset before we can see a woman walking down the streets bare-chested, without anyone giving her a second glance.

And in conservative countries, where tradition and/or religion dictates that women dress in a way that is considered demure, I doubt it will happen at all.

I'm all for equality, and the empowerment of women, but I suspect some women have misunderstood this movement.

If you take a selfie of your breast, or any part of it, and you're posing seductively at the time, you're not empowering yourself; you're going against everything that the movement stands for.

If women want men to stop objectifying them, they have to first stop treating themselves like objects.

More about

Purchase this article for republication.



Your daily good stuff - AsiaOne stories delivered straight to your inbox
By signing up, you agree to our Privacy policy and Terms and Conditions.