The Lost Art of “Objectifying” Women – A Blessing Or A Curse?

objectifying womenLately, I have been hearing over and over from a number of single women who I consider to be of high “caliber” in a sense that they are physically attractive, elegant, educated in the traditional sense of the term, and professionally accomplished, that men are not assertive and aggressive enough. These women say that men don’t make a move to approach them, meet them and flirt with them nearly as much as these women would like to. This goes completely against what I have been used to hearing from women until not so long ago – that they are being hit on all the time everywhere they go and that they are really tired of it.

Having looked into this by observing and talking to both men and women in various social situations where people would be expected to mingle and flirt, I wanted to find out why is it that women complain that men are not aggressive enough – at least where I live – San Francisco. My first discovery was not surprising. Men have been discouraged from even looking at women, let alone approaching or objectifying women, because this whole idea of “hitting on” women has been almost criminalized in our culture. The impact of this social pressure to be extra careful and stay away as far as possible from perceiving women as sexual objects cannot be overstated.

Even young men at the peak of their sexuality are not nearly as aggressive as they were in previous generations. This is why the atmosphere at social events and at gyms is completely different from what it was just a decade ago, at least here in San Francisco but probably in many other places. You can tell that there is pretty much no chance that anything romantic will happen between people in these types of places. At social events, men stick to talking to women about such safe topics as work, food, and traveling. These men avoid getting any more personal for fear of being perceived as creepy or too aggressive. At gyms and especially higher end gyms – men don’t even look at women, no matter how attractive and how provocatively dressed they are.

Some would say that this is for better, as women feel safer and more respected today in this new environment of non-aggressive men, created in large part by the new anti-harassment laws, feminism, #metoo movement, etc. Others would say that this is a in a way a tragedy because one of the most exciting things appear to have been taken out of young, singe people’s lives – making eye contact, rising to the occasion and approaching women, being approached, flirting, asking as stranger out on a date after having a conversation that required quite a bit of skill and real confidence.

To me, this seems tragic that all this joy had to be sacrificed for safety. Like many others I believe that we have gone too far in the direction of sterilizing our society of all sexual tension. It’s clear that many women actually miss being “objectified”. That’s one reason they actually seek objectification by posting all types photos of themselves on Instagram. I hope that this pendulum will shift back a little, and sooner than later we find a balance between being respectful, and at the same time enjoying objectifying each other without feeling like we are committing some type of crime.

The good news is that this new order of things is regional. There are plenty of places in the world that have not experienced this yet. Perhaps while we recover from losing one of the most beautiful things in life, other cultures could learn from us how not to go overboard with “protecting” women and find a happy medium that encourages respect without sacrificing the primal romantic and sexual dynamics between the sexes that have been in place as long as humanity itself.

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07/04/2014 11:10 am

Good advice but I would like to add that guys should approach respectfully and not really care what she thinks about it. If she's not interested then just leave her alone and move on. A guy will never know if a woman will find him interesting or funny. Some women will and some won't and this has been my experience. Same thing goes for women finding a guy interesting. A guy will also not know if a woman has a boyriend or not. If she has a husband or fiance then she'd be wearing a ring. I've never heard too many positive things on where a guy should approach a woman or when. The only places that seem to be acceptable from what I've heard is clubs or bars which make it difficult for those who aren't one for either. Closed body language is true but I had an experience where I accidentally started talking to a girl with earbuds in (I honestly didn't notice the ear buds) and she responded positively but I also heard more negative things about approaching women wearing headphones. As for approaching women in groups, I myself would be less likely to do it but on the other hand approaching in a well populated area maybe not so much. The thing is guys only hear negative things when it comes to approaching women either respectfully and obviously disrespectfully (which deserves the negative attention). If guys follow this advice then yeah it's rarely ever acceptable to approach women. If guys dislike bars and clubs than it's either go to one even if you hate them to approach women or don't approach women at all. Kind of why I say just approach women respectfully in a situation where they're likely to feel safe and then just don't care if she hates your guts for it.

01/29/2013 8:30 pm


Thanks for the kind words. I really don’t have time to write a blog, but in addition to my teaching load, I’ve been blessed to have a few articles published in several legal journals.

01/29/2013 11:22 pm
Reply to  Mickey

Sure. If you’d be willing to give me your private e-mail address, I’ll be happy to send you a couple of links. Happy reading.

01/28/2013 4:14 pm

Well, I wanted to be a six-foot five quarterback in the National Football League. That didn’t happen. Am I to consider it an empty void in my life because it didn’t happen?

Similarly, I would have loved to have a relationship with someone who would have loved me for me, as I would have done the same for her. Since I don’t believe that’s an option now, I don’t lose any sleep over it.

I can’t speak for anyone else here, but in my view, you can’t miss what you never had.

01/28/2013 6:25 am

I've had this same debate with a couple of so-called "pick-up artists" in another forum, and they also claim that dating success is not impossible, despite the seemingly terrible odds.

Another poster in that forum brought up an interesting point, and I agree wholeheartedly: the poster expressed his frustration with the dating scene and has also completely given up. He also mentioned that, in spite of his approach anxiety and dating futility, he is truly blessed to enjoy other aspects of his life.

I feel the exact same way: I love my job and I love life outside of the job. I love shooting pool, eating out, going to ballgames, and watching cartoons, among other things. Therefore, when I leave this earth without ever experiencing having a significant other who loved me unconditionally for me (as opposed to what I might or might not bring to the table), I will have absolutely no regrets.

12/29/2012 10:09 am

Maybe the tide is changing since fewer and fewer men are approaching women, leaving the approaching to the women, and the chance for rejection. Maybe men are holding out for more value now, or just waiting for a period of years until the women can no longer afford to play games.

01/27/2013 11:35 am
Reply to  dave

How’s this for a vicious circle?

Step 1: Women claim to want guys with confidence.

Step 2: Women then vaporize guys’ confidence with their hostility.

Step 3: Women then complain they can’t meet confident guys.

Ironic, ain’t it???

09/27/2012 9:27 pm

Since when do women ever go to the bathroom alone? Maybe when they are out on a date with a guy, but never when they are out with other girl friends.

All this advice about having to have the perfect behaviors in terms of the correct precise amount of aggressiveness, perfect timing, saying the perfect "normal" thing but still being interesting and not boring, is a bunch of bs. The bottom line is if you are good looking and hot you will get women even if you do everything wrong. And if you aren't, you can do everything right and be made to feel like you are a creep for even trying. This is the truth.

Two of Us Dating
Two of Us Dating
07/18/2012 8:25 am

Very interesting article, I never realized the main things that men were being taught. No wonder so many of them have issues when it comes to approaching women. I feel there is no gray area with these men, its either A. Dont hit on a girl, or B. be too cocky and aggressive to compensate for your fears and insecurities. Personally, I am complimented if a man has enough you-know-whats to come up and talk to me. Thanks for the post!

06/24/2012 3:25 am

I'm going to ask a serious question in response to what you wrote. It seems as if when women are in a group, there are always a few good looking ones and a few unattractive ones. If I approach the group looking to speak to one of the attractive girl why do they always seem to pawn off their unattractive friends on you, even if you have a good chat with one of them?

06/19/2012 5:03 pm

This article is both motivating and helpful.

I agree with it's premises.

Women are attracted to men who take initiative and do it without guilt or apology.

Women are attracted to men who are bold and aren't afraid to go out and get whatever is they want.

It's all about body language. If you persist and make bold moves when she is not expressing interest, you will make her uncomfortable. If you do so while she is expressing interest, then it's no problem.

And I agree with Michael also. The Game and other PUA advice is geared toward deep-seated insecurities, and therefore will only result in its followers reinforcing a cycle of mediocrity rather than rising above it.

Arkady, another quality article. Keep doing what you do!

06/18/2012 8:53 pm

I was at Barnes and Noble today and I curiously picked up “The Game” by Neil Strauss and began reading some of it.

I prefer your advice because it’s much more positive. You encourage people to be better versions of themselves and you encourage people to build their character (I.E: having a sense of humor, having ambition and goals, having class, etc.)

This was not the case in The Game which didn’t encourage people to be better but encouraged people to be douche bags and use insecure girls who have low self-esteem to their advantage. Anybody can win over those kind of girls. Big deal!

Unlike “The Game” you don’t tell people to prey on “low quality” women. You tell people to go after high quality – but to do that you have to be high quality yourself.

Thank you for maintaining high standards and not compromising them in a world that can seem low class at times.

06/17/2012 5:26 am

I'll keep saying this until the cows come home because it is the absoulte truth: WOMEN HATE MEN!!! Thus, it doesn't make a difference either way.

06/15/2012 2:30 pm

Dear Pratical Happiness, I am writing this message for knowing your opinion about the American culture and sexuality. I am Italian. I met an American girl on Facebook. We had a wonderful exchange (romantic, kind, emotional, deep, interesting) and she seemed a selective, shy and sweet girl, very happy to talk with a fine, sexy, good man (me in her opinion). After an entire year of communication, we met in the flesh and she was exactly the shy, elegant, sweet girl I had known online. We had a wonderful romantic experience here in Italy and decided to start a long distance relationship. She invested a lot in it, but, after 4 months, passion decreased and she broke up with me. I was still in love and begun to check her FB profile very often, developing a lot of stupid anxiety! I discovered that, one night, when she was with two girlfriends, my ex was approached by two rollerbladers (much younger) that had just had an exibition. It seems they were friendly and, in fact, both friends of my ex and my ex added them as Facebook friends. My ex loves to go out with these two girlfriends, also when she is in a relationship. One of them is happily married. If the setting had been a nightclub in Italy, I would have considered the possibility of my ex having a one night stand with one of the rollerbladers almost impossible (also considering her character: she is wonderful in bed, but, apparently, requires time, comfort and connection to have sex). What about USA? Are one night stands and sexuality so different there? One day my ex posted a song on Facebook, very sexual (but also funny and ridiculous): “Pop that pussy”. I got panicked because I thought it was the proof of her superficial sexual attitude. Your opinion? I know, maybe I am just paranoid and jealous, but in Italy songs like that are extremely rare and not posted. Thanks.