Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Why is Dita De Boni wrong? Because grammar

I am only going to respond to half a sentance of Dita De Boni's ridiculous article about slutwalk, because life is too short to pay attention to the rest. She says:

I can't see the value in putting yourself out there to complete strangers as a sexual object - especially in social situations where alcohol blurs the ability of people to moderate their behaviour.

Actually I'm ignoring the second clause in the bit I quoted too - because it's stupid. And I've been a feminist blogger too long to have new ways to say "That's victim-blaming nonsense and if you don't mean to victim-blame then you should stop talking."

No the bit I'm interested tonight is the idea that you can put yourself out to strangers as a sexual object.

You can't - it's nonsense. If you are putting yourself out there you are the subject in that sentence, not it's object. This is a really important and basic point, which can very easily get lost. You can't objectify yourself - it's not possible. If you are acting then you are the subject of that action - you can't act to make yourself acted upon. Because in everything you do, even things that people suppose take away your agency, you are using your agency.

I keep saying the same thing, but getting increasingly more convoluted in saying it, because it's a really simple grammatical point.

But it's also an important political point; you can't present yourself as a sex object. Objectification is something that is done to you, it is not something you can do to yourself. Without this understanding any attempt to talk about the politics of objectification descend into gibberish.

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