To self-objectify is to think of yourself as an object first and a subject second.  People who self-objectify often consider their appearance to be for others and work on their bodies and attractiveness in order to please/not offend an imagined other.  Self-objectification is usually discussed in the context of women.  It is suggested that these women take on the “male gaze,” looking at themselves through an imaginary male judge.

I found this ad in Maxim magazine.  It encourages men to self-objectify by suggesting that they should think about how an imaginary female judge might evaluate their appearance (“She’s totally checking me out MILK Nutritional Shake”).

03-0022It’s fascinating that a magazine well-known for objectifying women also participates (at least in running this ad) in encouraging men to self-objectify.  Without suggesting that women and men are equally objectified in American culture, I think it might be interesting to talk about the extent to which we live in an objectifying culture, period, and learn to self-objectify whether we are men or women.