On Being An Object

If you have not run across Alice Bradley’s excellent blog post, “On Being an Object, and Then Not Being an Object”, you must read it.  Immediately.  And read all of the comments below it as well.  Then forward it to someone who may not fully appreciate the extent to which women are treated as objects, or the damage that does.  I’ve forwarded it to a certain presidential candidate who doesn’t think women are discriminated against anymore.

While I think I, and many other women, struggle more than Alice with becoming less of an object as I grow older – that’s how deep the message goes – I could never thank her enough for boldly describing what it’s like to be an object.  I can’t improve on what she has written, so I will just offer you three quotes, to entice you to go read her post yourself.  The first two from Alice:

 “To be a young woman in our culture means that you exist, from an alarmingly young age, for the appreciation of others. Therefore, your every feature is fair game for public appraisal.” – Alice Bradley

"There were other incidents, too; so many incidents. Every one underscored the message that I wasn't safe, that I deserved whatever was coming to me, because I was young and a woman and that was how it was and also I should appreciate it." - Alice Bradley

The third chosen from the many excellent comments to Alice’s post:

“I feel like so many men feel ENTITLED to women's beauty. Like it is a present the world gives them, and they feel like they can do with it what they will.”  - Suebob

What do you think of what Alice and her commenters describe?


Peg Shippert is a psychotherapist in private practice in Boulder, Colorado.  She has a deep passion for working with survivors of sexual violence.  

Emily’s List Ranking of Presidential Candidates

It’s kind of a strange thing to do, ranking GOP presidential candidates on a list of issues that are traditionally not supported by the GOP.  As one would expect, in the recent Emily’s List ranking, all candidates had many strikes against them, from this perspective.  Nevertheless I found some interesting nuggets when drilling down into some of the strikes they marked against specific candidates. 

Here is my favorite.  Did you know:

  • In 2011, Newsweek interviewed Robert Bork, a top advisor for Mitt Romney. “How about the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment? Does he still think it shouldn’t apply to women? ‘Yeah,’ he answers. ‘I think I feel justified by the fact ever since then, the Equal Protection Clause kept expanding in ways that cannot be justified historically, grammatically, or any other way. Women are a majority of the population now—a majority in university classrooms and a majority in all kinds of contexts. It seems to me silly to say, ‘Gee, they’re discriminated against and we need to do something about it.’ They aren’t discriminated against anymore.’” [Newsweek, 10/17/11]

Get that?  Women. Are. Not. Discriminated. Against. Anymore. Oh, yeah, they used to be, but that’s all over now!  You can tell because so many women have jobs, and go to school.  Plus there are more women than men.  If they’re not a minority, that means discrimination is impossible! 

I’m sure that’s why women's earnings were 77.4 percent of men's in 2010.  

Am I naïve to hope that those at the very top of the list of individuals who may soon lead our country would have a better understanding of the concept of discrimination?


Peg Shippert is a psychotherapist in private practice in Boulder, Colorado.  She has a deep passion for working with survivors of sexual violence.