Being Objectified on Social Media

by Cam Fraser // March 16 // 0 Comments

I’ve been noticing more of these comments on my TikTok videos recently and wanted to unpack my thoughts with you.

As my TikTok account has reached a wider audience, I have started getting certain types of comments.

I've only noticed these comments directed at me in the last few months but I wanted to use this as an opportunity to talk about objectification.

Firstly, I think it is important to acknowledge that my experience as a straight, white dude isn't really comparable to that of many women and LGBT+ people.

A recent review of research on gender-based and sexualised online harassment found that sexual harassment disproportionately affects women both in extent and impact (Henry & Powell, 2018).

Other research has found that LGBT+ people experience higher rates of sexual, sexuality, and gender based harassment and abuse, as compared with heterosexual, cisgender individuals (Powell, Scott, & Henry, 2018).

What I did find interesting when researching for this blog post was that men are more likely to experience name-calling and physical threats online, while women are more likely to experience sexual harassment (Pew Research Center, 2014; Powell & Henry, 2015; Nadim & Fladmoe, 2019).

Historically, this has certainly been true for me during my time online. I've been belittled and insulted. However, I didn't think too much about it until I started to receive sexually objectifying comments.

Several different feelings arise in me when I read these comments on my social media posts.

Part of me feels uncomfortable with the comments while another part of me justifies them by thinking, "Oh, how nice, someone thinks I am attractive."

Part of me thinks it is not a big deal and that I personally should not be affected by it because the comments are not as vulgar or derogatory as comments directed towards other people.

Part of me wants to judge and shame the people making the comments, to label them as creepy and desperate, to dehumanise them as they have done to me.

Part of me feels that by not saying anything, by not calling out these commenters, it tacitly approves them, essentially normalising the behaviour.

This worries me because there seems to be a link between sexually objectifying someone on social media and sexually harassing someone in-person (Galdi & Guizzo, 2020).

What is also interesting to me is that a majority of these comments are from men. These comments from them seem to centre on my body, anatomy, and appearance.

When I receive comments from women, the remarks are slightly different.

Don't get me wrong, some women have also made comments about my looks.

But this is much less frequent and, if I am totally honest, the comments women leave on my social media posts asking if I am single feel lass objectifying than the comments men make about my appearance.

Perhaps this is some internalised homophobia I need to work through.

Perhaps it is the nature of the comment; one being about me as a human and potential "relationship material" while the other is about me being reduced to a body part. 

Anyway, those are my thoughts.

Cam Fraser is a Certified Professional Sex Coach and Certified Sexologist. Being a former Tantric Yoga Teacher, his work integrates scientifically validated, medically accurate information about sexual health, with sacred sexuality teachings from the mystery traditions. As a coach, he helps men go beyond surface-level sex and into full-bodied, self-expressed, pleasure-oriented sexual experiences free of anxiety or shame.

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