Why do we do it and how do we stop?
Definition of dehumanization: to take away another’s humanity mentally or physically. We do this when we look at pornography, lust, and fantasize. It can also happen when we have sex with a spouse, yell at the waiter, demand attention from a loved one, and so on. Any time we treat another as an object, as a means to get something we want, we are dehumanizing them.
We probably do this more often than we think.
Some of us think we can respect our mothers and view pornography. Some of us think we can fantasize about women but be activists against sex trafficking. Some of us think we can dehumanize some women but not others. I don’t think that is possible. We either view women with respect, or we don’t. It’s simple.
Dont think about how you think you think about women. Think about how you talk about, talk to, and treat women.
- Do you listen to women, really listen?
- Do you only view material that uplifts women?
- Do you respect women when they disagree with you?
- Do you view pornography?
- Do you fantasize about women?
- Do you look into a woman’s eye when you talk to her?
- Do you steal glances at women’s bodies?
- Do you do a double take to check a woman out?
If you do any of these things you dehumanize women.
Why do we do it?
As men we have allowed ourselves to be conditioned by our parents, our media, our society, and our friends.
Every time we heard a friend talk about “scoring” with a girl, every time we told a joke at the expense of a woman, every time we watched a music video with a fully clothed man surrounded by women provocatively dressed, every time we watched a movie where a man pursued a woman who constantly rejected him until she finally gave in, every song we hear that talks about women as something to conquer, every time we do these things and we do nothing we support the objectification and dehumanization of women.
What men in society are looked at as “real men”. Rich, handsome men with lots of girls.
That is who we are taught from a young age to aspire to be.
I recently listened to a podcast here about how rap culture taught one woman that she was less than human.
We do this because we want to. No one is forcing us to dehumanize women. We do it because we do not put the effort in to fight against what we grasped onto as truth from a young age.
If you think that you van view pornography or fantasize without dehumanizing a woman you are wrong.
How do we stop?
The answer I am going to give may seem too simple to some but I have found it to be true.
- Own that you want to dehumanize others
- Take control of your thoughts
Until you can look in the mirror and admit: I dehumanize others because I am want to. I do it because I get privileges from it.
What privileges to do we get?
This will be different for everyone but many times we get sex, attention, atta boys, friends, acceptance, a thrill, among many others.
If it wasn’t appealing in some way, we likely wouldn’t be doing it.
Take control of you thoughts
Thoughts lead to feelings, feelings lead to actions.
If we can learn to recognize our dehumanizing thoughts and reframe them into real truths and then do it over and over again we can begin to feel like women are human.
Dehumanizing thought: “That girl is sexy”
Reframe: “That woman is a human being, with thoughts and feeling and hopes just like me. I hope she is happy.”
It is time for us men to become real men. A real man uses his strength to protect women. A real man uses his mind to consider the needs of women. A real man uses his hands to lift the fallen women of the world. A real man uses his words to defend women.
It takes a lot of effort to be a real man, but we can do it.
For help on reframing your thinking schedule your free session here.