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What Can Philosophy Teach Us About Sexual Objectification? A Lecture by Nancy Bauer (Tufts)

February 28th, 2013 – What Can Philosophy Teach Us About Sexual Objectification? A Lecture by Nancy Bauer (Tufts)

In the past 20 years there has been much theorizing among feminist and other philosophers about sexual objectification, ordinarily in the context of arguments that pornography subordinates and/or silences women. For the most part, philosophers who write about sexual objectification have had two goals: (1) to specify criteria for what counts as sexual objectification; (2) to say whether sexual objectification is necessarily a bad thing. I show that this theorizing does not track the actual phenomenon of sexual objectification, in part because the framework in which almost all philosophers study objectification—namely, Kant’s moral philosophy—distorts it. I suggest that Simone de Beauvoir’s philosophical method provides a better lens through which to explore the role that sexual objectification plays in marking women as “the second sex,” one that steadfastly keeps the actual phenomenon in view.

bauer flattened P1020123

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