Verb – Objectify
To objectify people is to treat them as if they’re objects (things) instead of people.
Part of speech:
verb, the transitive kind: “These pageants are creepy, but worse, they objectify the children;” “Women are often objectified by the advertising industry.”
objectified, objectifying, objectification, objectifiable, objectifier(s).
how to use it:
Although “objectify” is an ugly word for an ugly thing to do to people, I find it an encouraging reminder that we all pretty much agree on this: that each of us is so much more than the body we live in, and it’s messed up to treat each other otherwise.
So, to strike a critical tone, talk about people, attitudes, statements, decisions, descriptions, books, movies, songs, advertisements and so on that objectify people, often whole enormous groups of people, like women, athletes, consumers, etc.
Although it’s usually people who get objectified, you might talk about objectifying things that aren’t objects, like values, memories, or experiences. Here’s Tim O’Brien: “By telling stories, you objectify your own experience.”
“Their stories illustrate how a culture obsessed with celebrity, and a music industry built around objectifying young women, emboldened the multi-platinum artist while it failed dozens of young, powerless women.”
— Lorraine Ali, Los Angeles Times, 2 January 2020
“O’Flaherty, whose talent is singing, said she rejects the idea that beauty pageants objectify women. ‘The Miss America Organization has absolutely enhanced my life,’ O’Flaherty said. ‘It’s given me a platform to speak about issues that are really close to my heart.'”
— Angela Moon, Reuters, 9 September 2016