After having read Michele White’s article “Too close to see: men, women, and webcams,” I found myself oddly frustrated. This article takes on a very feminist point of view, and considering myself a type of feminist, I felt I would very much enjoy reading it; however, while I did find it fascinating, I found myself questioning it more often than not.
White takes on the prerogative that these so called “cam girls” are objectified by their viewers because they are women on display in a close format that can be construed as obtrusive. My frustration on this stemmed from whether or not these women are really objectified by their audience when they have chosen to put themselves in front of the camera and to display themselves in such a format. The actions that they choose to act out on camera is of their own violation.
It was at this point that I realized a stripper in need of grocery money is objectified in my opinion by those men sexually gratifying themselves by buying a lap dance or tucking a dollar into her g-string, so why did White’s argument of cam girls being objectified bother me? I believe I found the root of my problem when White discussed the motivation behind many of these cam girls. Some are in fact doing it for money and require a subscription fee, others are doing it just to get traffic to their site, and some are even doing it in order to overcome shyness. So, I believe the root of my problem with the objectivity is whether or not one can make a generalization and say that all cam girls are objectified or not.
If we are to say that all cam girls are objectified by his (though no mention of male web cam operators was made in White’s article) or her audience, then are those people on Twitter with “followers” being objectified, or are bloggers, or even those using web journals? All three of those objects are open to the public and allow one to communicate to outside sources. Often virtual “friendships” (I place friendships in parenthesis because I am still skeptical on how one can be friends with someone they have never met and have no idea if what he or she has posted on his or her profile is truthful or not) are formed where pictures and private messages are sent. Is this not similar to the cam girls doing requests or holding up messages for certain viewers?
This led me to wonder if most if not all forms of media on the internet that are present to “connect” people are not just forms of objectification of not only women, but men as well. Things such as blogs, online journals, chat rooms, and these video streaming sites are sources of much skepticism by me. That is to say that while yes, I do use a few of these (please ignore the irony of the fact I am posting this on a blog), I do not consider myself to be objectified merely because I do. I feel if a man, or woman for that matter, is going to objectify me into a certain category it is going to happen no matter whether I present myself every day online for the world to watch or not, it is just a fact that because I am putting myself out there on the internet, I will of course be exposed to more of the individuals that do objectify others.
I would enjoy discussing this more in length tomorrow and getting others input and opinion on this matter. Thank you.