The Difference Between “Handsome” And “Hot”: Yes, There Is Such A Thing As Male Objectification And It’s Not All Right



It’s only been a few days since Justin Trudeau prevailed in one of the biggest, most ubiquitous and successful elections in Canadian history till date, and the only topic filling both my Facebook and Twitter timelines are of how “hot/sexy” our new PM is and how he has “gorgeous hair.” While I understand, and clearly am aware, that Mr. Trudeau is indeed quite easy on the eyes, and it’s okay to address that. I mean it’s natural for us to comment on an attractive person’s looks from time to time. We all do it. I do it. However, the thing that’s starting to get quite bothersome is the level to which people are taking Trudeau’s good looks; it’s the only thing people seem to be talking about on social media, going as far as posting half naked pictures of him, and referring to him in vastly sexual innuendos, of which in one article published on the Jezebel blatantly referred to him as being “non-controversially  fuckable.” And, to me, this is sexual objectification. Plain and simple.

There should be no concept of “Gender” in sexual objectification. Here’s Why.

I realize I might get lots of heat and disagreements for writing this piece, especially from those who believe that there is no such thing as sexual objectification of men simply because unlike women, men have no idea what it’s like or what it means to be sexually objectified on a daily basis. The status quo is usually that of a man as the subject — the one doing the ogling and catcalling — and the woman as the object — the one who either has to protect herself from getting raped, molested, or worse. And while that is true for the most part, we can’t simply undermine the fact that men, too, can be sexually harassed/raped (by other men and women alike), and sexually objectified for being too “goodlooking.” Perhaps it may not be on such a great scale as the women who have to go through it, but we can’t deny the fact that it doesn’t happen. Though, I am aware that men who live with sexual objectification on occasion is not the same thing as women who must live within its oppressive edifice day in and day out; there is much history involved — a long history of systemic, centuries-long sexual and oppressive objectification that fortunately men have never experienced.

However, at the same time, just because men haven’t been succumbed to such oppressive forces, due to their history of power and prestige, doesn’t mean that it’s okay to objectify them in a derogatory way. Sexual objectification should not be limited to only one gender — the woman, mostly —  just because we believe that it’s all right to sexually objectify men. It’s not all right. And it’s certainly not all right to refer to someone, who happens to be in a serious role as a Prime Minister, in a crudely sexual manner, regardless whether they are a man or a woman. This is not equality. This is just being biased, picking on the male gender just so that one can justify the injustices and oppression done by them on the female gender.

Just like we hated to see women like Sarah Palin, despite some of our strong dislike towards her, constantly be sexually objectified for her great looks/body all over the internet, it’s just as unfair to constantly have to talk about and ogle Justin Trudeau’s great six packs and what not. And this has nothing to do with the notion of “reverse sexism.” It’s more so about giving respect where it’s due and seeing people beyond their superficial aspects.

Source: Huffington Post

Source: Huffington Post

I read somewhere that it’s okay to objectify Justin Trudeau, as “men actually like to be sexually objectified; because the more women desire them (sexually), the more power and self-esteem they gain.” Perhaps this statement may be true. Or, maybe not. Yet, at the same time, it doesn’t make it okay nor acceptable to go around and treat our new PM as an edible sex object. The man is married for Pete’s sake! And has three children. It’s sad enough that so many people are making it seem that the only reason he won the election was because he looked like a cross between Matthew McConaughey and Tom Cruise, or for some others, like a Disney Prince. While I personally am not too huge a fan of him (for reasons I will have to relay in a separate blog post, as I wouldn’t want to digress from the topic at hand), I believe in equality of the genders.

I realize that some will argue that when it comes to oppression that is so deeply and historically embedded in history, there is no such thing as gender equality anymore, but I don’t believe nor agree with that. I don’t agree that it’s okay and acceptable to demean or sexualize the male gender, just so. Rather, I vehemently believe that both genders deserve equal treatment and respect, no matter how difficult it may be at times. I know I struggle with this, because, again, men don’t experience oppression the same way women do; there is no comparison at all. Yet, at the same time, just like I would hate to see a bunch of men objectifying an attractive female politician, I wouldn’t want the same for an attractive male politician. Sure, a few compliments here and there are fine, but to use words like “bonable” and “fuckable” is just plain unethical.

Difference between “Handsome” and “Hot”

I once had a conversation with someone on female sexual objectification, and we both came to the conclusion that when a man tells a woman that she is beautiful, he is appreciating her, and respects her as a person and a human being. However, if he tells her that she is “hot” or “sexy” then he is objectifying her and only seeing her as a sex object. I feel that it is the same with referring to men too. Justin Trudeau is handsome — very handsome, yes — but to use terms like “hot,” “edible,” “sexy,” etc., is simply objectifying him. I know some will argue and tell me that for them “handsome” and “hot” mean the same thing, and perhaps it may, but one can’t deny that when initially perceived the former word indicates ingenuous appreciation whereas the latter denotes sexual objectification.

Anyway, I don’t expect my readers to accept and agree with everything I’ve written thus far, but the only thing I do ask is to think and perhaps even ponder over this issue.

And, like I said earlier in my post, it’s okay and acceptable to appreciate someone for their good looks. There is no harm in that. But, there should be limits as to how far one should go.

It’s time we respected that limit.

Call Justin Trudeau handsome or hot, whatever you may will, but also keep in mind that he is also our newly elected Prime Minister — he is not a model or an actor, though I shouldn’t undermine the importance of those career paths, as no job comes without its share of hard work and struggles. However, as the new PM, Trudeau now has a ton of responsibility resting on his shoulders. He has yet to prove himself as a PM, and yes, I admit, I did not vote for him.

But, he won.

And he’s our leader now.

It’s time we put aside all this high school hormonal drama and took him and his politics a little more seriously.

2 responses to “The Difference Between “Handsome” And “Hot”: Yes, There Is Such A Thing As Male Objectification And It’s Not All Right

  1. Thanks for this. I agree that when the most we can say about someone is in the context of a relationship we do not even have, the comment becomes vacuous and offensive. We lose that moment when a real and valuable opinion can be expressed. Yes, we have a new Prime Minister. I believe that he was voted in because he repeatedly spoke of keeping the campaign and the political discourse positive, and refused to engage viciously.

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