521. The Difference Between Companionship And Commodification
In the entries 519 and 520 I mentioned the objectification of women. But after further pondering I got aware, that objectification in the literal sense is only a part of the bigger problem of the commodification of women. Women are not only used as bodies, they are often also degraded to the function of rendering other services.
Literally, objectification is degrading women to be used as passive objects, mainly by rape, prostitution and pornography.
Commodification degrades women also to the role of objects. But they are considered as more advanced objects, which are not just passive but have functions like appliances.
An appliance like for example a toaster or a vacuum cleaner is perceived as an object to fulfill a specific function, whenever a button is pressed.
- Without functioning, the object has no value.
- The object is maintained according to a manual or common knowledge.
- The object is not an individual, but one specimen from mass production and thus interchangeable with any other object supplying the same function.
- Only the user decides, when and how to use the appliance.
- He expects to retrieve it from where and how he has left it, no matter for how long he stores it in a locker.
- The purpose of the existence of the appliance is serving the user by functioning at his convenience.
- Once he has gained control over an appliance, he considers it his property to be used at his convenience ever after.
- He feels entitled to benefit from the function as long as it pleases him and to discard of the appliance also at his convenience.
When a man commodifies women, he perceives and treats them as if women were appliances. This is derived from an attitude of the asymmetrical entitlement to selfishly living his live entirely at his own convenience, no matter what this does to the women.
- A woman is not appreciated or valued independently of the benefits, which the man subjectively derives from her according to his needs. The man is maximizing the quality of life for himself by adding whatever benefits he can usurp by using a woman. This is not limited to using her body, it includes also using her skills and knowledge, which are perceived as isolated benefits, not as indications of her having any other competence.
- The man decides to treat the woman according to what he considers as her due and expects her to respond by functioning and not failing. His assumption as to what is her due comes from many sources, be it hearsay, prejudice, projection, previous experience, even trial and error. This can be any source except asking her. He does not consider to ask her as he does not consider to ask the vacuum cleaner how to be handled.
When he believes to keep her under good maintenance, any dysfunction is believed to be her flaw.
- The woman is not perceived as an individual with a personality, but as one specimen from the multitude of standard women, easily interchangeable with any other woman to get the same benefits.
- The man makes solitary decisions the same way as a single man does, including the one when to demand and receive the benefits from the woman and the modalities of how.
- The man comes and goes at his convenience, he decides when to be together and when to be separated without her consent. But he expects the woman to always be there waiting and ready for him.
- The man believes the woman to exist for the purpose of serving his benefits at his convenience. He is oblivious of the commodified woman's own needs and personality.
- Once he has gained control over a woman, he
considers her as his property to be used at his convenience ever after, no matter how he treats her.
His control causes her insecurity. Being commodified by a man, whose decisions come for her out of the blue, while she is helpless to influence or prevent, what he does to her, means to have no security, no reliability, no predictability. Anything can be done to her at any moment, she cannot even prepare herself for what she cannot foresee.
- The man feels entitled to dump a woman, when she does not function any more due to his expectations.
Commoditification and domination are two sides of the same coin. The attitude of commodifcation serves to justify domination, and only domination enables someone with an outrageous attitude like commodification to have an impact upon victims.
The situation of asymmetrical distribution of power in a relationship facilitates the domination over an commodified woman.
A man's superior power can be caused
- by his physical strength
- by his economic strength
- by the discrepancy between the biological differences. A man, who is attracted to a body, which he perceives as easy to replace, is less attached than a woman attracted and attached to a man's unique and individual personality. Attachment creates vulnerability, while lacking attachment gives power.
There is a vicious circle: Commodification impedes emotional attachment. Lacking emotional attachment adds to the power needed to maintain domination and commodification. Thus, commodification tends to perpetuate itself, once it is established.
Commodification precludes companionship, which is defined by sharing decisions, sharing resources, cooperation, the identity as a part of a couple being a team, a fair exchange of giving and receiving, communication, consideration, responsibility.
1. By the traditional gender roles, a house wife is commodifed, if the man only wants her for the purpose to find dinner ready every evening, have a clean home and share the bed, while he is not interested in spending any leisure time or sharing any activity with her. Spending his free time instead with his hobbies and his buddies denies her to be a companion.
2. Commodification is not limited to manual services as a housekeeper. It can be more subtle. Even a woman's mental skills can be used as a mere commodity without appreciation for her person.
When a couple travels in a country, where only the woman speaks the language, and the man has health problems, there are two scenarios:
2.1. As companions, they discuss and decide together, how to handle the situation. Then she communicates on his behalf with whoever is consulted. They perceive themselves as a teamed couple and they trust each other as being able and motivated to act in the best interest of both.
2.2. When the man considers the woman as a commodity, the situation is very different. He decides alone and without consulting her, what he wants to do, and he demands her to execute his unquestioned decisions. She is to him nothing better than a translation machine, who is not recognized as having any more competence except the isolated skill of translating. He demands her to translate every word as authentically as possible. She is not considered as apt to interfere at all with any of his decisions.
3. A couple has unresolved conflicts and their time together is limited.
3.1. As companions, both suffer from unresolved issues and solving conflicts has priority in their shared decision, how to use their time.
3.2. For a man, who has commodified a woman, there are no unresolved issues. He considers it his task to handle the commodity for his benefits. When he gets, what he wants, nothing is wrong, no matter, how the woman experiences the situation. Whenever he does not get, what he wants, he considers it his right and his job alone to enforce his will and impose his decisions upon her. Getting, what he wants, is success, again no matter what she experiences..
When he prefers to spend the time without her, he just does it. When he wants to leave, he just leaves. Her needs do not matter and do not exist for him. When her ignored and denied needs make her too dysfunctional to what he feels entitled to get from her, this justifies his dumping her.
My mindmate to be found is a man, whose innate intrinsic needs are to be a companion, and for whom commodification of a woman is alien to his personality.