Gather round, everyone! Widdershins presents…

Its First Online Class on the subject of “Objectification, how it affects us personally and what we can do about it”

Awesome! I’m really excited and I’m proud to say I’m not completely paralysed with fear. Which is sure proof that this stuff works!

So. What is this Online Class of which you speak?

It’s like a Feminist workshop, but online. ‘Cuz it’s the future, yo!

You sign up HERE and you’ll be sent an e-mail with a link. On Sunday at 7 you log in to the site by following the link and using your e-mail address. Then you’ll be taken to a lovely place where you will be able to listen to me and chat online with the other Feminists. Neat, huh?

And what does this class consist of again?

Short answer: I have no idea. Yet! But I have a story!

I asked on Twitter “what feminist issue has affected you the most in your personal life?

And Hannah told me about a whole bunch of stuff which can be summed up with “objectification”.

So a part of me went “AHA! We need to help feminists with THIS”.

And that’s what I’m gonna try to do.

I’m going to try to give you an overview of how you can use mindfulness based techniques to deal with the internal “stuff” that results from living in a patriarchal society where such a thing as objectification exists. Trying to help you ease your way into playing with ways to establish boundaries so that objectification doesn’t get under your skin so much.

Why are you doing this, Mary?

Well… you know how I’m the world’s first and only “Political Activist’s Life Coach”? (Which means I coach political activists to help them be happier)

I need to try out my techniques with actual Feminists, and get clearer on what I’m offering. Because being the “first and only” means I have to make this up as I go along.

And I want to get better at helping Feminists. I know it is possible, and I know I have the knowledge, but I need to get better at crafting something they can actually understand and use.

I know that mindfulness stuff helps. But I need to get better at explaining how.

What if I can’t make it?!?

Well… I can’t promise anything, but there may be a recording. It will depend on how the Technology Gods are feeling towards us. And whether I can stomach hearing myself speak… (I have an accent. And a lot of issues).

But if there’s a ton of interest, I may just transcribe the class into a .pdf file.


What I want from you…

Questions, questions, lovely questions! All your “But…!” and your doubts and your issues with these ideas.

If my work is to help you and people like you, I need to get super clear on what you struggle with.

Patience. For me, because I’m learning on the job and these concepts are still relatively new to me.
For yourself, because these concepts are super hard to put into practice and take lots of time (they are also the only thing that works, so there’s that).

Appreciation: I’m doing this from the bottom of my heart, as a gift to you and other feminists. You don’t have to like it or agree with it, but please keep this in mind.

Compassion. For yourself and other Feminists. This stuff is super difficult. (Which is why most “life coach-ey” people don’t address them). We are all struggling with some aspect of it, we’ve all been “scarred” in some way or another. Compassion and understanding goes a long way towards healing.

I think that’s it.

Oh, one more thing. The Technology Gods can be moody. If anything happens, we regroup on this post here.
And another thing! We’re on Facebook now! Oh yes, this is gonna be fun!

See you on Sunday! And remember:


Susan · February 9, 2013 at 18:58

I grew up with a negative body image being told I was fat, “too big” lot of this from female relatives in particular coupled with a negative and abusive home life being told I was worthless. I felt as attractive as a medium sized hippo lumbering clumsily through life. Imagine my surprise when I ventured out as a 18 year old girl and found to my utter astonishment that there were men out there who found me attractive. I have naturally very large breasts. My concern is it was a form objectification that gave and built my self esteem. To this day my breasts attract attention which I hate but I have gotten used to. What I want to ask is objectifications always bad and I know the answer should be yes but is that really truly always the case.

Mary Tracy · February 9, 2013 at 20:27

Hi Susan. Thanks for your comment, and I’m sorry you went through the pain you went through.
My first piece of advice would be to try as much as you can to let go of the “judgement” around objectification, with either making it “good” or “bad”.
If objectification happens, then it happens. And it’s only after we let go of the judgements that we can work with it. That’s the first step.
As you say, it is possible that you have built your self esteem around objectification. It happens more often than we thin, perhaps to all of us. So it’s very normal. We live in a society that encourages us to think of ourselves as a collection of “parts”, so some people for instance reduce themselves to a “job title”. That’s a form of objectification.
It is possible to “do the work” and get closer to seeing ourselves as a “whole”, and I highly recommend it. Because once we’re there, once we can access our “core”, then we know, in our heart of hearts, that we are “worthy” that we are “loveable”, that we are “OK”, no matter what happens, no matter what our bodies look like. And we feel much more confident and happy.
Hope to see you at the workshop :)

Lou · April 25, 2013 at 23:33

I have just seen this and think its brilliant. Very brave comment above as well. Something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently is that objectification, dehumanisation, can be psychologically helpful in an odd way. If someone only raped part of you they didn’t get right inside YOU. I think I somehow found that detachment helpful for a long time but I can no longer do that and it’s more painful than ever because I suddenly feel that person really did get right into what makes me ME which is terrifying. What I am thinking I guess is, is that a thing that other people have done? And how do you go through that process of seeing and loving yourself as whole if you’ve used that objectification yourself to detach and make something less painful? Even using the victim blaming to make it less painful. Hope this makes sense!!!

Mary Tracy · April 26, 2013 at 21:17

Hi Lou
I’m trying to come up with something that might help. Here’s what I have.

* The core of you cannot be “tainted”. The core of you, the youness of YOU, the most you part of you, the very essence of your humanity cannot be tainted in any way. I cannot “prove” this to you rationally, so you might have to trust me on this one.

* Sometimes when we go through seriously painful situations the pain we experience is too much. So we “save it up for later”, as it were. I think that’s what happens when we experience “detachment”. It’s a coping mechanism, and its purpose is to protect us at the time from falling apart completely.
What this means is that, after some time goes by, we have to interact with this pain we “saved up” and… feel it. Which can be so, so, so fricking difficult and scary that it may feel impossible. But the alternative would have been to feel it all at the time, and that would have been even harder.
The best way is to go little by little. That’s how I’m working with all my past traumas. Sometimes I say to myself “I know where this pain comes from, and I acknowledge its right to be here, and I’m going to feel it for a while, but when it gets too much, I’ll say so, because I have to be kind to myself as well”.

* The last thing you may want to consider is… boundaries. You can check out my post on how I worked with this “unseemly event” and separated between “the man’s stuff” and “my stuff”.
In essence, just because someone has “objectified you”, it doesn’t mean you have to take his perception of you as valid. You can work with it and “separate it out”.

In short: detachment may feel like “objectification”, but it’s a coping mechanism.

I hope some of this helps! I’m sending you support waves, just in case.

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