the sexual object vs subject lens, and women

{This isn’t really a post; it’s on here basically for wordpress reasons and that I can’t comment on two posts at the same time.

Content note: I read two posts about marginalized groups I am not in, and ended up with a thought about a different marginalized group that I am in.}

So recently I read Xan West’s post On Internalizing the Cis Gaze When Thinking About Sex and Relationships, which linked back to a different post of Xan’s, Writing Fat Characters In Erotica: Why It Matters To Me. These posts both use a shared lens {I’m not sure what the right word here is?}, which is about being treated as always an object rather than a subject of desire – a setup where the ultimate hope is to be a successful object of desire, while being the subject of desire, having desire, isn’t even – in the room (and about resisting this and claiming desire).

More recently I was listening to an older relative of mine talk about some friends of hers. She was discussing their families, and about one of them said something like – ‘she never married – I don’t know why, she was so pretty’.  And it occurred to me – this is that same thing again, at women. Where the thing that matters, the thing to aspire to, is being an object of desire, meeting some metrics for success in that. While one’s own desire is – not even brought up to be thought about.

(Note, this (the re women part I mean) feels like totally the kind of thing that there’s already lots of writings about out there, that I’ve maybe even run into. But my brain isn’t coming up with specifics right now, and did have this particular thought in this way, and it was a something for me, so.)