Subliminal messages and Free will

Admit it, this is making you think of playing Dead or Alive: Paradise right now, and making you wish you wanted her in your pants.

As you can guess, I am a believer in free will, and as you can also guess, my belief in free will and choice often runs into conflict with the idea espoused by others that we are brainwashed by subliminal messages, or other forces beyond our control, and that no choice or action is our own. I, however, have a different solution.

You know that ads and other media often carry subliminal messages. However, these messages are merely inspirations that steer or affect your desires, choices, and later actions, which are still your own. Therefore, even though there are influences, you are still responsible for all your actions, thoughts, desires, and choices. That’s why I believe that just because we have subliminal messages doesn’t mean there is no social free will.

For instances, the image for this post (screenshot of the PSP game Dead or Alive: Paradise) is an example of the classic “sex sells” tactic. You all know how this goes. Put in a sexually attractive figure and use it sell your product. A nice sexy woman for the young men, and a physically well-toned man for the women. Now, this does send messages inspiring you to buy the product, due to the association of the product with the sexually attractive figure. But it is your choice, that you are responsible for, just that the message affects said choice. Sex isn’t the only thing that sells. For men, power, boldness and strength are quite appealing as well. Meanwhile, in women, sensitivity and affection seems to be a recurring source of appeal. And of course, beauty has great appeal to all, in different ways. This could just be a generalization on my part, coming from opinion.

It helps, though, to be aware of the messages, that things do influence and inspire you in some way, but at the same time, do not deny your accountability to your own actions.

Objectifying women?

Looking at women through sexual eyes seems to be taboo to most, even vile. But I don’t see it that way. When I see women, I anything but a doll. I see beauty, but I don’t see an object. Surely sexual attractiveness is a part of beauty, is it not? And for me, all parts of the beauty I see are important. Therefore, I find that the sexual attractiveness of a women, however one defines it, is just as important as personal characteristics. In acknowledging her attractiveness, I am not objectifying her, but rather respecting an important part of her beauty, and I try to my best to be honest about it when I get the chance.

Let’s be clear, when you objectify someone, you view them as unimportant, expendable, valuable only in shallow ways, not having any rights, and not even having a soul. Who’s to say the men sending soldiers to their deaths aren’t objectifying them? Who’s to say company bosses aren’t objectifying their workers by treating them as nothing but expendable slaves? Who’s to say religious leaders don’t objectify their followers as mere sheep? Who’s to say we aren’t objectifying our children by treating them like we would our pets, or at worst abusing them? That is not how I view women at all. I do not view women as mere playthings or fodder without souls or rights. And why should I be lumped in with such people just because I look for sexual attractiveness in women? Of course sexual attractiveness isn’t all there is to women, but it is one the things that completes female beauty.

To be fair, if there is one part of society that actually does objectify women, it’s advertising. Advertising, usually, does not respect female beauty, but rather views women and their sexual attractiveness as just tools to sell products. Oh, and what about fashion? Fashion only sees one part of female beauty, and tries to impose whatever it sees as beautiful on both women and girls.

To conclude an unusually long post, we all have different ideas of beauty and sexual attractiveness, but it is important to respect one as important to the other.