Scarlett Johansson, BAFTA Award winner and Golden Globe nominated actress best known for films like Ghost World, Lost in Translation, and more recently, Iron Man 2 and The Avengers, published an article Thursday on The Huffington Post to discuss all the tabloid magazines that have claimed that she used dangerous fad diets to shed the weight she needed to in order to fit into her Black Widow catsuit. In the excellent article, she discusses extensively how bad and dangerous it is for these rags to lie to their readerships and lead people to believe that there is some magical cure all out there that will fix their personally weight issues. It is an important article, as most of the fad diets described in these articles are simply dangerous, especially for the younger generation.
A small handful of people who read the article responded by condemning Johansson, essentially for being sexy. They strongly imply that by virtue of her appearing in a catsuit, she is somehow damaging women and encouraging objectification. It is implied by these commenters that two things are inherently anti-feminist: finding a woman’s body attractive, and a woman showing off a body that she is proud of. It is easy to sympathize with women who feel like they are thought only in terms of what they look like, but I think it does all men (and women) a disservice to imply that by being attracted to someone because of their looks, we are some how bad feminists and bad people.
Biologically speaking, just about every person is genetically wired to what to have sex with anyone who looks remotely healthy. Without this genetic need to procreate, we would go extinct. Although human intellect allows us to hold back our internal animalistic urges significantly, if we were ever able to completely control our sexual urges, the population would plummet rather significantly over the course of a few generations. Would you fault your pet cat for wanting to mate with a female companion that he just met? If you accept that humans are animals, then to call into question whether or not they should want to have sex is absurd.
Basically, if you want to have sex with Scarlett Johansson, it means that you have pulse, not that you are anti-woman. If you, like me, read this article and suddenly found yourself even more attracted to her because not only is she absolutely gorgeous, but she is also highly intelligent and snarky as hell, then it proves that you are more than simply objectifying her. If she was just an object, would it matter how smart she was? It boils down to this: objectifying women (or men) in terms of your sexual desire is perfectly normal; humans are perfectly capable of balancing this with their intellectual desires. If you think that is okay for women to be paid less for the same work, or that they shouldn’t be able to vote, or that they shouldn’t have control of their own bodies, or if you simply think that you are smarter than a woman because of your gender, THAT makes you a bad feminist. Having sexual desire for them does not.