The Object of Objectification
1. That footstool looks uncomfortable. So why do some people love being one? It's not that far off from the allure of some animal play: it's a way to remove the day-to-day ennui and anxiety of being human and exist in a simpler state for a while. Objectification can be like meditation or any other abdication of self that results in a certain mental clearing of the decks.
2. Meanwhile, that other footstool looks turned on... Sometimes it's not so much that objectification is enjoyed as a thought exercise; sometimes it's just hot. What makes being a footstool, or an ashtray, or a plaything, erotic? For some people, it may be the ultimate domination: to be reduced to an item which is possessed and used at its owner's whim. This can feel pretty intense and, most often, safe: most people tend to take good care of their toys.
3. Is it objectification, or is it Memorex? So you're at a party, and a pretty little nearly-nude thing is on all fours with a dominant's feet propped up on its back. It's objectification, right? Well, maybe. It could be that the pretty little nearly-nude thing is being punished through humiliation: “If you can't even set up my tools properly, at least give me somewhere to rest my feet. Think you can manage that?” Or it's humiliation and objectification: “It failed to complete its chores today, so it's a footstool tonight instead of a plaything.” Or it's objectification only...which I don't have pretend dialogue for, because chatting with a footstool is just crazy talk.
4. An object lesson in etiquette. So there you are again at that party, with the pretty young thing as a footstool. It may be a footstool, but it's still someone's property – wait for an invitation from its owner before you go kicking your feet up on it, like any good guest. Similarly, don't assume that “it” is the proper term; wait for clarification, or ask.
5. Not all “it”s are created equal. As usual, pitfalls abound in BDSM terminology. Though they are few and far between, some genderqueer individuals aim to remove the word “it” of its dehumanizing connotations. When you think about it, they have a point: if “he” and “she” are “people,” but the non-gendered version is “not people,” it sends a strong message that gender equals personhood, and those who fall outside the gender binary are then, by default, “not people.” This is really only of interest to genderqueer language fetishists, but keeping you informed of the fringe is just another service we offer.