Although it is hilarious to see this, i think it is important to focus on how objectifying either sex is bad rather than how men are finally getting similar objectification treatment.
In the perfect world no-one would be objectified, but since our world is far from perfect the “let’s objectify EVERYONE instead” angle is the tongue-in-cheek alternative for equal treatment.
Yeah, I don’t think anyone should genuinely advocate for treating all people like objects, but we’re absolutely free to make fun of this idea. It’s subversive humor, one of the best coping mechanisms we humans have.
I’ve always wondered the same as marofiron – whether reversing the objectification – or any other oppressive attitude – is a good tactic in solving the problem in the long term.
Particularly if the reverse attitude becomes socially acceptable and hilarious even, whereas the original one becomes taboo.
I’d say it’s not a way of solving the problem rather than exposing it to the public through means of satire.
Sometimes it’s easier to see the wrongs of oppressive societal norms if the problem is shown in reverse to touch the privileged group. Like the little gem right here, for example.
That’s why projects like, for instance, The Liberation of Manfire or The Hawkeye Initiative are needed. They don’t promote turning men into fanservice, they show through contrast how absurd are norms of portraying women. It’s supposed to spark discussion about parodied problem, not to make it taboo (hint: the problem usually IS a taboo by default).
Coincidentally, the people confused over it often seem to be the same people who want to argue that Conan is the apex of the sexualized man, but have a very, very negative reaction to actually sexualized men.
Part of the reason they’re shocked is because it turns out society has this weird double standard where it is commonplace for commercial media to have hypersexualized and objectifying depictions of women, but goes well out of its way to avoid the slightest hint of such when depicting men.
(Or if it does depict men as such, it uses it as all kinds of unfortunate shorthands, frequently likening homosexuality to moral degeneracy or being… weird alien monsters)
Thus it helps to remind people that if there is some sort of equality in the balance of depictions, it exists only in the imagination of people who don’t have to deal with the problems the inequality brings.
Depicting men in the same Empowered is a way to really show how the bikini armor rhetoric is complete nonsense. Sometimes, just explaining that bikini armor is bad can trigger a knee-jerk reaction. People may be attached to a character who’s designed this way, or they just like to look at anime girls, or whatever. They may get defensive about it.
But put a man in that same, or similar, bikini armor, and it’s harder to look past the ridiculousness of it, because of our societal expectations. That’s why we also use the pro-bikini rhetoric language in our Empowered posts, applying it to the men instead. It’s a way to really highlight the double standard, rather than to promote the sexualization of everyone.