6 Minute English
Episode 181101 / 01 Nov 2018
Impossibly attractive and implausibly perfect models in adverts and in movies and on TV you are much more likely to see naked or half-naked women than men. But there seems to be a trend to objectify men too. Are there any positive points to it or is it creating self-absorbed people? Listen to the discussion.
This week's question
On British TV, in which decade was a completely naked man first seen? Was it…
a) the 1940s
b) the 1950s
c) the 1960s
Listen to the programme to find out the answer.
the noun for when we reduce a human being to an object, we don't think of them as a real person anymore
someone whose behaviour is a good example that others want to copy
aim to be, hope to achieve
an adjective for something that is bad for you, something that has a negative effect
the term for someone who is so obsessed with their own body and life that they don't care about anyone else
self-conscious (about their body)
someone embarrassed about their body losing confidence in themselves as a result
Note: This is not a word for word transcript
Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English, I'm Neil.
And I'm Sam.
And in this programme we're looking at the word objectification.
Objectification is when we reduce people to objects.
An example of this is advertising and the media and in particular the way women have been shown. Impossibly attractive and implausibly perfect models in adverts and in movies and on TV you are much more likely to see naked or half-naked women than men.
Objectification can lead to issues in societysuch as inequality and discrimination. Objectification of women is a problem but what about the objectification of men?
Before we hear more, it's time for a question. Today's question is: on British TV in which decade was a completely naked man first seen? Was it…
a) the 1940s
b) the 1950s
c) the 1960s
What do you think Sam?
I'm going for the 60s.
I'll give the answer later in the programme. Now Sam, do you know the TV programme Love Island?
Yes, it's a kind of a dating show and all the contestants - men and women - spend a lot of time in their swimming costumes and they've all got perfect bodies.
Yes, that's right. It's a programme that seems equally to objectify men and women equally. But is that a bad thing? Dr Peter Lucas is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Central Lancashire. He spoke on this topic on the BBC's Woman's Hour programme. What does he suggest might be the advantage of featuring men with 'perfect' bodies?
Dr Peter Lucas
If you look at the impact of TV series like Love Island for instance, the producers of that programme present that as, have described that as being aspirational for their audience. It's presenting role models, its presenting models that people are supposed to aspire to. Now many women, thinking about the male bodies that are on display there might think well, if it means that more men get off to the gym, look after themselves physically, surely that's a good thing.
So what might be an advantage of these highly fit athletic bodies on show?
Dr Lucas suggests that seeing those bodies might encourage men to go to the gym and work hard to improve their fitness and health and that could be a good thing.
Yes, the people in the programme are described as role models. A role model is someone whose behaviour is seen as a good example for others to copy.
I'm not sure the behaviour of the people in Love Island makes them good role models, but perhaps from the point of view of their physical fitness they give us something to aspire to. If you aspire to something, it's something you can aim for, something you want to achieve. Dr Lucas also used a related word, aspirational. The TV series Love Island was described as being aspirational. It shows a lifestyle that people would like to have, something they might aim to achieve.
But there are also dangers to encouraging people to get to the gym. Here's Dr Lucas again.
Dr Peter Lucas
But also it's likely to generate higher levels of narcissism, self-consciousness, becoming obsessive about your appearance. It's not particularly an attractive feature either in men or in women and I suspect that's impacting on men's behaviour in a way which is detrimental in the same sort of way that's been detrimental for women really, for decades.
He talks about behaviour that is detrimental, this means behaviour that has a negative impact. What behaviours does he say are detrimental?
If people become obsessed by their appearance it could lead to narcissism. This is a condition where you spend so much time focussing on yourself, your own looks, your own body that you stop caring about anyone else.
And because it's very very hard to get that kind of body it can also lead to people being very self-conscious. They might become embarrassed about their bodies and lose confidence in themselves as a result.
Right. It's almost time to review this week's vocabulary, but before that let's have the answer to the quiz. In what decade was the first naked man seen on British TV? Was it…
a) the 1940s
b) the 1950s
c) the 1960s
What did you say, Sam?
I said c) the 60s.
I'm afraid the revolution had come earlier than that. The correct answer is the 1950s. It was a 1957 documentary called Out of Step, part of which was filmed at a nudist colony. Now, time for our vocabulary.
Our first word was objectification. This is the noun for when we reduce a human being to an object. We don't think of them as a real person anymore. The verb is to objectify.
Someone whose behaviour is a good example that others want to copy is a role model.
When it comes to presenting 6 Minute English, you are my role model, Neil.
You're too kind, and I aspire to your level of professionalism, Sam. To aspire to - to aim to be, to hope to achieve.
That is related to the next word, aspirational. This adjective is used to describe the desire to improve parts of you life - for example, getting a better job or a better body. Aspirational TV programmes or adverts show lifestyles that people might want to be theirs.
Our next word is an adjective for something that is bad for you, something that has a negative effect. The adjective is detrimental.
We heard that aspiring to the perfect body can be detrimental because it might lead to narcissism. Narcissism is the term for someone who is so obsessed with their own body and life that they don't care about anyone else.
Achieving that perfect body is incredibly hard and impossible for most real people and not achieving it can make people overly self-conscious - which in this situation means that they can lose confidence in themselves.
That's all we have time for today. Do join us next time and remember you can find us on the website bbclearningenglish.com. Bye bye.
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Episode 150514 / 14 May 2015
Fifty years ago, on 18 March 1965, Soviet astronaut Alexei Leonov took the first space walk. Listen to Rob and Neil describing the struggles of that ground-breaking space mission whilst explaining some related vocabulary.
Episode 150507 / 07 May 2015
Furniture with built-in wireless charging technology - like a coffee table is now being sold. 'Built-in' means the technology is included as part of the table. So you just pop your phone on the table, and technology does the rest!
Episode 150430 / 30 Apr 2015
Many animals face extinction. But people are realising that they must act now to stop further losses. A scheme to save the Asian elephant in China could provide an answer.
Episode 150423 / 23 Apr 2015
How does music make you feel? Research shows that it actually influences us more than we realise - whether we're at the movies, the supermarket, or down the pub
Episode 150416 / 16 Apr 2015
Coffee is now the most popular drink in the world. But what about the economics and politics of coffee production? It's as complicated as getting the right flavour in your cup
Episode 150409 / 09 Apr 2015
Rob and Neil put on their sunglasses to find out more about this special star and teach some related vocabulary. We promise you won’t be blinded with science!
Episode 150402 / 02 Apr 2015
The UK has become the first country to approve legislation allowing the creation of babies with genetic material from three people. Listen to Neil and Harry’s conversation and learn some related vocabulary.
Episode 150326 / 26 Mar 2015
What are some art galleries banning to protect their paintings? Find out with Neil and Harry
Episode 150319 / 19 Mar 2015
An electronic device under your skin?! Workers in Sweden take part in experiment which allows them to get in and out of their office without a key, ID or password. Listen to Neil and Harry’s chat and learn some related vocabulary.
Episode 150312 / 12 Mar 2015
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Winston Churchill’s death. He is known throughout the world for his role in defeating Nazi Germany but he also made mistakes. Listen to Neil and Mike’s discussion, and learn new vocabulary.
Episode 150305 / 05 Mar 2015
We live in a richer world. But the gap between rich and poor is still very wide in individual countries. How to change this? Listen to Rob and Harry’s discussion, and learn some related vocabulary.
Episode 150226 / 26 Feb 2015
The price of vaccines has escalated and some poor countries are struggling to prevent children from catching certain life-threatening diseases, says Medecins Sans Frontieres. Listen to Rob and Neil’s discussion, and learn some related vocabulary.
Episode 150219 / 19 Feb 2015
Will thinking computers be the end of humans? Listen to Rob and Neil’s chat and learn some related vocabulary.
Episode 150212 / 12 Feb 2015
About 37,000 tourists are expected to visit Antarctica this season. But should they be going to a region with such a sensitive environment? Listen to Rob and Neil’s conversation and learn some new vocabulary.
Episode 150205 / 05 Feb 2015
At a time when more people compete for fewer jobs, are you sure you present your skills and abilities well to a potential employer? Listen to Rob and Neil's conversation and learn some related vocabulary.
Episode 150129 / 29 Jan 2015
Going to a party where you don't know anyone? Listen to Rob and Neil's advice and learn some related vocabulary
Episode 150122 / 22 Jan 2015
We use computers for everything nowadays. Are we forgetting our own abilities - and losing our talent? Listen to Rob and Neil's discussion, and learn some related vocabulary
Episode 150115 / 15 Jan 2015
Smoking in cars with children might be banned in England. Listen to Neil and Rob's chat and learn some related vocabulary
Episode 150108 / 08 Jan 2015
Is bullying just an attempt to give a bad name to what is part of human nature? Listen to Rob and Neil’s chat and learn some related vocabulary.
Episode 150101 / 01 Jan 2015
What would you put in your time capsule? Listen to Rob and Neil’s chat and learn new vocabulary
Episode 141225 / 25 Dec 2014
When enemy soldiers sang together in WW1. Listen to Rob and Finn’s chat and learn some related vocabulary.
Episode 141218 / 18 Dec 2014
The London school where students speak 42 different languages
Episode 141211 / 11 Dec 2014
Laughter isn't always the best medicine, says research
Episode 141204 / 04 Dec 2014
Are your pictures, documents and videos safe online? Listen to Rob and Finn's chat and learn new vocabulary
Episode 141127 / 27 Nov 2014
Nowhere to park? How the sharing economy is changing the way we use our space
Episode 141120 / 20 Nov 2014
How can science fiction help the world? Rob and Finn discuss a project which aims to inspire through stories of a bright future
Episode 141113 / 13 Nov 2014
Why is eating meat bad news?
Episode 141106 / 06 Nov 2014
Do real-life superheroes exist or are they just cartoon characters?
Episode 141030 / 30 Oct 2014
Rob and Finn discuss the World Health Organisation's recommendations on e-cigarettes
Episode 141023 / 23 Oct 2014
Should we eat less sugar? Listen to Rob and Neil and learn new vocabulary
Episode 141016 / 16 Oct 2014
Is learning English getting easier? Find out what's new
Episode 141009 / 09 Oct 2014
Why do we buy so much food and not eat it all? Learn more about food waste
Episode 141002 / 02 Oct 2014
Is it right to sleep at work? Rob and Finn discuss the benefits of sleeping on the job.
Episode 140929 / 29 Sep 2014
Is the way we see famous people a new thing? Learn about the first 'modern celebrity'.
Episode 140821 / 21 Aug 2014
Bored? You're not alone. Rob and Finn discuss how to deal with boredom and teach some related vocabulary. We promise you won't be bored!