【Opinion】Is subjectivity bad?

Debates arise due to contrasting opinions, and opinions form due to subjectivity. Subjectivity is an inevitable aspect of human nature. 

Objectivity takes into account the subjective nature of perspective, finding a balance and possibly the route to truth.

Thus, both subjectivity and objectivity have and always will play a significant role in the realities of life. Most people, however, have criticised that subjectivity is bad, and objectivity is good. Is this stereotypical concept fair?

The following example can be used to explore this.

One of the areas in which subjectivity frequently exists is the critique of art. While some would agree that an artwork is creative, powerful, or excellent – others may disagree and think of it as unoriginal, bland, or unappealing. Visual arts is entirely up to one’s interpretation. It does not verbally express a certain message to influence the viewer’s opinion. From this point of view, it can be understood that subjectivity is essentially inevitable. 

Despite art students putting an immense amount of time and effort into their artwork, the result itself may be unable to appeal to critics due to their belief that the artwork is unfinished, lacking a purpose – ultimately, it is dismissed.  

The youtube video “my basically rejected RISD portfolio lol” posted by the youtube channel “cup of jasmine” showcases many artworks by Jasmine Chan that many netizens have commented with many praises for, contrary to the rejection by the art school RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) which is ranked 4th worldwide by QS 2020 under Art & Design. Below are samples of her artwork included in the video, which has 752,380 views as of today. 


Artwork name: Caged

Artwork name: Reaching


After reviewing the artwork, some viewers may justify the rejection of the artwork by the art school, while other viewers may disagree thinking that the artist’s art portfolio had not received the acceptance which it had deserved. 

Subjectivity is simply inevitable, and so critiquing situations with full objectivity is nearly impossible. To a certain extent, subjectivity and objectivity are binarily positive and negative. 

Complete objectivity is difficult to achieve, hindering progress, thus the need to shift to objectivity should not be fully favored. But objectivity is what achieves the sense of balance in order to obtain equality and justice for individuals. 

If subjectivity did not exist, society would not be able to function in a manner efficient enough, due to the unending number of conflicting opinions that would need to be considered. Aside from the focus on the need for progress, some would perceive subjectivity as the mechanism that induces individuality within the human race. 

Therefore, both subjectivity and objectivity do not necessarily have to be avoided or accepted. The decision on which one to favour is entirely dependent on what one believes would be best.

C.H.

English