Same job, different uniform.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Vanity Fair and Sexual Politics

For those that read Girlfriday's insightful post the other day about the magazine's cover, here is something of interest.


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7 Comments:

Blogger girlfriday said...




I read this and two unrelated things came to mind.

What was it Jeanine Garofalo said? Until women stop running around in their underwear on screen nothing's going to change. Something close.

Second, the article asks the question: Why not a nude Brad Pitt? but barely acknowledges the primary difference in sexual arousal for men and women and resorts to calling it objectification. "’Men just aren't viewed as sex objects in the same way that women are,’ Min says. ‘Women don't think about men being naked in the same way that men think about women.’ In fact, she says, at her magazine's offices, when photos come in of a male star with no shirt on, ‘We say, 'Gross! Put some clothes on!” (Imagine that being uttered about an attractive female.)”

This is true. But it's because most women aren't wired that way, not because women don't objectify men. It's more a biological issue than a political one.

It seems these two thoughts are related after all. If women don't want to be treated like sex objects, if they don't want to abuse men's natural inclination, then they're the ones who have to draw the line.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

 
Blogger Sara E Anderson said...




You're making excuses for bad behavior here. Men may naturally be inclined to be attracted to women physically, but that's not an attribute solely held by men, and it's no excuse for objectification and misogyny. Your post about the Vanity Fair cover had the same themes, but I was hoping that wasn't what you were getting at. I personally enjoy every pang of lust I feel, but I'm a big girl and I can be happily faithful to my husband no matter how hot a hottie I pass by on the street. It is not the responsibility of women to cover up so that men don't treat them like meat. Your argument is only incrementally different than the reason given for Muslim women covering their bodies - they must be careful not to incite the passions of the men around them, they must cover up to keep from getting raped. That's not a reasonable warning - not wearing a burkha is not incitement to rape or any other dehumanaizing behavior. Neither is nudity. It's a threat to keep women under wraps and hidden away, enforced with the spectre of rape. Men have a responsibility to keep it in their pants no matter if Janet Jackson's boobie falls out during a concert. I can appreciate a person's modesty - it's nice to have a secret or two - but enforcing it with the threat of rape is insulting to men and women.

Friday, February 24, 2006

 
Blogger girlfriday said...




Who mentioned rape? There isn't a writer on this blog who thinks there is a whit of justification for rape.

Friday, February 24, 2006

 
Blogger Sara E Anderson said...




Do you agree that objectification and rape exist on the same continuum of dehumanizing women? You were engaging in "blame the victim" logic when you say that women "abuse men's natural inclination" when they show skin. I don't see how different that is from saying that girls who wear short skirts are "asking for it." Wearing a low-cut shirt is no more an invitation to be treated like a piece of meat (that is, objectified) than it is to be raped. When men objectify women, it's because they treat women badly, not because women need to cover themselves. It is the men who disrespect women that abuse their natural inclination when they claim it as an excuse for their bad behavior.

Friday, February 24, 2006

 
Blogger girlfriday said...




It’s possible you’re reading more into this than I intended. I don’t think you and I disagree.

I was strictly addressing the claims made in the article referenced by Ms. Lane. It suggests that sexual politics, or social inequities, drive magazines like Vanity Fair to produce covers like the one in question. I am suggesting otherwise. If women are going to get worked up ("ridiculous .. egotistical ... absurd") about women appearing nude on magazine covers, then women are going to have to stop posing nude.

Friday, February 24, 2006

 
Blogger Jeb said...




As my husband astutely pointed out to me one day, one of the most profound effects of the feminist movement was to give men sex without them having to beg for it or pay for it. There was once a time when women were respected for holding onto their virtues, not mocked or told they were naive. Let's be honest, the average man will almost always have sex with almost anyone. I know men who would about sleeping with a woman they wouldn't talk to in public. Where is the honor in that? BUT, if the woman who he wouldn't talk to in public wouldn't sleep with him either, then at least she'd have her dignity. Women have so much more power when they don't throw their sexuality around. You can deny it if you want, but I guarantee most of the most powerful, effective women in the world didn't use sex to accomplish their goals: Margaret Thatcher, Mother Teresa, Indira Ghandi, Queen Elizabeth I . . .

Friday, February 24, 2006

 
Blogger Snarky the Moonbat said...




Sara, while it may not be the "responsibility of women to cover up so men don't treat them like meat," women must also understand that what they put across, whether by word, implication or attire, is largely how they are going to be treated.
If you dress like a lady and expect to be treated like a lady, odds are good that you will be treated such. If you go bopping out in the world in Daisy Dukes with a white cotton top and no bra, you will be treated in another manner. And if you permit yourself to be photographed in the nude, the strong likelihood is that people will look at you and draw their own conclusions as to your character, demeanor and availability.

This is not objectification; this is simply what happens out there in the big wide world. And objectification and rape do not occupy the same continuum.
"Objectification" is the attempt to explain why men like to look at women's bodies, naked or otherwise, whereas rape is an act of sexual violence that civilized men neither condone nor accept.

But not everyone IS civilized. And women must be aware of that and take the proper precautions in the appropriate circumstances.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

 

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