silverthorne: Painting of a cougar sneaking through underbrush (Default)
[personal profile] silverthorne

A completely incoherent rant on why women ‘go batshit’ over barely clothed ‘warrior women’ on the covers of various publications (and other things that make them get uppity).

(I make no promises that this will make sense or follow any sort of coherency. Just…stay with me. Thanks.)

It’s common these days, as things like this usually are when a portion of the population is struggling for what they consider to be equal rights. They ask for new, different treatment of certain things, the ‘old’ establishment stumbles and falls and skins their knees and then there’s blood in the air and things get messy. And as always, the beleaguered ‘victims’ of this mini massacre always crawl away from the fray going ‘What the hell? It wasn’t that bad!’

Well, okay, fair enough. You’re acting under the assumption that since you’re following the current social status quo that everything is copacetic and you’re doing nothing wrong. Hell, even members of the community that’s trying to skin you alive agree with you, so it must be okay, what you just did. You’ve just run across a bunch of hypersensitive babies, right?

Well, no. Not really. What you’ve done is managed to find the ones that don’t actually think what you did was all right at all, and after years of telling you why and getting their noses rubbed in it, you’re still rubbing their noses in it. Typically speaking, unless the other person is completely broken, they’re going to try and do a bit of nose rubbing themselves, especially since simply explaining it to you didn’t work the first time. Or the fiftieth.

Here’s my full disclosure before we can any further, so that those of you who tend to discount articles like this because the writer's life experiences ‘color their opinion’ can leave now. If you don’t have the empathy or mental fortitude to understand why maybe I might be a little more qualified to say something on the matter than someone who has never had any of these experiences, it’s guaranteed you won’t get the gist of what I’m about to say, and I am therefore wasting my time on you, as much as you are wasting your time by reading what I have to say. So spare us both, go find someone to read who is more in line with your way of thinking and willingness to think.

Okay? Is everyone wading in the correct kiddie pool now? Good. Here we go.

I am in my mid 40s, have worked a receiving dock for fifteen years on my own (so I am fully aware of and capable of working in ‘a man’s world’, and on their terms), have had a good relationship and several abusive ones with men, been raped twice by close loved ones, and even now have a severe reluctance to trust any man that has more than an interest in friendship with me. It doesn’t mean I hate them, but I am fully aware of what a man can and will do to ‘own’ a woman in the way he wants to, and what it can take to get away from that and save myself. I am also fully aware of some wonderful, awesome gentlemen who I would never have a problem sharing space with, and it’s my hope that they are the representatives of the gender that outlast the others. It’s my dream, even though I know it takes all types and that there will always be that guy out there.

That being said, I am also a huge fan of science fiction, fantasy, horror, comic books, animation, tabletop gaming, MMOs and so forth. All very much male dominated areas. All very much subject to the woman in a mail clad bikini counting as being fully armored. I’ll also be upfront and honest in that I actually don’t mind that kind of costuming in and of itself. Some of those costumes are gorgeous and intricately designed and I’m a fan of the human body regardless of its gender.

But I am also painfully aware of where the interest in such costuming comes from, at least from the male (and, again, mine) perspective. If nothing else, reality, real life experience itself points out what the problem is in a very obvious way. And I’ll put it like this:

If a male delivery driver is dropping off something at the dock and is greeted by a male receiver, it would be very rare (and likely a cause for at least some threatened violence, I’m sure), for the driver to greet and talk to the receiving clerk while staring at his package and marveling at the size thereof (I’m talking about the one between the guy’s legs here, that he was born with. Just in case you couldn’t figure that out for yourself). Almost invariably though? I was greeted with eyes-to-boobs by first time drivers. Or, better yet, eyes over my head while they went looking for the ‘real’ receiving clerk. Those guys were the fun ones to chase down. Even better when it was obvious they didn’t think they had to listen to me (they learned better very quickly, though). The point? Because I was a woman, instead of a fully professional (or at least serious) reaction, the drivers would either discount me, or, essentially, treat me as an object to stare at.

Specifically, to stare at my breasts.

Admittedly, my ladies are, indeed, impressive (I could give Dolly Parton a run for her money and possibly win, too), but you know, I’m not on the dock to show them off. I’m on the dock to sign for the pallet of supplies the guy just brought, so I can break it down, get things stored and loaded and delivered, and get the info into the computer so that the hospital can pay its bills on time.

Nowhere in there does having nice, big, appreciable breasts have any impact on my job. How high the driver’s Levis rise, maybe. But that’s stuff he shouldn’t be concentrating on while on the clock anyway. (And please don’t tell me that’s just ‘natural’ for a guy. I get turned on at work too—but I sure as hell don’t let myself get carried away with it. Me. Job. Sex has nothing to do with either at that moment in time. If I, as the so-called lesser sex, can control myself enough to at least keep my mind on task instead of fingering myself in a corner over your dazzling smile, big baby blues, and perfect six-pack abs, so can you, oh great provider protector hero dude.)

Anyway, back to the point and what this has to do with those nifty metal bikinis. Which is this; experience says that no matter where people are, or what people are doing, a good chunk of the male population thinks it is entirely all right to treat the women in question as something to be stared at first, above all other consideration, regardless of what’s going on.

That, dear sirs, is called ‘objectification’. You don’t see the woman as a worthy business partner first, or a smart adversary, or someone who might even be able to do a better job at the task at hand than you. No, what’s acknowledged first is how big that bulge in your levis can potentially get in regards to the woman you are currently looking at.

And that, in all honesty, is also what all those bikini clad (and speedo clad, too) covers are all about. And the booty shots in movies. And the close ups of ruby red lips and rounded hips. Not how well she can swing that sword in her hand (and face it, once you get into the meat of the story, how many of those women are allowed to stay completely and independently sword swinging without a man getting involved and taking her to bed at some point (or at least rescuing her) in the plot? Go on, go look. I’ll wait here while you go find that handful of examples). Not how smart she is, or clever, or successful. What you’re being shown is ‘oh wow, look at that rack, look at those legs (clothed or not, it all tends to be skin tight), look at those lips and hair and dude…! What A Fox!

But, but, they do that to the guys too!
That’s the protest. And yes, they do. To an extent. And somehow only when it’s genre appropriate. (Looking at the recent related protest cry by a certain person over at that scifi magazine kerfluffle here. Nice try at a deflect, guy). Yeah, sure, Conan runs around in a bearskin bikini. He’s also a barbarian. His spacefaring buddies though? Get an appropriate spacesuit to wear, or at least a nice, Han-solo like leather outfit that keeps all the nice parts covered. Chances are though? His space faring lady companion? Will probably be hanging off of his leg and dressed much like Princess Leia chained to Jabba the Hut. Or still in a scifi version of the metal battle bikini if she gets the cover to herself. Or the leather attire will be both low cut and midriff baring. And, if it's really daring, she'll have thigh high boots and artistically placed 'keyhole' cuts in her pants. If she's wearing any. It'll still be skin tight, regardless.

As for romance novels? Well, at least everyone is in various states of undress on the cover--both Mr Abs and the Delicate Maiden that's clinging to him for dear life (or is that dear orgasm. I get confused with those covers sometimes). So, yes, much as it’s tempting to use them as a defense…still not an appropriate or effective counter argument. Sorry.

But it’s just a damn fictional story! Why should it matter if the woman is half dressed and being oogled?

That’s always the last protest, isn’t it? Why would it matter. Why should it matter?

Very simply put; because although both sexes have been ‘appreciated’ over the centuries for their bodies, usually the appreciation for women also came loaded with things like ownership, being considered chattel and baggage, studied and bid for like a horse at auction.

Women were considered objects that, although they could ‘inflame a man’s soul’ and drive him to do stupid things (as well as ‘rightfully’ force himself on said woman because of ownership or marriage or need to procreate, or because God Said The Man of the House Has That Right no matter what the woman wants), still had no control over their own fate or the result of said attraction. We were (and sometimes still are when we are that unlucky with our relationships), something to be owned, possessed, used and thrown aside without so much as a thank you when the man felt like it. Because he liked how we looked. And because he didn't like it anymore and it was just one more possession he didn't need. We try that on the man? Our reward is at best to be alone and unwanted because we were already used once. At worse, we are whores who deserve the solitude, abuse, and distain that gets heaped on us afterward.

It is very much still a man's world in that. And the art in various media reinforces that ingrained thought process.

We are aware of this. Some of us embrace it anyway-—which of course helps to reinforce that it’s all right that all woman are treated that way. Like we're a monolith. But these days, a good chunk of us, aware as we are, are also tired of being that object. We’re not just here to give the guys something to stare at, something to fuck, something to provide an ongoing bloodline for. We want more. We want to be the equals that is given lip service to, but so often in reality is pushed aside and demeaned as soon as we protest and try to state what we think equality (and respect) happens to be.

And well, when confronted with art, literature, and some very angry men that got kicked in the teeth when the words ‘no don’t do that’ didn’t work, we will get defensive. And uppity. And read things into it. Because, you see, experience tells us this much—once the man decides it’s okay to treat us like brainless objects again, then actually being turned into one isn’t too far behind.


silverthorne: Painting of a cougar sneaking through underbrush (Default)

August 2013

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