DOUBLE STANDARDS – Jon Hamm and the Female Gaze

His eyes are up here, you pervert!

Actor Jon Hamm has been targeted for a whole lot of snickering about his genitals of the sort that no female actor has ever been, to my memory.

Ths is in the context of decades of blue-nosed hectoring abut “sexual objectification” when men look at women’s breasts – only now when the shoe is on the other foot, it’s quite alright for women to twitter over some guy’s bulge.

Bullshit. Make up your minds. The we can agree together on a standard of behavior. You don’t get to waffle and play cute and whine “But this is different…..!”

 

Hamm was instructed to wear more concealing underwear on the set because he was showing too much. Where’s all that indignation about hijab and how it’s not women’s responsibility…..

And let’s stipulate to something: breasts and penises are not equal when it comes to gawking. This is a point that seems to elude Alyssa Rosenberg. Andrew Sullivan tries to give her credit for sympathizing, when she really isn’t; she dismisses his complaint with a false equivalence to the way women actors’ breasts are gawked at.

Remember the flap over Seth McFarlane’s ditty at the Oscars, the one about “we see your boobs”. High dudgeon, lots of young wisps harrumphing like stodgy matrons over the crudity, the effrontery, the lack of respect for women… Remember that one? So where’s the dudgeon now? Have they all fallen silent?

Crickets chirping…..

This is how breasts and penises differ when it comes to being gawked at. Where men dress to hide their penises, women dress to flaunt them. It’s quite possible to wear clothes that reduce the visual signature of your breasts, but Western women don’t dress like that (and men thank them for that!). And that’s fine. But then they don’t get to turn around and castigate men for doing what they intend them to do as a way to manufacture plausible deniability of some supposed, bogus moral looseness. “Flaunt it if you’ve got it” and then just own it. Please, a little honesty would clear the air wonderfully.

This is what would be equivalent – when is the last time you heard a woman actor’s vagina discussed or snickered about in the press or on the internet? Alyssa Rosenberg mentions Ann Hathaway’s nipples below; what do we know about Ann Hathaway’s vagina? For all we know it could be the size of the Grand Canyon. Why is no one snickering about that? Because we don’t know and because we have the sense not to go there when it’s a woman – as we should not.

And why would we anyway – camel toes aren’t really as photogenic anyway.

Let’s say we make an exception for actors. Actors get paid to show it, especially women. And while you personally may think that’s unfair, that is after all the deal they make of their own very free and very well-rewarded will, but it makes my point. A woman actor’s career lifespan is limited by age in a way a man’s is not necessarily. (Although male actors have about the same shelf life in the main as women, let’s not be coy; when was the last time you heard anything about Josh Hartnett?). Limited by her age, not by her acting skills, which presumably improve with practice – so that’s what women actors are selling, their looks and attractiveness. So why the dudgeon when someone points that out in a song?

Now penises - what happens when a man shows his penis in public? Very rarely does he get a movie contract for it. Does he? Or that a new nickname for the Sex Offender Registry? So the actor exception does not apply in this case. Request denied.

And another thing. Rosenberg doesn’t know what objectification is. When she says:

“What makes Hamm different from, say, Anne Hathaway, who had to weather discussion about the appearance of her nipples in her Academy Awards dress, is that Hamm isn’t used to being objectified.”

(Right, because the nipples she is flashing, and I do mean FLASHING, through sheer fabric - are totes identical to her genitals. Not really the same thing at all, is it?)

She is showing both that she doesn’t know what objectification is and that she is ignorant of men’s lives and the multitude of ways men are objectified in society – cannon fodder, disposable industrial labor, subjectivity denied, silenced about their issues with traditionalist macho narratives and feminist privilege narratives and obfuscations…

Here’s the deal: Women who are all affronted that Jon Hamm is showing, you’re perving. You’re perving. Don’t even bother denying it. Women keep your pervy eyes off Jon Hamm’s crotch.

That’s my job. Yeah, no. He says he’s tired of it; that’s all the rest of us need to know. Are we all clear on that , ladies?

 No. Here’s the actual deal. I have no right to tell what you can and can’t do with your eyes. JUST AS YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO TELL A MAN WHAT HE CAN DO WITH HIS EYES.

So make up your mind. Either you are entitled to gawk at Jon Hamm’s crotch and have nothing to say when men stare at your boobs that you put on proud display, or else keep your eyes off of people’s genitals.

And no, you don’t get to have it both ways. You don’t get to giggle and bat your eyes and say a lady is entitled to change her mind – back and forth, back and forth. No.

 

EDIT: Re: Crickets - I spoke too soon. Brava, Arwa Mahdawi! She says a lot of the right things. But then she goes and stuffs her foot in her mouth:

“However, for the most part, men are still more relaxed about their bodies than women.”

And then the snide insinuation it’s all a publicity stunt. Why, Ms. Mahdawi, if anyone made the same suggestion about a woman fussing about having her vagina snickered at and discussed, it would be all furthering the rape culture and shit.

Oh well. It was nice while it lasted. Keep trying, Ms. Mahdawi. Treating people equally takes practice.

Nice try at empathy. It’s probably not really natural to you anyway.

 

33 thoughts on “DOUBLE STANDARDS – Jon Hamm and the Female Gaze

  1. Ginkgo

    Actors get paid to show it, especially women. And that’s unfair, but it makes my point.

    Why is it unfair?
    Somebody offers somebody else money for showing their body. What exactly is unfair about that?

    Women keep your pervy eyes off Jon Hamm’s crotch.

    That’s my job.

    This is great!

  2. One wonders what life would be like if camel-toe was seen as attractive.

  3. Jupp,
    “Why is it unfair?”

    You know, I wasn’t real sure of that as I wrote it, and I am going in to refine that.

    Oh and you liked that last bit? I considered and reconsidered that one for a while.

    Druk,
    “One wonders what life would be like if camel-toe was seen as attractive.”

    I am so stealing this one!

  4. Druk on 2013-03-29 at 9:44 pm said:
    “One wonders what life would be like if camel-toe was seen as attractive.”
    ——————————————
    By people other than me, you mean? (TMI?)

  5. Welcome, Snake Oil Baron!

    Not TMI. But I just wonder why there isn’t more of it.

  6. Regarding the discussion of dromedary phalanges (out of curiosity, is there a name for the male counterpart? It seems kind of cumbersome to describe without one and there’s certainly enough of it, not that I’m complaining):

    I think that it’s either considered somehow inappropriate or overly exploitative for most films or it’s just not part of the accepted narrative of ‘sexy’ that seems to inform all the eroticized images of women one sees outside of pornography (where at least three sites exist for anything you can think to look for and usually a good deal more). I know that you often see highly exaggerated camel-toe in Japanese erotic or pornographic art (I can’t tell you whether this is the case in regular Japanese pornography because I have only seen enough of that to know that it is pretty much all terrible).

    It continues to confuse me that there seems to be such a singular view of what constitutes ‘sexually attractive’ in our popular culture. It’s kind of off-putting, especially if it’s not an image that you particularly care for, and it doesn’t mesh at all with the wide range of tastes an opinions I see voiced on anonymous message boards, where people generally feel a lot more free to discuss their sexuality than they would in normal life.

  7. It’s just more gynonormativity. Women don’t find cameltoe attractive. Men (straight men, obviously) like women’s fannies, and like looking at them, but we’re not supposed to say so, because women take offence.

    Reminds me of an article I read many years ago in a British film magazine, possibly Empire, about films with nude scenes in them. Each scene was marked with symbols to represent which body parts were on view, and the key gave the meaning of the symbols. I think the meanings given were “bum”, “boobs”, probably “willy” – and for the female pudenda, “the holy of holies”.

  8. This is absolutely related to the previous post re: Adria Richards power play to police sexuality to her standards.

    It is the same vein of thinking that allows a woman to become offended when he makes a pun that alludes to a penis, when that very same woman has no problem making dick jokes herself. It’s the same thinking that allows women to become offended at the sight of pixelated titties in video games, while ignoring the hundreds (thousands?) of bare chested men. (Ever played the video game “Heavy Rain”? As a check on how highly you value sexuality of the two genders, were you more shocked by Ethan getting nude and taking a shower, or by Madison doing the same? I know I didn’t bat an eyelash when the guy got nude, but I was a little shocked I would “get to” see the chick get naked.)

    Somehow, breasts are always compared to penises, as you noted, Ginkgo. Sexual economy (and it’s inherent devaluation of men’s sexuality) at it’s finest. And the women who do so are the self same writers who rage, all full of sound and fury, at “objectification” of women, and how women’s sexuality is valued so highly. Of course, they would never say it like that, because it doesn’t sound ominous that way. They would of course say a woman is judged by her sexuality, or that women only matter to men because of their sexuality. One might as well say that men only matter to women because of their ability to provide stability and safety.

    At any rate, I think this very well presents a solution to the argument that many 3rd wave feminists put forth:

    1) An oppressed group always understands what it is like to live as both oppressed and oppressor

    2) Women are oppressed by men

    Therefore: Women understand what it is like to live as a man.

    I don’t think the bullshit level on this argument really needs to be pointed out to people here, but the whole John Hamm situation really highlights just how wrong at least one of those two premises is. FWIW, I think both tend to be wrong, with 1) being pretty much wrong, and 2) being utter crap.

  9. “the holy of holies”

    Gives “Raiders of the Lost Ark” a new perspective.

  10. ES, that comment is getting elevated to a post. It just nails it.

  11. “Regarding the discussion of dromedary phalanges (out of curiosity, is there a name for the male counterpart? It seems kind of cumbersome to describe without one and there’s certainly enough of it, not that I’m complaining):”

    “Lunchbox” saw some use when I was growing up, but seems to have fallen out of favour.

  12. EquilibriumShift:

    Did the guy actually get all the way naked in Heavy Rain? I could have sworn that David Cage left him in his underpants or something like that. Anyway, I was more shocked by how terribly written that sex scene was (‘Hey guy, I know you’ve been doing nothing but obsessively searching for your kidnapped son for days and you just suffered serious electrical burns all over your body, but I thought it would be nice if we took a break to fuck while the serial killer gets away’). Anyway, I’m always annoyed at the way a lot of guys act like seeing a man’s naked ass is the same as having acid thrown in their faces. Remember how many people freaked out at the shower scene in ‘Will Smith Stars in Ruining Classic Works of Science Fiction Beginning with the Letter I Part 1′? They act like they’re terrified to admit that the male body can be attractive. Part of it is obviously an effort not to appear ‘gay’, but there’s definitely also a message that men’s bodies are not or are not supposed to be sexually desirable (or at least that those that are are a clear exception).

    A tangentially related issue which has been getting on my nerves lately is the lengths to which some people will go to deny that depictions of men are or can be sexualized. The box of things that get automatically lumped into the category of ‘male power fantasy’ (and thus exempted from being considered in discussions of this sort) has grown so absurdly large that the ‘female gaze’ or whatever you want to call it is absolved in all such cases because some women might not like it or some men might think it was cool. I also notice that no one ever bothered to ask me what my ‘power fantasies’ consist of or what I find sexually attractive before deciding what constitutes those things in entertainment and pop culture.

  13. Hiding,
    “A tangentially related issue which has been getting on my nerves lately is the lengths to which some people will go to deny that depictions of men are or can be sexualized.”

    I smell desperation. “Objectification” is a huge part of their victim privilege platform, so they are unsurprisingly very protective of it.

  14. HidingFromtheDinosaurs : I notest that happening a lot on BSN,especially with Dragon Age besexula male romance intrests .There were a lots of male gamers who would go into rage mode just because a pixelated man flirted with them.

  15. if you want to know how common sexaulization of men and women are in the media, ask a bisexual.

    The truth: It is still slightly more common for women, but it’s really more like 70-30, maybe even 60-40.

    But yes, even when it does occur in a direct parallel to something that feminists would label as “sexual objectification of women” (the yogurt ads with John Stamos spring immediately to mid as a comparison to beer ads) the feminists seem “shockingly” loathe to admit the case. Or, as the case with the jezebelites they will claim when they do it it’s “different”

  16. Paul,
    “if you want to know how common sexaulization of men and women are in the media, ask a bisexual. ”

    Or a gay man. You see things a whole lot more clearly when your world doesn’t revolve around pussy. You see how women rent themsleves out to men and then get all blue-nosed about it and blame the men, and try to spin it as some kind of exploitation or oppression to save face.

    “Or, as the case with the jezebelites they will claim when they do it it’s “different”

    The Jezebellies are no diffenrent from any of the other sites – Feministe, shakesville – victimization is not just foundational to their feminist ideology, it seems to be foundational to their gender identity. Come to think of it, it’s all the same thing – their ideology identifies females as the victim class.

  17. Pingback: DOUBLE STANDARDS – Dick jokes, dick staring, hypocrisy and control | GendErratic

  18. Hidingfromdinosaurs: “Did the guy actually get all the way naked in Heavy Rain? I could have sworn that David Cage left him in his underpants or something like that.”

    As a gamer (casual nowadays) who’s played Heavy Rain multiple times, let me chime in.

    First, yes, the main protagonist in the game does get all the way naked in the beginning because taking a shower is one of the tasks you need to do. In one shot, you do get to see his bare ass as he showers but other times the camera angles chosen are tastefully done.

    Hidingfromdinosaurs: “Anyway, I was more shocked by how terribly written that sex scene was (‘Hey guy, I know you’ve been doing nothing but obsessively searching for your kidnapped son for days and you just suffered serious electrical burns all over your body, but I thought it would be nice if we took a break to fuck while the serial killer gets away’).”

    Let me emphasis, also, with scenes like this, they are an option. This one requires a specific action (the characters kissing). If you don’t perform that action and choose to walk away instead you don’t have to endure the cliched sex scene.

    In another situation, the suspect the female reporter (Madison I think) tails to a night club holds her at gunpoint and forces her to perform a striptease. Yes, it’s a degrading scene but here’s the kicker: You have the choice of how far to go. You can make the reporter strip off articles of clothing then bean the suspect with a lamp or just skip all that and bean him anyway. Then grab his balls and squeeze hard as an interrogation method to get answers from him afterwards.

    The game’s about choices and is equally voyeursitic with the naked human body toward both genders.

  19. Valkina:

    Better yet, remember ‘Dragon’s Dogma’? The game didn’t tell you that there was even a romance mechanic, so most people didn’t know they were courting anyone until their new love interest showed up to kiss them at the end of the game. As a result, almost everyone ended up with the big, burly blacksmith man. I spent days laughing at all the angry forum posts.

    Eagle:

    Thanks for the correction. I must be remembering something from ‘Fahrenheit’, then.

    I have played ‘Heavy Rain’ all the way through twice, so I do know how it works, although I suspect we have very different opinions as to the quality of its storytelling.

    Ginkgo:

    That’s part of it, but I also think there’s a significant element of some people just not being able to wrap their heads around a sexualized male character. They cannot conceive of a situation in which these character traits are added to appeal to anyone other than men, and they cannot imagine those men doing anything other than fantasizing about being these characters. The example I love to sight is ‘Sengoku Basara’, because it’s a mainstream action game and there are published interviews in which the director states they set out first and foremost to appeal to women by having a lot of hot guys (capitalizing on the number of women who were attracted to Dante in the original Devil May Cry) (their plan worked, at least in Japan, by the way; that series has a mostly female fanbase and it’s done well enough to have five games, two seasons of a TV show and a movie, with another game in development). None of the people who talk about the way characters are portrayed in the English-language gaming press are even capable of considering that things like Yukimura’s armor that covers everything except his chest or Ieyasu’s belly-shirt armor weren’t put there to show a male audience how strong these guys are. It’s pathetic.

    I especially hate how incredibly patronizing they can be in their discussion of ‘male power fantasy’ and how everything I see in games is really ‘for people like me’. According to them I played things like the first two God of War games because I wanted to get off on fantasizing about being the worst human being in ancient Greece. I actually played those games swapping the controller around with a group of friends and riffing on every pointless, mean-spirited thing the idiot did in real time. I just really hate having my thoughts and feelings dictated to me.

  20. HidingFromtheDinosaurs:
    Dragon’s Dogma had some really sneaky romane mechanic.I always roll my eyes at them.Especially when they make big fuss about bi/homosexyal man merely existing in game as an option.

    All you have to do to realise who hypocritical they are(in regards to games like God of War),is to remember there are women who play the games as well.

  21. Hiding,
    “That’s part of it, but I also think there’s a significant element of some people just not being able to wrap their heads around a sexualized male character. ‘

    This kind of thing deserves a name. It’s a particular form of denialism. I suggest the term “Dogma Barrier”. The same kind of thing is in effetc when people deny that women can rape.

  22. Valkina:

    What bugs me isn’t the assertion about the games themselves (I would argue that God of War does have serious issues to complain about, although I notice that people complained a lot more when Kratos killed a woman in a fair fight and got and achievement called ‘bros before hos’ than they did when he brutally murdered several unarmed civilian men who were crying and begging for their lives for no reason at all), it’s the way people feel able to make sweeping assumptions about why I play them without ever asking me or anyone else. You see a similar dynamic with the people who make broad statements about the psychology of people who watch certain types of movies or use certain types of pornography. It’s extremely objectifying and social norms make it impossible to call people out on it.

  23. This seems rather pertinent here. The author ‘Chloe’ maintains that asking girls to dress appropriately for school is inculcating them into rape culture.

  24. Good catch, femdelusion. Clalssic hypoagency. The premise is that since have no agency it’s an unfair exaction to ask them to do anything to reduce a threat to themselves. They are supposed to remain forever young, free to go absolutely anywhaere in an Edenic innocence, and if some threat exists out there, well, they have people for that sort of thing.

  25. Femdelusion:

    How the hell did she get anything to do with rape out of that? She doesn’t quote anyone who says that the girls’ safety is involved or has ever been in question. The whole message here seems to be ‘teenage boys like staring at girls in tight pants and the administration doesn’t want them doing that’. There’s no talk of assault, or harassment, or even just regular underage sex, just boys not paying attention in class. The girls quoted don’t seem to be giving any indication that they ever felt threatened or even inconvenienced by this behavior. The tortured leap of logic it takes to get rape anything out of this scenario is absurd.

    That said, Ginkgo, I don’t think you’re being totally fair. These are 12 year olds. It isn’t unreasonable for them to behave like children because they ARE children. It’s also silly and backwards for the school to be attempting to police this sort of thing at all. Leggings and yoga pants are tight, but they still cover everything and they’re accepted casual wear for women at this point in time. If this sort of clothing were really inappropriate for a school environment I would see a lot less of it at university, and if I were to adhere to the idea that tight pants are problematic I would have to ditch literally all of my jeans and be left with nothing but suits to wear (problematic, because I can’t afford that sort of wear and tear on my dress shoes).

    What those administrators are trying to do is to police the sexuality of children going through puberty and what they are teaching these children is that those desires are wrong and to be avoided. Pubescent heterosexual boys are going to stare at girls no matter what anybody wears because they are discovering that they’re interested in girls and girls bodies for the first time and haven’t come to terms with those feelings yet. There’s nothing wrong with that and anyone who tries to interfere with that self-discovery is doing no one any favors. Besides, it really is kind of shitty all around to attempt to control male sexuality by placing restrictions on female clothing.

    The ‘distraction’ excuse is an old chestnut. Adolescent boys who aren’t paying attention in class will find things to distract themselves with regardless of what the girls wear. Actually, they’ll probably still distract themselves looking at the girls, because women do not magically lose their appeal when they wear looser clothing and the imagination of youth is a powerful thing.

  26. Hiding:

    How the hell did she get anything to do with rape out of that? She doesn’t quote anyone who says that the girls’ safety is involved or has ever been in question. The whole message here seems to be ‘teenage boys like staring at girls in tight pants and the administration doesn’t want them doing that’.

    This is why I say that the only “rape culture” is feminism itself. To them, any expression of male sexuality, even looking at an attractive female in tight pants, is indistinguishable from rape. If that’s not normalising and trivialising rape, I don’t know what is.

  27. How stupid of the school to give that reason for enforcing a more modest uniform.

    They should’ve said that that style of dress negatively impacts less conventionally attractive girls feeling of self worth about their own bodies by being presented with such narrow definitions of beauty on a daily basis. These girls shouldn’t have to grow up thinking that they will achieve more by sexually objectifying themselves. They shouldn’t grow up thinking that this is the norm and that it is right. Everyday sexism and so on…

    If they phrased it like that they could get the girl guides onside and all the feminists would praise them. See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-22064433.

  28. Hiding: “What those administrators are trying to do is to police the sexuality of children”

    Not really. What they are trying to do is teach children. It’s not a schools job to either police or encourage their wards’ sexuality. If there is something which is contributing to kids not paying attention in class then it is their responsibility to minimise it. No doubt the kids will get distracted by something else but then they should minimise that as well.

    I agree with regards to rape culture. But then rape culture isn’t a real thing is it. As you can see from the link in my last post “rape culture” is both telling women to cover up and also allowing women to show their bodies.

  29. Hiding, you bring up a lot of good points and I happen to disagree with all of them, but not vehemently.

    “That said, Ginkgo, I don’t think you’re being totally fair. These are 12 year olds. It isn’t unreasonable for them to behave like children because they ARE children. It’s also silly and backwards for the school to be attempting to police this sort of thing at all.”

    Yes, it’s not unreasonable to expect them to act like this; no, you definitely have to police them on this. That’s what teaching amounts ot – meet the student where she is and push her way out beyond it. I taught this age group and teenagers for five years and this approach works/

    You know what else really works with them? Appealing to their generosity and adulthood. When I turned off those GODDAMMED flickering overhead fluorescent lights that drove ADHD me to distraction and who knows who else and they asked me why. . “Do this for the sake of others who it bothers.” It really works. It worked when I asked them t stop talking! I said, have you ever passed a tree full f birds in full song? That’s what you sound like and it’s entrancingly beautiful and no one can concentrate on anything else when it’s going on. Could you maybe dial it back a bit?” So of course they cut it way back.

    ” Leggings and yoga pants are tight, but they still cover everything and they’re accepted casual wear for women at this point in time. If this sort of clothing were really inappropriate for a school environment I would see a lot less of it at university,…”

    I went to Berkeley – people wore all kinds of weird shit, some of it quite inappropriate for a school environment.

    “and if I were to adhere to the idea that tight pants are problematic I would have to ditch literally all of my jeans and be left with nothing but suits to wear (problematic, because I can’t afford that sort of wear and tear on my dress shoes).”

    Again I go back to the inherent difference between tight pants and pushing a rack out into everyone’s face. However tight your pants may be, you are not waggling your dick at anyone. Besides, you’re a gaijin; everyone assumes you’re huge.

  30. Ginkgo, in reverse order (Ogknig?):

    Thanks, but I’m actually back in the states this semester, desperately preparing to defend my thesis (it turns out writing a book is much more time consuming than it looks, even when you’re just translating and adding an introduction).

    I’m not saying that there isn’t such a thing as attire inappropriate to a classroom setting, I just don’t think yoga pants really fall into that category (maybe there was worse stuff, but the article only mentions yoga pants and leggings). I would be a lot more sympathetic to the administration if they were trying to ban miniskirts or giant platform shoes or other ridiculous club attire.

    As things stand, I attended a middles school and a high school full of girls wearing leggings (those things must be warmer than they look, because I don’t know how they managed the New England winter) and I never saw it cause a problem. Sure, there were guys who stared at girls, but they stared at them because they were girls, not because they were wearing leggings. There were guys who spent classes staring at girls instead of paying attention, but that wasn’t because they were being distracted, it was because they didn’t care about the class and were actively looking for anything else to occupy them. Hell, I spent my senior year of high school reading Dumas novels in math class, but the problem wasn’t that the existence of Dumas was distracting, it was that the math teacher was terrible and uninteresting.

    I guess what I’m saying is that I just fundamentally do not buy the idea that this clothing really is a distraction. I’ve seen school administrations throw that label at everything from keychains to V-necks, but the only clothing I’ve ever seen actively distract people has been ridiculous costumes that sports teams and drama groups put on to draw attention to events and giant novelty hats that people wear to show off how wild and crazy they are. A pair of leggings is fundamentally unlike a cell phone or a deck of Magic cards or talking in class and I honestly doubt that anyone would choose to focus on them in a class that was being competently taught.

    Again, I don’t really see tight pants as childish. They’re just a thing which happens to be in fashion at the moment. I’m sure eventually we’ll cycle back around to the roaring twenties and the same people who wear yoga pants now will be sporting those ridiculous giant trousers that require additional people to hold them up on either side.

  31. What astounds me about Mahdawi’s argument is how regressive her line of thinking is. She argues that the objectification of men by women is not only not as bad as the reverse situation, but inherently good (“celebration”) because the reverse situation is more common and (allegedly) more damaging to women as a group. I guess that means that blacks lynching whites is acceptable, or that gay men beating up a straight man unprovoked is acceptable since the reverse situation has been more common. If Martin Luther King endorsed Mahdawi’s line of reasoning, the Civil Rights Movement would have been run into the ground.

    Her awful argument hinges on the assumption that the female gaze “rarely has the menace associated with its male counterpart,” as if she can read the minds of all women everywhere to know that most of them haven’t reduced Jon Hamm to an object when “celebrating” his crotch. Her belief in the gender stereotype of women as inherently more virtuous than men leads her to attribute purer intentions to a woman who commits the exact same behavior. Also of note is that the female gaze is always celebratory, regardless of a man’s reaction to it. If Jon were a Joni uncomfortable with the celebration of her breasts by throngs of men, many feminists would consider this line of reasoning deplorable.

    For the record, I don’t consider objectification much of a problem so long as it’s not used as an excuse to harm, belittle, or demean others. What shocks me is not her defense of the objectification of men by women, but the mental gymnastics she has to do to make this appear logically consistent with her disdain for objectification in general. To combat (presumably) sexist behavior she has to make the obviously sexist move of pedestalizing women’s actions and intentions. As a comment on her article said, she might as well have written “men = bad, women = good”, as it would be a more succinct expression of her regressive, poisonous prejudice.

  32. welcome, Teebs!

    “Her awful argument hinges on the assumption that the female gaze “rarely has the menace associated with its male counterpart,” as if she can read the minds of all women everywhere to know that most of them haven’t reduced Jon Hamm to an object when “celebrating” his crotch. ”

    Ah but she doesn’t have to know what they are actually thinking because being women, they can only be benign, because girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice. And that’s about how deep she is.

    ” but the mental gymnastics she has to do to make this appear logically consistent with her disdain for objectification in general. ”

    This kind of thing is becoming more and more common as feminists and other gender traditonalists have to starin harder and harder to hold their positions together under the weight of the scrutiny they are finally getting. And make no mistake, Mahdawi’s assumptions are as retrograde and traditionalist as it gets.

    Some objectification is a prerequisite for normal life. we objectify strangers and out-groups. I suppose One Worl Love is the ideal state of affairs, but in the menatime people mean us harm and it only makes sense and in God we trust, all others pay cash.

    Yes, back in Germany when the Warsaw Pact forces were willing to kill me and I them purely on the basis of what uniforms we were wearing, on both sides, that was objectification, and of a far more profound kind and with more more profound effects than mere sexual objectification. Pfffft.

    “I guess what I’m saying is that I just fundamentally do not buy the idea that this clothing really is a distraction.”

    I do agree with you that it’s a gray area, but i remmebr one year when I was teaching and the big thing was bare midriffs ala Btriteny Spears. It was a problem. Outright staring should not be the metric for distraction any more than a woman should have to run weeping from a room for a crude joke to make the environment hostile. People “grin and bear” a lot of shiot they shouldn’t have to and it siphons off energy that could be put to better use. i’d like to go with common sense and moderation on this, but the problem witha diverse society is that common sense is in fact not held in common; we disagree, so we need explicit guidelines. I don’t claim to have any answers on this except that people should not be shoving their charms in other people’s faces.

    “Again, I don’t really see tight pants as childish. ”

    I must have miworded it then, because childish doesn’t capture what I am rying to say. Tight pants look young because frankly they mostly only look good on young bodies, and women of a certain age in tight pants often look pathetic, as if they can’t bear to surrender the things of youth. And I don’t realy balme them, i balme a culture that fetisgizes youth and sneers at maturity.

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