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?
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.