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Jun 08 2007

Pose of the week

A mainstream music magazine has put a naked chick on the cover. This stunningly unremarkable event in the pornulational continuum induced not the slightest blip on my obstreperometer. Magazines put naked chicks on their covers roughly 82,697 times a day; it’s all part of the general background noise created in pop culture by the constant crushing of women’s dignity in the giant trash compactor of oppression.

But wait! The naked chick on the mainstream music magazine cover is Beth Ditto, who is fat! Suddenly everyone’s talking about this cover (and by ‘everyone’ I mean here and at Big Fat Blog). It’s so transgressive to pornulate a fat chick instead of a skinny one! It’s so empowering for fat women to be able to look up to a pornulated role model! It’s an act of feminist rebellion; way to go, Beth, for daring to show Dude Nation that fat women exist!

Oy gevalt.

1. Porn isn’t transgressive; it’s de rigueur. No one in Western culture has drawn a porn-free breath in decades. This means it’s the norm.

2. Pictures of naked women empower nobody but the men who pimp’em out and the voyeurs who consume’em. A woman may elect to reap the benefits of her capitulation to her oppressor, and she can even call it “empowerment” when she does it, but that doesn’t mean she’s not full of shit, and it certainly doesn’t mean that it’s doing any other women the least bit of good.

3. Dude Nation is already well aware that fat women exist. And I guaran-fucking-tee that they’ll continue to hate fat women just as much as they hate skinny ones, no matter which pop star shows up weighing how much on what magazine cover.

Girls, the dominant pornsick culture is crapping on you. Get hip to this: the ability to titillate men is not a high moral purpose. Being sexually manipulative is not a high moral purpose. Posing naked on the cover of NME isn’t empowering, its emposeuring.

[Thanks, Frumious B]

190 comments

3 pings

  1. Molly

    “The ability to titillate men is not a high moral purpose” is my new motto.

    Thank you, Twisty, for making me feel sane again. Your site is the one I visit when I start to believe the men who call me a crazy man-hating feminazi because I have the audacity to suggest that women do not exist to be leered at by men.

  2. bitchphd

    Mmmm, can’t agree. One of the ways I got through some of my own fat prejudice was to look at magazines like On Our Backs and get used to what other women’s naked bodies really looked like. One of the paradoxes of porn culture is that on the one hand, women are objectified, and on the other hand, the actual realities of women’s bodies are hidden away. I think one of the ways to stop thinking of women as either sex-bot things or as disembodied honorary men is to confront the truth that all human beings are embodied and that there are therefore *different* human realities.

    I also wonder what you, Twisty, and/or your readers think of this post I wrote yesterday on the subject (not of fat, but of whether or not posing nude is “empowering.”

  3. delphyne

    Indeed. Every woman’s right to be sexually objectified by pervy men isn’t a right that feminism needs to fight for.

    Fat guys aren’t expected to get their kit off in aid of fat acceptance so why does everybody think it’s such a good idea for fat girls? Oh I forgot, we’re the sex class.

  4. Twisty

    It’s one thing, Dr B, to wish to create some sort of awareness that different body types exist, but the pre-existing condition is always going to be that, because our social order is a patriarchy, an image of a naked woman can never be anything but the graphic representation of oppression. It can never be politically neutral. So I think all these efforts to ‘normalize’ images of ‘real’ women, while well-intentioned, are nevertheless wasted. All that can be expected is for remunerated objectification to become more inclusive.

    This would not be true in a post-patriarchal society, wherein, I maintain, ‘beauty’ and ‘attractiveness’ would all become quaint irrelevancies.

  5. shitflinger

    What bothers me is that I don’t think any self-respecting musician should give the time of day to the NME, let alone pose for its cover.

  6. stekatz

    I agree. We can all uncork the champagne for fat liberation when a fat woman is allowed on a magazine cover looking perfectly average with her clothes on. I’m sure the editor would have cringed at the idea of putting her there with sweats on. But naked, of course.

    And yes, this is nothing new. I mean hasn’t Big Butts magazine has been around for years? I remember being in a bookstore years ago while some guy in the magazine section was reading it openly. I think it was called Big Butts. Something to that effect. Since I’m not a porn connoisseur, I’m afraid I can’t be sure.

  7. E

    “The ability to titillate men is not a high moral purpose.”

    This reminds me of one of my “lightbulb moments” (sorry for the Oprah-ism, but still) on this blog. Some sharp blamers/commenters wrote “A hard-on is not a compliment.” and “What has the male gaze done for you lately?” during a discussion months ago. I don’t know why, but it really opened the door to radical feminism for me.

  8. sally

    agree, agree, agree

    shouldn’t ‘empowerment’ be more a show of wits than a show of twots

  9. Shakes

    “A woman may elect to reap the benefits of her capitulation to her oppressor, and she can even call it “empowerment” when she does it, but that doesn’t mean she’s not full of shit, and it certainly doesn’t mean that it’s doing any other women the least bit of good.”

    If a woman figures out how to use her oppression to her best advantage, I can’t blame her. I blame the patriarchy, of course.

    You can accept your oppression or you can resist it. Resistance is tough. It doesn’t win you popularity or wealth, and there is little evidence of any progress. Understandably, not everyone chooses to resist. Until the revolution comes, some women just try to get by the best they can. What’s the shame in that? (That’s not a rhetorical question.)

  10. Jezebella

    Proof that fat women are already objectified, pornified, and exploited by the sex industry:

    http://jackson.craigslist.org/adg/317754080.html

    A “BBW Strippers Bash.”

    Ugh.

  11. notalady

    I’m going to take a selfish tack here and ask, what about the female gaze?

    I enjoy looking at pictures of naked people, whether in sexually-themed poses or not. Beth Ditto is hot, and if she’s offering a pose for me to gaze upon, I think it’s my lucky day.

    Who cares whether I, or some dude, or anyone, JO’s to fleshy fantasies inspired by her photo?

  12. thekiti

    Twisty, surely you know Beth Ditto is an out-and-proud lesbian. She has said so many times. Don’t you think maybe she had some of her female fans in mind when she took off her clothes for that cover? I’m not saying you don’t have a point about Dude Nation, but I don’t think she much gives a crap about them, frankly. If anything she probably thought of it as a giant poke in their collective cornea.

  13. laura

    Thanks, Twisty. I got so pissed when I read the hesitant and apologetic Feministing post on this, and hoped that you would have something more rigorously analytical to say.

  14. Tricia

    The trouble is, under the sex class is an underclass of unfuckables. In my pre-enlightenment days, and as a member of said underclass, invisibility was so painful to me that I longed for hatred and harassment, just so I could be believed to exist. I suspect that a lot of women feel the way I did, and it never occured to me, and never occurs to them, that what we should really be aspiring for is full humanity; we just wanted to move one step up the ladder.

    And if you sell images showing that there are ways to get up that one rung on the ladder, you can make unfuckables buy stuff to try to “rise” to join the sex class.

    We all know who to blame.

  15. dolia

    For fat girls who are yelled at by dudes from their cars for daring to wear a sleeveless shirt, who have calssmates that laugh and point at their bare legs, who have parents that tell them how ashamed they are to be seen with them, Beth Ditto being naked on the cover of any magazine is as audacious as taking a walk in Afghanistan without your burka. Courage is not a quality required of garden variety fembots in any similar quantities.

  16. dolia

    …sorry, I meant classmates…

  17. Kelda

    Germaine Greer gets her oar in on the subject, which seems to be “I posed naked for a magazine and so it’s ok if Beth Ditto does as well”:
    http://music.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,,2091764,00.html

    (Twisty of course is better than Greer. If naught else, Twisty has never demeaned herself by appearing on Celebrity Big Brother.)

  18. leen

    Tricia:

    I suspect that a lot of women feel the way I did, and it never occurred to me, and never occurs to them, that what we should really be aspiring for is full humanity; we just wanted to move one step up the ladder.

    Well said!

    Dolia, while I can see that Ditto being naked on a magazine is courageous, I think that Tricia’s point stands — being all pornified just conveniently moves her into a different category in the patriarchy. Being classified as a hot-fat-chick-sexbot doesn’t really seem any better than being classified as an unfuckable fat chick.

  19. NewsCat

    Actually Dan Savage is now attacking Beth Ditto, not for being nude, but for, gosh, saying something about gay male designers and the female form.

    http://bitchkittie.blogspot.com/2007/06/time-for-beth-dittodan-savage-feud-dan.html

  20. Shakes

    In “Bound and Gagged: Pornography and the Politics of Fantasy in America,” Laura Kipnis suggests that fat is “always sort of pornographic” (95). She writes about an episode of The Jerry Springer Show that featured a panel of 300-525lb women who pose nude or mostly nude for gag greeting cards.

    - “The fat women took the position that they liked posing for the cards. For them, it’s a source of self-esteem, income, sexual possibilities, and even a form of revenge…Springer’s audience, on the other hand, had nothing but contempt for these fat women greeting card models, with Springer taking the paternalistic position that the women were exposing themselves to ridicules and laughter and somehow weren’t aware of it. For Springer it was inevitable that a fat body could invite only one response: mockery” (109).
    - “Springer, befuddled by these defiantly fat women, dedicates himself to the project of protecting fat women from ridicule (including his own) by forcing fat back into the closet. Women in the audience were dedicated to the project of expressing their rage at other women who dared to thumb their noses at female size norms” (111)
    - “Fat is what our culture, for all of the reasons suggested, doesn’t want to look at. Pornography, in response, puts it on view” (121).

    Kipnis seems to consider fetish pornography as a champion of the oppressed because it brazenly defies societal norms. As Twisty says, “Porn isn’t transgressive.” But if posing naked is the only way for a fat woman to make the best of her oppression, IBTP.

  21. Twisty

    Twisty, surely you know Beth Ditto is an out-and-proud lesbian. She has said so many times. Don’t you think maybe she had some of her female fans in mind when she took off her clothes for that cover? I’m not saying you don’t have a point about Dude Nation, but I don’t think she much gives a crap about them, frankly. If anything she probably thought of it as a giant poke in their collective cornea. –thekiti

    It doesn’t matter what posing nekkid means to Beth Ditto, whether she’s queer or fat or whatever. It’s what posing nekkid means to all women, collectively.

    Although I can promise you, what Ditto had in mind as her audience when she took this gig was not “queer girls only!” but “as many people as possible”. She’s in show biz, after all.

    As I pointed out, millions of women are naked on magazines every day, and I realize this state of affairs is strictly a function of economic forces. Which is precisely why I’m not buying that Beth Ditto has made some kind of big feminist statement in saying “look how hot I am, everyone!”

  22. Sara

    You know, the question of visibility which Dr. B brings up is one with which I personally grapple. One of the missions of my blog — and yes, I do feel it is ridiculous that my blog has missions, but, well, it does — is to increase perception of amputees, especially female amputees, as normal people. Toward that end, and also to demonstrate to other amputees how various nifty tricks and gadgets that make my life easier work, and also sometimes for a laugh, I show pictures of myself doing ordinary, human things.

    Here, I show myself gardening:

    Digging Perennials

    Here I am enjoying a local historical site like any typical tourist:

    Check out this lawn ornament!

    Here, I show myself riding my tricycle:

    Bicycle, Schmicycle! I Got Me a Tricycle.

    Here, I show myself at work on some piece of art in my studio on a quiet Sunday:

    So what do you think, new business card image?

    It is clear from the photos in these posts that as a chubby, middle-aged woman with one natural and one artificial leg, which latter has not been covered cosmetically or designed to accommodate high heels, I belong firmly to the underclass of unfuckables to which Tricia refers; it should be equally apparent, yet will be entirely irrelevant to a porn hunter, that I don’t really give a crap.

    Nevertheless, I do worry about pornification, partly because I’m female and partly because I’m an amputee, and this combination alone leaves me open to pornification on a ridiculous scale, because what could possibly be more sexy than a woman who might not be able to run away, right?

    Still, I recently published photographs of myself getting in and out of the bathtub as part of a piece on how to bathe without special equipment and also without killing yourself if you only have one leg. I was not naked in these photos, but the parts of my body, my hairy, fat, leg-and-a-half and left foot, had to be because water was involved and I don’t own a wetsuit.

    Search Engine Grab Bag: Singing in the Bathtub Edition

    I argued with myself about whether even to take these photos. I know what they look like to the porn-intent. However, as a visual artist who doesn’t completely trust her ability to explain with words, and as a realistic woman of the world, I ultimately resigned myself to the knowledge that every single photograph of a human is pornography for someone, embraced my original thought that these might do somebody some good, and went ahead.

    I do think that this is one way we, the strange and the unfuckable and yet still female in this world, can work to de-exoticize and destigmatize ourselves, by revealing ourselves living lives so ordinary and complete that they deflate every stereotype by simply existing where everyone can see them. But I don’t believe that revealing ourselves as objects, instead of as normal people going about our normal lives, really reveals anything at all.

    What continues to sadden me is how way too many women, especially young women (myself included, once upon a time), fall so easily, what with it being the dominant paradigm and all, into the habit of assessing their own worth at least in part on the basis of their own perceived fuckability. One might think that showing the unfuckable fucking and being enthusiastically fucked would be a logical defense, but it’s not. Because of the ubiquitous and unstoppable pornification engine, all that ends up doing is validating the concept of fuckability as a viable standard of human worth.

  23. Random Lurker

    This cover reminded me of all the asshats who tell me that it’s empowerful for female martial artists to be photoed naked in stupid come-hither poses. ‘Cause, you know, it proves that they’re still sexay (i.e. know their place in the patriarchy) and will put up with shit from men they could beat the snot out of. Ditto may be out and proud, but the context of the photo seemed to me “Don’t be scared of me boys! I’ll still follow your rules!” Now, I’m not blaming Ditto for this. I’m sure several photos were taken and the guys in charge selected this one for being the least threatening to the status quo. If may be different from most covers, but it’s not a step forward for fat people, lesbians, or women in general. A woman with no sexual interest in men being served up for the male gaze is the antithesis of empowerment.

  24. Jezebella

    The male gaze is always already leering.

    Whether you are queer, hetero, fat, thin, or anthing else, if you take your clothes off for ANY REASON WHATSOEVER, the Male Gaze will make of you an object. You are participating in the pornification of your own body. There is no reclaiming porn or public nudity for this reason.

    Bog, YES, it would be lovely if we could all frolic nude at will but for now, “it’s the patriarchy, stupid!”

  25. Rev Dr in thebewilderness

    Random Lurker: Cause, you know, it proves that they’re still sexay (i.e. know their place

    I think you have a bingo!

  26. Bird

    Random Lurker, I’ve heard the exact same thing. Because, you know, the real reason I go to the dojang is to make sure I’m super-hawt for all the boys.*

    As someone who’s been a stick-thin teenage model, a curvy and then fat 20-something woman, and now a lean martial artist and runner, it’s a lose-lose situation no matter what. You’re always being rated on the fuckability scale, and you can never, ever beat that game.

    *I am equally pissed off by a godbag fellow student who suggested that I sew the collar of my dobok closed because my sport bra was showing. In her mind, it’s okay for all the guys to have their chest hair showing, but heaven forbid someone should spot a bit of white lycra under my uniform.

  27. slythwolf

    Pictures of naked women empower nobody but the men who pimp’em out and the voyeurs who consume’em. A woman may elect to reap the benefits of her capitulation to her oppressor, and she can even call it “empowerment” when she does it, but that doesn’t mean she’s not full of shit, and it certainly doesn’t mean that it’s doing any other women the least bit of good.

    Damn, I wish you had said this earlier so I could have quoted it at the asshole who called me a misogynist for saying Maxim is full of patriarchal bullshit that contributes to a rape culture. (This was in reference to an article about the “hottest female superhero”, or something, but the asshole in question told me that asserting that we live in a rape culture and that Maxim contributes to it is tantamount to saying women who “consensually” appear topless in magazines are at fault when men rape.)

  28. Felt Tip Pen

    I see it more as a baby steps kind of thing. Yes there are plenty of fat-fetishists but they and their smut are usually cast into the porn ghetto. For me, fat acceptance was a gateway to feminism, and I suspect it can be the same for other people as well. First I thought, “Hey, fat women can be sexy too!” and this led to wondering why the main point of it was to prove ourselves as sexually pleasing because it’s not so much like that for the men in the movement. Baby steps.

    No it’s not empowering, in and of itself. But I mind it less than other things. Stupid sexualized nakedness.

  29. shannon

    The sad bit is that even though Beth Ditto probably had great intentions a large proportion of the men looking at that image are saying I’d hit that or I’d not hit that

  30. al

    For the couple of commenters who are saying that Beth Ditto is a dyke and has a lesbian audience in mind when she lets it all hang and therefore it’s a tad different, you may have a point, but keep this salient detail in mind:

    Fat queer dudes never pose naked in mainstream publications and talk about how empowering it is.

  31. Miller

    I heard Beth Ditto (whom I had admired for her outspoken “feminism”) was on the cover of NME, which I foolishly sought out, thinking it would be awesome. But when I saw it, my first impression was, “How humiliating! She doesn’t even know the joke’s on her.” since the readership is overwhelmingly dude and they would just look at her and be revolted. However, I didn’t recognize the routine dehumanization of Yet Another Naked Chick until your post. How sad that all the white noise of Rape Incitement, Inc. (“porn”) desensitized me in failing to see something so obvious.

    Oh, one point about her possible appeal to lesbians: women aren’t as overwhelmingly visual as men–not even close. I believe the reason women even bother whooping it up at seeing male strippers, for example, is parroting what men do (w/ re: women) and since the male supremacist perspective is assumed to be the universal human perspective, they believe this is how a sexual “person” should behave, rather than realizing that it is the view of a callous bigot and all they do is reinforce the dehumanization and demonization of women and girls.

    Oh may I recommend some post discussion in the future about Hillary Clinton? She’s like Maureen Dowd on steroids.

  32. Metal Prophet

    “Whether you are queer, hetero, fat, thin, or anthing else, if you take your clothes off for ANY REASON WHATSOEVER, the Male Gaze will make of you an object. You are participating in the pornification of your own body. There is no reclaiming porn or public nudity for this reason.”

    Exactly. If you can imagine it, there is some sort of porn. And probably more than a few forms of porn that you or I couldn’t imagine, either. Men will always find some way to objectify some women. I mean, sure, stuff like Playboy is limited to very narrow beauty standards. But it’s no less sexist when there’s some porn site that features fat women or women dressed up like animals or so-called punk porn, etc. It’s all the same objectification.

  33. mAndrea

    cough The phrase is not, as the patriarchy would have you believe, “man-hating feminazi” but rather “misogyny-hating feminazi”. The distinction is kept close to my castration-joke loving heart. Thank you

    Also, the lovely and always admirable Shakes asked why is it wrong to capitulate to the incessant patriarchal demand to act like a sleazy ho, if acting like a sleazy ho has quantifiable benefits accruing to said sleazy ho.

    I have no answer that isn’t rude, crude, and socially unexceptable. IBTP

    Life under the veil, if anybody hasn’t read it.
    http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/front/la-fg-women6jun06,1,6178058,full.story?ctrack=3&cset=true

  34. Miller

    Perhaps it’s not so much about the nudity as the overwhelming message that being female is immoral. I think of the Ancient Greeks and Romans who *lionized* the nude male form, rather than celebrate as a scapegoat as we do w/ female nudes. Obviously, if males think being female is offensive than seeing a nude only exacerbates the offense, especially to heterosexual males who are horribly hysterical about being attracted to evil and must compensate such anxiety w/ an oppressive mentality.

  35. virgotex

    Because of the ubiquitous and unstoppable pornification engine, all that ends up doing is validating the concept of fuckability as a viable standard of human worth.

    I would also argue that a bunch of living breathing humans spending their all too-brief meatspace lives trying to pin down, like a dead dry butterfly, with (most likely just my perception) self-congratulatory exactitude when and where and exactly how far someone witlessly went off the rails and availed themselves to the leering eyes, mouths,arms,dicks of the rape culture is also a form of validating, or at least defining, that standard.

    I love this board and I greatly admire Twisty and a lot of the posters here, but in all honesty I find it hard to deal with all the abstract perfectionism. And, not that anyone cares, that’s why I don’t post much. I don’t feel like I can ‘make the grade’ and life’s hard enough most days, I don’t enjoy being shot down for something I said because it wasn’t well thought-out or contradicted something was supposed to think/feel/always remember and never forget. And I realize that it’s my choice to deal or not deal, to post or not post,, to read or not read, to struggle or not struggle, I’m not blaming any blamers here.

    Re Ditto, call me selfish short-sighted, expressionist, a randomist, but I guess I just do not agree that an action, of any kind, ill-advised or brave or pefectly academic and theoretically staunch, or even outright self-serving and selfish, has just ONE reaction, or one likely reaction, one inevitable reaction, one reaction more meaningful than any other. I have no really certain idea what Ditto felt or thought about posing, and I don’t know what she thinks or feels about everything else for certain. I find her full of contradictions, and sometimes just a plain trainwreck. Nonetheless, I find myself admiring her. She inspires me and I wish someone like her was around when I was a fat, self-hating closeted teenager. It would have helped me a great deal. It wouldn’t have mattered that I was ignorant of feminist theory and the dominant rape/fuckability culture. What would have mattered is seeing someone that validated my corporeal self holding their head up and walking on their hind legs like a human being. Am I wrong to think that? I don’t really care because I know it would have helped. Would it have hurt me as much as it helped? I don’t know.

    I’m a fat person, a lesbian and I don’t spend much time trying to conform to the dominant culture. What that means is I am invisible to most of that culture. I know when I’m being seen and when I’m not and most of the time I’m not. This invisibility, or the knowledge of it at least, is as much of an advantage to me as a disadvantage because it tells me a lot about how society really is and I’ve learned well how to use that, even exploit being able to turn it on and off.

    That said, do I want visibility? Do I think visibility is important? Of course, at times, of course. I revel being in those spaces, with that company.

    And sometimes I revel in assaulting those that don’t see me, shoving myself and my experience “down their throat” to borrow the common term.

    And it’s in both those instances where I find value and (sorry) power in Ditto’s action. I think there are many possible reactions to what she did, and I think that at least some of them can have a positive, authentic, and yes, empowering effect.

  36. virgotex

    Sorry about the unclosed tags on my post above. That first paragraph was a quote from Sara’s excellent post and the rest was me.

  37. Shakes

    mAndrea:
    The link requires registration.
    Also, just a couple points of clarification:
    1. I didn’t ask what was wrong with it, but whether there’s any shame in it.
    2. I was recently informed that there is another, more widely-known Shakes in this blogosphere. I am not she. I’ll go ahead take “lovely and always admirable” as a compliment, but I should point out that I am not Shakes of Shakespeare’s Sister or Shakesville.

  38. kiki

    Torture porn’ helps Lionsgate roar
    Thanks to horror hits ‘Saw’ and ‘Hostel’.

    Just saw this headline at CNN. I am so sick of the world. I don’t know why any woman would choose to take her clothes off and be photographed so that some hairy toothless creep can jack off while he fantasizes about fucking her up the ass. How the hell is that empowered? I guess I’m just a prude. They are just casting their pearls before swine.

    As for Beth Ditto, when I saw the pics (and the dreadful come hither pose) all I could think was, “she just wants to be hawt”. Desperate. Her image and pose in no way confronts or undermines. Way to go Beth, now creepy dudes can jack off to your pic, too.

  39. kiki

    I think the HTML is kooky. I didn’t mean to bold it all.

  40. TP

    If there were no patriarchy then we could all pose as nude as we wanted and the feeling it would inspire would be exactly like the feelings we have for seeing someone’s face: a sum of details that make each of us unique with no hotness or unhotness about it.

    Whenever I see someone, like Neko Case, who made an innocent and poorly-thought-out decision to pose nude I blame the Patriarchy, not Neko. When people say “She wanted to pose naked, she’s sex-positive, she did it for her lesbian fans,” whatever, I still blame the patriarchy. Anything that defines us as sexual being first and foremost in a patriarchal society will always be a political act. I don’t blame the person who posed, I blame the big P.

    That said, I think that images of women that dudes don’t find instantly corresponding to the tightly-structred codes for arousing can help men who may be blindly groping for release from the prison of horndog dude identity start to see women as human beings first. Not that it’s a positive thing, just that there’s a tiny chance that any break from the status quo might let a little of the light of reason into the open mind.

    If any woman ever asked me if I thought she should pose naked I would say it seemed like a bad idea to me, because I hate men. Today I was really hating men. I had to hang with a real sexist bastard last night and it was hard on my sensitive soul. I see them in the airport and I see how much they love themselves and I just hate them.

  41. kiki

    That said, I think that images of women that dudes don’t find instantly corresponding to the tightly-structred codes for arousing can help men who may be blindly groping for release from the prison of horndog dude identity start to see women as human beings first.

    I don’t buy this for one minute. You are either just giving them an opportunity to ridicule or expanding the breadth their possible wanking material. I don’t think there’s anyway that images (especially nude photos) can, “let a little of the light of reason into the open mind.”

    And yes, IBTP.

  42. Jezebella

    Felt Tip Pen: there’s a “porn ghetto”? If so, point me toward the suburbs. Because I’m pretty sure we’re all living in that ghetto, and I don’t see any exit signs.

  43. La di Da

    On the one hand, yes, it’s still porn-malegaze-ified like everything else on the planet, and that sucks. It’s a big hand. And most seasoned blamers understand that hand.

    On the other, smaller hand, we have women who have not yet quite made it to being blamers and fat/size accepters but have an inkling that something’s wrong and they’re still fairly stuck in the modes of patriarchy. To them, Ditto’s NME cover represents a radical idea: a fat woman who’s not ashamed of her naked body, who’s happy how she is and willing to smack down anyone who tells her “But you have such a pretty face, if only you lost some weight — “. I can almost guarantee you that if I’d seen someone like Ditto ‘out loud and proud’ when I was 15-16, it may well have spared me 10 painful, eating-disordered years of knowing that were no fat women who had lives and happiness because I never saw any. Unless you have ever been fat you cannot understand the utter fucking cultural invisibility you have.

    I’m sad and bothered that this first step often comes through porn-ified images. I think a lot of women (mostly fat), however, do stop to think about why it takes a picture like that NME cover to get attention and investigate further and find there’s a whole world of blaming waiting for them, from where they can do what they can to make it so fat girls don’t have to rely on porn-o-riffic, exploitative images for their start on the road to feeling human. It’s what I and quite a few other women I know did. Why should we have had to feel that we had to join in on the sexy exploitin’ wagon to be at least somewhat accepted? I wish I’d been able to skip that step but that’s not how it happened: I’m not saying that we should encourage more naked women on display, just use what we can from the experience.

    IBTP times infinity plus one.

  44. kiki

    I can almost guarantee you that if I’d seen someone like Ditto ‘out loud and proud’ when I was 15-16, it may well have spared me 10 painful, eating-disordered years of knowing that were no fat women who had lives and happiness because I never saw any.

    I’m curious what makes you think she has ‘happiness’?

  45. virgotex

    I’m curious what makes you think she has ‘happiness’?

  46. Sean

    Sara said, “I ultimately resigned myself to the knowledge that every single photograph of a human is pornography for someone.”

    It was a long post, but I thought this was an important line. Porn culture and its relationship to porn reminds me of rape culture and its relationship to rape. Rape culture is a culture based upon systems of dominance and submission, and these are gendered. Rape is the obvious and outright expression of the underlying cultural paradigm. Porn is the obvious and outright expressions of the porn culture, where porn culture is a culture based upon gendered objectification and sexual satisfaction. Porn is simply more obviously an objectifying force. People, and especially males–at the very least, sexual actions prompted by visual stimuli are gendered–constantly create sexual fantasies from non-explicitly-pornified images. And, well, all sexual fantasies with total strangers really just boil down to notions of ownership and dominance, and thus the porn culture is related to the rape culture.

  47. virgotex

    I’m curious what makes you think she has ‘happiness’?

    And I’m curious what makes you think you have some universal knowledge about the real truth of what many other people have gone through at the hands of the patriarchy, and the one and only path of enlightenment toward being a ‘seasoned blamer’?

    Not everyone has the exact same experience, yet they may be as battle-scarred, as insightful, as seasoned, and gasp -as enlightened, and feeling every bit as human – as those who believe they are sitting on the mountaintop.

    Beware the ‘radical’ who places a premium on ‘acceptable’ identities.

    Not everyone used your map. There are many different ‘first steps’ and as many different journeys.

  48. Theriomorph

    Headache alleviated by your post, Twisty – and nothing to add the commenters haven’t said better.

    Please, with tacos on top, excuse a brief off-thread jump:

    Random Lurker and Bird, fellow blamer karateka/MA here – if either/both of you are willing to back-channel me, I could use to connect with some feminist martial artists. Big time. Thetheriomorph at aol dot com. Been keeping an eye out for some, & would be grateful.

    Pardon the blaming interruption, hope no one minds, thanks, tacos.

  49. Dawn Coyote

    I’m more or less with virgotex here. I don’t disagree with the stance against porn, but I think naked calendars of women of all ages, in dignified, non-sexualized poses work on many levels against mindless objectification of women, even if all they do is raise other women’s awareness. The year that Salt Spring Island women produced a calendar to raise funds to save a portion of the island from clearcutting, I gave them to all the women in my life. I was so proud of those women! And they were so beautiful in all their wrinkled, pudgy, droopy, voluptuous glory.

    The pictures were tasteful black and whites, taken in the natural splendor of Salt Sping Island. They were quiet and dignified, almost meditative, but to me that calendar was a wail of outrage against the exploitation of the earth as flesh, as woman. I know how desperate they felt. It was a passionate and poignantly ironic statement of worth, for clearcutting on Salt Spring was to them and to me akin to rape.

    I think women can use their bodies to protest.

  50. Lisa

    Every February, the crip magazine called New Mobility has a “Sex, Wheels and Relationships” issue that invariably has nude disabled people on the cover. Inside the issue, it talks about sexuality related to disabled people, whether it be medical interventions for sexual dysfunction or how we are portrayed as asexual.

    Then every April, in the Letters to the editor, no one writes about anything except the nekkid crips on the cover. Some think it is bold and in-your-face and part of the revolution. Some think it is disgusting and shocking that they had to walk by a newsstand and see “these people” who have no business being naked anywhere but in darkened rooms with only nurses present. And some object based on the overall objectification/porn issue.

    I think that there may be a case for certain classes of people such as the disabled and perhaps fat women to have to “rise up” to even the lowest rung of the ladder of oppression. The lowest rung being a more enviable position than the invisible bog of what is considered the shit of humanity that lies below. Only then can they join those who at least are visible in the revolution, and can the mainstream revolutionaries also benefit from them as well.

    Is there a better way to do it? As a disabled woman, I am unfuckable. I get it both ways. I get (or got when I was younger and supposedly “hotter”) “I’d do her if she wasn’t blind.” “Too bad she’s a gimp, cuz she’s got hot tits.” Or whatever. We are not even considered worthy of objectifying for sex. Maybe there is a better way for the “unfuckable” to at least gain visibility and be able to even strive to join the rest of the sex class (who also many times consider us invisible.) But I see this as a first little baby step in getting us all together and unified. It is very, very sad state of affairs as it is all capitulating to the patriarchy that umbrellas all of these little subgroups and hierarchies of fat women or trans or disabled or whatever. But you have to start somewhere.

  51. spitfire

    women aren’t as overwhelmingly visual as men–not even close.

    Oh, really? As a one-time female pornophile and current devoted sensualist, I’m calling Bullshit on this one. I also like films, comics and graphic novels, and anyone who’s ever had a conversation with me knows I’m a crappy listener.

    Do women whoop it up at male strip shows because it’s how they think a person at a ‘sexual exhibition’ venue should behave? Yeah, this is probably true.

    Does this mean women have libidos that are dependent instead on emotions, romantic cupid poetry and their partner’s wallets? Hell no.

    I’ve never understood why people make bio determinist arguments like this. Women of all orientations who like lots of frequent, casual sex with many different partners have been brainwashed into behaving ‘like men.’ Men of all orientations who enjoy arousing/emotionally intense conversations with their partners as much as fucking them must be weirdos with un-naturally low testosterone levels. It couldn’t possibly be that there are women who like to fuck and men who like to cuddle and that a person’s libido is more idiosyncratic than any genitalia-based generalisations permit?

  52. Frigga's Own

    The thing that got me about this was that normaly Beth does pretty damn well on providing some real empowerment when she gets interviewed. She’s happy to poke holes in Dude Nation’s angry white boy music, and she’s more than happy to tell interviewers the straight dope on what it’s like to be a queer woman in the music industry or to exist while fat. When I saw the article I just wanted to scream “Why?”

    She looks great, it’s a beautiful picture, and I can’t help but wince at the thought of the thousands of guys who will utter some version of “I’d hit it! What’s The Gossip?” (Like the poor pole vaulting girl.)

  53. Frigga's Own

    Oh crud, I mean I saw the article about the magazine cover and wanted to scream “Why?”

    I’d also like to say that while the media treats fat women like me as if we were invisible, I certianly haven’t noticed anyone acting as if I were. People tend to bring their issues with my body right to me, either by attacking me verbally or physically, or snidely making comments about how “pretty” I’d be if I just lost weight or how my health would improve. I don’t have anyone pretending they can’t see me, or I suppose I should say not any more than they do for any other woman.

    I imagine this is partially because I couldn’t care less if I have any fuckability at all. I suppose if I cared whether or not women or men were rating me based on their desire to use my body I might worry about where I appeared on their radar.

    Of course, I could not have gotten to this point without both fat acceptance and feminism, both of which are schools of thought which (usually) expouse that the form, shape, size, color, and content of one’s body does not indicate personal worth. That is why I always feel slightly betrayed to see fat acceptance eschew it’s basic ideas of equality despite the shape of the body to embrace oppression based on how acceptable individual bodies are (by their submission to the porn mandate). There comes a sort of ranking system, where fat people align themselves with the “good” fat people, those who are “attractive” “fashionable” or “sexy”, while abandoning the fat people who don’t meet the patriarchal standards of acceptance. I am one of “those” fat people, unattractive, dress like I don’t care, and even Leonard Nimoy’s photographic skills would fail to imbue me with grace and dignity. I want to make sure that fat acceptance continues to be a place where I have worth and am not relegated to “bad” status. Hence my dismay at every instance of cheerleading the pornification of fat bodies as a step forward.

    (Please forgive all the stupid quotation marks, I wish I knew of some other way to denote a specious usage of language.)

    As an aside, as one of Beth Ditto’s queer fans, I feel she does more for me when she gives a good interview than she ever would by posing nude. I don’t know why I should feel entitled to oggle simply because she and I share a mildly compatible ranking on a Kinsey scale. Yes, I find her attractive – no, I don’t know what that has to do with her worth as a musician.

  54. delphyne

    “I think women can use their bodies to protest.”

    But why should we? You don’t see male environmental protestors getting their cocks out to be photographed in a “tasteful” or “dignified” way. They are allowed to keep their real dignity and keep their clothes on.

    The reason why a woman’s body speaks louder than her words in patriarchy is because that is what men value us for. They want us to STFU and show them our tits. It’s a shame that so many women feel they have to go along with it and an even greater shame that that in some circles capitulation is regarded as political empowerment, which it will never ever be.

  55. delphyne

    “I’ve never understood why people make bio determinist arguments like this.”

    I think it’s becasue they are noticing a phenomenon but haven’t quite analysed what is really going on. It’s more accurate to say that men enjoy watching women being sexually objectified and degraded a lot more than most women do. Some women of course do like to jump on that particular male privilege bandwagon, but it’s a pretty stupid thing to do and a betrayal of the rest of their sex.

  56. RadFemHedonist

    spitfire

    “”women aren’t as overwhelmingly visual as men–not even close.”

    Oh, really? As a one-time female pornophile and current devoted sensualist, I’m calling Bullshit on this one. I also like films, comics and graphic novels, and anyone who’s ever had a conversation with me knows I’m a crappy listener.

    Do women whoop it up at male strip shows because it’s how they think a person at a ‘sexual exhibition’ venue should behave? Yeah, this is probably true.

    Does this mean women have libidos that are dependent instead on emotions, romantic cupid poetry and their partner’s wallets? Hell no.

    I’ve never understood why people make bio determinist arguments like this. Women of all orientations who like lots of frequent, casual sex with many different partners have been brainwashed into behaving ‘like men.’ Men of all orientations who enjoy arousing/emotionally intense conversations with their partners as much as fucking them must be weirdos with un-naturally low testosterone levels. It couldn’t possibly be that there are women who like to fuck and men who like to cuddle and that a person’s libido is more idiosyncratic than any genitalia-based generalisations permit?”

    Thankyou spitfire, I hate that bullcrap, I am very visual in the sense of loving animation and grapic novels, though I think caring about looks is very shallow, I dislike when people say that “brainwashed into behaving like a man stuff”. It’s as bad as those lame “jokes” about how every man has a possessive, insensitive, controlling bully inside him, that men who ask for things politely, do them for themselves and enjoy non-penetrative sexual activities are in need of a weekend of hunting and must “assert” (actually be very agressive” themselves and all that crap.

  57. daniela

    hi,
    first time here.
    only read one post: nicely put, very nice indeed.
    i’m a blamer.
    glad to be visiting here.
    thanks
    d

  58. Silence

    May I just pop in to say how much I’m loathing the concepts of ‘unfuckable’ and ‘fuckable’? Because, generally speaking, every person alive can engage in some sort of sexual act if they want to. Being “fuckable” sounds to me very much being objectified, and I don’t see why any woman would wish that for herself, regardless of her weight.

    I understand the comments from several of the posters here. Overweight and disabled women are shunted aside, belittled and ignored by society, and that’s crap. But do such women want to be pornified objects for the pleasure of the male gaze, or would they rather be respected as persons with acitve minds and bodies that are perfectly lovely in their own right? I would guess the latter.

    I am all for seeing bodies of all shapes and sizes on the covers of magazines. But I cannot agree that naked female bodies, whatever their condition, are empowering. Not with society the way it is right now. A woman who takes off her clothes in public is merely conforming to the class the patriarchy has set out for her, i.e., the sex class. Where is the rebellion in a woman doing exactly what the male gaze wants her to do?

    No. I’ll cheer when women can appear on magazines comfortably dressed in old jeans and tee shirts, slouching, and staring insolently into the camera if they wish.

  59. eldgie

    shannon, I agree, but uggggghh, that phrase! Not that you used it, but that it exists. I think “I’d hit that” is one of the most blatant verbal expressions of sexual hatred ever devised by the patriarchy!

  60. Twisty

    I should point out that I am not Shakes of Shakespeare’s Sister or Shakesville.

    It would be a good idea, then, if you selected another screen name when you post here. Much confusion could otherwise ensue. Thanks!

  61. kiki

    I’m curious what makes you think she has ‘happiness’?

    And I’m curious what makes you think you have some universal knowledge about the real truth of what many other people have gone through at the hands of the patriarchy, and the one and only path of enlightenment toward being a ’seasoned blamer’?

    I don’t claim to have ‘universal knowledge’ thus my asking a question to gain knowledge. I do wonder why we make assumptions concerning people we do not personally know because they are famous or rich or on the cover of a magazine. Even someone as open as Beth Ditto has a crafted public persona for our consumption and I am wary making claims about someone based on that manufactured experience. So I was honestly curious why she thought that BD was happy? I recently asked my daughter the same question. She’s begun to mimic certain media fueled behaviors because she truly believes that the actors in those fictions possess the happiness (or power, etc) that she desires. And I became interested in why she believes that these women are truly happy and that theirs is a path to happiness.

  62. kiki

    Okay, I coulda sworn I closed the italics. What happened to the preview ? Ack.

  63. littoralmermaid

    Can I join Delphyne in jumping on the “What about the [naked] MENZ?” bandwagon? I think it’s quite telling that in the vast majority of cases it’s women posing nude for the sake of empowerment.
    I agree that it’s important to divorce nudity from sex – I mean, I had a hard time looking at the external female reproductive system drawings in my physiology book because it reminded me of porn. But I don’t think that this is the way to do it.
    I know from personal experience that it’s an awful thing to feel ugly and get that crap kicked in your face every day. And while being considered attractive will get more doors opened for you, I think it’s a pretty hollow victory.
    To elaborate on what eldgie said, I’ve come to the conclusion that oftentimes, even when men insist that women be attractive to be valued, they don’t treat them in a nice way. When men think I am attractive, they call me things like “ho”. When men think I am attractive, they startle me by driving extremely close past me when I’m on the sidewalk/screaming at me/honking loudly at me. When men think I am attractive, they assume that it means I want to spend time with them/go places with them/have sex with them. And you know what, if that’s what being attractive means, then I don’t want it.

  64. Miller

    Regarding what “kiki” wrote we have got to change that damn “torture porn” into what it is: the overt incitement of anti-female violent hate as it sexualizes, glorifies hate crimes (brutal rapes, sadistic torture, and gruesome killings of women and girls). The whole point of that is for males to condition their sexuality to enjoy the sheer terror in women and girls. That’s it! Even the director of one of those females said that women were just “meat” and rhetorically asked what’s so wrong w/ butchering the hell out of said “meat.” He also went on to say that he loves sex and violence, so why not merge them together and up the ante. God, the posters for Hostel II terrorized the hell out of me (the young women swinging back and forth, upside down, in absolute fear). It seems only when we point out that it’s women being singled-out that society says, “You’re human, too, so don’t worry. Your gender is not being targeted but humanity itself.”

    “Porn” is seen the same way “sex” is: universally desired by males. When you put “torture” in front of it, it implicitly ties it to sex, like, rape being called “rough sex” or “surprise sex” (Hell, porn sites even advertise “brutal rapes” to entice male consumers so they’re not shy about it). It completely changes the perception. Something has got to be done. I keep writing letters to the papers and nothing is being done about it.

  65. mAndrea

    Shakes, I thought that might be the reason you hadn’t linked to the Shakerville site. You wanted to know what was the “shame” of capitualating to the patriarchy, as opposed to it being “wrong”.

    Frankly, I don’t see much difference between those two words within the context of that question. “Shame” is the result of wrongdoing. You were asking about the result, but why not get to the cause of the problem instead?

    If there is “shame” assumed in some action, then there must be “wrongdoing” assumed as well. So the question becomes “why” is it wrong?. Is it wrong to capitulate to patriarchal ideals? Is it shameful? Those two words are almost exactly interchangable, with only a minute difference in meaning.

    Perhaps you meant to ask a different question?

  66. Miller

    Spitfire,

    I said that as a generalization. I never said it was impossible for every individual woman to have high libidos or be as visual, just unlikely (And this is not even taking into account that a significant number of women are survivors of child rape, which distorts sexuality fundamentally, esp. regarding promiscuity/hyper-sexuality as a means of self-destruction). Testosterone does increase libido, but the female libido does exist it, it just happens to be emotionally based than males (again, *generally*).

    There was an article about how women and men were both shown images of nudes and men felt an overwhelming sense of reward when looking at the female form while females didn’t when looking at the male form.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/05/09/nmen09.xml

  67. therealUK

    It would be very useful to teach girls and young women that the female form exists in a whole spectrum of sizes, shapes and colours, and to explain to them just how unrealistic and dehumanising the images are that they are otherwise surrounded by.

    But, is it an effective place to do that on the front cover of a mass-market, male-run magazine aimed at an audience consisiting largely of adolescent male wankers ? Probably not.

  68. delphyne

    “men felt an overwhelming sense of reward when looking at the female form”

    Well that’s sexism for you. Masculinity is completely tied up with being superior to women so when men see women being degraded or sexually humiliated or presented for their pleasure and delectation they enjoy it – it makes them feel powerful and manly.

  69. Dawn Coyote

    delphyne,

    Actually, in Vancouver, men and women get naked and protest together. The CBC had a feature on it just last week, in fact.

    ———

    I think the larger issue for me is the futility of claiming the highest ground, the most pristine interpretation of radical feminism. I don’t want to go over old ground (though newish to me), but just to note that I see these arguments about what is acceptable and unacceptable in the RadFem universe, and I’m reminded of the film Crash, in which racism is perpetuated by almost everyone in the film, most poignantly by members of the oppressed group against each other.

    I think feminism falls prey to embeded methods of oppression, of dominance and submission—one expression of which is the claiming of the high moral ground—as does the movement for racial equality, but calling someone a nigger has social consequences that similar slurs against women do not have. We’re still embedded in this culture, and no one’s doing it perfectly. I’m never going to be a perfect Blamer. I’m with you on most, maybe all, of the principles, but I’m still going to occasionally do a (figurative) pole dance when I can’t resist. Can I still be included? Am I still welcome? I think we have to agree to disagree and we have to act.

    The thing I love about Twisty is that she can take radical stances without alienating people. She has s gift for reconciling disparate points of view, for resolving ambiguity in an inclusive and thoughtful manner. I think a IBTP Foundation is a good idea because misogynists aren’t going to stop calling us fucking skanks if we don’t make it really uncomfortable for them to do so. Whether we agree or not, we have to act.

  70. delphyne

    “Actually, in Vancouver, men and women get naked and protest together. The CBC had a feature on it just last week, in fact.”

    Come off it Dawn, we’re talking about women being photographed in the nude to make their protests or get their voices heard. It happens all the time. I can’t believe you’re even comparing the two. And even in your example the men had to have naked women along with them.

    Beth Ditto got naked with red lipstick and a come-hither look for the camera. Loads of other female musicians have done the same. Male musicians (fat or not) never have to do this. The reason for that is sexism. It’s not hard to understand.

    “I think feminism falls prey to embeded methods of oppression, of dominance and submission—one expression of which is the claiming of the high moral ground”

    Ouch, well that puts those of us who disagree with you in our place. Then again maybe some feminists have better and more consistent arguments than others e.g. I’ve never heard a decent defence of the idea that women are liberated by taking our clothes off and being photographed for men to gawp at. I don’t think it’s got anything to do with morality in particular.

  71. Dawn Coyote

    delphyne

    You’re barking up the wrong tree. Sorry. I’m not interested in the debate.

  72. Yeny

    Miller – “There was an article about how women and men were both shown images of nudes and men felt an overwhelming sense of reward when looking at the female form while females didn’t when looking at the male form.”

    I really do hope you’re mentioning this article to highlight the fact that as Delphyne said, “when men see women being degraded or sexually humiliated or presented for their pleasure and delectation they enjoy it – it makes them feel powerful and manly.”

    It seems obvious that men have had and continue to have an endless supply of images of women appearing in poses that reinforce the idea that we were put on this earth to service them. Is it any surprise then that a man would look at these images and believe the message that he is being transmitted?

    The difference with women is that we are not bombarded with these constant images telling us that men are our sex slaves, so again, it seems like no surprise that women would react to images of naked men not feeling as if they were put on this earth to service us, but that they are fully formed human beings that just decided to take their clothes off.

  73. delphyne

    I’m sorry I was short there Dawn. It’s just in the real world I’m surrounded by people who don’t notice the different ways men and women are treated and by denial about the way that plays out and I find it very frustrating.

    So if I can promise not to be short, would it be possible for you to explain why you don’t think the very obvious fact that women are sexualised in this culture and expected to present ourselves for the male gaze whilst the opposite doesn’t happen to men, isn’t important, when we’re talking about various women taking their clothes off in order to supposedly make a point.

  74. La di Da

    Kiki>
    I’m basing what I understand about Beth Ditto being happy and confident on what she has said in interviews. I know she has a public persona, and who knows, she could be miserable in private – but that’s beside the point: she’s still presenting herself as having a right to be happy and sing in a band and wear silly outfits or whatever. Unlike nearly all other representations of (younger) fat women in the public domain.

    I know there’s a few other visible fat-positive well-known women, such as Camryn Manheim, Dawn French, Magda Szubanski, Queen Latifah, but they don’t have quite the same impact with teenage girls.

  75. spitfire

    I don’t even know if it’s true as a general rule. I think the whole ‘Men Are Hornier Than Women’ thing is a myth designed to ensure that women continue to be assessed in terms of their fuckability. Because Female Sexuality=Looked At, while Male Sexuality =Looking, and sexism’s done a pretty good job of convincing people of this.

    Women probably aren’t as aroused by the photographs because, as a society, we aren’t used to looking at men’s bodies in a sexual way. Men’s bodies are presented as being strong and functional. But Women=Sex. I think Twisty even did a post on a ‘scientific’ experiment similar to the one you linked which claimed that straight women were just as aroused by images of naked women as men were. While most commenters joked that the sample group were just people who got turned on by the prospect of having wires strapped to them, it wouldn’t surprise me if the women were as aroused by the images as the men. If most images in popular culture were designed to encourage male homoeroticism; if all the sex workers and all the nude models and all the people-spread-out-passively-on-a-furry-substance were men—if Men=Second Sex—then you’d probably see those straight female ‘reward centres’ light up like Christmas trees. (and those same centres might start buzzing when straight men looked at other men!)

    Granted, men have more testosterone than women. But testosterone isn’t the only or even most important factor that affects libido. Tiredness, stress, ego—all these things play a part, too. And of course, social restraints like being labelled a slut or taboos around same-sex experimentation (for straight men especially) are pretty powerful as well.

    Finally, have a squiz at this:

    Want Naked Men, Dammit

  76. spitfire

    That was @ miller.

  77. littoralmermaid

    spitfire: or female sexuality=bodice-ripping romance novels and emotional stimulation.

  78. niki

    Spitfire, I hear you on the men-as-objects-of-desire thing. It’s a little better in England than in America, but it’s idealistic to think such a perspective would ever become universally accepted without a complete makeover of the patriarchy setup.

    Someone pointed something out a few posts back that I had never thought of before, but which should have been obvious: Dominatrix(ii? Es?) are simply another stereotype of male masturbatory material and are thus actually not practicing any dominant behavior at all. A true dominatrix can only be a radical feminist lesbian in sweats. Half joking, but certainly it makes more sense than a straight woman pinched and crammed into a sexAy outfit and stilletos ‘dominating’ a man until he comes, nyet?

    The same thing applies to women-as-sexual-predator. Even when we choose them and the situation is arranged just-so to our specifications, typically we’re still the ones being penetrated. That act in itself is submission of a very personal nature.

  79. Dawn Coyote

    delphyne:

    I don’t think it’s not important. I’ve said very little about what I think, really. Mostly, I think people are autonomous, and can make decisions about how they use their bodies (though I have been known to intervene in suicide attempts, so there’s a limit to my tolerance for autonomy). In the case of the protesters, I believe they feel the press coverage they get as a result of disrobing is worth it if it benefits their cause. Who am I to say they’re wrong?

    We live in a complex world, and most of us are just bumbling through it, trying to figure out what to do between the time when we get out of bed in the morning and the time when we fall back into it at night. I hear you on the frustration of being surrounded by those who don’t get the implications or the consequences of consistently sexualizing women, but people still have a right to find their own way, to figure it out on their own, to get part of it, to choose to use part of it for their own ends, etc.

    I see the various approaches to feminism as a sort of venn diagram of circles defining a problem space. There may be as many circles as there are feminists, but there’s going to be an area where some or all or most of us overlap. The injustice of what happened to Kathy Sierra, the De Anza case, Alison Stokke, etc. About these things we can probably agree. I find the possibility of going to work on that overlapping space much more interesting that trying to argue or even, to explain or to define what part of our circles don’t overlap.

    I can make the whole argument against porn. And then I can make it about dressing provocatively, about colouring my hair, about wearing makeup, etc. In fact, I’m one of those women still deemed fuckable even fat, even without makeup, even in sweats. I can make an argument for completely covering myself up, so that I’m not running the chance of being sexualized. And what about those who post pictures of their children on line? I can think of one child in particular who has such a compelling sweetness that I’m fairly certian she’s being sexualized by someone. I just don’t see an end to that argument, so I have to conclude that porn isn’t the real problem. It’s a symptom. Just like alcoholism is a symptom of psychological or nuerological issues. Am I making any sense?

    It’s not that I don’t think it’s important, I don’t think it’s THAT important, and I think you want me in the part of the circle where we agree, because I’m smart and resourceful and interested in doing something to change the stuff the REALLY gets under my skin. I might even be willing to take off my clothes, if that will help.

  80. Dawn Coyote

    Also: I realize it’s a bit disingenuous to enter a debate saying, “I don’t want to debate,” and I realize that the dialogue is important. It’s just that I’m not especially interested in it. It’s not what I want.

    What I want: I want a database, a network, a lobby group that can put pressure on people like that fucking moron who decided not to prosecute the de Anza case. I want to be able to slap a cease and decist order on the fuckers who made space for the harassment of Kathy Seirra, and I want to be able to pay someone to put a case together so that they can be sued within an inch of their nest eggs. I want the case highly publicized. I want it to scare the shit out of those fuckers, and all the other fuckers like them. I want the fucker who pimped Allison Stokke’s image to be innundated with a focused and persistent campaign of dissuasion. I want them scared. I want men who do not perpetuate misogyny to stop tolerating it. To stop playing yukking it up at women’s expense, the way they’ve stopped yukking it up at the expense of other victims of oppression and discrimination. Mostly, though, I just want them scared.

  81. Frumious B

    Thanks, Frumious B

    You’re welcome, but Frigga’s Own deserves the credit.

  82. zofia

    I know there’s a few other visible fat-positive well-known women, such … Dawn French…

    I love French and Sunders. Did you ever see their Star Wars Spoof? Dawns French’s Queen Amidala is too much.

  83. zofia

    *Saunders*

  84. Frumious B

    The trouble is, under the sex class is an underclass of unfuckables.

    Oh baby, I wish I had read this before I commented at Dr. B’s place. This is precisely the problem. And the underclass is fighting to get in with the cool kids instead of smashing the system which made them an underclass in the first place. This is where my head explodes.

  85. Astrolo

    In response to Dawn Coyote–”people are autonomous, and can make decisions about how they use their bodies”- I think your argument is narrow and it doesn’t see the picture at large.
    Like Gail Dine said at the anti-pornography conference in March, the problem is: these women who are choosing to exploit themselves in our visually consumed media based culture create problems for the rest of us women walking to our cars at night alone.
    The beauty standard will constantly change- so whether she is fit, fat or purple isn’t the issue.
    Exploiting her body to once again associate the female with adjectives and her body gives her the position of the sex- which is what we are trying to escape from. -Sure she can be sexually “liberated”-(“freedom of speech”)-can take the higher position, but I wonder if those who preach that will feel the same way when their male co-worker making $.20 more by the hour with the EXACT same qualifications as the female, are being paid less. Or when a “male” wants to brutally visually/physically exploit and /or objectify a female (especially a young daughter or niece) because our highly sexualized culture is incessantly getting off on the woman’s body–(she) turning it into an object- making her worth the same as a tampon, that gets used, bloodied and then thrown away.
    Honestly how are we expected to expect respect with this kind of behavior going on?
    I’m not saying one shouldn’t have an amount of freedom with their body, but how far do you really want to take this?
    Get naked because it is your body and your choice, but understand you are not just exploiting yourself you are helping to exploit the idea of the woman.

  86. Anne X

    The writing style of ‘Want Naked Men, Dammit’ reminds me of LMYC for some reason.

  87. octopod

    Spitfire: A-fucking-men. Thank you. I am so tired of that crap. I’m not the man in the relationship, he’s not the woman — we’re both humans, let that be the end of it. I blame the gender binary. Uuurgh.

  88. Sean

    Niki, you’re absolutely right about the dominatrix thing. If you’ve read Sacher-Masoch’s “Venus in Furs,” you know all about it. Severin wants Wanda to dominate him but *spoiler alert* in the end, when Wanda finally decides to assume the role as Severin’s dominatrix, she does exactly what he doesn’t want her to do–actually dominate him by doing things against his will. She truly is “sadistic” at that moment. Instead of her beating Severin after tying him up, she has her other male lover do it while she walks away. Severin afterwards breaks his submission contract with her and moves far away. It’s not truly domination until the man has no control, and no man, or really anyone, ever wants to give up his control. A post-patriarchal society would not even have the word “control” in it, just as “beauty” would be a quaint and naive notion.

  89. Dawn Coyote

    Anyone feel like a little misogynist for breakfast?

  90. Blamerella

    It occurs to me that porn and prostitution exist, in part, so that men never have to experience the state of being deemed fuckable or unfuckable. When the world provides you the means to buy sex, you get to perceive yourself as above such classification and always in the powerful position. You’re always fuckable. Or you’re unfuckable, but who cares? It’s the worthless bitches who have to prove their fuckability in order to secure their livelihood. But you’re the customer! And the customer is always right!

    IBTP.

  91. Crys T

    I’ve come to this party a little too late, but I did want to point one thing out to those people who feel that Ditto is somehow doing some good by “showing what fat women’s bodies really look like.” Actually, that is wrong: I’ve seen the NME cover and it’s obviously been touched up to hell and back. The idea that any nude photo of a woman, of whatever size, would ever be let loose on the public by a mainstream souce without being made over is pretty damn naive.

  92. alicepaul

    While I agree with the general idea of this post, I’m really bothered by accusing women of being “sexually manipulative.”

    First of all, I think this assumes women have more power than we actually do – we don’t have agency, and yet we can “manipulate” people? I don’t see the logic.

    Second, the “sexually manipulative” line is oftened levied against rebellious women by dudes who don’t think we have the right to be sexual or demanding or opinionated. You know, the woman who wants her share of the money after a divorce, the woman who cheats on her “owner,” the woman who expects to be treated like a human being after sex, or demands compensation for it, etc. The phrase often accompanies the words “selfish” and “bitch” and “whore.”

    Finally, I think this accusation comes dangerously close to blaming the women instead of the patriarchy, ya know?

  93. thebewilderness

    Dawn Coyote,
    I read the thread over there but am unwilling to register in order to join the fray.
    It seems to me just another verse in the Paris Hilton media song.
    Look at the girl thing,
    It thinks it is a person,
    Hit it! Stick or dick?

    Misogyny is so normalized in this culture that this dipstick feels fully entitled to judge a woman based on her media created public persona and her mouth. Then declare her fake. Because, after all, while he doesn’t know her from Adams house cat, he knows a fake, media created, public persona when he sees one.
    He just can’t seem to recognize a person when he sees one.

  94. Bryan

    DYK,

    Playboy, the largest and most popular porn, is largely run by ex-woman’s rights activists and other women?

  95. thebewilderness

    Thank you so much Bryan,
    What with being feminists and all we had no idea there was money to be made from exploiting women. Fancy that!

  96. Blamerella

    But Bryan, why are the women who run Playboy ex-women’s rights activists? ‘Cuz golly, I thought posing nude gave you all kinds of empowerfulment and stuff.

    DYK something about it that we all don’t?

  97. Trout

    It’s good to be a man and ownz0r all the wimmin. Back in the day, we bred you to fight each other so we wouldn’t have to fight you ourselves. Women like Twisty (and her friends) are perfect examples of that breeding program. She attacks other smart, capable, semi-powerful, rich women on the basis of “ideological impurity” and makes it impossible for differently minded females to cooperate in ending patriarchy. As a male I like that. I like being the boss of you.All your base belong to us!!

    But I did see one post by a woman who likened feminism to a “venn diagram of circles defining a problem space.” She’s pretty sensible about the whole thing. Thank God I don’t have to worry about the rest of you abandoning your ideological fixations and paying attention to her. But we’ll haul her in for processing all the same.*

    Meanwhile, the picture of Beth Ditto has inspired me to search the Internetz for pictures of fat lesbians having sex. I need them to fuel my rape fantasies!** Fat lesbians and rape fantasies are new sexual territory for me, but like the rest of you, I obey magazine covers and have no mind of my own.***

    *For the humor impaired, that was a joke. In my “evil male” persona, I claim to be a self-aware member of the male conspiracy. In reality, I’m just another center-left democrat who sits on his duff and posts stuff on the Internet.

    **For the humor impaired who did not read the first footnote, this was also a joke. More accurately, it was a snark. Snarks lie halfway between humor and sarcasm.

    ***This wasn’t exactly a joke. It was a statement in support of the joke above. However, I hope it also provoked a laugh.****

    This is a footnote to the footnotes above. Please note that I will savagely mock anyone who takes any of the footnoted material above seriously.

  98. Jodie

    “women aren’t as overwhelmingly visual as men–not even close.”

    Are you kidding me? We are trained from birth to use it differently, yes — but we are just as visual if not more.

    Ask a man what someone wore yesterday, or what someone’s shoes looked like, or ask about details of a painting you just saw, or how someone’s house was decorated/where the dust was, the specific color of a pillow, what kind of jewelry someone was wearing, the details of a quilt pattern, the weave of a fabric you just saw. Most men couldn’t tell you. Many women could, in detail. We use our visuality the way we’re allowed, and women are not allowed to “get off”. We’re not supposed to like sex, remember? Pure women couldn’t possible have their eyes linger over the sculpted thighs and butt of a 20 year old long distance runner, or the abs of that cute young weightlifter down at the Y. So instead we look at other things for pleasure.

    We ARE visual. We are simply not trained to have “the gaze” because we’re not supposed to rate men on their attractiveness the way men rate women on theirs.

  99. Hukuma Xpyweb

    “We live in a complex world, and most of us are just bumbling through it, trying to figure out what to do between the time when we get out of bed in the morning and the time when we fall back into it at night. I hear you on the frustration of being surrounded by those who don’t get the implications or the consequences of consistently sexualizing women, but people still have a right to find their own way, to figure it out on their own, to get part of it, to choose to use part of it for their own ends, etc.”

    Dawn, I think that it is very important not to get caught up in this belief in the sanctity of the individual. It tends to lead to situations, like the present, where a vast number of individuals are getting hurt, in the name of protecting “individual freedoms”. In the defense of the right of people to find their own way, to figure it out on their own, society is willing to bear the subjugation of tremendous portions of the population.

    That is why rigorous justifications must be prepared, because in a godless world, there is no outside basis for morality. We must understand what is best for society, and for humans. We are feminists because the patriarchy is deeply harmful to humanity on a number of levels. It dehumanizes and divides us, and it involves massive violence against humans every day. These are the stakes. We must be sure of ourselves, and confident enough to declare “This is the way.” That is why we debate and discuss amongst ourselves.

    As far as the network and the foundation, I want that also. I am attempting to raise the consciousness of the women around me to the brutal crimes being perpetrated on half the population on a regular basis. I don’t need to tell any of you here how difficult and marginalizing a process that can be. We must stick together, and we would be well served to organize ourselves, to better act.

    I blame the patriarchy.

  100. delphyne

    “Please note that I will savagely mock anyone who takes any of the footnoted material above seriously.”

    A man “joking” about being a sexist is not unlike a white person “joking” about being a racist i.e. not very funny. Why are you making threats about savage mocking? That’s kind of aggressive. I suggest you try being direct about your points in future.

  101. Alie

    virgotex:
    Nonetheless, I find myself admiring her. She inspires me and I wish someone like her was around when I was a fat, self-hating closeted teenager. It would have helped me a great deal. It wouldn’t have mattered that I was ignorant of feminist theory and the dominant rape/fuckability culture. What would have mattered is seeing someone that validated my corporeal self holding their head up and walking on their hind legs like a human being. Am I wrong to think that? I don’t really care because I know it would have helped. Would it have hurt me as much as it helped? I don’t know.
    (emphasis mine)

    Why, though, does it take a woman (fat or otherwise) to pose all nekkid on a magazine to be a human? Therein lies one more of the great contradictions imposed upon women by the patriarchy.

    If you’re a woman, you don’t matter unless you’re a sex object.
    If you pose naked, you have been reduced to object. (perhaps this is more blamers’ cunning observation of the p. than the patriarchy’s own crazy rules).
    If you’re a sex object, you’re a person?

    Maybe it’s less that if you pose naked you’ve been objectified (since all women are objectified all the time, whenever in the public sphere), and more that if you pose naked you move from virgin class to sex class, and that makes you a person? Is simply transgressing from “good girl” to “bad girl” enough to make one more-human like, as if breaking the rules by switching your designation without asking Daddy or Husband enough to pull yourself out of a system in which you’ve been defined by someone else? Is the act self-definition enough to humanize, even if it’s just choosing something else that doesn’t represent any actual choice, since there are really only two to choose from? (I don’t really think so.)

    I understand why seeing naked, sexual fat chicks could be good for a young, closeted fat chick to identify with, but why is the naked part so important? (That question was not meant to be rhetorical.)

  102. delphyne

    Can I add to that, why is the sexual part important? Men don’t need to see sexual men in photographs (whatever that might look like) to see themselves as sexual beings. In fact it’s all the naked sexual women they see that confirms that fact for them.

  103. littoralmermaid

    “The trouble is, under the sex class is an underclass of unfuckables.”
    I think that contributes to the problem with the split between radical feminists and liberal/sex positive feminists. A lot of the “pretty feminists” have what I call pretty privilege. In a lot of ways I think they don’t realize they have it. That’s why a lot of them get offended when radical feminists criticize beauty culture/femininity as a *hierarchy* that is oppressive to women and don’t consider it just a choice; and they become hostile when they think we’re taking their pretty privilege away from them.

    Blamerella: “It occurs to me that porn and prostitution exist, in part, so that men never have to experience the state of being deemed fuckable or unfuckable.”
    Actually I remember that during the endless discussions about prostitution at Pandagon and punkass, that some pro-prostitution man would say something like, prostitution allows men who are usually rejected by women to have access to sex. And of course it’s as fruitful as trying to ram your head into a brick wall to convince these guys that sex, and by extension women’s bodies, are not a man’s right that he’s entitled to.

  104. Jezebella

    Trout, there was nothing funny about that post.

  105. auntieintellectual

    Is there anyone else who found the actual image disturbing? I’m talking about the face, with its bright red lipstick and makeup almost white enough for the kabuki stage. To see such an unnatural face propped on top of such an overtly natural body is confusing.

    Perhaps her music provides a clue, but here I have to confess that I had never heard of her and know nothing of her or her band other than what I’ve read in regard to this single picture. Is she an uncompromising first-takes-only kind of a musician, kind of like the body in the picture, or is her music polished and smooth, like the head?

  106. Kairos Rae

    Look…fat girls can be porn stars too! How revolutionary!

    This kind of reasoning goes right up there with the idea that if men are being objectified in ads as well as women, women have no right to bitch about equality.

  107. PhysioProf

    “I’ve seen the NME cover and it’s obviously been touched up to hell and back.”

    In what ways?

  108. Vera Venom

    “Is there anyone else who found the actual image disturbing?”

    I don’t know about disturbing, but to me, this isn’t celebrating a different body type. This is attempting to make a different body type look as close to “standard” as possible, thereby lessening the threat to dude nation’s status quo. It looks to me like a picture of a woman trying desperately to fit into the the “fuckable female” mold in an effort to gain empowerfulment via dudely validation.

    Which is not at all what someone like Ms. Ditto would intend.

    She’s a fierce feminist, imo. but I’m disappointed by this pic. I get how some could mistake it for revolutionary but I have a hard time finding the pornificiation of yet another woman to be empowering in the least.

  109. Vilda Dentata (Formerly Shakes)

    ““The trouble is, under the sex class is an underclass of unfuckables.”
    I think that contributes to the problem with the split between radical feminists and liberal/sex positive feminists. A lot of the “pretty feminists” have what I call pretty privilege. In a lot of ways I think they don’t realize they have it. That’s why a lot of them get offended when radical feminists criticize beauty culture/femininity as a *hierarchy* that is oppressive to women and don’t consider it just a choice; and they become hostile when they think we’re taking their pretty privilege away from them.” – Littoral Mermaid

    Does that suggest that “pretty” women can’t be radical feminists? Or that radical feminists must not be pretty? What does pretty have to do with it? Is a “fuckable” woman really that much better off than an “unfuckable” woman?

  110. Dawn Coyote

    “In a lot of ways I think they don’t realize they have it.”

    Barf.

  111. nine

    “A woman may elect to reap the benefits of her capitulation to her oppressor, and she can even call it “empowerment” when she does it, but that doesn’t mean she’s not full of shit, and it certainly doesn’t mean that it’s doing any other women the least bit of good.”

    Right Twisty…

    It was the acts of renagade indiviuals going against the pop norm that have changed the face of culture throughout time. This is part of the reason that it is okay to wear shorts, that it is okay to kiss in public, that it is okay to SMILE. If a woman going against the cultural (sexuality) norm cannot benifit womanhood in any way, then we would not have the current state of woman (sexual) liberation. If you feel woman should NOT be viewed as sexually desirable, then there is a country that supports your beliefs. It is right across the Atlantic, make sure you pack your Hijab.

  112. Vera Venom

    “It is right across the Atlantic, make sure you pack your Hijab. ”

    Poor, poor pornfied dear. No one said women can’t or shouldn’t seen as sexual beings. All that has been said is that they shouldn’t HAVE to be presented that way, or present themselves that way in order to be considered worthy of attention. Being entirely compliant to the sex class mandate has never and will never liberate women. All it does is made obedience to dude nation the veneer of “liberation”.

    And what current state of woman (sexual) liberation are you babbling on about? The “right” to be a pornified obedient sexbot? Oh, wait – I know the “right” to be consider 4/5ths as important as a fetus. I feel so liberated.

    Put down the porn and READ the post next time.

  113. Kali

    “If you feel woman should NOT be viewed as sexually desirable, then there is a country that supports your beliefs. It is right across the Atlantic, make sure you pack your Hijab”

    You poor, deluded fool. It is *because* women are seen as sex objects that they are confined in the hijab. The hijab is not the opposite of pornification. It is the other side of the coin. Porn = women as publicly used sex objects. Hijab = women as privately owned sex objects.

    What radical feminists want is for women to break out of this patriarcally forced mold of sex object, either public or private.

  114. ekf

    It occurs to me that porn and prostitution exist, in part, so that men never have to experience the state of being deemed fuckable or unfuckable. When the world provides you the means to buy sex, you get to perceive yourself as above such classification and always in the powerful position. You’re always fuckable. Or you’re unfuckable, but who cares?

    Yes, this. The operation of the male gaze is to establish ownership, with Dudely upgrades accomplished by way of gaze harassment, gaze pornography (ownership of dehumanized female sexuality, making all women equally owned), gaze prostitution (ownership of female sexuality by way of commodification of a single female, which is then writ large to make all women “whores” when any consideration is transferred from a man to a woman), gaze marriage (ownership of woman as wife as idealized in the Bridal Industrial Complex and then as the Redeemed Mother archetype, who becomes so owned she is desexed and therefore defective/deserving of infidelity on the part of her husband, assuaging guilt of violating oaths taken and any partaking in myths of honor), gaze rape, etc. Men fear their worthiness to own women, and the gaze feeds their sense of entitlement and calms their fears and guilt, allowing them to be “manly” in the way sanctioned by Dude Nation.

    A woman cannot effect the male gaze, because she is not part of the dominant class. A man cannot be objectified in the same manner, because he is not surrounded on all sides by dehumanization and threats of his sexuality being taken by force. Women cannot exert the same threat of force through their projection of sexual ownership, so whether or not women are as visually titillated by images of naked humans as men, the power of a woman’s gaze is of a completely different type and effect than the power of a man’s gaze. A woman’s perception of her gaze is irrelevant when it accomplishes no change in the patriarchal power dynamic.

    Women who are not specifically idealized because of body type or bodily features are nonetheless part of what it means to be owned by way of the male gaze. Fetishization of a deviation from a pornified ideal is nonetheless an expression of a desire on the part of the male, the controller of the gaze, and as such it does nothing to promote the interests of the women being fetishized. To the extent that women whose bodies deviate from the pornified ideal, such women are “forgiven” their deviations on the grounds that all women are fungible, all being part of the same sex class, and so long as they sexually service men, they succeed as women. The scale that rates a woman on “fuckability” is exclusively male, whether the woman in question is queer or het, fat or skinny, dead or alive.

    In short, Beth Ditto can make all the judgments she wants about her own body, but the power to judge her naked form remains firmly in the hands of Dude Nation. While that continues to be the way of things, her nakedness is not “empowering.” Of course, neither is it detrimental to the cause — it’s just another woman being objectified, one out of the 3 billion or so being objectified today in one way or another.

  115. Alie

    Goddam, ekf. Nice.

  116. nine

    KALI

    “You poor, deluded fool. It is *because* women are seen as sex objects that they are confined in the hijab. The hijab is not the opposite of pornification. It is the other side of the coin. Porn = women as publicly used sex objects. Hijab = women as privately owned sex objects.

    What radical feminists want is for women to break out of this patriarcally forced mold of sex object, either public or private.”

    I think you kind of got the point I was trying to make. I didn’t want the comment about the Hijab to illustrate the opposite of public pornification…I wanted it to illustrate that the elimination of sex in the media is worse off than what we see in western cultures. I would like to think of it as not two sides of a coin but more of a spectrum. On one side is Hijabesque culture, the other would be Twistys euphoria…we are somewhere in the middle. It has been the dissolving of social taboos and renegade members of the culture that have pushed us in the right direction. Twisty made it seem that the fat naked chick on the cover did nothing for liberation as it is feeding the beast. Now let’s look at this: I it was illegal or taboo for a female to wink with her left eye in a male driven society where right eyed winking is allowed, and a renegade woman winks (left eyed) and the society takes notice to her, punishes her but at the same time she has created a buzz about left eyed winking. And although she is merely a product for the male consumers, she single handedly had an impact on the cultural consensus and may or may not change any culutral taboos BUT the buzz was created and people did notice. If we are not exposed to an alternative we are naive to change.

  117. Brianne

    Beautiful, ekf, beautiful.

  118. thebewilderness

    nine,
    Your premis is flawed, and all that flows from it is also.
    You may wish to consider the ways in which women are dehumanized to occupy a spectrum with us somewhere in the middle. It doesn’t make any sense and flies in the face of reality. So while you may wish it to be, it is not reasonable to expect anyone else to accept a premis that is patently absurd, for the sake of argument.

  119. thebewilderness

    I am deeply ashamed that I left the e off premise, not once, but twice. Agh

  120. littoralmermaid

    nine,
    Hate to play devil’s advocate but what if we don’t want to wink? What if I don’t want to wink with my right eye or my left eye? What if I’m sick of everyone making a big deal about my eyelids anyway?
    Yeah, in a certain way it’s “renegade” to have a heavy woman who has armpit hair pose nude on the cover of a magazine. But as twisty and the other commenters here have made clear – we might have a naked fat woman on display but we still have a naked woman on dispaly, and a lot of us are pretty sick of that.

  121. littoralmermaid

    dispaly=display
    The blamers seem to have been struck by the misspelling demon.

  122. littoralmermaid

    “Does that suggest that ‘pretty’ women can’t be radical feminists? Or that radical feminists must not be pretty? What does pretty have to do with it? Is a ‘fuckable’ woman really that much better off than an ‘unfuckable’ woman?”
    No, I never said that. And FWIW, I’m not going to make a big issue of it but upthread I posted about some of the negative experiences I’ve had from being considered attractive. There are some pretty women, some of whom are feminists, who belittle the power that the beauty standard has to hold women down and I think it’s because they haven’t been barraged with hatred of their bodies.
    Pretty women are women and still suffer under patriarchy. But they do have some advantages over ugly women.
    See ginmar’s discussion for more

  123. ekf

    And although she is merely a product for the male consumers, she single handedly had an impact on the cultural consensus and may or may not change any culutral taboos BUT the buzz was created and people did notice. If we are not exposed to an alternative we are naive to change.

    There is a point to be made here, but it’s not the point you’re making. With fat women, there are two operative prejudices: misogyny and fatphobia. Because fat women are hated for both reasons, it’s hard sometimes to isolate which expression of hatred goes to which prejudice (even a comment that might seem obvious, like “no fat chicks,” is hard to unpack neatly, because by judging a woman fat and therefore unfuckable, a man is exerting an ownership over her sexuality, which is inextricably linked to her being a woman). Both bagfuls of hatred seek to oppress fat women and keep them silent, compliant and grateful for any attention they receive from men (and they have the side effect of causing women who are not fat to fear for becoming fat and falling out of favor with men, as thin women see evidence of how much more they can be hated, with such fear morphing into patriarchal-boot-licking hatred ere long).

    A fat woman who attempts to fight back and assert her own value and self-worth in the face of both fists of hatred is making a statement. Doing so by posing naked reduces the statement’s power insofar as it accepts the brunt of the anti-woman hate fist in the service of pushing against the force of the anti-fat hate fist. But it’s still fighting back, which is a good thing. I can see how it would be an incremental step, something where fat women can see a role model for at least fighting the anti-fat hatred. The more fat women can be happy about being fat (even if it is because men permit them to be seen as “fuckable”), the better equipped they are to fight against the misogyny part of the hate equation (which will continue unabated, natch). As another poster said upthread, baby steps.

    While there may not be anything wrong with baby steps, there’s also nothing wrong with recognizing how many very large mama steps will need to be made before we should start celebrating. Fine. Beth Ditto moved fat womanhood an inch. What can we do to move the many thousands of miles we have to go to get rid of all of this shit?

  124. al

    Does that suggest that “pretty” women can’t be radical feminists? Or that radical feminists must not be pretty? What does pretty have to do with it? Is a “fuckable” woman really that much better off than an “unfuckable” woman?

    I’ve been pretty and I’ve been ugly. Pretty is better.

  125. al

    Perhaps I should elaborate.

    When a dear friend of mine was considered pretty, she had the benefit of not knowing what wolf whistles and cries of “hey, sexy!” meant, politically. She took them as compliments. It wasn’t her fault; we were teenagers, and at this stage we simply weren’t cognisant of the fact that these things were just more sexist wankery.

    By the time university rolled round, family issues caused her to sink into a depression and she gained weight. Suddenly, the same guys who’d supposedly loved her were now cracking “fuck no fat chicks” jokes in front of her. She thought her appearance had caused them to change.

    But they hadn’t changed. They were the same dickheads they’d always been.

    I spent those same years as the fugly chick. By the time I’d shed my ugly ducklingness and some straight men started finding me attractive, I already knew they full of it. I never had to look for the shit beneath the roses; for me, the manure was always in plain view.

    Therein lies the difference. Despite what I wrote above, neither pretty girls nor ugly girls have it ‘better.’ As females, our appearances will be judged and derided and used to pit us against one another either way. But an unaware pretty girl does have the benefit of seeing insults as flattery.

    Whereas the thickest ugly girl alive could not interpret, “You’re so gross, I wouldn’t fuck you with my dog’s dick” as a compliment.

  126. al

    P.S. My friend is now one of the most of kick-ass feminists ever.

    Now: Off to read Ginmar’s discussion!

  127. buggle

    Al, thanks so much for that example about your friend. I think that is just fascinating. When you said that your friend thought the men had changed, but in reality, she just wasn’t living up to their standards anymore, so they felt just fine about telling her and insulting her.

    This thread is really helping me work through some stuff, I don’t think I can quite articulate it, but wow. You are all so amazing! I feel like there is this huge contingent of awesome amazing smart unapologetic women that I can go to for advice and help. That is such an amazing thing to have. I’m 30, and although I’ve been a feminist for a looong time, it’s still just such a huge relief to come here, and be understood. And to have people talking about the very things that go through my head, that no one in my real life seem to care about much. Just want to say thanks to you all-you are all incredible.

    p.s. Where the heck is LMYC? I really miss her!

  128. NotaLodge

    bitchphd-
    In response to your first post and link you included:

    Do you really think that the females participating in such horrendous activities like Girls Gone Wild are “betraying their less attractive sisters”?
    First of all that assumes that whoever put the beauty standard on our society (MEN) were correct in what they constructed to be “beautiful”.
    Secondly that assumes these socially constructed “beautiful” people have all or will all at some point exploit themselves because of their socially acceptable standard of beauty. Thirdly, – “abandon their “less attractive sisters”-why are their sisters “less attractive”,
    and even if that was the case, that “they were abandoning their less attractive sisters”- why are the other women “abandoned” and therefore helpless? Because they don’t fit in as what has been constructed as beautiful, so therefore they are so totally helpless?
    That gives me a headache to even think about.
    I think you are a part of the patriarchy.

  129. Vera Venom

    “used to pit us against one another either way.”

    An excellent point. I think there’s something to the claim that women get dressed up more for other women then they do for men. I would even argue that the ultimate goal of adherence to beauty rituals and standards is not male approval and attention but victory over other women. Like the friend who becomes smug after receving her engagement ring. Yes, there’s a fact that she’s snaged her man – but it’s not the snagging of the man that creates the smugness but the fact that other women want what she has.

    (Then again, of my limited number of friends who fell into the whole marriage trap, only two got the smugs. So perhaps I’m over stating the issue. Luckily my pool of friends contains mostly anti-marriage people and therefore I won’t be afforded to opportunity to find out if I’m right. I can live with that.)

    ALL females – be they thin, fat, “pretty” or “fugly” – ALL of us have to deal with misogyny. The “pretty” ones just suffer with different forms of mistreatment. As an example: My friend Lauren is a woman of size, my friend Kelly is a commerically thin ‘n pretty. Once while we were all out at a bar, a drunke pornstick lifted Kelly’s skirt* and tried sticking a finger into her panties. (and got a beer bottle busted over his head) Lauren told me later that while she always felt bad about being treated as if she were invisible at bars for not being commerically thin ‘n pretty – no one had ever dared treat her like that. I think “pretty privledge” is just one more way to try and distract us with fighting each other.

    *- for the record let it be noted that Kelly is a “hippy” and wears only long loose skirts that dust the floor.

  130. buggle

    OH the smugness-I know exactly what you are talking about. I hate that! And I hate when I recognize it in myself. I realized that whenever I picture myself getting healthy and exercising, which means losing weight, I have this smug feeling inside of me. Just from imagining it. And it’s definitely a feeling of “Cool, now I have what other women want. Now I can feel superior.” GAK! It’s upsetting to realize that I do that, but I do. It’s a feeling of having won something, having one up on someone. I do BTP for this though-because it forces women to constantly be in competition with each other, each of us trying to measure up to these crazy standards.

    Ahh, I had more to say but the boss came in.

  131. NotaLodge

    Shakes-”You can accept your oppression or you can resist it. Resistance is tough. It doesn’t win you popularity or wealth, and there is little evidence of any progress. Understandably, not everyone chooses to resist. Until the revolution comes, some women just try to get by the best they can. What’s the shame in that? (That’s not a rhetorical question.)”

    Are you serious?
    You are saying by trying to help fight the oppression of women you won’t be popular or have wealth and won’t get far so don’t do it.
    I feel like if we were in high school together and you were my friend and I got raped by the popular football player you would tell me to remain quiet because it wouldn’t be a popular decision to fight back.

    That’s disgusting.

  132. kiki

    I’ve been pretty and I’ve been ugly. Pretty is better.

    I disagree. Pretty is a pain in the ass. Now that I’m ugly I am amazed and how much less shit I get in the world. When you are pretty men assume that you’re pretty for them. Being ugly and old is like becoming invisible to men and I for one love it.

  133. Jezebella

    kiki:

    amen. I kind of like being invisible when I go out to see music or have a beer with friends. I’m not old yet, but I’m unfuckable on account of my dress size, so yippee! No ass-hats sliming all over me!

    NotaLodge:

    That’s not even remotely what she was saying.

  134. nine

    EKF

    “The more fat women can be happy about being fat (even if it is because men permit them to be seen as “fuckable”), the better equipped they are to fight against the misogyny part of the hate equation (which will continue unabated, natch).”

    I am glad you can see the point I was trying to make. Twisty originally posted that no good (to womankind)could come from this woman doing this. I wanted to show that there is no action which increases tolerance that decreases social/cultural knowledge. (The question is how do we act on that knowledge) And although this is a small step, it is a step.

  135. Vera Venom

    “And although this is a small step, it is a step.”

    I would say it’s a backwards step.

    What I would think we’d want to be moving away from is the idea that women are only worthy if they are deemed fuckable to dude nation. Expanding the definition of “fuckable” to include more types of women to be pinups for patriarchy hardly seems like its a step in the right direction.

    Women feeling positive about their bodies, appearence etc – all wonderful positives. Doing exactly what dude nation demands women do to be allowed to be
    positive about themselves – not so much.

    To re-make the point someone else made before – we do not see fat guys getting naked on magazine covers to promote fat acceptance.

  136. buggle

    RE: is being pretty worse than being ugly?

    They both stink-if you are a woman. Right? No matter where we are on the spectrum of “beauty” (whatever the hell that even means) we are all screwed.

    Being ugly is better because you don’t get noticed, except when men call you fat.

    Being pretty is better, because you get treated better, except when men harass you.

    Either way, it stinks. Either way, we’ll all get harassed.

  137. delphyne

    I agree, it’s not like feminism is brand new, it’s been around for quite a while. How many tiny steps in the wrong direction do we have to take before women finally say “Fuck this” and stop pandering to men and giving them what they want from us?

    It’s particularly sad given that there was a big hoo-ha a few months ago because NME failed to put Beth Ditto and some other female musicians on their cover when they topped the magazine’s “Cool List”. If Ditto thinks she’s scored a victory by doing this then the joke’s on her and the sexist boys at NME are the ones doing the laughing. Then again it’s probably less about feminism and fat acceptance and more about the publicity a woman taking her clothes off can generate. It’s the same reason so many actresses do Playboy.

  138. nine

    “I would say it’s a backwards step.

    What I would think we’d want to be moving away from is the idea that women are only worthy if they are deemed fuckable to dude nation. Expanding the definition of “fuckable” to include more types of women to be pinups for patriarchy hardly seems like its a step in the right direction.”

    So where would this backwards stepping road end at? That one day everyone is deemed ‘fuckable’ and thus the term ‘fuckable’ is irrelivant? Would this be stepping in the wrong direction?

  139. Vilda Dentata (Formerly Shakes)

    “You are saying by trying to help fight the oppression of women you won’t be popular or have wealth and won’t get far so don’t do it.” -NotaLodge

    As Jezebella said, that’s not what I’m saying at all. I am saying that being a feminist can be tough. It usually is. When the options are to fight your oppression or do the best you can within it, it is not so clear-cut as to which is the obvious choice.

  140. Kali

    “I would like to think of it as not two sides of a coin but more of a spectrum.”

    A spectrum of sexual objectification, from public to private. A step in any direction on that spectrum is not a step forwards. A step forward would be a step *out* of that spectrum.

    “So where would this backwards stepping road end at? That one day everyone is deemed ‘fuckable’ and thus the term ‘fuckable’ is irrelivant? Would this be stepping in the wrong direction?”

    If you want a world where every *woman* is deemed fuckable, you are already there. What about the men? The issue of fuckability is not normally applied to men. They are the ones fucking the women, not the other way around.

  141. Miller

    I didn’t read every single subsequent post (I’ll just assume the worst for now).

    God, I linked the article to show to establish how easy it is manipulate male sexual desire–to a terrifying degree–due to their sexual reflexes being so profoundly visual. I posted after seeing a Hostel II poster w/ the image of a decapitated female nude torso, in which the body is holder its own head.

    First, just that image alone desensitizes *everyone* to brutal hate crimes against females (I refuse to use that euphemism “violence against women,” since it blurs hate crimes into generic violence). However, what the public (especially women) fails to understand is how it affects males differently than just simple desensitization. Just seeing the image of nude female triggers sexual arousal. When that sexual desire is co-opted to insert ultra-violent hatred of females (decapitated head), it becomes something all the more frighteningly powerful: male sexuality is conditioned to be sadistically anti-female. I mean, if Islamic jihad is frightening b/c it is sanctioned by the power of religion, imagine extremism harnessing the awesome power of a biological tour de force? That’s what we’re up against!

    I just don’t want us embracing this idea that there’s no hint of difference (either culturally or biologically) for the sake of “equality,” especially since this method is counter-productive (For example, bigoted males actually believe we–all females, no exceptions–think we’re just as evil as they are, even to the point of suggesting we commit as many rapes against boys, but we just get away w/ it. So, we’re even–but only when it comes to evil.).

    We are different–profoundly so. Look at FBI stats: universally male violent crime is aggressive while female violent crime is universally defensive. When females kill their male partners it’s to get rid of him; when males kill it’s to keep her. Hell, over 95% of criminals are male. Mind, you females aren’t prevented from committing crime (We can buy weapons to overcome our physical disadvantage against males). Females are subject to a profoundly anti-female “justice” system, in which they are condemned more easily and harshly (I believe women get 2x longer the sentence for killing their husbands than men, in spite of the different natures of the violence: defensive v. aggressive), but males are also routinely excused from responsibility for hate crimes (De Anza case, most recently).

    We are raised to believe the gospel that males are morally superior. We honor the fact that men have always ruled the world (as far as we know), while completely failing to acknowledge how they dominated: complete mental, physical, and emotional oppression of females. To this day, girls are killed for either trying to learn to read or write (Afghanistan, Pakistan) or for daring to show up as female on a damn sonogram (India, China). One must look past what they want us to see, and see who they truly are. Not until you look to violent crime and male culture, which glorifies authoritarianism, do you see how sick they are. It’s a rude awakening to realize that mainstream porn is eerily close to the Rape of Nanking and a far cry from Deep Throat (just old-school rape). Although we don’t commit the hate crimes they do, it’s getting more and more difficult for me to excuse the enabling.

    Just look at what I assumed would be a strong feminist site (afterellen.com; check the blog). The majority of the comments about Hostel and Saw were defensive of these films, even (get this) on philosophical grounds (Did you know Saw is really about ensuring you live your life to the fullest and that Hostel was about feeling compassion for the victims? And here I thought posters only glorifying the perpetrators and their killings, not to mention THE ACTUAL GODDAMN MOVIES, were about sympathizing w/ the callous, sadistic bigot. Silly me.) If these films don’t raise the alarms, I’ve left trembling thinking nothing ever will. I mean when Triumph of the Will is seen as Nazi propaganda, but women being impaled/raped with machetes or their faces burned off w/ a blowtorch for amusement is either shrugged at or staunchly defined by “feminist” lesbians, you quickly understand that you’re just a sitting duck.

  142. nine

    KALI

    “If you want a world where every *woman* is deemed fuckable, you are already there.”

    This is NOT the case as there would be no such thing as varied levels of sexual desire. If every woman was deemed ‘fuckable’ by every person (male and female) then sexual desire would not exist (as it would all be at the same level thus negate). Now if you ment that we are in a state of a world where every *woman* is deemed fuckable by someone (but not everyone and there are varying degrees of fuckability), then you are right. Welcome to the middle of the spectrum.

  143. delphyne

    Where we are is in a world where every woman is judged on her fuckability or lack of the same whilst men aren’t. Welcome to the patriarchy.

  144. Comrade Canadia

    I’m a terrified lurker who’s going to try to participate. Be gentle!

    Let’s look at our definition of fuckable. Everyone knows that the patriarchy’s idea of the perfect woman is EXTREMELY narrow. Look at models, pop stars, actresses, and anything like that. They all look the same, or very close to the same. It’s like there’s this idea of the “perfectly fuckable woman”, by which all women in the world are rated according to how closely they match it.

    However, when that Platonic form of fuckable is more broadly defined, it begins to lose meaning. Putting fatter women on magazine covers changes things, and I’ll even say it helps erode the patriarchy’s grip on what women should look like. It becomes harder for a group of frat boys to single out a woman on the street and scream at her because they no longer united in their desire to own her. It becomes a matter of taste.

    If I want to really stretch it, I might even say that when you’re no longer told what you should be attracted to, you might be more likely to think of the object of your affection as a person, rather than a possession.

    Well, maybe not that far. But you get my point.

    Going further, when that magazine model ceases to be an unattainable, almost arbitrary standard of fuckable, it loses its power over women. After all, how can you feel like shit about how you look when the definition of acceptable looks becomes so broadly defined as to become meaningless?

    Saying that this is a bad thing, or even a step back is difficult for me to understand. I’ll grant that this is reformist, not revolutionary. It’s alleviating the symptoms rather than getting rid of the cancer, but the revolution isn’t coming tomorrow. Until then, how on earth can a broader definition of beauty be a bad thing?

  145. Kali

    Comrade Canadia, being fuckable is not a compliment. When more women realize that, then beauty standards will lose their power over women. Not by expanding the categories of fuckable.

  146. nine

    Delphyne

    “Where we are is in a world where every woman is judged on her fuckability or lack of the same…”

    It would be an easy world to live in if this was the case. You either are or are not sexually desireable to everyone/anyone. No more desicions needed when wanting to be desired by another.

    “Where we are is in a world …… fuckability or lack of the same whilst men aren’t.”

    So no male is judged to be more sexually desirable than another? Poor Johnny Depp.

    “Welcome to the patriarchy.” = Welcome to the middle of the spectrum

    Well said Comrade

  147. pandapan

    The old maxim “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” has always bothered me and now I know why. Fuck the beholder! Why is beauty not in the mind of the beholdee? Male-gaze bullshit.

    The Patriarchy: I blame it.

  148. delphyne

    “It would be an easy world to live in if this was the case. You either are or are not sexually desireable to everyone/anyone. No more desicions needed when wanting to be desired by another.”

    You know, I think you took a wrong turn at Feminism 101. If you haven’t noticed that women are constantly being held up for scrutiny about our looks and our desirability to men then you really aren’t paying attention.

    “So no male is judged to be more sexually desirable than another? Poor Johnny Depp.”

    You’re confusing sexual desirability with sexual objectification. Try again.

  149. thebewilderness

    Funny you should mention Depp. You may recall that what drove him to leave this country was the patriarchy treating him the way it treats women.

  150. littoralmermaid

    buggle-
    “Being ugly is better because you don’t get noticed, except when men call you fat.
    Being pretty is better, because you get treated better, except when men harass you.
    Either way, it stinks. Either way, we’ll all get harassed. ”

    Well except that being pretty is one of the ultimatums that patriarchy puts on women. Notice that one of the few things that patriarchy pretends to value women for is “beauty”. How many times to moronic male trolls pull out the “but I love women … because they’re beautiful!” line to excuse himself from his misogyny? (See the trolls who showed up on the I Puke On Dude Nation thread)
    It’s not as if “pretty” and “ugly” are passive and static. If women are not pretty they are devalued for being ugly and they are pressured to make themselves pretty. Patriarchy demands that we must be pretty, although that doesn’t mean we’ll get male privilege if we are.
    If you’re pretty, your appearance is patriarchy-approved, but you’re treated like crap because you’re a woman.
    If you’re ugly, your appearance is not patriarchy-approved, and you’re still treated like crap because you’re a woman.
    IBTP.

  151. al

    Hugs to Buggle and Vera :-)

    Kiki wrote: Now that I’m ugly I am amazed and how much less shit I get in the world.

    Then Jezebella wrote: I’m not old yet, but I’m unfuckable on account of my dress size, so yippee! No ass-hats sliming all over me!

    Ugly girls don’t get harrassed? Funny idea, that. My experience says otherwise. Except it’s not the popular jock types slimin’ all over ya, it’s their gamma-male counterparts: The skinny, zit-faced grease-monkeys with slight overbites and hentai porn collections.

    ::shudders::

  152. Jezebella

    Comrade Canadia, frat boys who are inclined to say vile things to pretty women also say vile things to every other woman that crosses their path. They feel entitled to comment on the physical assets of every woman.

    And I think everyone here can attest to the discomfort caused by uninvited assessments, whether the vile frat boy thinks he is being complimentary or not.

  153. al

    Please understand that I am not knocking zit-faced grease-monkeys. I was the female equivalent of those guys myself, sans hentai porn and sleaze, natch.

    Also:

    Being ugly and old is like becoming invisible to men and I for one love it.

    Vintage Twisty:

    What man over a certain age yearns to be invisible?

    Can’t argue with wanting to free yourself from the demands of Dick Nation, that’s cool. But I couldn’t get on board with female invisibility in general.

    I blame the flying spaghetti monster. And Pat, too.

  154. Comrade Canadia

    Kali – You’re missing my point here, I’m not talking about fuckable being a good thing in the slightest. The very idea of fuckable is abhorrent, I think we’re all in agreement on that. What I’m talking about is that when Beth Ditto poses naked on the cover of NME, she’s not setting back the efforts of feminists. By redefining fuckable to be inclusive, she dilutes the concept so that it holds no water.

    Social oppression, like that of the patriarchy is not something done individually. It’s done by all men, everywhere. I’m a guy, and despite considering myself a devoted feminist (or feminist supporter, whatever floats your boat) I contribute to the oppression of women whether I like it or not. This is because -all men- are raised to oppress women, and all men are taught that a certain type of woman is what they want. All women are concurrently taught that being oppressed is good, and that a certain type of woman is what men want.

    Beth Ditto might not be overthrowing the patriarchy with what she’s doing, but what she -is- doing is weakening this idea of the perfect woman. When the perfect woman becomes increasingly general, it can’t help but become increasingly individual. And if a group of asshole frat boys all have differing opinions on whether or not a woman is fuckable, they’re going to be less likely to harass her on the street because they might not all be in on it. If a fourteen year old girl sees an infinite variety of different women considered attractive, she’s going to be less likely to starve herself in order to make boys like her.

    It’s not a cure, it’s a little bit of treatment, and when considered as such, it’s not that bad.

  155. thebewilderness

    HAH! I knew we were on our way to ‘not as bad as Hitler’ I could see it coming a mile away.

  156. buggle

    littoralmermaid-absolutely! All I really meant was, we are screwed either way, because we are women.

    I agree-when I’m fatter and “uglier” and not trying at all, I get harassed by different men, then when I’m thinner and more girly looking. I used to try to change the way I looked and dressed in order to not get harassed, and then I finally realized that, as a woman, there’s really no way to not get harassed. Until you are old enough to be invisible. Nice options we have!

  157. Lauredhel

    “I agree-when I’m fatter and “uglier” and not trying at all, I get harassed by different men, then when I’m thinner and more girly looking.”

    And fat women get the extra bonus prizes of lower likelihood of being hired for a job, lower pay, and poorer access to healthcare! Woot!

  158. Frumious B

    On this whole “is it better to pretty or ugly”: There is a spectrum. It’s not a binary “fuckable” or “invisible”. I’ve been fugly, and I wasn’t invisible, I was taunted, physically harassed, and told not to try to associate with my betters (more attractive counterparts). Invisible would have been a step up.

    I’m now reasonably attractive, and life is way, way better. I’m not smoking hot, and I don’t think I want to be. I reside in the happy medium where most of the time I do have “pretty privilege,” but I don’t draw harassing attention. It’s a good place to be, and it’s understandable why women would change their behavior to get here.

  159. rootlesscosmo

    And if a group of asshole frat boys all have differing opinions on whether or not a woman is fuckable, they’re going to be less likely to harass her on the street because they might not all be in on it.

    I don’t think this can work, because street harassment has nothing to do with any characteristics of the target, regardless of whether or not the harassers agree on what those characteristics are. Street harassment is about enforcing male control of public space, reminding women that they pass through it by male permission, and that the penalty for resisting this control is that the harassment will escalate to sexualized violence in the blink of an eye. (Pioneer Second Waver Naomi Weisstein, feeling confident because she’d taken a self-defense class, told a street harasser to fuck off, and was promptly knocked to the ground.) There are other components to street harassment (guys demonstrating their un-queer studliness to each other is an important one) but trying to mitigate it by disrupting conventional standards of fuckability, while possibly well-intentioned, seems to me misdirected.

  160. Vilda Dentata (Formerly Shakes)

    This article from today’s Boston Globe seems pretty relevant (no pun intended) to this discussion: http://www.boston.com/ae/tv/articles/2007/06/13/reality_shows_draw_feminist_ire_but_female_viewers_too

    “Erica Espiritu, who periodically watches “Cheerleaders” and “Pussycat Dolls,” says she understands why a mother might not want her 10-year-old addicted to such programs. But she disagrees that they’re anti-feminist or exploitative.

    “Yes, I’ve got problems with society telling us all we have to have a certain look,” she says. “But if you’re comfortable with yourself, I say go ahead.” “

  161. Niki

    I kinda believe that any woman that willingly participates in any sort of visual media should know well in advance what kind of crap she’s going to face. It’s idealistic for any girl in that situation to believe that she’s got the power to change an old boy’s institution, such as the patriarchy, with her fabulous new ‘differences’. It’s sad that so many women would believe that the sexual acceptance of girls outside of the beauty mandate means we’ve taken a step forward. Forward to what, more porn?

    Also, re: Vilda’s attached article, television is up there in the top five most evil, vile reflections of so-called female culture that exists.

  162. NotaLodge

    I agree with Littoralmermaid- “How many times to moronic male trolls pull out the “but I love women … because they’re beautiful!” line to excuse himself from his misogyny?”

    Well said.

    But uhh what is this about
    “Beth Ditto might not be overthrowing the patriarchy with what she’s doing, but what she -is- doing is weakening this idea of the perfect woman.”-Comrade Canadia

    You make some very interesting points and we are very glad to have like males like you on our side. I don’t think you are wrong in what you said. But really what was Beth Ditto wearing?
    Nothing.
    She was wearing nothing, she had black eye make-up on, as to appear punched/beaten/or “sexy”
    She had red lipstick on, as to draw attention the her mouth because at this time, her orifice(s) are the only thing that need attention
    And she is naked, so therefore readily accessible for sex
    Because her tissue seems to be in more abundance than the “average model”, doesn’t mean she is not still submitting to the patriarchy
    She is.

  163. NotaLodge

    http://www.boston.com/ae/tv/articles/2007/06/13/reality_shows_draw_feminist_ire_but_female_viewers_too

    I would vomit if I was watching TV and saw this show.

    I totally agree with Niki

  164. Vera Venom

    “Forward to what, more porn?”

    That should answer nine’s question abuot where this road leads too.

  165. Comrade Canadia

    Wow, okay. Good points from everyone, too many to cite all of them. I’m obviously a little well, wrong, on some of the points I made, but I think my basic premise can still hold.

    I’m going to play off of what Frumious B wrote, and make the (risky) statement that being pretty is preferably to being ugly. Right now, pretty means fuckable, which is not acceptable and must change, but if we accept that pretty is beter than ugly, making pretty more inclusive is not a bad thing.

    We can all accept that this magazine cover is totally playing into the hands of the patriarchy. If fat women are going to show up nude on a magazine covers, by God they’re going to do so in the most compliant, pornified way possible. By the patriarchy’s rules, not by their own.

    But magazine covers that porn up more body types than they did previously is not -all- bad. Only one body type being considered attractive is a shitty situation. More than one is still unacceptable, but it’s -not as bad as it was-. Lesser of two evils. Do we have to accept either? No! Of course not.

  166. justicewalks

    I really don’t get all this fighting over the right to be pretty, when pretty will never beat out the corresponding male handsomeness anyway, due to the total subordination of females to males, and femininity to masculinity. The handsome, rich, white, heterosexual male is the one at the top, and no pretty girl, or boy for that matter, ought to gloat too self-righteously over the crumbs they get in exchange for not rocking his boat too hard.

  167. CD

    i could go on and on about this subject, but i just want to toss in one idea i’ve not seen yet: staying “in shape” makes sense not to be “fuckable,” but because to be otherwise means risking great suffering and expense later in life.

    i’m lucky, i was born with a body that keeps a trim, muscular frame with ease. i do daily yoga today, after years of volleyball, running, other things. i’ve never been “fat,” whatever that means, but i’ve carried 20lbs more than is ideal for my health, for a few years. oddly (not) that was when i was a pit slave to the patriarchy, and struggling with an abusive partner.

    anyway: my point is that i think women need to learn not just how to be “ok” with their bodies, but also ok with the idea that being “fat” isn’t a good idea because the patriarchy fucks women out of health care at the end of life. trust me, the doctors in my family have some awful stories about what happens to women (anyone, actually) who becomes housebound due to obesity. it’s easier than you think, when you throw in heart disease and diabetes. sitting on your ass all day, even if all that time is spent bitching about the patriarchy, means later in life you’ll really suffer for it. and because you won’t be “fuckable,” few resources will be there to support you.

    fat isn’t sexy to me. it isn’t unsexy per se, except what it tells me about what a person thinks of their body’s health. americans are so fucking fat, it’s truly pathetic. it’s a cliche to speak of “starving orphans in africa” and cleaning one’s plate, but there is also obscenity to our food, deep and bloody obscenity that permeates all that we eat. to be aware of this is to take a step in the direction of twisty’s utopia. patriarchy has economic components, and teaching consumers to love/hate/be addicts when it comes to what they put in their bodies is a big part of that.

    there’s a way to be feminist, healthy in body and mind, and not deliberately attempting to fit into the model or ideal, which for the most part is determined by gay men (i’m gay, and an ex model). the discussion here is about how the male gaze absorbs the additional ‘fuckable’ object model of “fat” in this post, but in truth it should be about women taking control of their health. the patriarchy is literally deadly in many ways, one of the most significant is in how it teaches us to hate the healthy female body. perhaps the rarest thing is visual culture: a natural, balanced, healthy middle aged female body that isn’t understood as an object of titillation for the male gaze. try to be it, i have found it truly “empowering.”

  168. thebewilderness

    CD: i could go on and on about this subject,

    Obviously not.

  169. Kali

    “Right now, pretty means fuckable, which is not acceptable and must change, but if we accept that pretty is beter than ugly, making pretty more inclusive is not a bad thing.”

    From a myopic, here-me-now perspective, getting crumbs is better than not getting anything at all. But if fighting for crumbs is getting in the way of growing your own food, then more people having a stake in getting crumbs is a tragedy. Women competing for male sexual/visual approval is a tragedy. Dragging more women into that competition makes the tragedy even worse. The more time and energy (mental, emotional, physical) women spend in gaining male approval and crumbs, the less time and energy they have to break out of their subordination and oppression at male hands.

  170. Comrade Canadia

    I don’t see why you can’t have your cake and eat it too. How does getting a few more crumbs from patriarchy’s big table stop feminism in its tracks? It’s like me, as an anarchist, decrying someone for promoting better welfare and minimum wage because it only makes workers complacent, instead of driving them to overthrow the state.

    Following that logic, I’d obviously rather live in an Orwellian nightmare because revolutionary tendencies will be more likely to flourish. Thank you, no. I rather enjoy living in the Canada of today, because despite the fact it’s a shitty capitalist patriarchy, it could be a HELL of a lot worse.

    This isn’t a challenge, but an honest question – why does this not apply to feminism? Crumbs like this have been dropping all throughout the 20th century, and I feel they’ve really made things better. None of them have changed who sits at the table, but I would also argue that none of them have really strengthed the patriarchy, either.

  171. nine

    Vera Venom

    ““Forward to what, more porn?”

    That should answer nine’s question abuot where this road leads too.”

    This is a near sighted look at what immediately lies ahead.

    You think that a broader sense of what is physically desirable leads to the further sexual objectification of women. True in the sense that sexual objectifying IS sexual desire of an object (in this case the object is a person’s physical appearence) True in the sense that the male who isn’t into the ‘pink’ females now has a publically accepted means of objectification (physical desirability). So what happens when more female physicalities become equally sexual in main stream? What happens when more females fit the mold of what is physically attractive? What happens when female A is considered as sexually objectable (that is physically desirable)as female B by all the masses? The physical definitions of a beautiful woman are broken down to encompass all and desirability is sought in different forms (e.g. personality). This is not just confined to a sexual desire. Everyone chooses friends, aquantances, loved ones to fullfill thier personal desires of feeling important, loved, safe, comforted, un-isolated etc… If we as a culture broaden (and thus break down) what is considered physically desirable, then the physical aspects of what we desire in another become less and less prominent and we turn our personal desires to another medium (not the physical medium). Of course we could rid ourselves of all of our desires and walk around as emotionless carbon copies of each other in a standstill economy in a standstill culture.

  172. justicewalks

    How does getting a few more crumbs from patriarchy’s big table stop feminism in its tracks?

    They’re called crumbs for a reason; they are the unintended consequence of the reigning class not having a table big enough to catch every morsel before any should fall to your bowl . If fat females (or disabled females, or nappy-headed females, etc.) are being invited to share some crumbs, it isn’t because there’s anything extra falling off of “patriarchy’s big table.” No, patriarch’s needn’t relinquish a thing to redistribute fuckability amongst people who are already members of the sex class, regardless.

    And it precisely this squabbling amongst near equals in the social hierarchy, fellow females, who may or may not be slightly prettier (or richer, or whiter, or straighter-seeming), that maintains the hierarchy, because if we weren’t fighting our near equals, we’d be fighting our oppressors. So, white it may not “stop feminism in its tracks,” it certainly does nothing to further its cause.

  173. Vera Venom

    Damn! We almost got through one thread on which fat was a subtopic in which someone DIDN’T come to tell us that “the fatties are unhealthy!”.

    Hooray for Shakesville:

    http://www.shakesville.com/2007/06/fun-for-the-whole-family/

    http://www.shakesville.com/2007/06/why-i-still-use-the-term-fat-acceptance/

    http://www.shakesville.com/2007/06/fat-girl-reporting-for-duty/

  174. Vera Venom

    Yeah, you’re right, nine. If one doesn’t absolutely agree that any and all women getting naked on mag covers isn’t oh-so-totally-empowering, then OF COURSE what we’re after is that “we rid ourselves of all of our desires and walk around as emotionless carbon copies of each other in a standstill economy in a standstill culture”

    You found me out.

  175. Kali

    “How does getting a few more crumbs from patriarchy’s big table stop feminism in its tracks?”

    “Of course we could rid ourselves of all of our desires and walk around as emotionless carbon copies of each other in a standstill economy in a standstill culture.”

    Did Mandos clone himself? Not once, but twice? I haven’t seen logical pretzeling this twisted since he was banned. Clone #1 argues that the crumbs that men give women in return for compliance to sexual objectification is analogous to raising the minimum wage. I guess that is the reason why so many union workers are opposed to raising the minimum wage and why so many capitalists are trying to shove the fair labor laws and minimum wage raises down the worker’s throats. You know, just like men trying to convince more women to get naked more often.

    Clone #2 thinks that the answer to the sexual objectification of women is to sexually objectify more women, more kinds, more often. Because, as everyone knows, if every woman is equally sexually objectified, then no woman is sexually objectified.

    What is sad and scary is that we are already well on the way of the path that nine urges women to follow. Female nudity is so commonplace and unremarkable that it is no longer humiliating enough for male satisfaction. Now they want murder, rape and mutilation in order to get off. Nine associates the lack of sexual objectification of women with “rid ourselves of all of our desires and walk around as emotionless carbon copies of each other in a standstill economy in a standstill culture”. This bears a chilling similarity to psychopaths who believe they can overcome their emotional deadness only by murdering, raping and torturing women.

  176. nine

    Kali & Vera

    “Female nudity is so commonplace and unremarkable that it is no longer humiliating enough for male satisfaction. Now they want murder, rape and mutilation in order to get off.”

    If female nudity was unremarkable then we wouldn’t be 177 posts deep on a feminist blog. The fact that it still is signifies that we as a culture still desire a certain physical boundry and that physical ‘beauty’ does not encompass all. Do you really think that everyone who desires (physically) another feels the urge to murder, rape and mutilate in order to get off? Talk about a blanket statement.

    “Nine associates the lack of sexual objectification of women with “rid ourselves of all of our desires and walk around as emotionless carbon copies of each other in a standstill economy in a standstill culture”.”

    “Yeah, you’re right, nine. If one doesn’t absolutely agree that any and all women getting naked on mag covers isn’t oh-so-totally-empowering, then OF COURSE what we’re after is that “we rid ourselves of all of our desires and walk around as emotionless carbon copies of each other in a standstill economy in a standstill culture”

    You found me out.”

    It’s funny that both of you missed this sentence “If we as a culture broaden (and thus break down) what is considered physically desirable, then the physical aspects of what we desire in another become less and less prominent and we turn our personal desires to another medium (not the physical medium).” and focused on the satirical sentence following it. Of course we cannot rid ourselves of our desires, that is what I was mocking. I don’t think anyone really believes that we should. So here is an easy YES/NO question that you two (and anyone else reading) can answer:

    Would our culture be better if physical desirability in another (as a cultural whole) was lessened?

  177. Kali

    Nine, this sentence is complete nonsense. “If we as a culture broaden (and thus break down) what is considered physically desirable, then the physical aspects of what we desire in another become less and less prominent and we turn our personal desires to another medium (not the physical medium).” Broadening the sexual objectification (to include more women and body types) is not breaking it down. Broadening sexual objectification is not making the physical aspects of desire less prominent. Up is not down. Like I said before, it is a dishonest, illogical, mind-game you are playing here.

    “If female nudity was unremarkable then we wouldn’t be 177 posts deep on a feminist blog.”

    I guess with that same logic, when slavery was commonplace and unremarkable, there were no lengthy discussions among abolishionists about how to eradicate it.

  178. nine

    “I guess with that same logic, when slavery was commonplace and unremarkable, there were no lengthy discussions among abolishionists about how to eradicate it.”

    I guess i look at that as the reason we DID have discussion was that it was NOT unremarkable. Of course now we are getting into semantics and away from the topic.

    Also you didn’t answer the YES/NO question.

  179. Kali

    “Would our culture be better if physical desirability in another (as a cultural whole) was lessened?”

    Yes, our culture would be better if the sexual objectification of women (euphemised as “beauty” or “physical desirability” under the patriarchy) was lessened.

  180. nine

    How do we make that change?

  181. Comrade Canadia

    Kali wrote: “I guess that is the reason why so many union workers are opposed to raising the minimum wage and why so many capitalists are trying to shove the fair labor laws and minimum wage raises down the worker’s throats. You know, just like men trying to convince more women to get naked more often.”

    Workers fought and died for rights like minimum wage, but the fact is that minimum wage is still a bone thrown to workers to keep them complacent. I don’t want eight bucks an hour, I want the abolition of the wage system. You don’t want more women to be deemed fuckable, you want the patriarchy smashed with a giant hammer of indiscriminate justice. Screw concessions and crumbs, we both want revolution. However, I’ll take my eight bucks an hour if the only other here-and-now alternative is no minimum wage at all.

    The question remains; is a patriarchy where all women are pornified preferable to a patriarchy where one specific body type is pornified? Keeping in mind that as it stands, all women are rated according to that one body type. I’ll continue to argue for the former.

    A response of “Neither, smash the patriarchy!” can be assumed here. But the fact remains is that the patriarchy is still alive and well, and we now have a magazine cover with a naked fat woman on it doing her best Jenna Jameson impression. If something doesn’t smash the patriarchy, it still isn’t -all bad-.

    A misguided attempt to empower women like this one can still do some good. It can help problems with bolemia or anorexia in the very least. It’s a tiny little thing, but if we are going to have yet another nude woman on a magazine cover, why not have this small benefit? Why does it have to be reduced to a yes or no question?

    Speaking of yes or no questions…

    Nine, your YES/NO question doesn’t really prove anything. Physical desirability needs to be changed, not lessened. Sex is basic part of life in the more base, biological sense. Our problem is that we’ve fucked it all up with having a dominant gender that uses sex as a vicious tool of oppression. That’s what needs to be addressed, not the amount or intensity of it.

    The two different positions on my replies here (hopefully) illustrates what I’m trying to say in general. Both radical and moderate forces can exist, and work towards a similar goal without tripping one another up that much. You can also support both without being a hypocrite. Politically and socially, I want revolution, no question about it.

    However, when something like this magazine cover comes along, I feel I can throw some halfhearted cheers in its direction. It in no way tackles issues of possession or objectification of women, but it might help out with some other issues which have been all been raised. If I weigh the pros and cons of this the NME cover, I think the pros win out by a small margin.

  182. nine

    “Physical desirability needs to be changed, not lessened. Sex is basic part of life in the more base, biological sense.”

    Does sexual desire rely soley on physical desire?

    And again

    How do we make this change?

  183. Kali

    “is a patriarchy where all women are pornified preferable to a patriarchy where one specific body type is pornified? Keeping in mind that as it stands, all women are rated according to that one body type. I’ll continue to argue for the former.”

    Let’s say that we have a system of slavery where muscled slaves are prefered by the slaveholders as compared to weak slaves. Does having a system where weak slaves are as much desired as the muscled ones a better one? If you don’t see anything good in slavery, the answer is clearly no. If your stance on slavery is neutral or positive, you would be arguing that making the weak slaves more attractive and desirable is a step forward.

    Basically, the difference between people who think of Ditto’s pose as a positive thing and those who don’t boils down to the difference between people who think of the pornification of women as a positive/neutral thing and those who don’t.

  184. Mar Iguana

    Mandos has nine lives.

  185. littoralmermaid

    Pornification of a certain group doesn’t necessarily mean that group is accepted as mainstream or as equivalent to the dominant beauty standard. What I’ve seen is that when groups of “non-mainstream” women are pornified (like fat women, nonwhite women, transwomen, disabled women, etc.), they are often pornified based on the worst stereotypes of that group.
    I see it as kind of similar to fetishes for nonwhite women. Nonwhite women in porn are usually classed according to their race and some extremely racist stereotypes that go with it – “insatiable” black women, “spicy” Latinas, “submissive” Asians, etc. – and I really don’t think it’s been positive at all for women of color. I blogged about this a bit, that “pretty” is the exclusive domain of white women, and attractive nonwhite women are “exotic” or “sexy”.
    I can see something similar happening with fat women. Even if fat women are accepted as attractive, I simply don’t see them as being accepted as equivalent to the Victoria’s Secret model types, they’ll just get their own niche, probably based on anti-fat stereotypes.

  186. LouisaMayAlcott

    Mar,

    It’s easy to do on the internet.

    We’ll jusy have to go on saying “Mandos, Mandos, Mandos.”

  187. Edith

    I’ve been basically dead for the past few weeks, so ignore me for commenting on an old post, but I was wondering if any of you mentioned the whole photo-shop deal with the Beth Ditto picture. If it weren’t bad enough already, it turns out that Ditto’s picture was altered to make her much less fat. The fact that we don’t notice this so readily shows us just how little we see fat women and their bodies.

  188. NotaLodge

    I agree with littoralmermaid

  189. Monkeh

    ‘ If a fourteen year old girl sees an infinite variety of different women considered attractive, she’s going to be less likely to starve herself in order to make boys like her.’

    1) Why must attractiveness be measured by nudity, willingness to be nude, and positive reaction to the nudity?

    2) Isn’t it infinitely better to teach that fourteen-year-old girl that attractiveness is a fallacy, and that whether she be fat or thin or twelve feet tall, her ‘being found attractive’ by a man is not something to aspire to?

  190. Crys T

    CD: fuck off and die.

    Really.

    Your ignorance on this subject is staggering.

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