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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Feminist contradictions

Last week Aly Raisman and Paige Spiranac let nude photos of themselves be released last week, and both stated that doing so was "empowering." That both young women felt obliged to attach this feminist trope to their exhibitionism was a telling sign of the age we live in.

Showing off one's body is perfectly natural, if not quite laudable. And there's always a receptive audience for young women who want to pose that way. But why did they feel the necessity to try to frame their nude photos as an expression of feminism? Had they said it was "exhilarating," or maybe "excitingly exposing," it would probably have been closer to the truth.

Another feminist movement which seems founded at least partly in exhibitionism is the "free the nipple" movement. Some feminists are now saying that if men get to walk around bare-chested, women should have the same right. You see, it's all a matter of equal rights.

But at the same time, feminists say that if women are stared at, and thus made to feel uncomfortable, this is unacceptable. One can't help but be reminded of the woman who wears deep d├ęcolletage and then complains that men gawk at her breasts.

Feminists now say that if a woman is desired, she is being "objectified," a verb intended to convey the vague sense that men think of women as being nothing more than inanimate toys. But why else would a woman pose naked, unless she wanted to be "objectified?"

Most women of course, don't subscribe to that kind of silliness, though a large fraction of those who don't still feel obliged to at least pay lip service to feminism. But given the way some feminists complain about being objectified, one would think there might be an "ugly industry" to protect women against the horror of being viewed as an object. Yet there's no such thing. There's only an immense beauty industry.

The very idea of an "ugly industry" is, of course, silly. But, when you think about it, it's no sillier than complaining about being "objectified," i.e., desired.

We hear feminists talk a lot about how strong and smart and capable women are. But they also say that if a woman has so much as two drinks, she's unable to make a rational decision about whether to have sex, and therefore if she acquiesces, it means she's been raped. How does that show intelligence and strength?

Feminists tell us that women can be Army Rangers, yet they also say that women must be protected from dirty jokes, which are now termed "verbal assault." What will happen when the bullets are flying and some male Ranger, in the heat of battle, makes an obscene comment about the enemy? Will the female Rangers just throw down their weapons and fall apart at that point?

Slut shaming is now a concept: feminists tell us that women should not be criticized for their promiscuity. Yet if a man tries to kiss a woman but is rebuffed, he is now considered to have made "an unwanted sexual advance." Ergo, making passes is cause for shame, but accepting them is not. Does this dichotomy not require men to be mind readers so as not to run afoul of feminist doctrine?

The Left constantly berates conservatives for viewing homosexuality as a "lifestyle choice," as if the gays have any control over whom they're attracted to. Yet if a man is attracted only to slender women, feminists lambaste him for his "patriarchal sense of beauty" -- as if he has any choice about whom he's attracted to. (And doesn't this sound an awful lot as if some feminists are bitter that they're not objectified?)

The idea of gay conversion therapy is anathema to the Left. Yet the Left is constantly trying to get men to think of different types of women -- who are not their type -- as being desirable. Is this not simply gay conversation therapy for heterosexuals?

And it's not as if women don't have their own set of physical standards for men. As the #Metoo movement has made clear, ugly men are far more likely to be accused of unwanted sexual advance than handsome men are. Ought the Harvey Weinsteins of the world have the right to complain about a "matriarchal sense of handsomeness?"

Does a movement with so many inherent contradictions have any chance of standing the test of time?

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Our society is going to hell in a hand basket. Seeing women entertainers wearing very revealing gowns (their breasts are pretty much exposed) at awards shows, there is no modesty. People have zero understanding about human nature. They want to do what they want to do, living in some type of imagined utopia. Very unrealistic.

- Susan

John Craig said...

Susan --
Honestly, I don't mind the lack of modesty; it's that lack, combined with an insistence that women not be stared at, or "objectified," that bugs me.

Feminists seem to have little understanding of human nature. Or maybe, they do understand it, and resent it.

Anonymous said...

Today's feminists are illogical, not steeped in reality. That sounds like our world as a whole. Insanity rules.

- Susan

Dave Moriarty said...

Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, developed the theory of natural selection as one of the ways organisms evolve. Differences allow certain members to thrive and produce more offspring. And our boy Darwin also spent a lot of time thinking about h how important sex and choosing a mate are to reproduction. He came up with another term, sexual selection, as a subcategory of natural selection to specifically address the importance of competing for and choosing mates.

The traits that evolve in response to sexual selection are commonly called secondary sexual characteristics. These are traits that may have nothing to do with the actual act of reproduction but contribute to opportunities for mating. Darwin first dubbed these secondary characteristics as being either weapons or ornaments. Weapons, which are things like antlers or horns, provide an advantage in combat. Ornaments, which are things like elaborate feathers or absurdly large genitalia, are put on display to attract mates.

So the animal kingdom has been using "presentation" to attract mates forever. And so have humans.

It seems to me the ones most vehement about denying the impact of "presentation skills" are the ones that may be deemed lacking them. I don't see Heidi complaining about people admiring her.


Anonymous said...

These contradictions are partly due to an ideological rift within feminism. Feminism started off as a noble aim for the equality *of opportunity* between the sexes (the First Wave). In the 70s came the Second Wave: the anti-porn, conspiracy-theory types who hate men and think all women should choose to be "lesbians" (who, being naturally straight, of course never actually fuck). In the 90s, the Third Wave came along. These are generally more sensible than the Second Wave - they're not necessarily anti-male, and typically concern themselves with conducive goals like abortion rights, ending domestic violence, right to maternity leave, etc.

The describing of nudity as "empowering" can be understood as a Third Waver reaction to Second Waver puritanism: the adjective isn't necessarily aimed at outsiders. (The MeToo stuff is due to Fourth Wave feminism).

Agreed on all the contradictions regarding men. My 'gender experiences' qualify me to confirm that men's bodies and dress styles are judged as extensively as women's are. Maybe not in the media, but they certainly are IRL. Women get to judge, and reject, a man for his body (too fat, too scrawny, too short, balding, high voice, small penis, ugly face, etc) as loudly and publicly as they like without ever being accused of sexism. It's only when men do the same does this become a matter of sexism, rather than mere personal preference.

- Gethin

P.S. Regarding your ninth paragraph: I think I know why there are so few (openly) bisexual men. Like I did, they choose to exclusively date men as this is easier. A man is honest, and will verbally tell his partner if he has a problem, whereas a woman expects her partner to read her mind and rages when he inevitably fails to. Bisexual men decide that it's less of a hassle to call themselves gay and stick to dating men.

John Craig said...

Gethin --
some of the stuff you describe as Third Wave -- abortion rights, domestic violence, and maternity leave -- I associate with second and even first wave feminism. (I'm old enough to remember "Our bodies ourselves!" from the Sixties.)

So true regarding women expecting you to read their minds and then becoming infuriated wen you don't.

Alicia W. said...

Feminism has definitely become a mess of contradiction. Maybe it always was. On the one hand, I do agree with and see the appeal of feminism at its most basic, that being equal rights between men and women. But it's gone to absolutely absurd lengths. It's like women can simultaneously do anything, but are somehow also too fragile to handle anything. Oh no, a man made a raunchy joke. My poor womanly sensibilities can't handle it! It must be the patriarchy! It's ridiculous. And the unfair standards all of these ridiculous expectations lobs at men is even worse.

John Craig said...

Alicia W. --
Yes, they've made it so that no man is safe, ever, from making any kind of pass at a woman. And while most women are sensible like you, yo never know if you're dealing with one of the crazies who's going to accuse you later on of regret rape, or something similar.

I don't think there are many people these days who disagree with the basic tenets of first wave feminism. But the new extremism would have us abolish due process.

Anonymous said...

I've always seen men and women having different advantages they could put to use.

Take the military for example, women have shown to make poorer artillerymen, mortar teams, and frontline troops. However, the Soviets during WW2 found women to be excellent snipers due to being able to move quietly, hold still longer and require less food and sustainment on long missions behind enemy lines. Lyudmilla Pavlichenko, Ukranianian sniper with 309 kills.

Other things I wonder why they separate for non-psyical sports. I get separating for physical sports, but why is there a separate male and female chess championship if it requires no physical effort? Is lifting a piece somehow harder for a women?

Mind you in the rare case a female is strong enough to pass male level tests for fitness, I see no problem, weak men are excluded but nobody complains about discrimination agains scrawny men. I knew a rather muscular almost butch woman who I worked for as a busser in a restaurant, dressed, spoke, like a man, smoked marlboro reds, short haircut, could lift a huge pile of plates most men would struggle with. She was straight though.

I kinda feel sorry for females who are all manly and butch yet are still straight, because it must be very hard for them to find a guy the way they are (ahhh who am I kidding, there is always a guy into a certain girl, even if you are fat there is a guy out there with a fetish for that, can't say the same for women, sure some may have their weird kinks but they usually feel pressured to conform by other females in their collectivist society compared to the individualistic nature of men's minds).

-Ga

John Craig said...

Ga --
For some reason, women Grandmasters in chess are much rarer than men. Women in general tend less to immerse themselves in one thing the way men do, they don't have that same kind of obsessiveness and competitiveness. There are exceptions, of course, but they are just that.