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NUM-INOUS COMICS PT. 2

This essay is a very belated response to a " part 1 " published in February 2015. The gist of that essay was a response to a corre...

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

SEX, SETH, AND SADISM PT. 2

At the end of MAJORITY RULERSHIP PT 2 I said:

No matter how much one may dislike the particular modern manifestations of sexism, they have their roots in patterns that are as old as humankind. More on these patterns in a future essay.
I don't think I ever wrote that essay, so I may as well consider it to be my response to Heidi McDonald's screed on THE BEAT, referenced in Part 1.

On 3-1-13 I wrote this on the BEAT thread to agree with another poster:


I would agree with all of this except to add that [the Boob Song] is a bit of a joke (not a satire) on the male gender’s obsession with boobs; that a lot of hetero men will think of GIA or MONSTER’S BALL in terms of getting to see the tatas of famous actresses, not whatever the “high drama” was about.
It’s not so much that feminist statements here have been humorless; rather they’re not honest about admitting that what bugs them is that any women who show their stuff, even in art movies, SEEM to put themselves in a subservient position (call it “commodification” if you must get into the barren terrain of Marxspeak). I emphasize SEEM because I don’t think that these actresses are in a subservient position, though I understand the false logic that gets people to that conclusion. For that matter, I don’t think Jenna Jameson is subservient for showing her stuff, nor does the principle apply any male actor who does the same. Do the people who buy this argument also view nude Greek statuary as “commodification?”
 
I was 90% sure that the "they're not honest" remark would have goaded either Heidi or Laura Sneddon into a response, but for whatever reason I got none.  No one in either gender likes to be told that he or she is being dishonest in making heartfelt statements.  And of course I don't know anything about what went through their minds.  It's only their logic that I critique as "dishonest."

For example, Heidi said on 2-28:

“So what! That’s classic humor!” you say. Yes it is, and it’s also why as a FEMINIST I object to this extremely limiting form of humor that views women only as objects of outmoded social roles.
 
Heidi's cant about "social roles" is a perfect (unintended) response to my earlier statement that the nature of sexism is to be located in "patterns that are as old as humankind."

What patterns?  Well, how about the "hardwired sexual response" I mentioned in an earlier post?  While it's true that we can't easily separate the effects of culture from the effects of biology, it's dishonest to claim that men's interest in boobs is entirely the construction of culture, much less of "outmoded social roles."  We know, for instance, that in some primates the swelling of the breasts signals the female's estrus to the male of the species.  One doesn't have to be a fullblown advocate of the so-called "evo-psych" movement to speculate that even in modern civilization heterosexual men are still "programmed" to respond to primitive sexual signals.

I note that in some circles it's been claimed that the breast-attraction is not universal, citing its alleged absence in, say, early Chinese culture.  But the culture-warping schtick isn't confined to Madison Avenue.  If you grant contemporary culture the power to make men fetishize the mammary glands, then it's thinkable that some archaic cultures may have diverted a natural sexual response from one target to another-- for instance, to the fetish of tiny feet esteemed by some Chinese generations.

Similarly, Laura Sneddon said:

Lots of people here saying they don’t see how MacFarlane was undermining women or being sexist… all those people happen to be men. What a coincidence!
 
But once again, MacFarlane didn't "undermine" anyone.  He didn't put any live actors into subservient commodification-scenes.  He pointed out that such scenes (if one chooses to view them as objectification at all) had appeared in a number of high-art films, thus giving guys who wanted the illusion of seeing the actress's tits the chance to do so.  I don't think he had any "satirical" point in doing so.  It was just a funny consequence of the actresses having chosen to go "sans shirt" (as Heidi puts it). It's a consequence every actress has live with when she makes that decision, whether it's a film of "high art" or a piece of Roger Corman schlock.

There are some specific ways in which women having boobs can lead to their being victimized.  There are also ways in which it can give them wealth and power, as per my example of Jenna Jameson (OK, a little more than just breasts there).  The ethics of such sexual display would howeve require a more involved examination than I wish to pursue just now.






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