June 9, 2013
When this photo was first published, my heart stopped for a moment. OMG, the baby died! Then I realized that of course, that wasn’t what had happened, what we saw was just a heavily made up mother with a not so made up infant.
Or watching a couple of figure skaters leave the ice where the man looks like a pimpled, anemic teenager by the side of the extremely made up dance/athlete/queen-partner.
Now , the people in the pictures are all royalty (yeah, but that’s the subject for another text), and the pictures are not random snapshots. I would assume that whoever took the pictures are professionals, the people in printing are professionals and for God’s sake the royal families must have professional managers/press advisors.
I’m sure we have all been in the situation where a professional gives advice but the customer still wants his/her way and the result is crappy. But still. It would have been really interesting to hear the conversation in the shooting of these:
“perhaps we should put some powder and blush on the baby/husband to be”
“make up on a baby/man- are you out of your mind?”
“then perhaps slightly less on the princess?”
“but the princess want to look good on this very special day”
If two people are to be in the same picture and one of them is wearing heavy make up, the other one will at best look insignificant, more likely ill or even dead. That’s sort of the idea with make up- you put it on to look healthy and beautiful and whatever. Especially on photos. And it’s understandable that in a beauty contest you want to outshine the other contestants, but in an engagement picture? Or one showing off your newborn baby to the world?
And if make up on anyone but a woman is impossible, how about photoshop?
April 11, 2013
I wonder why false hair in different forms is considered ridiculous on men but not on women.
Is it because vanity is ridiculous in a man but not in a woman? Or perhaps because women are ridiculous anyways, so a little more makes no difference?
Men have the options to use false hair on the head, or in the face. It’s not like false moustaches and beards don’t exist, it’s just that they’re only OK to use at masquerades and in 1930´s detective stories, as a disguise. Wigs to hide baldness are laughed at if you’re a man. On a woman it’s expected.
I think the vanity-angle is the most useful here. Men are allowed to, and even expected to, look good, but only in a “natural” way, such as nice clothes, clean skin and hair, facial shaving and after shave. Maybe even some hair wax. Working out is ok. A well-trained body on a man is usually considered attractive, and one of the few vanity traits that doesn’t evoke laughter or anger, as long as it’s not too excessive.
Since men are OK, no matter how they look, going out of their way to look better is just stupid. Women, however, need their looks to matter in other areas, and thus vanity is to be expected from them.
Perhaps on a man it’s obvious how superficial the faked look looks, while on women we’re so used to seeing it that we don’t notice.
Perhaps the false facial hair isn’t of good enough quality to look like the real thing, and this is the reason why it’s only used for farce? But then again there are false eye-lashes so long that they’re obviously not real and that doesn’t seem to matter. On a woman, that is.
I don’t wish at all for men to have the constant worry over looks, weight and aging that seem to take up so much of women’s time and minds. I do, however, feel sorry for men for being considered so ridiculous when trying to look good and for having such few options in terms of looks.
March 28, 2013
I’ve noticed several times how women express strong feelings of disgust at the sight of a man’s penis, be it in pictures or as a joke in casual situations. Where accidental or “accidental” showing of female body parts are usually considered embarrassing or exciting, the male equivalent is quite often met with disgust.
Within feminist theory, there’s a term called”the male gaze”. It refers to the assumption that since white, heterosexual, men are the norm in western society pictures, whether in merchandising, movies or art, are made with men as the main recipient.
This explains why females, at least if they’re young and pretty (and they tend to be), are quite often shown from angles and with lighting that will emphasize sexualized body parts such as breasts and behinds whereas men are not.
Women are presented as something men would like to go to bed with, (or rather, a thing that heterosexual men with enjoy looking at) while men are presented mostly as someone the men can recognize themselves in.
The male gaze can occasionally be homosexual as well as heterosexual. In this way of viewing things, a big poster of David Beckham in boxer shorts is not aimed at the female erotic mind, but at that of gay men, and possibly also as a physical ideal for other heterosexual men.
It is understood that women as well as men look at pictures using the male gaze. Women may be in the audience, but the camera identifies with the men and looks at what the men are expected to be interested in. Most of us are so used to this we don’t think about it, and since it’s very seldom mentioned but rather considered the default view, women are trained from childhood to be interested in, or even identify with, the male gaze.
Now, in order to keep up the assumption that ALL men are (or rather should be) heterosexual, a lot of policing is going on, and one assumption is that if men are sexually aroused by naked or exposed women they are as a consequence NOT AT ALL aroused by men’s bodies.
You would think that NOT BEING AROUSED should show itself as indifference, but since the notion is that ALL men are (or should be) heterosexual, the non-arousal must be publicly recognizable and therefore expressed as disgust or ridicule. The women who identify with the male gaze will, as a reflex, react the same way as the men in the audience are expected to react.
There is another interesting point in this. Since most of us are very used to the male gaze, we’re not at all used to seeing men in vulnerable positions. In fiction, of course, men are quite often imprisoned, shot at, injured in sports etc, but the camera with the male gaze makes sure not to sexualize the temporary loss of strength and power. Instead that’s quite often understood as the fuel for the revenge that is to take place in one way or another.
The vulnerability of the sexualized and naked female body must then be interpreted in another way in the case of men. We are given the assumption that vulnerable men are not good and I suspect the unexpected vulnerability about the naked male body makes us confused, and that confusion leads to anger because we don’t know how to handle it.
There’s a third possibility, and that is that women have very few opportunities to laugh at and ridicule men in public. The unexpected flashing of private body parts is one permitted reason for laughing at men. Perhaps women take the opportunity to get back at men for all the policing of women’s bodies (about food, weight, skin, hair and the extremely difficult balance between showing enough body parts to be interesting but not so much that you’re a slut).
The negative reaction from females towards viewing male private parts is possibly, then, an expression of homophobia. If true I find this very interesting. I also find it very depressing.
December 11, 2012
A lonely, old and dirty male figure meets a new, modern, beautiful female figure and wants to hold her hand. She, however, has an important mission and is not interested.
He doesn’t leave her alone despite her obvious lack of interest, he stalks her, trying to reach her, but doesn’t succeed. When she leaves, he follows, uninvited. Driven by his desire to be with her, no matter what she thinks. Behind him leaving his pet, who it seems is now all alone in the world.
They arrive at a spaceship where the population of earth (or USA, which is more or less the same thing) is leading an easy life while Earth is being cleaned. The population, from what is seen, consists of 90% men. This explains why the captain, as well as all but one of his predecessors, is also a man.
The white male captain does what a man’s gotta do, fighting the machines for The Good Cause.
The male figure from the beginning of the movie sabotages (out of ignorance and clumsiness) all the work of his desired female. As they are attacked by evil robots, he helps out, and the captain’s Cause (which is the same as the female figure’s) can be completed.
Now the female figure realizes how the male took care of/stalked her while she was absorbed with her work. Since the male figure also gets badly injured and almost dies, the female figure’s desire (!) is raised, and now she wants to hold hands with him.
The message is clear. As a man you can be as old, dirty, outdated, stupid and ugly as you want. The beautiful female will always come to you if you’re only persistent enough in your stalking, and, better yet, if you can win her pity.
I would like, just for once, to see a movie that doesn’t leave me disturbed and with a sour taste in my mouth.
November 9, 2012
In one of my work places, the men are encouraged to grow a mustache during the month of November. Apparently the company will donate money to research on prostate cancer, the sum depending on how many men enroll in the campaign and grow some hair.
Now, I have noticed that mustaches are growing (!) back into fashion among young men, so perhaps not all men feel stupid wearing one. I would assume, though, that those who were children in the late sixties and early seventies connect mustaches with their dads and their dads friends = not sexy.
My point in this is that it’s obviously completely OK to ask men to look ridiculous for a good cause, it is also OK to ask men to grow visual body hair although it is out of general fashion. Women, however, are expected to always look good and pleasing. Not taking care of your looks is in fact quite often seen as a sign of depression. And body hair (except for the kind that grows on top of your head) is for some reason viewed as not pleasing and thus taken away. It’s not like women don’t have hair in their faces, under their arms or on their legs- they’re just expected to take it away whereas men have the option to just leave it there.
In the breast cancer campaigns I’ve seen, participants are asked to wear a small pink bow. The idea of asking women to grow some body hair seems for some reason extremely unlikely. Unshaved armpits for breast cancer? No? Hairy legs for uterus cancer? (I’m leaving the most obvious out here since private parts are usually kept, well private, and thus can’t be used for showing support in the office).
Of course, none of this is news. Still I can’t help being surprised time after time, of the absurdity of it all.
October 20, 2012
If you are into defining men’s and women’s personalities from a biological view-point, women will most likely be regarded as nurturing, caring and devoted to their children while men will be described as strong, result oriented and rational.
When it comes to abortion discussions, most of the fighting for free abortion has come from women. Not any women, of course, but feminists. So the problem with feminists is not only that they are trouble makers, they are actually trying to influence other women to go against what some people believe is their nature. They are encouraging women to think of themselves instead of being nurturing and devoted to someone else.
Now, if you’re under the assumption that men and women are controlled by fixed behaviors depending on their combinations of chromosomes, the idea of trying to change those behaviors may be seen as futile, I can see that. What I don’t quite understand, however, is the rage so often directed against these ideas. Surely, if men and women are who they are regardless of culture, the feminists could just be let alone, because their twisted ideas would never work anyways.
Rage is in my belief quite often connected to fear, so in this case, is it the fear that the feminists will destroy the world or is it the fear that perhaps the feminists are right? I think most biologists would claim it to be the former suggestion; they are merely looking out for everybody’s best when they burn down abortion clinics or work against women’s aspirations to be ministers or the idea that women are to vote in general elections, or whatever.
But if it were true that biology and chromosomes ruled our behavior, it would be impossible to go against it, wouldn’t it? I mean, the idea of having a “nature” is that you will act according to it, won’t you? If you can act against your nature, that means you are in charge of who you are and what your actions are. That means you get to decide what is right for you. No matter what combination of chromosomes you were born with.
September 6, 2012
The posters for the new TV-show X-factor has come up around where I live, and I must say it looks very promising. How do I know? Glad you asked. On the poster are depicted four people whom I assume will be prominent in the show: two White Guys, one Babe and one Black Guy.
Now this indicates that the show will be for Everyone, it won’t be a chick-flic, it won’t be some ethnic thing, because those kind of shows are for minorities only, right? It’s just gonna be plain ole entertainment we can all relate to. Because we can all relate to white guys, right? RIGHT?
And because the babe and the black guy are in the picture right aside (or actually slightly behind) the white guys, all the feminists and anti racists can’t say anything because the Others are represented, aren’t they? Perhaps the white guys compose the biggest group, perhaps on this poster, they are half the population, but hey, that just mirrors reality, right? Or if it doesn’t it mirrors the fact that most people are only interested in white guys anyways, right? After all, they are in majority, right?
August 17, 2012
I was recently asked what I thought was really the difference between paying for a full body massage and for someone to give you an orgasm manually, assuming that they both involve one human touching another and resulting in deep pleasure on behalf of the receiver.
Although the services may seem similar, I would gladly pay for the one but not the other and I think there are several reasons for my unease. There is the problem with buying other people’s personal services and there are gender issues which probably are important, but leaving that for another post let’s just talk about this specific question.
I think part of the reason for my thinking that buying sex is not OK, is intimacy. We usually don’t deal with other people’s body fluids. Cleaning snot, sweat, urine/feces and throw ups from another is perhaps OK if the producer is a small baby (preferably your own), getting gradually more gross depending on the age, physical ableness and emotional closeness to the person you’re dealing with. I wouldn’t say semen or vaginal juices are much different from the bodily fluids mentioned above.
Unless you’re sexually attracted to the other person.
But there’s more to intimacy than body fluids. It is also about personal space and boundaries, security and feeling close to someone. Going into orgasm is (in my experience) a state when we’re not quite ourselves, for a short while the mind is left behind and the body takes over. Like falling asleep or going unconscious, this is a state that might be embarrassing to share with a stranger, because you let go of your mask. More importantly, it’s also a security issue, you need to know that no one will take advantage of your temporal loss of control. This is probably why men seem to be less disturbed by the thought of buying sex; at least heterosexual men assume the sex worker will be a woman they can easily control, but I said I’d leave the gender issues for another post, so I won’t go into this.
The person selling a massage most likely do not expect body fluids, nor for the buyer to become someone else, not even for a short time. My experience with professional masseurs is also that I keep my underwear on, thus indicating some sort of privacy on my part and distance on theirs.
The intimacy issue is not about what the buyer thinks. Obviously if you find it ok to buy sex, your own intimacy is not a problem. The problem is that you are asking someone else to be intimate with you. Because you pay them.
In theory like paying someone to come with you to the toilet and to clean your butt after you’re done, not because you can’t do it yourself, but because you don’t want to. Sure, you could probably find someone desperate enough to do it, but should you?
July 25, 2012
On my recent trip to Dublin, Ireland I spent a fair amount of time walking it’s streets, and I made the most peculiar observation; the streets seemed to be free from dog poo.
Now I can think of three possible explanations to this
1. there are no dogs in Dublin
2. there are dogs in Dublin but they don’t poo
3. there are dogs in Dublin and the owners of the dogs are very careful to always pick up the poo their dogs produce
If the first assumption is true, I would like to congratulate the people of Dublin. I must admit that I’m not particularly interested in, or even fond of, dogs. But if they are to exist, let’s agree the city is not the place for them.
If the second assumption is true, I would like to congratulate the people of Dublin.
If the third assumption is true, I would like to congratulate the people of Dublin. A city where the residents show such respect, consideration and compassion for their fellow inhabitants must be lovely to live in.
July 21, 2012
The TV is showing a documentary on animal sex. Heterosexual sex is explained in terms of procreation (as if they knew…) The frequently occurring homosexual acts seem to be harder to understand. The scientists scratch their heads and invent all kinds of explanations. Like it’s some kind of practice for “the real thing”, or dominance of some sort, or perhaps it’s a way to get a heterosexual partner excited ( if , that is, it’s two females doing it…)
Maybe it’s because there is no partner of the opposite sex available? Or maybe the stupid animals are simply mistaken about the sex partner’s gender?
Unfortunately none of the theories seem to work; the lion males don’t look twice when two females are having sex right next to them, and the baboons practice homosexual sex even though there’s plenty of individuals of the opposite sex within reach.
Finally one scientist sticks out his neck and speculates that maybe they don’t have a reason for doing it one way or the other, maybe animals do things just because it feels good. By now the viewer has almost lost their voice by yelling at the screen for the past 45 minutes: Hey! maybe they’re just ENJOYING themselves!
Is the study of animals really so functionalist that it’s controversial to imagine they might do something out of sheer pleasure?