October 13, 2013   394 notes   
lesbeehive:

Les Beehive – Britney Spears by David LaChapelle for Rolling Stone, April 15th, 1999

Just a thought:
On the equation of femalehood with sexuality—body or bodiless mystical sex essence—I find it interesting that we come into the world feeling more or less like humans until someone yells at us or looks too long and we realize we are somehow Other. And when you’re just entering adolescence and into mysterious semi-consciousness of sexuality and the world keeps calling you whatever iterations on sexy, baby, slut, whore, beautiful, it makes sense to me that to deal with a) all of the confusing ideas of ‘femaleness’ being thrust at you and b) your own incipient feelings of being aware of sexuality, a large number of women (or some women at some points in their lives, or some men, or some gender-variant people who are so Otherized and sexualized) would WELCOME their sexualization and “reclaim” (and also reclaim) the constant attention and criticism and fawning they receive over their bodies and age and inexperience or experience as their OWN. Like a tattoo or cutting yourself, to tell yourself you have some agency in the world; you’re not a weakling, you’re “BAD” (in the good sense), cool, etc. I find it interesting, this survival mechanism that can theoretically be fun.
So, if you’re born, you get older and suddenly people start blaming you for stuff you didn’t do, you can either shrink and feel bad—and the abuse that sometimes feels like love continues—or you can pull a Britney Spears circa 1999 or an all women/people circa anytime and BECOME that sex thing the world yells at you that you are.
What a terrible paradigm. On a psychological level, misogyny that relies on objectification (as opposed to consensual objectification atop appreciation for the whole person) is an example of blaming outward instead of looking inward, attributing to women what men in power (and by extrapolation, male-coded ideas of power, not individual men) are taught to eradicate in THEMSELVES: sexuality, sensuality, body, spirit, whatever. Calling stuff “feminine” and then making such attributes or behaviors or values inaccessible to men hurts men and women so badly. On a sociological level, the organization of patriarchal societies around cultivated ignorance of some stuff that is too scary and hence called “feminine” (which is not a criticism of scary stuff—like emotionality, vulnerability, masochism; the intricacies of aesthetics!) maintains its power by casting these ideas of ‘femininity” wholesale onto women who are then blamed for BEING “feminine” (because the “feminine” has been established as bad, stupid) or NOT BEING “feminine” (because a patriarchy, being a hierarchy, requires underclasses, one of which is women, who must play their subordinate role so the ruling class can be in a position to rule). 
I find the enforced, exclusive association of women and underclasses with “femininity” so frustrating because sexual display, performance, etc. can be either fun or boring depending on context but a) the enforced sexualization of women is deadening and distances women from actual, internal sexuality in lieu of performing a kind of caricatured, external sexiness, and b) sexuality and performance are not gendered. In this system, men don’t get to be sexy or sexual (which is a shame ‘cause it can be so fun!) and women don’t get to be anything else (which is a shame ‘cause it feels like you’re dying inside!).
I was once accused of “hating gender” which makes me giggle because gender is not the problem, any more than the color pink or getting angry when someone steps on your (symbolic or actual) foot are problems. Biological determinism and blaming-the-victim and creating monsters out of real people and the cowardly fear of the bogeyman “feminine” and uncreativeness of stereotypes are. 
In conclusion: Femininity and masculinity for EVERYONE! In whatever measure.
—Rebecca

lesbeehive:

Les Beehive – Britney Spears by David LaChapelle for Rolling Stone, April 15th, 1999

Just a thought:

On the equation of femalehood with sexuality—body or bodiless mystical sex essence—I find it interesting that we come into the world feeling more or less like humans until someone yells at us or looks too long and we realize we are somehow Other. And when you’re just entering adolescence and into mysterious semi-consciousness of sexuality and the world keeps calling you whatever iterations on sexy, baby, slut, whore, beautiful, it makes sense to me that to deal with a) all of the confusing ideas of ‘femaleness’ being thrust at you and b) your own incipient feelings of being aware of sexuality, a large number of women (or some women at some points in their lives, or some men, or some gender-variant people who are so Otherized and sexualized) would WELCOME their sexualization and “reclaim” (and also reclaim) the constant attention and criticism and fawning they receive over their bodies and age and inexperience or experience as their OWN. Like a tattoo or cutting yourself, to tell yourself you have some agency in the world; you’re not a weakling, you’re “BAD” (in the good sense), cool, etc. I find it interesting, this survival mechanism that can theoretically be fun.

So, if you’re born, you get older and suddenly people start blaming you for stuff you didn’t do, you can either shrink and feel bad—and the abuse that sometimes feels like love continues—or you can pull a Britney Spears circa 1999 or an all women/people circa anytime and BECOME that sex thing the world yells at you that you are.

What a terrible paradigm. On a psychological level, misogyny that relies on objectification (as opposed to consensual objectification atop appreciation for the whole person) is an example of blaming outward instead of looking inward, attributing to women what men in power (and by extrapolation, male-coded ideas of power, not individual men) are taught to eradicate in THEMSELVES: sexuality, sensuality, body, spirit, whatever. Calling stuff “feminine” and then making such attributes or behaviors or values inaccessible to men hurts men and women so badly. On a sociological level, the organization of patriarchal societies around cultivated ignorance of some stuff that is too scary and hence called “feminine” (which is not a criticism of scary stuff—like emotionality, vulnerability, masochism; the intricacies of aesthetics!) maintains its power by casting these ideas of ‘femininity” wholesale onto women who are then blamed for BEING “feminine” (because the “feminine” has been established as bad, stupid) or NOT BEING “feminine” (because a patriarchy, being a hierarchy, requires underclasses, one of which is women, who must play their subordinate role so the ruling class can be in a position to rule). 

I find the enforced, exclusive association of women and underclasses with “femininity” so frustrating because sexual display, performance, etc. can be either fun or boring depending on context but a) the enforced sexualization of women is deadening and distances women from actual, internal sexuality in lieu of performing a kind of caricatured, external sexiness, and b) sexuality and performance are not gendered. In this system, men don’t get to be sexy or sexual (which is a shame ‘cause it can be so fun!) and women don’t get to be anything else (which is a shame ‘cause it feels like you’re dying inside!).

I was once accused of “hating gender” which makes me giggle because gender is not the problem, any more than the color pink or getting angry when someone steps on your (symbolic or actual) foot are problems. Biological determinism and blaming-the-victim and creating monsters out of real people and the cowardly fear of the bogeyman “feminine” and uncreativeness of stereotypes are. 

In conclusion: Femininity and masculinity for EVERYONE! In whatever measure.

—Rebecca

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