then again, maybe not
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June 07, 2006

All about objectification

There's an amazing series of posts over at Fetch me my axe about objectification. All three posts are fantastic and thought-provoking, so you should read them, but here are a few things that jumped out at me.

The gist is that people simply can't relate to every single person in the deep, holistic way that Buber (for instance) means when he talks about I-You; it's neither possible nor good for one's own mental stability to try. What Lis (or her husband, I guess) calls "masks" are what I'd call "boundaries." One does need them;

Is it, in fact, acceptable or even necessary for the culture to be structured in such a way that such everyday objectifications as we have of service workers (the McDonald's employee, the anonymous tech support voice on the other end of the line) are inevitable?

I think boundaries is a good word. I think we have to consider at least some number of the people we see or encounter every day as "objects" in some way. So then you (might) get to a continuum of "inappropriate objectification." And just what the hell is "sexual objectification" and why do we love it so? That's where Belle picks up in part 2.

Because, many argue, and with good reason (it seems to me), in this our patriarchal (among other things) culture, the subject is male; the object is female. And so, when people talk about sexual objectification, generally they are talking about the objectification of women, for and by men.

Makes sense to me.

When people say that someone or something is "objectifying," with a negative connotation, what they generally mean is that it's invasive. That is to say: penetrating someone else's boundaries, not necessarily in a concretely identifiable physical way--more on that in just a moment--against the someone else's wishes.

(ok, I'm already seeing a potential objection to this; is "objectification" in the sense of casual dismissal of a service worker or what have you as a pair of hands, an ear, what have you, invasive per se? or is the problem more the refusal to see the person as a person, all by itself? that is, something that's a necessary prerequistite to invasion, but without necesesarily being invasive of itself? well, for now at least)

Yup. This is an important distinction, I believe. Is the invasion liking tits and not necessarily thinking about the woman attached to them as a whole being? Or is it in refusing to see anyone with tits as a whole being. Now, I'm sure there are some that would say both are bad, but I don't agree.

Is it inherently feminist to wear a corset, or to create and/or publish pictures and videos of oneself and/or other consenting adults, being sexually explicit, or to deliver (or receive) an erotic spanking?

Well...according to whom?

Hence the problem.

Because, even more so (arguably) than in other sociopolitical thrashes, when it comes to that sort of shit, for the most part, we're talking about highly subjective experiences. Feelings. Desires. Internal states. "I do such-and-so because I like it" is sometimes dismissed as not sufficient to counter serious feminist critique of the historical meaning and uses of such-and-so; "because I like it," the suggestion goes, is not enough.

But if "because I like it/want it" isn't sufficient to justify one's choices for oneself, then how can you successfully argue that "because I don't like/want it" is sufficient to define rape, or any other abuse?

Hmm. So, yeah. A lot of radical feminists claim that "pro-porn" feminists (which which they seem to mean pro anything sex-related that isn't personally having sex) are selfish because they talk about what they like about porn or bondage or whatever. They say it doesn't matter if you like porn, it hurts women and is bad. Well, not opening that can of worms, but here you have the problem with that attitude. If choice and personal preference don't matter, then… choice and personal preference don't matter. Seems problematic to me.

In part 3, Belle relates a story of a woman basically telling her daughter what kind of ice cream she likes. Seems like a small thing, but the attitude is important. As she says "there are other ways of being invasive."

Evans goes on to talk about what would happen if the girl did take her mother's message to heart ("Oh, you're right, I guess I did want chocolate after all.") What would happen is that she might temporarily get more approval from Mom (big relief) but at a price; she's disconnected from her own internal knowledge. Specifically, in this case, she'll need to disconnect from her sensory awareness--the way the ice cream tastes to her-- in order to convince herself that, oh, yeah, I do "like" chocolate better than vanilla. And she'll probably have to disconnect from her emotions somewhat; instead of feeling disappointed and angry at Mom (her real emotions) for twisting her arm, in order to maintain the relationship, she'll convince herself that she's happy and grateful.

And, of course, if that pattern continues, you end up with a serious problem.

And if you even can't tell what you're feeling, it's very unlikely that you're going to be able to accurately judge what somebody else might be feeling. Of course, you could always just wait for them to tell you, or even ask them; but, mmmm, have you ever really learned to hear, really hear, someone else? Are you listening?
So, go read it.

June 06, 2006

But.. But… but…

The problem I have with writing about the Federal Marriage Amendement is I can't even think about it without jumping up and down screaming "Stop it! Stop it!" Which is entertaining in person, but not so much online. So, go read these things:

Shakespeare's Sister - The Republican Party in One Headine
Pam's House Blend - Red state hope
The News Blog - Hate the Homos Day Pt 1

yummy... ignorance with a size of cheez whiz

From Attytood:

Geno's Steaks owner Joe Vento requires customers to speak English before he'll serve them. A sign at the order window says, "This is America... Speak English." Pointing at the menu or otherwise signaling your order doesn't cut it with Joe.

Charming. Asshat. For those of you not in the Philly know, Geno's is one of the two most famous places to get a cheesesteak in town, an honor shared with Pat's. The two are mostly famous because they're across the street from each other, and local fans of each are extremely dedicated to their choice (read - insane just check out the comments for examples).

I'm a Pat's girl, personally, but that's mostly because Geno's has way to much neon for middle of the night drunken snacking. Though, to be honest, I'm really a Dalessandro's fan, since they're closer to where I grew up. What was the point of this?

Oh, right, Joe Vento is a dickhead. Apparently a really big one, too.

Speak English signs also poster his Hummer. He has driven through South
Philadelphia blaring through the SUV's P.A. system denunciations of neighborhood
business owners who hire illegal immigrants.
And of course, in typical right-wing asshat fashion...
Vento -- who had become something of "a hero" on local conservative talk radio for his support of their causes -- has become more than a little unhinged on this one. In order to remain one of the right wing "cool kids," he's practically tossed down the memory hole the fact that his own grandfather came to America from Italy in the early 20th Century -- not speaking English.

June 05, 2006

My only love sprung from my only hate

Well, not my only hate. I hate lots of things. But I certainly do dislike plants. Not out in the wild, where they grow or anything, just in my home. It's too much pressure. The watering and paying attention, and inability to cuddle or make cute noises.

But, like any good movie harpy, something melted my cold evil heart. A fricking peace lily. I got it on my birthday, months ago, and it's still going strong. So now, I'm completely attached to the thing. I sing it songs, and dust its leaves (seriously - I know it's crazy). When I was gone from the office for a few days and it got a little sickly, I was really worried.

So now, here I am, ridiculously attached to this damn plant. I love the fucking thing. Yeesh.

Edit: Yes, that shitty photo is of the plant. I took it with my phone, and from the looks of it, with my eyes closed, as well.

The answer is always sluts…

The Well-Timed Period talks (a little late, by admission) about Congress failing to make emergency contraception available at military health care facilities. Stupid and sucky. But then, in response to talk about women in the military who have been raped (I hate the term rape victim or rape survivor, like that defines a person), asks:

It's not that sexual assault isn't traumatic, and/or a very serious matter. It is. But the indication for EC applies equally to a rape victim, to a patient who's experienced contraceptive failure, or to a patient who simply forgot to use birth control. Why, when it comes to female patients, must rape be brought up almost every time the issue of EC availability is discussed?
Uh, because people suck. Because anytime you talk about EC, and don't mention women who were raped, then you must just be talking about irresponsible sluts. Who were surely either too horny or too stupid to use birth control, or, if they were really smart, not have sex in the first place. Also stupid and sucky. But true.


That was a really long weekend. Real posts coming soon, but for those of you who asked, here's the dress I wore for that wedding on Saturday. The color is Victorian Lilac, and saying it makes me a little sick, but it's certainly better than these. The excessively sprayed hair and full makeup were also pretty painful. But my super cute silver strappy sandals (which were swapped for flip-flops as soon as we headed to the reception) made me feel a little better.

Ok, enough with the Manolo Shoe blog talk. I promise to get back to cursing, drinking, and abortion ASAP. I mean, writing about them. I don't have an abortion scheduled for this week.