Tuesday, August 08, 2006

So now that I've calmed down a bit: okay, let's talk about the GGW thing.

Besides the yeah DUH guy's a rapist, throw the goddam book at him aspect, I mean. What does it all mean, dear?

you know, I mentally link it with repulso-boy's "I fucked a fat girl on purpose" excrement (as was circulating yesterday).

and the Duke case.

people who wring their hands about the dirty shocking wrongness of it all--I mean the faux-SEXXXY/pornstitution/what have you part of it-- are missing the goddam point.

two, actually, two goddam points.

one is that these little shits are entitlement monsters; expressing their rage at whatever emotional need wasn't filled by all that material "privilege" on the targets they figured, correctly, they were most likely to get away with abusing.

the other is, as people have said here 'n' there, my god, this is all so fucking sad. all this pent-up energy over a few exposed breasts? all these half-shamed thrills and titillation? in a healthy world, these tapes wouldn't sell because no one would CARE; my god, half-blitzed women coyly flashing their boobies and ineptly making out, ooohhh. ahhhh. Seriously, how lame. How timid. How juvenile. How dull. Who gives a crap?

Well, a lot of people give enough of a crap to buy this shit, apparently. Which tends to suggest that for whatever reason, this sad, tame little display of "wildness" is a thrilling taboo for a lot of people. Still.

Might I suggest that millenia's worth of (patriarchal) repression miiiiiiiiight just have something to do with this state of affairs?

It's so warped, see, that

1) they're satisfied with these sad little crumbs and

2) the part that really turns them on is the "forbidden" aspect.

And this is partly because of institutionalized sexism, yes (let's put it all on women! Women R Dirty! We R Clean!) but -also- because of internalized sex-negativity. (they go together like chocolate and peanut butter, albeit far less appetizing). all that shame-loading takes its toll. bad boys! bad for lusting! bad!! Dirty dirty! Don't touch that! Don't look at that! Don't even THINK that!

(we were speaking yesterday about how of course women and sexual minorities get this shit multiplied doubleplusungood; but that doesn't mean the hetboyz are exempt).

So actually, the "thrill" is because, paradoxically, it's...safer that way. To at least keep the -reminder- that you know you're not supposed to be enjoying this, not -really.- Bad boy is also good boy. Have your stale Twinkie and eat it too. Furtively. In the dark. Then say a few Hail Mary's or what have you, get yourself cleaned up, and, momentarily buoyed by the tiny orgasm afterglow and a few cups of watery coffee, go on to your completely unoppressive job. or whatever it is you do, which is no doubt filled with joy and sunshine and happiness.

At the same time, of course, bad boys bad boys are indulged in countless other ways, heartily encouraged to -not- take responsibility for their own shit, (this is the reward for sticking with all the miserable macho training). Feelings? Including "inappropriate" lustiness and shame thereof, and vulnerability and fear of their own sexuality and other scary shit like that?Hell, we don't have 'em. *belch* Dump that crap on the women. That's what they're there for.

So of course they get their thrill from the idea that the "girls" really don't want this, or wouldn't want to do this otherwise; this way it's *just daring enough.* The idea that the women might actually LIKE being sexxy for their own sake, well, that's a bridge too damn far. That wasn't in the script.

Because, and this is the point; if -the women- aren't acting like it's really shameful, (this was the purported complaint, after all, in the article), then what are the men supposed to do with all that shame? Why, why, they might actually have to...own that it's theirs.

Inconceivable.

That would be painful.

And the reward for all that stultifying macho bullshit was -not having to feel that pain.- Otherwise what was the point of, well, pretty much everything?

So, as we see here, what tends to happen is, they push the woman back to a place of visible shame and degradation and misery; -so they don't have to go there themselves.-

and, oh yeah, the women. Well, the women. They're mostly drunk and underage and it's really grody that people find this shit amusing.

But as for the women themselves? Well, no doubt with this story surfacing, there are others like it where it came from.

That still doesn't exclude the possibility that ZOMG yes, Virginia, some "straight" women might actually -like- making out with each other, either because the kiss itself or the exhibitionism of doing it in front of a guy or a camera buzzes their naughty bits.

And, y'know -what?- Even if they did? That is totally their right. And it -still- doesn't justify or excuse or even really -explain- rape. At all.

They are and were entitled to say "yes" -and- say "no," and have both honored. Without being abused in any way. Same as the rest of us.

Which is kind of feminism 101, wouldn't you say?

95 comments:

Rootietoot said...

Here's my Southern Methodist Housewife and Mother of 3 Teenage Males perspective: The young women on those videos are not only drunk, but uncommonly physically attractive (at least according to my limited exposure). I don't want my boys thinking this kind of public behavior is acceptable or normal, because the young women are behaving in a manner that demeans them. Nor do I want them believing that's what women are supposed to look like, because if they do, then they are potentially dishonoring the women they may one day marry. I realize this POV is quaint and old fashioned, and I am likely to be mocked for it, but there it is.

belledame222 said...

But don't you think that by painting it as all naughty and forbidden, it just makes it more interesting to them?

and when I say "it" I include the booze.

-shrug- I dunno. My own raising was secular; my parents drink maybe a glass of beer or wine at dinner; they never said much about the subject either way. To this day I can pretty much take or leave booze. Neevr did go through a "party" phase in that regard. The kids in high school and college who went on benders--almost to a one, that I knew of, they were the ones who had been told and told and TOLD just how dangerous and unseemly 'twas.

and of course in many cases it was a case of "do as I say, not as I do," which doesn't help.

as far as demeaning themselves--eh, to me, I think it's pretty much up to the individual in question to decide whether she feels demeaned or not.

I know my own rare occasions of debauchery--drinking, groping and all--have been happy ones.

But then marriage isn't exactly big on my agenda...

belledame222 said...

"public groping," I meant to say there.

I dunno. Lord knows I'm not exactly one to tell someone how to parent. But I think, you know, if the boys have eyes and ears and sensitivity to who and what's actually in front of them; if they really do understand that a woman is also a person and what she says and wants actually matters; then, you know, I don't think that media stuff like that alone is enough to turn them from "one of the good ones" to leering abusive pervs. I really don't.

piny said...

-shrug- I dunno. My own raising was secular; my parents drink maybe a glass of beer or wine at dinner; they never said much about the subject either way. To this day I can pretty much take or leave booze. Neevr did go through a "party" phase in that regard. The kids in high school and college who went on benders--almost to a one, that I knew of, they were the ones who had been told and told and TOLD just how dangerous and unseemly 'twas.

Me, neither. But I think this might have had something to do with the modeling my parents did around alcohol: it was something you drank at dinner and on hot weekends, always in moderation. I saw my parents tipsy a few times, but never falling-down drunk.

belledame222 said...

Right. Which is what I was getting at; I think the modelling kids see every day from the people they actually have an emotional connection with, not to say the parentals, is a lot more important than the media shit, especially wrt how they -behave.- And core beliefs.

I do think the media can affect peoples' body image and expectations of others' body image, yes. That is an issue.

but GGW is far from alone in that. It's relentless across the boards, the "women must be thin and pretty in this way" business. Even if you stick to G and PG-rated material only. Sometimes even more so that way.

belledame222 said...

So, I guess...putting myself in the place of a parent for a moment, or trying to...I guess if it were me, I'd want my boys to reject GGW not because they know it's "wrong," but because they simply wouldn't get what the appeal was supposed to be in the first place. I don't know how one accomplishes that; but I suspect it has more to do with what they say "yes" to than what they say "no" to.

I've said this before wrt "sex-positive:" ultimately I think it's totally fine to not be "sex-positive," certainly not as it's generally defined.

But jeez, be *something*-positive.

Nature abhors a vacuum.

Also, what I learned in psych: there's a part of the brain that actually doesn't process negatives in messages. This is why "don't think of an elephant" immediately results in thinking of an elephant. It's not that you're willful or bad; it's that that's how your mind naturally functions.

Bitch | Lab said...

good rantage. good rantage.

flowers, champagne, chocolate, strawberries. I throw kisses at Blackamazon for the concept.

but *sigh*

My sone broke up with Starshine a while back. He's got a new beloved. He talked about the fact that she was very protected by her family and a virgin.

I asked him why that mattered at all. You're not a virgin, I said pointedly.

He looked down and back up and said, "I know ma. But you know Jared? YOu know how many girls he's slept with? 33. People are different than in your day mom. They sleep aroudn all the time. That's not how you raised me. But everyone just has sex all the time. It's sex this and sex that."

Oh geez. So we talked abotu why he thought that wasn't so great. Mostly, he just thinks that no one is really enjoying themselves. But I asked him if he thought he and his girlfriends enjoyed themselves.

Sure, he said. OK, so why do you think OTHER people aren't? You weren't/aren't there to know?

Yeah, so my son has a bit of the Madonna/Whore complex going. Surprise.

But I agree with you that porn videos or whatever aren't instilling these ideas. They existed *before* we hade the meida saturated culture, so it makes little sense to blame the treatment of women by men on this.

but back to the kid, what struck me as i listened to him was this: for some of these kids, it's all backfiring. I mean, listening to him, I can almost understand the fetishization of virginity as a bakclash and not merely or only about the control of women's sexuality.

you know: straightedge.

So, we moved on from talking about sex, virginity, and wheterh it was really the case that having sex 33 times by the time you are 18 is any weirder than having french kissed for two hours or dry humped thirty three times as was more like "my day" heh.


Next up. "Ma, this is a girl I could date for a long time. I could see being with her for years."

And I turned to smirk and give him a sidelong glance. "Ohhh?" NO marriage word came up there." says I.

"well, ma, Starshine pressured me."

"She did? I mean, I know she did, but you didn't have to get engaged and you were pretty clear to her, in front of me, that the engagement would be long. So, how were you pressured?"

---

As for dishonoring. oh I don't know. The guy I dated that watched the most porn kissed my stretch marks and used to snuggle up and say, "I want to fuck you when you're old and gray and wrinkly"

So much for fake boobs making that guy into someone who couldn't bear the thought of wrinkles, cellulite, etc.

I'm not saying they don't exist, but I do think it's simplistic to assume that culture -- any media product -- uniformly shapes people.

belledame222 said...

yeah, I see a lot of the current virgin thing (if not the original) as fetish-y.

Rootietoot said...

I didn't say sex or booze was wrong. If I believed that my children wouldn't exist nor would my very comprehensive liquor cabinet. What I meant was public parading of overt sexual behavior and drunkenness. What they want to do in private is their bizness.. I am trying, as a parent, to teach them a perspective that will ultimately benefit them and their spouse. Sure they're gonna look, They're boys. I ask that they do it somewhere else, not in my household. I ask that they consider the behavior of the young woman they are interested in, and is it something they would feel comfortable making public. Yes, forbidden fruit is sweeter. I just want them to know and consider all the facts before they decide. And yes, one of them has chosen to turn his back on the faith he was raised in, but at least he had the information he needed before doing it.

Bitch | Lab said...

'sure they're going to look. they're boys.'

Bitch | Lab said...

oops. my delete, deleted too much. i meant to say that I'm not sure what good it does to say, "sure they're going to look. They are boys."

???

Rootietoot said...

Acknowledging a behavior exists and approving of it aren't the same thing. I know they look, they know I know they look, but I can still sniff disapproval and ask if they'd like me or their sister to act that way. When they move out they can look at whatever they want and I won't say a word. When they're in this house they'll follow my rules. Usually. Because I, in the words of my emancipated eldest son, Am A Prude.

Amber said...

I know they look, they know I know they look, but I can still sniff disapproval and ask if they'd like me or their sister to act that way.

RT, it seems to me that that includes an implicit message that women who do act "that way" are bad and women who don't are good. It sets up a false dichotomy. Doesn't that ultimately leave them with a warped, black-and-white view of what sexuality is?

Pls. don't take this as an attack, I am honestly asking.

belledame222 said...

Well, I get the "it's my house, my modelling, my values, my rules" thing, sure.

But like I say: just speaking from my own personal experience, a little public debuachery now and again--there are worse things, I think.

Carnival, Dionysus, you know--I think people, or many people--do need some sort of outlet.

and I think wrt the women in question, they're going "wild" because it feels freeing. they're doing it in one of the few sort of marginally socially acceptable ways of doing it--it's tacitly considered a rite of passage to do the drunk partying binge thing in American colleges these days.

But for me it isn't so much "do this/don't do this" but "well, why is this appealing, really?"

belledame222 said...

as for "mom or sister"--well, see, that's the thing. I mean I know some people who -are- moms and sisters; and their kids and brothers know who they are; and while i think they're more erm mature than the kids in the GGW vids, they participate in stuff that by a lot of peoples' standards would make GGW look pret-ty tame.

and yet, I think it's possible to acknowledge this and say, "hey, you're my mom/daughter/sister, I'm proud of you."

I mean--if you're not, you're not; but I get what Amber is saying in that I think the good girls/bad girls thing does get implicitly set up that way; and traditionally (ime) it seems to result in, well, okay then, there are two kinds of women is all. bad girls over here; good girls over here.

so good girls are the ones who are moms and sisters and who "would never do that;" and bad girls are the ones who DO do that, and well we can't stop them from existing or the boys/men from looking, we acknowledge this...but, they're bad girls. different from moms and sisters and friends; and should be treated accordingly. we all know this.

in a way it's kind of not fair to anybody, you know what I'm saying?

and per the public/private thing...

see, I could talk about that for a while, but not right now i think, i have to run in a second.

but...hm, yeah.

there are a lot of assumptions built into "behind closed doors" that i think a lot of people don't really think about too consciously.

in a way I kind of had to, more, because my sexuality belongs to the sexualities that up until very recently (if that) "behind closed doors" wasn't enough; you had people actively prying behind the closed doors. including bedrooms, clubs, private parties...

and what people discover, i think, is that "making it public" can be freeing in more ways than one; it isn't necessarily about "letting it all hang out," debauchery, you know; it's about, "oh, other people do that too! OH! oh! oh. I'm okay, then, maybe."

anyway, more later.

belledame222 said...

...per "warped;" see, though, I don't think it's totally fair either to put all of that on the line rootietoot's taking.

because, let's face it, GGW is pretty warped itself. or, it's an expression of the warping.

the whole culture's rather warped in that regard.

i don't have easy solutions. For me personally, retreating behind closed doors isn't a solution; but I understand why a lot of people choose it; it's what feels right to them.

Amber said...

because, let's face it, GGW is pretty warped itself. or, it's an expression of the warping.

the whole culture's rather warped in that regard.


It absolutely is. And maybe "warped" was too loaded a word. I just meant the either/or, bad/good dichotomy is a simplistic and incomplete view of sexuality.

Rootietoot said...

We all make judgements on people. It's human nature. I am judged because I prefer the company of men to the company of their wives, but only by the wives. The men don't seem to have a problem with it.
I disapprove of people, men and women equally, who parade sexuality out in public. I don't like seeing young men playing with their balls, nor do I like seeing young women wearing a miniskirt and no panties bending over in front of my kids. It's my nature. I think sex is a very private act and should remain so. It's not inherently dirty, after all, God invented it so it is good. I just don't wish to witness it. It is a messy and awkward act at best. It's also tremendous fun with the right person.
I recognize that I am also judged, considered prudish and old fashioned. It doesn't bother me. Parents try to teach their children what they believe to be right. That's what I am doing with my boys.
I, in my Judeo-Christian philosophy, believe monogamy is what's best for relationships. If you are not a Christian, practicing the same beliefs, I do not believe you are obligated to operate under my belief system. That doesn't mean I approve of yours, it only means I am not going to attempt to damn you for it.
This has been a remarkably interesting conversation, I am grateful more than you know that you've all been cordial and polite. I sort of expected a mammoth flaming when I first wrote. Thanks.

Amber said...

I disapprove of people, men and women equally, who parade sexuality out in public. I don't like seeing young men playing with their balls, nor do I like seeing young women wearing a miniskirt and no panties bending over in front of my kids.

I guess my question, then, would be, where do you draw the line? ie, what constitutes sexuality paraded in public? Holding hands? Kissing? I know most people draw somewhat arbitrary lines about what is and isn't acceptable. I'm just curious as to what those would be for you - and obviously you don't have to answer - because (to me) the two examples you provided are not really representations of sexuality per se.

I think sex is a very private act and should remain so.

And see, I think here is where a lot of people hit an impasse of sorts. Even people who are willing (as you appear to be) to grant that, okay, what works for me works for me, but it might not work for you; and vice versa. But, what if what works for me is being more "public" with my sexuality? It could be freeing to me, if I've grown up in an environment where sexuality was viewed as something to be kept separate, closeted off, not discussed, and viewed as dirty or sinful. How do we decide whose "rights" take precedence? For a long time, this has been something that kinda makes my brain shut down.

Bitch | Lab said...

well, it's the madonna/whore good girl/bad girl business that I'm not interested in clutivating in my kid. and, maybe you don't want to be feisty amber, but I will be: fuck this shit about would you want your mom or daughter to do *that*.

in my grandma's day it was "would you want your mom or daughter to be caught necking in the rumble seat?"

yeah, well. whatever.

jesus.

my mother keep her pregnancy with me a secret until labor day. I was born the third week in september. why was that? because she was afraid her father might beat her for being a women "like that".

fuck that noise.

turned out, of course, that no such thing happaned. though we'll never know. maybe gramps would have beat.

turns out that there was an entire freakin' network of people who pitched in and saw to it that, if I didn't have a baby carrier, I had a freakin' wicker laundry basket to come home from the hospital.

but, in the mean time, the public face had to be: nice girls don't.

i could go on to recount the sexual harassment I've received because, as a working class woman, my work meant that men perceived me as one of the bad girls. thus, sexual harassment was dispensed not just because I was a woman, but a woman who *wanted* it undeniably because of the kind of work I did which tranlated into the kind of woman I was.

really! a feminist man harassed me and my then girlfriend in preicsely this way!

gah. i pluck my eyes out and rip off my toenails at the thought that people defend this view

Amber said...

and, maybe you don't want to be feisty amber, but I will be

Ha! That's especially amusing to me, because the GDBF's dad recently described me as "feisty."

I'm just feeling sorta down today, so I am trying to be as deferential as possible in my language, bc I don't have the energy for a big row.

If I don't start my period soon I'm going to break something.

antiprincess said...

it isn't necessarily about "letting it all hang out," debauchery, you know; it's about, "oh, other people do that too! OH! oh! oh. I'm okay, then, maybe."

Oh my molly bloom - YES.

belledame222 said...

>I disapprove of people, men and women equally, who parade sexuality out in public.

Well, see, here's where I connect to that personally:

the "don't flaunt it." As a gay person, I mean.

Which, first of all, as BL was getting at in a somewhat different context, is far from having one unified standard across time and cultures;

and particularly there is, I regret to say, a much higher bar for what's "appropriate" for gay folks than for straight.

Holding hands in public is "flaunting it." Kissing is "shoving it in our face." Talking about sexuality in any way--oh, dear, dear, dear. Anything from explicit talk to "hey, that person of the same gender I find rather erotically and aesthetically pleasing, day-UM" to "I had a date with my boyfriend last weekend"

And then, of course, there's Pride. oh, Pride.

the parade.

"Why do you need a parade?"

Well: because it's a celebration. Because people get tired of holding it and holding it and holding it. Because it's -one damn day a year.- Y'all have the rest of the year, you know it? not perfectly, no, but: much more so.

"Well, why must you/they be so, so...I mean: the drag queens! the bare-ass chaps! the topless women! What if children see?"

Well, dammit, what if they do?

What is supposed to happen exactly, if "the children" see an open and joyful display of sexuality on parade?

Do they spontaneously combust?

Do they run off immediately to do likewise?

Do they ask a bunch of questions that make you uncomfortable and you don't know how to answer?

...ah.

well, see.

I probably can't explain why I think these uh "lascivious" or at least "flamboyant" public expressions are as much a part of...a joyful Creation, let's say, as romantic intimacy between two people behind a closed door. For me. I think it's one of those things, maybe, that either you get it or you don't.

But I do know that what constitutes "public display" is...well, dicey to negotiate. At best.

And that some people who would agree with me, I think, that "your right to swing your fist stops at my nose" sometimes have a different idea of who's bonking whom, or to what degree, than I would.

anyway, rt, no, no flaming needed or wanted. I saw you over at RE's; I figured anyone who ID's as a southern Methodist Housewife and Mother who can come in and hear a sex worker's POV w/out judgment is someone I want to talk to more.

Amber said...

"Why do you need a parade?"

Gah. I had this conversation with my mother this weekend. It gave me a big ol' headache.

Rootietoot said...

I don't have issues with people holding hands, or kissing. I have trouble with men grabbing their crotches when an attractive woman walks by, and with a woman wearing something so short and tight she squeaks when she walks. It all goes back to the issue of sex being private.
I have told my boys that they would take responsibility if they got a girl pregnant. I would not tell an unmarried pregnant woman that she was inferior, because I've been there. The boys know they can talk to either of us about sex, and they do. My eldest knows I don't approve of his sexual habits, but since he lives in his own place, I don't condemn him. He's a grown man.
Please understand, these are the values I live my life by. disapproval isn't the same as condemnation. I disapprove of loud stereos and foul language as well. I don't walk around with a sex meter and shout imprecations at anyone that registers over Warm. Thankfully, we live in a country where we can choose a place to live that is populated by like-minded people.
Y'all have a good evening :o)

belledame222 said...

>But, what if what works for me is being more "public" with my sexuality? It could be freeing to me, if I've grown up in an environment where sexuality was viewed as something to be kept separate, closeted off, not discussed, and viewed as dirty or sinful. How do we decide whose "rights" take precedence? For a long time, this has been something that kinda makes my brain shut down.>

shorter version of what I was trying to say, thanks.

Samuel R. Delany has a great book called "Times Square Red, Times Square Blue;" basically it's all about the gentrification or "cleaning up" of Times Square, and specifically the shutting down of a lor of gay porn theatres.

He talks about the experience of "public," anonymous m/m sex in those theatres as actually a kind of democratic act, in that people from very different walks of life, who ordinarily wouldn't encounter each other, erm come together on equal footing, as it were; there is a kind of accelerated intimacy that can happen sometimes, in fact; it's not necessarily "objectifying," iow.

More interesting to me: he connects it to a larger picture of how "the commons" have been disappearing, and in fact are on the verge of becoming extinct. The idea of the "public" itself, in other words, is...well, what is it anymore?

Because what's happened with Times Square, or rather gentrification in general, is this: it's all about the money. Privacy=money; it costs money to even have a room with a door to close. much more than it does for say an afternoon in a theater. and alleys and public bathrooms (the few remaining ones that aren't in "customers only!" places) are free.

so ultimately it's not -just- about sex; it never is.

for example: friend had a b'day picnic in Central Park the other day. good times. as we were leaving, one of us remarked, it was nice to be able to meet friends for once in a (public) context that wasn't a bar or a restaurant.

and I thought: hell, that's true, isn't it.

iow: normally, you pay to play.

even the park "closes" after a certain hour.

the only ones left are the men "publically" having sex in the bushes, and the police who patrol and arrest them, when they catch them. presumably (I just realized) for trespassing as well as lewd conduct. these people having "public" sex in the dead of night, in the shrubbery, in a park that's now "closed" to the public.

belledame222 said...

>I have trouble with men grabbing their crotches when an attractive woman walks by,>

Ahhh, but see, that's -not- about keeping sex private; that's about aggression. Harassment; and yes I have trouble with that also. Big trouble.

As for the women--well, they wear what they wear; but it still isn't the same thing as, say, them shouting "HEY BAYBEE!", grabbing people, groping, standing to block their path, and so forth.

Which men frequently do, frankly, whether the woman's wearing a short skirt or not.

That is about boundaries. That is about entitlement. That is about seeing the woman as someone whose voice doesn't matter.

You have a good evening, too; do come back when you get a chance.

belledame222 said...

...so, but yeah, it is true: it is hard to tell where boundaries stop and start in public sometimes, once you bring it back to something like "stereos blaring."

I guess in that instance I'd say the loud music is invasive; ditto with secondhand cigarette smoke.

But is it because I think hearing and smell (and also the smoke does affect the nonsmoker's lungs and eyes, triggers asthma and so on, so to me that one's pretty clear-cut) are inherently more "intimate" than sight? Touch obviously is; if you put your hands on a stranger, that's considered a violation; it's your body, it's your "personal bubble."

So, putting the huge giganto loaded issue of sexism/feminism inherent in the men-grabbing-crotches-at-women/look-what-she's-wearing aside for the mo', if that's possible:

-does- it make sense to say that something can be invasive if it's only something you -see?-

In other words, say, someone wearing a blatantly racist T-shirt in the mall. Is it freedom of expression, is how this is usually framed. But what I'm wondering is: is it -invasive?- if it doesn't physically affect the viewer? Know what I'm saying? It's not like it's gonna break your eardrums or leave sweat-stains on your shirt or affect your breathing--directly, anyway. Is that the bottom line, though? I dunno.

And then, too, again: is the mall a public place? Well, not really; no shirt no shoes no service. Is anywhere, though?

hmm.

belledame222 said...

>"feisty"

I can never hear that word without haering it in the voice of Austin Powers.

Dan L-K said...

it's about, "oh, other people do that too! OH! oh! oh. I'm okay, then, maybe.

Oh my ten thousand gods, yes yes yes.

This is why the controversy around the UU About Your Sexuality program was so ridiculous, if anyone here remembers that (I recall it as a lot of news shows coming on with "Your children may be seeing explicit sexual pictures... in church!"). Because it seemed to me that the exact right thing to do to encourage healthy, shame-free sexual development is to have a trusted, non-parental adult show frank illustrations of things kids may have heard of and say "This is what this looks like, and regular people do it, and it's not disgusting or dirty."

I mean, the sense of ease it would have brought me at 12 to know that masturbation wasn't some unpleasant deviant thing that only I did would have been immeasurable.

Bitch | Lab said...

if we're going to talk about doing intimate things in public, can we talk about grooming each other?

i think we should do more nit picking like the monkeys. *grin*

Popess Lilith said...

I apologize if this seems more like a non-sequitur rather than part of the conversation. But I kinda feel that the obsession that repressed males have over breasts was wonderfully summed up in a movie called, "The American Astronaut," which actually spends a fair amount of time delving into gender issues, if from a non-academic, intentionally cliched, and rather masculine angle. (The premise: The Amazon planet of Venus needs a male for breeding purposes and the titular hero is asked to find the mate.)

But one scene especially leapt out: All-male miners on a planet devoted to hard physical labor are being rewarded for their work ethic by getting to see... The Boy Who Actually Saw A Woman's Breast. They actually perform a song-and-dance routine in their enthusiasm, only to have The Boy sigh in exasperation and announce: "It was round and soft. Now get back to work."

Mayhap that should be my motto. "It was round and soft. Now get back to work." I like the sound of it!

Popess Lilith said...

Found a clip of EXACTLY THAT SCENE:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oREf9HuUY1g

Bitch | Lab said...

i fucking loved that movie. i throw horns!

Rootietoot said...

nit-picking's ok...so's back scratching. But I draw the line there...and no back scratching from around the front. And you can't eat the nits. And no loud music unless it's something Good. Like Gregorian Chant. or Funk. BAh...

Bitch | Lab said...

rootietoot,

heh. i wish I could remember the exact incidents, but my grandma, whenever she observed couples or moms/children engaged in something like grooming, she'd say "Ayup. I'm a Believer, but the evolution people got sumthin about evolving from the monkeys. We sho'nuf do like to groom each other."

Jay said...

What is supposed to happen exactly, if "the children" see an open and joyful display of sexuality on parade?

Do they spontaneously combust?


Belledame you had me lol at work, which I very much needed now that the book is getting ready for the printer...

But your comment reminds of working security at International Mr. Leather and watching mothers clutch their sons (always the boys!) to their sides with "hide your face! hide your face!" as they walked by some leatherfag...

Which reminds of the time I was strolling with some very faggy pals along a busy street in Chicago. This homeless dude asks one of my pals for some dough.

"No. Thanks." he says.
"What," says the homeless man. "You got them nice shiny snakeskin boots on and you can't give me not one dime."
Second pal steps right up to the man's face and says, loudly I might add, "Listen, honey. He got those boots because he gives great blow-jobs. Now maybe if you gave great blow-jobs you'd get a pair of boots like that, too!"

Just then I turned to see a mom with two kids utterly stunned, like way beyond deer in the headlights. h-i-l-a-r-i-o-u-s. Her face may be one of the twenty or so I see on my deathbed.

But then I got to realizing that these folks just don't take about cocks and tits and blowjobs...it's all very nice and juvenile, what with the references to "down there" and all.....

belledame222 said...

And then, at the same time, so many people take their kids to what I think would be damn inappropriate stuff: super-violent R-rated movies. Wrestling matches with people shouting bloody murder and vicious slurs at the "bad guy" (I remember this from New Haven. "Kill the dago!" "Just a little longer, you have school tomorrow.")

And that's the thing about GGW and the street harassment, too: it's not even just that it's inappropriate or unwanted, there's always this undercurrent (at least) of hostility and aggression.

Certain schools of feminism go "well, they hate women," and with some people obviously you can really see it; but it still never really gets at the question of -why.-

I am thinking that the combination of "violence is A-OK!" with "sex is a no-no!" and also "It's shameful to be like a girl: butch up, son!"=that. "Hey Baby! I can't tell if I want to have sex with you or kill you! Possibly both at once!"

not exactly a terribly original thought, there, I know, but there it is.

Rootietoot said...

It's not juvenile! It's discreet! And, I've told my boys what they do in the privacy of their bedroom is their business, whether it's hetero or homo...It's a privacy thing, not a prudery thing! And "what it's called"...well.I was raised by a veterinarian, who called breasts 'mammaries" and penises 'penises', and vulvas 'vulvas'. I had to explain to the boys that a vagina was the inside part, and the only way you can see it is if the woman wants you to. I think when folk call genitals 'cooter, kitty, pussy' or 'tool, johnson, whatever' is demeaning and silly. I hear those terms from more 'sexually liberated' folk than I do from us religiously repressed types.

Jay Sennett said...

The spontaneous combustion comment inspired a post from me here:
http://www.jaysennett.com/blog/2006/08/what_about_gasp_the_children.htm

A huge hat tip to you for helping back to reality....

belledame222 said...

I can never see the term "cooter" without thinking of The Daily Show covering the "Cooter festival:"

http://www.comedycentral.com/sitewide/media_player/play.jhtml?itemId=12762

...and going into uncontrollable giggling fits.

so yeah, I'm juvenile...

Dan L-K said...

But "vulva" and "penis" aren't exactly sexy words to a lot of people, whereas many of the alternatives are (or at least they're a lot more fun to say in bed). Good on you, though, for tackling the vulva/vagina distinction, which far too many folks don't get.

But nothing wrong with silliness, though! ("It is permissible to laugh in bed, as long as you don't point.")

And rt, I have some degree of sympathy with your viewpoint; it's just that (as has been pointed out upthread) "discreet" and "private" have been used as cudgels to shame and marginalize way too often. "I don't want to see that" is frequently shorthand for "that's filthy and you ought to be ashamed of yourself." And lots of people do need to see things that Prudery would keep hidden, just for the benefit of knowing that their desires don't make them dirty or unhealthy or unbalanced.

A time and a place, yes, of course; I'm not advocating copulation on park benches. But I do think the definition of what that time and place is could be a little more relaxed and do our sex-phobic culture a lot of good. Especially as regards what can be talked about openly.

belledame222 said...

Per changing standards of what's normal and what's "sexy:" and of course, at least per what's covered up, anyway, making it hidden actually -makes it sexier- (the mystery, see). Which I swear is a big part of the argument I keep hearing from some of the "return to modesty" people; I'm like, you do realize you're saying that people should dress in a way that -you find sexier,- don't you? (I toyed with using the word "fetish," there).

anyway I was just remembering a passage in "Main Street" by Sinclair Lewis (my brain is this weird little magpie for bits and pieces of quotage from here and there, y'all may have noticed by now), from...whenever it was, turn of the century, pre-flapper anyway. The protagonist, Carol something, overhears some of the town louts talking about her:

"...And some ankles she's got, heh, kid?"

Overcome with shame and dismay (at the "objectification," one might say; of course in the greater context of she just found out everyone's been meanly gossiping about her), she runs home and cries.

belledame222 said...

...and "people" being of course "women," there; it never does seem to be a return to modesty for men; but then their clothes don't change nearly as much.

and now thinking of this incredibly annoying Berlin song ("Sex: I'm a...") His 'n' hers duet, with lots of moaning and groaning in the background:

Her: "I'm a goddess!"

Him: "I'm a man!"

Her: "I'm a virgin!"

Him: "I'm a man!"

Her: "I'm a slut"

Him: "I'm a man!"

Her: "I'm a one-night stand"

Him: "I'm a man"

Her: "I'm a drug"

Him: "I'm a man"

Her: "I'm your slave"

Him: "Yes, I'm a man"

Her: "I'm a dream divine"

Both: "We'll make love together..."

(ooh, ahh)

and these days I think: "damn, man, you and what army?"

If we do assume that media influences the erotic "map:" is it any wonder I had this idea that men were, erotically, on the whole, well, kind of boring?

piny said...

I, in my Judeo-Christian philosophy, believe monogamy is what's best for relationships. If you are not a Christian, practicing the same beliefs, I do not believe you are obligated to operate under my belief system. That doesn't mean I approve of yours, it only means I am not going to attempt to damn you for it.

This isn't a religious argument you're making, though, given your phrasing. It's an entirely practical one, and one that can be challenged by people in stable and loving poly relationships. My friends, for example.

Wrt the slang thing: speaking as someone from a community that has resisted medicalized terms on the grounds that they were used to pathologize our desires, I see nothing wrong with using slang for body parts the way we use slang for everything else. You're making inferences about sexuality from terminology preferences--which, God knows, are affected by any number of things--and they don't hold up.

belledame222 said...

Well, I think rt was primarily responding to jay talking about people saying "down there," say.

From a writerly POV I'm always intrigued by the wide range of connotations of different slang words, and of course that goes for sex and genitalia as well.
"Yoni" has rather different connotations, or at least a tone, from "bearded clam," say.

Rootietoot said...

Piny- my father taught anatomy and physiology for 30 years. Slang terms for anatomy just aren't in my makeup. when my husband says "oh wow...that's gorgeous" when he's in between my knees, I am far more aroused than "lookit that pussy".
As for the mystery under the clothes idea, I was at lunch today with my husband, and I noticed a young woman (20-ish) wearing a knee length skirt and a tshirt, and flip flops. She had amazing legs, and I thought that if I were a young man, I'd wonder what the rest of her looked like, and enjoy the fantasy. If she'd been in a skirt that failed to cover her butt and a bikini top, leaving nothing to wonder about, what's the fun in that? My own boys have cocked a snoot at scantily clad women, opining that their girlfriend's modest dress makes the whole idea of what's underneath that much more enticing.
I believe modesty gives a woman a certain power over the behavior of an interested man.
I think one of the sexiest dresses I've seen was long, neck-high, and backless, showing no breast or leg, but a long, smooth expanse of back. My eldest saw a woman in one and said "it makes me wonder if the rest of her is that delicious."
it's the mystery! the mystery, I say!

Oh- my favorite quote from my beloved:
Men control the sex, women control when.

Nick Kiddle said...

And lots of people do need to see things that Prudery would keep hidden, just for the benefit of knowing that their desires don't make them dirty or unhealthy or unbalanced.

That reminds me of a conversation I once had with a 13-year-old girl whose parents hadn't allowed her access to information about her own body. I ended up linking her to a diagram from a website selling an STP device because that was somewhere I knew there was an illustration of the "female" genitals that wasn't either pornified or sanitised into inaccuracy.

(I can't remember how the subject came up. She was on the sidelines of a conversation and asked us what we meant by clitoris or some other term, I think.)

Dan L-K said...

I noticed a young woman (20-ish) wearing a knee length skirt and a tshirt, and flip flops. She had amazing legs, and I thought that if I were a young man, I'd wonder what the rest of her looked like, and enjoy the fantasy. If she'd been in a skirt that failed to cover her butt and a bikini top, leaving nothing to wonder about, what's the fun in that?

See, my feeling is: Both are lovely. Why should it be one or the other?

belledame222 said...

I'm with dan l-k.

And also: whether it's covering up or not covering up, sometimes you just don't -want- to be thinking about yer sexual appeal; sometimes, you know, you just want to be comfortable and happy.

> cocked a snoot

now -that- sounds dirty.

Per clitoris: when I was working the LGBT hotline, I remember a young woman calling in; she wanted to know if she needed to use protection with her (monogamous, first-time for both) girlfriend. I told her a few things; somewhere in there it came out that she'd -never heard of- the clitoris.

It was very exciting news, though; she said she was gonna get off to get a mirror and then tell her girlfriend.

The combination of let's say unrealistic imagery all over the media and the utter lack of/distorted sex education is an absolutely deadly combination, of that I've no doubt.

Jay Sennett said...

From a writerly POV I'm always intrigued by the wide range of connotations of different slang words, and of course that goes for sex and genitalia as well.

Indeed! I am reminded of the conversation I had with my Japanese host mother who asked, after we watched an american porno flick togther, "what are those girls saying? 'coming'?"

"yes, 'I'm coming' is what they are saying."

{The Japanese equivalent translates as "I'm going..."}

"So where are they coming from," she asked in all earnestness.

"Well," I said, "I could just as easily ask you, 'where are you going?'"

Mind you this entire conversation was in Japanese, which for a direct speaker of English like me, is just plain weird...but my host mother thought the idea of saying "i'm coming" when you orgasm the most hilarious thing she'd heard in a long time.

and no, I'm not making any of this stuff up.

belledame222 said...

Well, it's true when you stop and think about it. "Come" where?

Jay Sennett said...

Well, it's true when you stop and think about it. "Come" where?

I know. I just a did quick google search and can't find the origin of this slang term. Any guesses?

piny said...

Piny- my father taught anatomy and physiology for 30 years. Slang terms for anatomy just aren't in my makeup. when my husband says "oh wow...that's gorgeous" when he's in between my knees, I am far more aroused than "lookit that pussy".

That's fine. My parents hated ham, and never served it, and now I can't tolerate it either. Thing is, these preferences have nothing whatsoever to do with the objective value either of pork or erotic slang.

piny said...

Oh- my favorite quote from my beloved:
Men control the sex, women control when.


Huh. Sounds kinda...regressive. And demonstrably false. Whatever kinks float your boat, I guess, but I would never get into any relationship where the man and the woman--assuming those are the involved parties--are restricted to roles like that.

piny said...

Well, it's true when you stop and think about it. "Come" where?

To Jesus. Duh.

Rootietoot said...

Piny- 'It's a joke! A joke, ah say!"

My husband is the least repressed or regressive person I know. I am far more uptight than he is.

They say that a sexual climax is as close to God as you can get, and still be alive afterward. That's what my pastor told me anyway...

this thread has gone from Girls Gone Wild to Moms Gone Nuts. I haven't had this much fun since...well...that would be personal.

Anonymous said...

Men control the sex, women control when.

I know it's a sound bite, but my concern is that far too many people do view women as the sexual "gatekeepers." I think this is an extremely simplistic and unfair view of sexuality - unfair to both men and women.

Figleaf has written a lot about this... I highly recommend his blog.

Amber said...

Argh! That last comment was me. I must've accidentally hit submit before typing my name.

Rootietoot said...

whats wrong with women being the gatekeepers? If they weren't, and men had sex with us whenever they wanted, it would be called rape. Sometimes, I have sex when I'd rather be reading a book, because it pleases him and I love him, but I'm still the initiator. Sometimes, he makes the first move and I beg off, which still makes me the one in control. This is my power, because I am the gatekeeper! Rah!

Popess Lilith said...

rootietoot: I'm not saying you don't have the right to say "no" when you don't want to have sex--far from it! But when you say "gatekeeper" it makes it sound like there's a barbarian horde that'd love to storm your castle if it weren't for the wrought-iron NO you placed before them.

I, for one, don't think of men as barbarians--not if raised properly. There's nothing wrong with a man's sex drive that can't be tempered and brought under self-control. It seems to me that one of the biggest barriers to feminism is the notion that men are automatically sex-crazed, violent thugs who'd rape and pillage if given half the chance. I don't buy it--most men are happy if they can eat a hot meal, have a beer now and then, and MAYBE a little lovin' on the side. No need to be a rampaging horde for that. Deny them the power and isolate the minority that tries to live up to the notion, or at least try to breathe false life into it. And, of course, raise your menfolk to not buy into the stereotype. I am! :)

Popess Lilith said...

BTW: I don't like using "pussy" because of the unfortunately sexist connotations of weakness; and likewise for "cunt" and "twat", only with connotations of belligerence. But I *like* the word "cooter"--it's kinda poetic, if silly sounding. Sounds more appealing than "vulva" to me, at any rate.

Dan L-K said...

in re. gatekeeping: What Lilith said.

Also: there's something there that feeds into a particularly weird misogynist myth that women have all the real power, because they control access to The Pussy. Aside from the things that are obviously wrong and problematic about this, it carries the implication that women don't actually have sexual desires of their own and only allow sex to happen when they're getting something (else) out of it; among other things, this creates a kind of feedback loop of male resentment that women are all about the witholding of teh sex unless they can somehow buy or trick it out of them. I'm sure I don't need to underline the possible complications of this, or of the fact that a lot of women buy into it, too.

But, ultimately? It seems to me that

"Hey, you wanna do it?"
"Nah, not right now"

...is not an exchange that should imply anything about the gender of either speaker.

belledame222 said...

exactly.

I mean, and again: I'm a woman, I mostly desire/sleep with women. Who's keeping whose gate? I just don't think of things in that way. At all. I dunno; it makes it sound like men are like this whole other species or something. it's not been my experience.

Rootietoot said...

I suppose it's a power thing. I was raised to be a weak and helpless female. My husband, God bless him! has been working on me for 20 years now to make me feel more in control and empowered, but upbringing is a powerful thing. For me, knowing I am the one in control of a particular aspect of my life is like a having a raft in a shipwreck. In a perfect world, my insecurities wouldn't exist. Fortunately, my psychological imperfections are recognized by a gentle and compassionate person, who gives me this power because he know's what it means to me. Considering that he's bigger, smarter, more educated, and better known than I am, his willingness to give me control in this bit of our lives together is a generous gift. And one of the reasons I love him...(yeah, I know, I have Issues)

belledame222 said...

Don't we all. I'm glad you found something/someone that works for you.

Popess Lilith said...

Rootietoot: My wife Cynthia used to insist I was smarter than her, and I had to keep repeating that in certain realms she does in fact excel over me and that I considered her my intellectual equal. She was very precocious as a child but everyone thought she was just a dumb girl who shouldn't have effort wasted on her. One teacher perceptive enough to notice she needed glasses would've made a large impact could've changed her life, but instead they simply assumed she was dumb. She, on the other hand, simply didn't want to burden her poor family with the expense of glasses. But on the other hand, it's not like she got encouragement anywhere else.

And yet, she has a massive vocabulary, corrects my pronunciation all the time, and can kick my butt at Jeopardy for the PS2.

I don't know if anything similar might apply in your life, rootietoot, but it is something to consider.


Clarification from earlier: "Deny them the power, and isolate the minority that tries to live up to the notion or to breathe false life into it." Sloppy, sloppy. Hope you figured it out within the first three re-reads.

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