Friday, May 25, 2007

You know, I'm thinking I'm just about ready for my own "you, there, shut the fuck up" moment.



(image ganked from here)

I swear to Christ, the next time I read some straight person handwringing about something or other that is the Deeply Important Item of the day--lipstick, blowjobs, high heels, goddam bloody pole dancing, you know, on account of it's "pandering to the male gaze" or "patriarchal standards" and we're just -concerned- with -what message it sends-, why o why does sexuality have to be like this? Why do -male/female- relations have to be like this, and say, isn't it a shame that there's no way for women in this pornified yogurt cup culture to bond except in relation to male sexuality???

(and but of course, WE DIDN'T MEAN YOU, IT ISN'T ADDRESSED TO YOU, YOU ARE STATISTICALLY INSIGNIFICANT AND WE FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE BROACHING THE SUBJECT OUR VERY OWN SELVES AND OF COURSE WE CAN'T ACTUALLY BROADEN OUR HORIZONS AND LISTEN TO SOMEONE WHO ISN'T ALREADY SAYING WHAT'S COZILY FAMILIAR)

--I'ma take that high heel, possibly rip that whole entire pole out of the ground, and guess what I'm gonna do with it?

Use your imagination.

For once.

You want to know why more women, especially more women who don't fit the status quo (which you yourself in no way represent, no pressure coming from -you,- o no), don't find their very own individual unique sexuality which still somehow fits into a paradigm that doesn't make you too uncomfortable, politically or aesthetically?

Because -every time we fucking try,- --some- happy asshole is coming down the pike to earnestly explain their -concern-. One way or another. If it's not religion, or what-will-the-neighbors-think, it's, you know, -political-, what does it all -mean-, dear, let's pick it apart, pick yourself apart, use your head and not your gonads (because of course they are mutually opposed), because -that- little process is of course in no way -patriarchal-, or -really fucking old.-

and, just hypothetically, mind, if anyone is -seriously- using the phrase "false consciousness" anymore, particularly about something like fucking -pole dancing-, I'm just going to point and -laugh.-

on edit: no, okay, a footnote, god knows I don't want to be -unfair,- so I open it up to you, gentle readers, and particularly all my queer readers, of whatever gender, gentle or otherwise:

Do you, or do you not, give a rat's ass about whether pole dancing is pandering to the patriarchy? Are you concerned about the male gaze? Do you believe in the male gaze? The female gaze? The gay gaze? Do gays have gaze? Do cats eat bats? Why is a stripper pole like a writing desk? You gonna eat that?

(Yes, those are totally and completely unbiased questions, I learned the technique from the back of a cereal box my statistics and research methods class I'm taking in preparation for a degree in multi-ass-wiping psychology, it's cultural elitism something I'm doing specifically to make -you- feel oogy about yourself, just like the pole dancing scientific, shut up)

34 comments:

Trinity said...

"and, just hypothetically, mind, if anyone is -seriously- using the phrase "false consciousness" anymore, particularly about something like fucking -pole dancing-, I'm just going to point and -laugh.-"

That is SO a plan.

Amber said...

Belledame wins.

Sassywho said...

you just made me giggle in a way that i need to go check my "male gaze" meter, i'll get back to you.

Octogalore said...

Head meet nail. Yes, the assumption that the brain and groin are in necessary opposition is so lovely when suggested to women by, as you put it elsewhere, straight men and conventional women (who typically, might I add, are "good feminists" who have self-qualified themselves to decide what activities make the grade).

And I love that you can make the point without saying to the "straight men" contingent: "you know, if you had a poleside seat, sweetheart, you'd shut right up about your "concern," and I can't help wondering if your "concern" stems from maybe not having one." I, personally, when faced by fake "concern," rarely see a bitchiness line I'm not tempted to cross over. But you make your point very well without going there.

Mandos said...

Two hypothetical cents to the most interesting hypothesis about what I was thinking when I read that thread.

By the way, associates with my housing crisis is that in not too long, I am going to be in your neck of the woods for a coupla months.

Mandos said...

grr, associated. Typos are oppressing me.

Renegade Evolution said...

blah blah blah blah blah forever and ever, amen.

Fuck it. So not worth the effort.

belledame222 said...

hey, cool, mandos, drop me an email when you know your dates and details and suchlike.

belledame222 said...


And I love that you can make the point without saying to the "straight men" contingent: "you know, if you had a poleside seat, sweetheart, you'd shut right up about your "concern," and I can't help wondering if your "concern" stems from maybe not having one." I, personally, when faced by fake "concern," rarely see a bitchiness line I'm not tempted to cross over. But you make your point very well without going there.


In this instance, it's not so much admirable restraint as that I just don't even -care-.

Alon Levy said...

Mandos, I'll be delighted to meet you... send me an email, too.

Honestly, I think there's something deeply wrong with the whole idea behind this kind of whoring. In a domination-free world, there wouldn't be any pundits whoring their bullshitting skills to the highest bidder so that they can tell people which activities are approved and which aren't.

Mandos said...

http://www.cocktail.uk.com/db/viewCocktail.asp?ID=10103&reviews=999

It's amazing that several commenters didn't get it.

baby221 said...

Well, I have a gaze anyway, and it thinks that pole-dancing is erotic, and damned if I'm going to think myself out of it just to be politically correct.

Thorne said...

Well, I dunno... if I really have to choose between pole dancing and being stoned to death... :-0

arielladrake said...

Y'know, it's probably that I have her on the brain since I went to her show last night (which was totally awesome), but I see this 'oh noes male gaze false consciousness woe!' stuff and I just keep getting this image of folk trying to tell P!nk that she's 'pandering to the male gaze' and 'sending the wrong message'. Because I imagine Her Awesomess' reaction would be hilarious.

A. J. Luxton said...

BEAUTIFUL post.

Thank you.

mighty quare dewd said...

I liked Rebecca Walker's take on it:

My hope is that this book can help us to see how the people in the world who are facing and embracing their contradictions and complexities and creating something new and empowering from them are important voices leading us away from divisiveness and dualism. I hope that in accepting contradiction and ambiguity, … these voices can shape a political fore more concerned with mandating and cultivating freedom than with policing morality.

Rather than judging them as unevolved, unfeminist, or hopelessly duped by the patriarchy, I hope you will see these writers as yet another group of pioneers, outlaws, who demand to exist whole and intact, without cutting or censoring part of themselves: an instinct I consider to be the very best legacy of feminism.

These voices are important because if feminist is to continue to be radical and alive, it must avoid reordering the world in terms of any polarity, be it female/male, good/evil, or, that easy allegation of false consciousness which can so quickly and silently negate another’s agency: evolved/unconscious.

might quare dewd said...

When I get done being horribly sick, I'll finish my review of Walker's book, To Be Real. While I didn't care for some of her introduction, and the essays it included were too often written by people who seemed to have a stick up their ass (uptight, restrained) some of the essays were quite good on this topic. E.g. the black lesbian sex worker who does not come out of the experience with a "rah rah siss boom ba" attitude about sex work, but still has a lot to say about she sees as important for many women: egaging in things like pole dancing, go go dancing, etc. in order to explore their sexuality.

like i said, i'm still too sick so this prob. doesn't make much sense, but some of the essays in that book were excellent and make you wonder -- what happened to the third wave I remember, the one where it was clearly recognized that, part of the reason why people don't call themselves feminists, is the kind of shit that goes down in blogosphere discussions of, say, pole dancing. it was a common point of discussion when Walker edited that collection. Today, we are perenielly told it's an unimportant issue and you "can't be kicked out of feminism". And yet Walker and the folks writing their essays damned sure relate a number of experience that suggest otherwise.

Alon Levy said...

what happened to the third wave I remember, the one where it was clearly recognized that, part of the reason why people don't call themselves feminists, is the kind of shit that goes down in blogosphere discussions of, say, pole dancing. it was a common point of discussion when Walker edited that collection. Today, we are perenielly told it's an unimportant issue and you "can't be kicked out of feminism". And yet Walker and the folks writing their essays damned sure relate a number of experience that suggest otherwise.

Somewhat on topic, lately I'm convincing myself that the book Jessica should've written is a series of observations about what young women think about feminism, backed up by as many interviews and polls as possible. Instead of telling people what to do, she should have asked them what they care about and let them speak in their own words.

A good place to start locally would be to pick 4 or 5 public high schools in New York that together have a reasonable diversity of races and class backgrounds, and interview a substantial portion of their students. Then a pollster or analyst could look for patterns - for example, there might be a substantially higher rate of positive responses to "Do you consider yourself a feminist?" among students who took English with a particular teacher, who teaches novels by women more than other teachers.

Amber said...

"The book Jessica should have written"?

Alon, you sound like an asshole.

SnowdropExplodes said...

Belledame, has anyone else told you how sexy you are when you get cross?

*cheeky grin*

Personal experience: there was a long time when I felt I had to be against poledancing, erotic whatever, just to prove that I was a good man, anti-sexist, pro-feminist and all the rest, rahrahrah.

Then I realised that having a pleasurable response to seeing nude women is no a crime, it's a normal part of being male, we're kind of built like that. Having a cock that gets happy at the thought of naked females is no problem. It's kinda what it's here for!

I also have a brain. That gets happy wrestling with problems of social and economic oppression and deprivation, and inequality. It's rather good at thinking about those sorts of problems. It's kinda what it's there for!

And my brain finally figured out that repressing my sexuality isn't really relevant to those social and economic problems.

belledame222 said...

hey, mqd! sorry you're not feeling s'hot.

yeah, I have "To Be real." More recent, and also from Seal Press, and also quite good (I think, thus far) is the anthology "Listen Up!" Walker has a piece in it, I think, among many others

belledame222 said...

and again, the other thing about poledancing--hello, have some people -seen- some of it? Doesn't have to be nude. and: mighty damn athletic.

i dunno, i wonder hpw many of those same people watch, say, Olympic gymnastics without a thought? It's the same pleasure, to some degree; yes, there's the addition of the erotic component, but there's also just -wow-, look at her go! athleticism.

and frankly i think competitive gymnastics is a lot more problematic; I'm more concerned about "Little Girls in Pretty Boxes" than I am about recreational screwin' around with a pole, for fuck's sake.

belledame222 said...

AD: well, you know that P!nk is the New World Leader, right?

belledame222 said...

(how was the show?? envy)

KH said...

It’s so easy to condescend to the sexuality of people whose bent you don’t
share – cf. “stag movies seen without lust.” (In the cold light of day, some of us might find, say, Auguste’s sex life faintly ridiculous, but we were too well brought up to dwell on it.) It’s possible that this stuff really is motivated by high abstract principle – patriarchy, harm to innocent third-party women, blah blah blah – & that the recurrent speculation in Pandagon comments about the Floridian pole-dancing ladies’ crassness, inferior regional background, inferior class position, inferior taste in music, etc. – the general hilariousness of their sexuality – it’s possible that all that’s just inessential piling on, ordinary teasing, a distraction from the main purpose of rectifying their erroneous erotic praxis. Or it could be banal contempt for other people’s sexuality, leavened by a nasty does of status anxiety.

belledame222 said...

o jesus christ. i didn't even bother reading through the comments. that's...charming!

R. Mildred said...

dunno, i wonder hpw many of those same people watch, say, Olympic gymnastics without a thought? It's the same pleasure

Dodgy metaphor, female gymnasts are usually 14 year olds who look like 10 year olds - any gaze involved in that is so much much much wronger than anything associated with pole dancing - anything John Derbyshire finds erotic is far wronger than anything twisty finds erotic.

I do however object to those silly pole dnacing classes on the principles that if these women are going to go learn something it should be soemthing that won't lead to crazy menopausal women flipping thier underwear at me on buses and trains as they dance around whatever pole they have handy because some part of their crazy old lady brains has misfired.

It's bad enough having to listen to the bus preachers trying to convert me from my sinful ways, menopausal underwear AND crazy preachers is not something I want to face before I get to work.

I have to draw the line somewhere, That is where I draw it I'm afraid.

(all derogatory comments about old ladies are intentionally facetious and satirical of all the middle aged feminist who keep calling the old feminists "fuddy duddies" even while the old feminists call the young feminists, who haven't said anything yet but have been spoken for by the middle aged feminists, silly and complete failures of feminism due to using that new hip young person jive that makes them so hard to talk to, and stuff, take it that I really hate everyone equally, with no favor or prejudices shown one way or another)

Somewhat on topic, lately I'm convincing myself that the book Jessica should've written

I think the biggest trouble was that the book jessica should have written was one that she got someone else to ghost write for her.

Bloggers are not neccesarily good book writers, there's a whole different approach to writing for blogs and for writing books, and she basically just seems to have written a series of vaguely connected blog posts aimed at a specific demographic - when she's actually had no experience writing To demographics (let alone demographics she seems to be totally disconnected from culturally and socially) because her blogging isn't actually about writing to demographic groups but just about writing - and that has basically fucked her up big time.

belledame222 said...

It did read like an extended blog entry.

crazy menopausal women flipping thier underwear at me on buses and trains as they dance around whatever pole they have handy because some part of their crazy old lady brains has misfired.

This happens a lot, where you live? damn. I've seen young break dancers do their schtick in the middle of a crowded subway car, but not so much with the crazy menopausal flashers.

arielladrake said...

Of course she is! And the show was fabulous. I could've done without the teens singing very loudly and very flatly behind us, but they were excited, so *shrug*. I wasn't sure if she'd do 'Dear Mr President' here in Australia, but damn if that song doesn't make me cry every time, and the footage she used was just heartbreaking.

And damn, but there were some awesome women on that stage. And she was just awesome, and hot, and kickass.

Amber said...

and again, the other thing about poledancing--hello, have some people -seen- some of it? Doesn't have to be nude. and: mighty damn athletic.

That's the part that particularly makes me reach for the claw hammer for the ol' eyes.

The ignorance becomes so blindingly hot. I just have to run for cover at a certain point.

belledame222 said...

I mean, I'd say "just ignore 'em," but christ, it's the sheer volume and smugness of it. and I mean: this is -right after- a huge-ass blowup over "hello! HELLO! there are OTHER PEOPLE out here while you go through this dreary bullshit for the 11,000,000,000th time!" And what do we see from the biggest progressive/feminist blog at this particular juncture? ANOTHER helping of the same ol' bullshit!

Amber said...

Yeah, the timing is rather... choice.

Alex said...

Coming from the straight boyfriend and his possibly-not-entirely-straight best friend, the thing that amazes them most about poledancing IS the athleticism involved. I imagine the horniness factor trumps that, but I'm not in their heads, so I won't say for sure.

Mine's a combination of amazement that people can DO that with their bodies (I can't seem to be muscular/strong even if I try), arousal, and ... 'fun' isn't exactly an emotion, but it's generally the same way I feel when I'm enjoying what I'm watching, like a musical or something. Ya know?

belledame222 said...

yeah, of course.

and I mean: yes, obviously a lot of pole dancing in strip clubs and so on is very much about the bump and grind; but really, you see something like this, with or without an erotic dimension (which there certainly is here), and all you can think of is BUT OMG TEH SEX ITZ NOT ART THEN

um, maybe you're the one with the internalized whatever-you-want-to-call-it?

and I mean: have these people ever seen, y'know, a Bob Fosse routine?