Author: has written 5284 posts for this blog.

Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
Return to: Homepage | Blog Index

138 Responses

  1. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil July 27, 2011 at 11:46 am |

    Hmmm, there are pictures of me on FB wearing a tank suit. Does that mean I’m off the hook?

  2. SgtPiddles
    SgtPiddles July 27, 2011 at 11:56 am |

    Now I’m just terribly tickled by the idea of seeing Bon Iver with that cat draped over his shoulder, getting all hot and bothered, and telling him to tone it down lest he find himself immeasurably ravished.

  3. Triplanetary
    Triplanetary July 27, 2011 at 12:00 pm |

    Great post. I basically thought the exact same thing, ie, objectifying women is something dudes need to correct, not something women are obligated to correct for.

    But I particularly like your distinction between looking at a particular person as sexually attractive, and objectifying an entire group of people. There’s an intersection here with the way non-white women are portrayed as “exotic,” and that’s just another way of erasing their individual identity.

  4. Lori
    Lori July 27, 2011 at 12:07 pm |

    Love the post, Jill, and love the Bon Iver shout-out. But maybe I should insist that Bon Iver not make any more records, because if I don’t stop gushing about him, his music, and just him, my husband might throw my stuff to the curb.

  5. Jadey
    Jadey July 27, 2011 at 12:18 pm |

    I’m going to look up the specific Susan Fiske study, but FWIW I know some of her other dehumanization research (looking at how people don’t respond to drug addicts and homeless people as human, specifically) and the specific brain area (the medial prefrontal cortex) involved in that research has to do with a part of the brain that appears to activate when people think about “people” (and fails to respond to non-people things), not just excitement in general.

    Not that it makes this guy any less of a douchebag because his justification for using it is BS as you said, but it’s actually some useful research.

  6. Ellie
    Ellie July 27, 2011 at 12:25 pm |

    SgtPiddles:
    Now I’m just terribly tickled by the idea of seeing Bon Iver with that cat draped over his shoulder, getting all hot and bothered, and telling him to tone it down lest he find himself immeasurably ravished.

    Look, dude, do you want to be respected for your talent, or not…

  7. Lynnsey
    Lynnsey July 27, 2011 at 12:32 pm |

    Shorter original post: “Okay, sexy ladies…cover it up because NO ONE wants to see that. Er, um…well they do, actually…but they SHOULDN’T because it’s dirty and wrong…or something.”

  8. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. July 27, 2011 at 12:33 pm |

    I prefer the term “hussy” rather than trollop. Please and thank you!

  9. elana
    elana July 27, 2011 at 12:34 pm |

    I would just be careful about the long-skirts-turtlenecks comment. I agree with what you’re saying, but advocating for extreme female body cover like that puts you in the same category as the taliban….

  10. Lynnsey
    Lynnsey July 27, 2011 at 12:35 pm |

    Also, if you’d like your head to explode just a wee bit go ahead and read some of the comments on the original post.

  11. tim f
    tim f July 27, 2011 at 12:35 pm |

    I like that he felt the need to specify spanners and screwdrivers, you know, in case we didn’t know what tools were.

  12. upyernoz
    upyernoz July 27, 2011 at 12:40 pm |

    eli pariser has been publicizing the fact that facebook purposely manipulates what people see in their news feed to try to get them to keep logging into facebook. some of that involves prioritizing photos of female friends to male FB users because FB’s market research shows that males who see more of those photos log onto FB more often.

    it’s pretty insidious. but you can get around it if you manually switch your feed from “top news” to “most recent” (though FB will default back to “top news” periodically to try to regain control over what you see)

  13. Ellie
    Ellie July 27, 2011 at 12:40 pm |

    tim f:
    I like that he felt the need to specify spanners and screwdrivers, you know, in case we didn’t know what tools were.

    You know, I must suffer from some kind of similar ailment as these 20 year old men struggling to tell the difference between women and hardware. I read the article and actually thought the guy was a tool. There may be something to this!

  14. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar July 27, 2011 at 12:42 pm |

    This notion that men can’t think of women as sexual and as people at the same time gets a lot of play. To the extent that some folks (usually social conservatives and some porn abolitionist radfems — the two share a lot of common ground) want to generalize that to all het men, I just want to note myself as a counterexample. I find that my own sexual attraction to a woman in no way makes me view her as something other than a person; and in fact I often find I get more attracted to women when I like what they say or do. I’ve now been married for more than a decade to a woman with a high degree of intellectual capability and professional accomplishment, my partner in life, the parent with whom I raise amazing children, and with whom I regularly do sexual things that would shock the living shit out of the narrow-minded little troll Jill quotes.

  15. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar July 27, 2011 at 12:46 pm |

    I’ll add that I know I’m not the only het man who finds that attraction to a person and sexual attraction are positively correlated. I’ve heard that a lot, and I think that for those of us who are that was to stand up and be heard is a good counterweight to the dolt who insist that het men are all mired in a whore-madonna complex.

  16. Lynnsey
    Lynnsey July 27, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
  17. Burkas for all! « The Hand You Hold That Holds You Down

    […] interested in the comments on this article (the content of which has been thoroughly trounced here, at Feministe). SOme highlights, though: Something I never really wanted to post about, but feel I […]

  18. Jadey
    Jadey July 27, 2011 at 12:56 pm |

    Looking up the original Fiske article – here’s the abstract:

    Agency attribution is a hallmark of mind perception; thus, diminished attributions of agency may disrupt social–cognition processes typically elicited by human targets. The current studies examine the effect of perceivers’ sexist attitudes on associations of agency with, and neural responses to, images of sexualized and clothed men and women. In Study 1, male (but not female) participants with higher hostile sexism scores more quickly associated sexualized women with first-person action verbs (“handle”) and clothed women with third-person action verbs (“handles”) than the inverse, as compared to their less sexist peers. In Study 2, hostile sexism correlated negatively with activation of regions associated with mental state attribution—medial prefrontal cortex, posterior cingulate, temporal poles—but only when viewing sexualized women. Heterosexual men best recognized images of sexualized female bodies (but not faces), as compared with other targets’ bodies; however, neither face nor body recognition was related to hostile sexism, suggesting that the fMRI findings are not explained by more or less attention to sexualized female targets. Diminished mental state attribution is not unique to targets that people prefer to avoid, as in dehumanization of stigmatized people. The current studies demonstrate that appetitive social targets may elicit a similar response depending on perceivers’ attitudes toward them.

    Basically, it’s the guys with *high hostile sexism scores* who think of women in bikinis as objects. Not surprising.

    The full PDF of the article is available online.

  19. Sarah
    Sarah July 27, 2011 at 1:01 pm |

    I actually like the idea of being able to filter which 20 year olds see me as a sex object v. the 20 year olds (or… any age men) who just think I’m pretty with a simple bikini pic. Makes telling douches from men a lot easier, in my opinion…

  20. ozymandias
    ozymandias July 27, 2011 at 1:02 pm |

    Sexist men objectify women, news at eleven!

  21. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil July 27, 2011 at 1:04 pm |

    I would just be careful about the long-skirts-turtlenecks comment. I agree with what you’re saying, but advocating for extreme female body cover like that puts you in the same category as the taliban….

    …huh?

    Surely this can’t be the first time you’ve been compared to the Taliban, Jill?

  22. Lynnsey
    Lynnsey July 27, 2011 at 1:13 pm |

    broken: More proof he is a tool.

    http://marysaggies.blogspot.com/2011/06/two-reasons-same-sex-marriage-is.html

    Ah, yes…the “marriage is to make teh babies” argument. An intellectual titan we have here…

  23. Comrade Kevin
    Comrade Kevin July 27, 2011 at 1:14 pm |

    This is the same attitude that encourages wearing the head scarf and the same attitude that told early Christian woman that they must cover their heads (some groups still do).

    He thinks that the issue is immodesty, which has been an ancient concern. While I agree that we live in a more sexualized time, conceding somehow that certain men can’t handle all the sexual stimulation is still placing the responsibility on women.

    Back in my teens, I was something of a chaste person. I never looked at women who deliberately displayed cleavage. Looking, in my mind, meant a disrespectful attitude. But then a girlfriend of mine told me that it’s alright to look in those circumstances, provided one does it without leering or gawking. One can observe with its own sort of respect.

  24. DeinyaP
    DeinyaP July 27, 2011 at 1:22 pm |

    Great points, esp Jadey re misuse of research. A dude needs to take responsibility for his reaction, physiological (brain, boner, etc.) and otherwise, to the real world around him. Or, they can join the Taliban and not have to worry about the pornographic presence of women–not even the sound of their shoes: http://www.peacewomen.org/news_article.php?id=3764&type=news

    The other day my 10-year-old daughter took my camera and did a photo session featuring me reading my dissertation. Because I was wearing a bikini (100+ deg weather, duh), I decided not to post her pics as I usually do, proudly. But now I’m inspired by this dude to post.

    Another good one, Jill.

  25. SeteSois
    SeteSois July 27, 2011 at 1:25 pm |

    broken: More proof he is a tool.

    http://marysaggies.blogspot.com/2011/06/two-reasons-same-sex-marriage-is.html

    Well, he devotes a whole, rather detailed, entry to the life-threatening issue of whether Harry Potter is evil or not… Kinda works like a barometer of ‘is this person worth listening to’, even if he does eventually and somewhat hesitantly decide that no, it isn’t.

  26. William
    William July 27, 2011 at 1:25 pm |

    I wonder if theres an island where we can give free land to conservative Catholics who think that their terrified sexuality ought to be forced upon others in the name of morality tracts written by (occasionally) celibate agents of Organized Colonialism & Child Rape Incorporated™….

  27. Tara
    Tara July 27, 2011 at 1:30 pm |

    Hahaha. Jill, you have me crackling in laughter. In a good way. I appreciate you. I grew up as a conservative Christian girl, teen, and young adult (partly) and now am actually sort of OK with the idea of wearing a bikini (GASP). In fact, I just came in from a short tanning bought. I hate when people take a little sliver of “science” and implant it into a personal argument, failing to acknowledge that the areas that light up in one’s brain upon testing doesn’t PROVE that men were born to shut off and bone up when viewing a woman’s body, but that MAYBE as a result of conditioning in society over years of media saturation, they have learned to react this way and that, hey, maybe THEY can change and not clump all the women who wear bikinis together into lumps of women from that-movie-I-saw-where-the-women-let-the-men-objectify-them-hard-core, and see that the bikini doesn’t make the woman. All sorts of women wear them, and many of them are not fine with being generalized as a sex object.

    Thanks for helping me to verbalize something I’ve been wanting to! You Rock!

  28. Emolee
    Emolee July 27, 2011 at 1:31 pm |

    Oh, the heckler’s veto. This comes up a lot and is bullshit.

    Of course since (some) men are “struggling to see you as a human and not an object,” it is the women who should alter their (normal) behavior, instead of the men altering their (problematic) behavior.

    This is just like the argument that women shouldn’t be in combat because men cannot handle seeing women wounded or killed; or the argument that kids should not be able to wear gender non-confoming clothing to school because it will cause other kids to beat them up… etc, etc.

  29. Andie
    Andie July 27, 2011 at 1:33 pm |

    Lynnsey:
    In case there was any doubt this guy IS a tool…

    http://marysaggies.blogspot.com/2011/07/report-says-all-women-should-have-free.html

    I stopped reading at all the -the-pill-is-an-abortifacient- bullshit.

    Okay I lied. I read the whole thing. I started getting pissed off at the the-pill-is-an-abortifacient bullshit.

  30. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen July 27, 2011 at 2:05 pm |

    My respect for this fool evaporated when I read that too. (I even read Google’s cached copy of that link to avoid raising his blog’s view count.) It makes me wonder how he managed to befriend any college coeds with the audacity to look sexy (gasp!) without regard for men who want to penetrate them like screwdrivers.

  31. Spay Your Sea Kitten
    Spay Your Sea Kitten July 27, 2011 at 2:07 pm |

    I would love to see the inevitable Facebook comments shredding his post.

  32. DP
    DP July 27, 2011 at 2:25 pm |

    The irony of a devout conservative Catholic lecturing women on what they should wear to prevent men from acting like animals is so thick you can cut it with a knife.

    I want to cover his blog in photoshopped pictures of altar boys with HARLOT and TEMPTRESS macro’d across them.

    Although he’d probably just blame that on the permissiveness of the ’60s and teh evil gayz.

  33. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen July 27, 2011 at 2:28 pm |

    Another Catholic blogger had this to say on this guy’s blog post: “…wearing bikinis is not a good idea anywhere any time.” Evidently that goes double for old women, because “[o]lder women should be aware of the decaying state of their bodies and spare the spare tire to the rest.” Hey, at least they don’t filter their misogynist disgust for women’s bodies on the basis of age.

  34. AtheistChick
    AtheistChick July 27, 2011 at 2:34 pm |

    I read the article in the link, and he says that being objectified is not the woman’s problem; her problem is “immodesty.” Fuck.

  35. The Real Peterman
    The Real Peterman July 27, 2011 at 2:35 pm |

    “when straight men looked at pictures of women in bikinis, areas of the brain that normally light up in anticipation of using tools were activated.”

    Haha, unintended double entendre :)

  36. Tori
    Tori July 27, 2011 at 2:37 pm |

    NGL — I read this, then put on a bikini to go check the mail.

  37. rhi
    rhi July 27, 2011 at 2:43 pm |

    Duh, we’re ladies- we don’t know anything about tools OR science!

    tim f:
    I like that he felt the need to specify spanners and screwdrivers, you know, in case we didn’t know what tools were.

  38. Athenia
    Athenia July 27, 2011 at 2:55 pm |

    The last time I checked, pornography and bikinis aren’t the same thing.

  39. Caperton
    Caperton July 27, 2011 at 3:10 pm | *

    Y’all, you don’t understand how this stuff presents a stumbling block to good Christian boys who are just trying to have Godly thoughts. Bikini swimsuits are immodest, shirts with cap sleeves are immodest, wearing a purse slung across your chest is ungodly, and stretching your back is well-nigh damnable. Won’t you think of the boys?!

  40. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen July 27, 2011 at 3:14 pm |

    Pornography constitutes pornography only if it’s arousing. (Maybe Greek statues of nude women used to be pornography, but nowadays nobody cares except John Ashcroft.) I really hope most folks who see a bikini-clad woman will think, “Hey, she’s beautiful,” rather than, “Oh God, I’ve got to get my todger into her” (or the alternative: “Gross, she needs to put the muffin top away”). That the blogger can’t see a woman in a bikini without thinking of her as an object to be penetrated… well, that speaks volumes about his respect for women, and that’s without all the other anti-choice nonsense on his blog.

  41. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub July 27, 2011 at 3:19 pm |

    Not to toot my own horn, but I’ve already devised a solution for these d00ds.

  42. Andie
    Andie July 27, 2011 at 3:20 pm |

    Echo Zen:
    I really hope most folks who see a bikini-clad woman will think, “Hey, she’s beautiful,” rather than, “Oh God, I’ve got to get my todger into her” (or the alternative: “Gross, she needs to put the muffin top away”).

    Or even “Hey, that’s a cute bathing suit” ;-)

  43. Andie
    Andie July 27, 2011 at 3:23 pm |

    Sheelzebub:
    Not to toot my own horn, but I’ve already devised a solution for these d00ds.

    I snarfed my coffee at “Non-human boobie carriers”

  44. Lynnsey
    Lynnsey July 27, 2011 at 3:24 pm |

    http://www.therebelution.com/modestysurvey/browse

    This has to be a joke, right? Please? Someone tell me that this is a joke. Girls doing *anything* is sexy and makes boys think bad thoughts and therefore girls should stop? WTF?

  45. Spay Your Sea Kitten
    Spay Your Sea Kitten July 27, 2011 at 3:39 pm |

    I remember a few years ago there was a similar blog post imploring women not to be so sexah circulating on feminist sites, only that particular guy called it “stumbling blocks” or something. The proposed solution was a blindfold.

  46. Spay Your Sea Kitten
    Spay Your Sea Kitten July 27, 2011 at 3:50 pm |

    Oh that’s right- it wasn’t a blog post by a like-minded guy, it was a fucking survey of “over 1,600″ like-minded guys.

  47. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen July 27, 2011 at 3:53 pm |

    The Modesty Survey is certainly not a joke. Sociological Images reported on it back in 2007 — one of the the highlights from the results was the discovery that 48 percent of Christian guys believe “a purse with a strap across the chest draws too much attention to the bust.” Obviously no corresponding study was ever undertaken on what Christian girls find “immodest” about men’s clothing.

  48. igglanova
    igglanova July 27, 2011 at 4:20 pm |

    This guy will not get laid at any point in his entire life.

  49. DP
    DP July 27, 2011 at 4:45 pm |

    igglanova:
    This guy will not get laid at any point in his entire life.

    Unfortunately, given the way he talks on the blog, he may view that as a success.

  50. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar July 27, 2011 at 4:46 pm |

    “This guy will not get laid at any point in his entire life.”

    Oh, sure he will. His desires will boil over in some shame-filled compulsive and self- and other-destructive way at some point. And he’ll loathe himself and lapse, in cycles, until he either rejects ideologies that are inconsistent with his needs, or dies.

  51. Joanne23
    Joanne23 July 27, 2011 at 5:15 pm |

    I will have to disagree with most of you. You have made an image of what you think the author is, as a person, and then attacked it with personal insults. Few have actually engaged this guy’s article. I talked to a friend if I was seeing your comments correctly and she said that many of you either refuse to see what he is writing or can’t see it for what it is. I have to agree. Are you just assuming he is wrong because he is Catholic or a man?

  52. Miguel Bloomfontosis
    Miguel Bloomfontosis July 27, 2011 at 5:55 pm |

    Here’s a comment by high school teacher “Pam” on the Aggie Catholics Facebook post:

    “I urge the ladies to practice modesty and I share with them that some of their male classmates have actually come to me in private and have asked me to say something about how difficult the girls make it for young men who are striving for purity.”

    Problem is, “purity” is really “repression of healthy sexual feelings.” If society would just let 15 year old boys masturbate in peace, without telling them it’s wrong to be turned on by girls’ bodies, then they probably wouldn’t feel that girls are making it “difficult” for them.
    And, if young bikini clad women could see themselves through the eyes of 20 year old men *who haven’t been twisted by fundamentalist religious (and occasionally, sorry to say, misguided radfem) propaganda* then I don’t think they’d hesitate to post bikini pics.

  53. miga
    miga July 27, 2011 at 6:00 pm |

    James Franco shaving pits= Teh Secks

  54. Ismone
    Ismone July 27, 2011 at 6:57 pm |

    Joanne23,

    It is not okay to blame women for the fact that men struggle with sexual temptation. It is particularly not okay because the men who are struggling do so not because of the women’s conduct, but because they themselves are sexist. We are all responsible for dealing with our own feelings and actions. No one has the right to depersonalize someone, just because they want them sexually. In fact, that is abhorrent.

    This writer is blaming women for men’s sexual responses to them. I cannot control who is and isn’t turned on by me. That is all on them.

  55. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable July 27, 2011 at 7:09 pm |

    lol @ the Taliban

  56. Lasciel
    Lasciel July 27, 2011 at 7:32 pm |

    Joanne23: ee. Are you just assuming he is wrong because he is Catholic or a man?

    I’m not assuming anything. He *IS* wrong, because the men’s thoughts are their own responsibility. Not women’s.

    Plus, his advice is just plain. If anything, young men need to see MORE women in bikinis, so they can build up their tolerance 8) Seriously though, temptation is supposed to be faced head-on and overcome, that’s what gives you strength. Not that “if your right hand masturbates, cut it off” crap.

    “Let’s cover up all women so we don’t have to face our own lust/emotions” how healthy or moral is that???

  57. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen July 27, 2011 at 7:39 pm |

    Muslims should stop being so Muslim in public. Their public displays of Muslim-ness are causing Islamophobes to commit arson against mosques and to assault Muslim Americans. Muslims are the ones responsible for violence committed against themselves, and for inciting Islamophobic violence! (I’m channeling Pamela Geller here.) Seriously, I can understand that the writer might not get out enough to realise plenty of men see bikini-clad women (and even talk to them!) without thinking of them as objects instead of people. But the anti-choice nonsense on his blog demonstrates that his hatred of female sexuality runs far deeper than his pretense of concern over objectifying women.

  58. Dank
    Dank July 27, 2011 at 7:48 pm |

    No one should moderate what they post on Facebook because it might be ‘tempt men into sin.’ But (and I’m prepared to get seriously flamed for this) you should be aware that if you post sexy pictures of yourself, there is a good chance someone will be masturbating to them. This bothers some people more than others, and it’s probably true regardless of your gender. I’m not saying that’s a reason to censor your page, just something to be aware of. Ugg, now I’m really going to get it.

  59. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable July 27, 2011 at 7:54 pm |

    Echo Zen, I have to disagree with you. You have created an image of Islamophobes without actually engaging their position. I totally have a friend who agrees with me, and thinks you’re either refusing to see what Islamophobes are spouting or just can’t see it for what it is. I have to agree. Are you just disagreeing because they are phobic and you have a phobephobia?

    Love,
    PA
    (Totally NOT phobephobic)

  60. Florence
    Florence July 27, 2011 at 8:10 pm |

    This was trending earlier today as “What’s Hot in Google Reader,” which means enough people “liked” this to make it popular. Which is gross.

  61. Joanne23
    Joanne23 July 27, 2011 at 8:19 pm |

    Ismone – I don’t see that the writer is blaming women. In fact, he states that men are to blame if they lust after women. Funny, because almost all the comments so far on this post here have been universally blasting the writer, but it seems very few actually read and thought about what he wrote. Rather, it seems most see “catholic” and a man and dismiss his argument.

    This is why a lot of feminist thought isn’t getting very far today. I know you won’t like this, but I have to agree with that guy. As a woman, I believe women can’t go around with their breasts hanging out all over the internet and them scream they are being victimized. This is a part of personal responsibility as well.

    But, it is easier to just dismiss him for being catholic, male, repressed, sexist, etc. and to run with the group than actually think independently.

  62. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh July 27, 2011 at 8:21 pm |

    Florence:
    This was trending earlier today as “What’s Hot in Google Reader,” which means enough people “liked” this to make it popular.Which is gross.

    This idea that women are to blame for men’s bad behavior (or perceived bad behavior) has appeal that crosses the Catholic/Protestant divide (the Rebelution website is evangelical, for instance, and spouts a lot of the exact same crap), so sadly I’m not surprised. Disgusted, but not surprised.

  63. Caperton
    Caperton July 27, 2011 at 8:28 pm | *

    @Joanne23 – If he’s putting the onus on women to change their behavior so as to not tempt men to objectify them, how is that not blaming them? Doesn’t the post boil down to “men wouldn’t objectify you if you’d stop posting bikini pictures”? Adding a note reminding men that objectifying women is wrong doesn’t undo the rest of the post.

  64. Jadey
    Jadey July 27, 2011 at 8:55 pm |

    Echo Zen:
    Muslims should stop being so Muslim in public. Their public displays of Muslim-ness are causing Islamophobes to commit arson against mosques and to assault Muslim Americans. Muslims are the ones responsible for violence committed against themselves, and for inciting Islamophobic violence! (I’m channeling Pamela Geller here.)

    If only I hadn’t seen that exact argument made in full sincerity all over for the past week. :( :( :(

  65. Lasciel
    Lasciel July 27, 2011 at 9:03 pm |

    Joanne23:
    But, it is easier to just dismiss him for being catholic, male, repressed, sexist, etc. and to run with the group than actually think independently.

    You keep saying all these buzzy things with nothing to back them up. I’m not dismissing him because he’s a Catholic (or a male) or god forbid “repressed” (we should respect people’s celibacy or other belief’s on sex, and I get “you’re just repressed” lobbed at me enough because of my orientation). The man’s beliefs are problematic in themselves. It wouldn’t matter if he was an atheist sex-positive lady… everyone is responsible only for their own thoughts and behavior. You cannot control other people. You cannot prevent everyone else’s behavior. You may dress modestly to avoid filling some guy up with lust– and then come across someone who has a sexual kink for very covering clothing (yep, there’s a fetish out there for everything…) or becomes obsessed with you because you wear glasses, or have a big butt, or are brunette, and that’s what does it for them. Acting like women are responsible for how men react to them is ridiculous.

    He’s a Christian. I’m a Christian. And I respect his desire to avoid looking at pictures that may incite lust. But there’s a very simple solution for that-DISABLE IMAGES. It’s not hard-I have them disabled right now, and I have them disabled *all the time*. If you’re looking for a specific image it’s easy enough to turn them back on temporarily. That is a MUCH more reasonable solution, I think, than asking every woman to change their photo pics and clothing choices.

    His acting like his post is for women’s sake is honestly hilarious though. If someone had a problem with the idea that some guy might masturbate to our pictures… THEY WOULDN’T POST ANY AT ALL. You think a girl has to be semi-naked or in a bikini for a guy to get off to her picture? FFFFF. If put any pic of yourself on the net, there’s a chance someone will fap to it. Being the object of someone’s lust and sexual gratification is not a problem. What is a problem is when men cannot feel lust for a woman unless they see her as less than an equal human being. Preventing men from feeling lust does not solve that problem at all. It simply avoids the problem.

    Now I’m going to stop tl;dring since I suspect you just want to absolve this guy of any criticism with the excuse that gee, we’re all just picking on the poor Christian dude. You have said very little other than that we are all wrong and that this dude’s article and viewpoint is perfect and flawless. Why don’t you tell us all why you agree with the author on all these points? I am honestly curious. Why, for instance, do you think that woman shouldn’t go around on the internet with their breasts hanging out? As a female-bodied person, I strongly disagree 8)

  66. Miguel Bloomfontosis
    Miguel Bloomfontosis July 27, 2011 at 9:10 pm |

    Joanne: As I read it, the writer conflates “lusting after” a woman with “using” a woman, and that’s a major error in his thinking. I “lust after” women all the time but (although I’m human and my life has not been without episodes of buffoonery) I don’t “use” women and I sure as hell don’t “victimize” women.
    What you seem to be saying is that men are going to have some irresistible impulse to go out and “victimize women” if they see breasts on the internet, and as a man I can tell you that’s simply not true. Now, it *is* true that women dressed in a certain manner can stimulate men’s libidos. But that’s not really a problem, unless you subject teenage boys to a bunch of backwards ideas about “purity” and “self-abuse.” Young men with healthy ideas about sexuality (e.g. “it’s okay to masturbate”) aren’t going to get bent out of shape about being “tempted” by young women in bikinis.

  67. preying mantis
    preying mantis July 27, 2011 at 9:21 pm |

    “But (and I’m prepared to get seriously flamed for this) you should be aware that if you post sexy pictures of yourself, there is a good chance someone will be masturbating to them.”

    Surely not on the internet?!

    In all seriousness, though, the pictures don’t have to be sexy. The pictures don’t have to be of you. You could put up pictures of your breakfast, if you make it completely public, there’s probably somebody, somewhere, fapping away to it. Which is probably creepier than the thought of somebody maybe having gotten off to sexy pics, but c’est l’internet.

  68. Joanne23
    Joanne23 July 27, 2011 at 9:35 pm |

    Lasciel – go read the comments above. Most are just attacks on the guy.

    Why do I agree with (some) of what he writes? Because I think his argument has some merit. You keep saying we are each responsible for our behavior, yet fail to allow for the fact that dressing a certain way may indeed turn a guy on. Of course a perv can get turned on by anything or nothing, but arguing exceptions isn’t an argument.

    Also, he says he works with guys that “struggle with porn”. I believe in sex addiction and have seen the devastation it can bring to relationships first-hand. So, I don’t see all the porn, lust, and pictures as just harmless fun, because too many relationships are being destroyed by the “harmless” stuff.

    BTW – I am not saying the guy is above criticism, but why do so many of these comments have to attack him and not his argument? Is there some kind of empowerment in belittling others? I think this is the exact opposite of what feminism is really all about. I also think it is non-feminist to use our female bodies as some kind of bargaining chips for power. We women shouldn’t have to sink to the levels of the men who have pushed us down for so long. It is better to rise above rather than jump into the muck.

    I don’t see my female sexuality as a mere commodity to be traded. I think it is a wonderful part of who I am as a woman and an expression of me. To dress in a way that shows too much is to allow someone to use my femininity for their own selfish reasons. This isn’t exactly what I call empowerment of women. So, I don’t see his call for modest dress as a call to wear a burka but a call to stand up for women – me included.

    I understand others might disagree, but the vitriol is quite unnerving by some of the posters and the failure to engage a coherent argument does not push women forward.

    My thoughts.

  69. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen July 27, 2011 at 9:36 pm |

    If women stopped going around with their breasts hanging out — which I suppose would include the sexy cocktail dresses my mates wear to pro-choice fundraisers — would women be victimised less? (I’ll leave out my usual jokes about men in swim briefs getting a free pass on modesty.) Okay, let’s assume women should take some responsibility for men’s thoughts/actions. What if I point out that, ever since women’s lib began preaching dirty liberal ideas like respecting women, the U.S. rape rate has dropped “more than 85 percent since the 1970s” (source: Justice Dept)? Okay, let’s assume we live in a world where women’s lib never happened. What if I point to nonpartisan studies indicating rapists PREFER objectifying and targeting women who dress modestly, and/or have submissive feminine personalities (source: “Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy,” circa 2007)? Should we then encourage women to wear sexy clothes and adopt assertive personalities? I somehow doubt the misogynists who “oppose objectifying women” would favour any solution that involves teaching men to respect women for who they are, instead of judging them for what they wear or do between their legs.

  70. Hope
    Hope July 27, 2011 at 10:28 pm |

    I would have to say that I completely agree with Joanne23, and couldn’t have said it better myself. (As a side note, everyone should realize that he is happily married with five beautiful children and not some repressed, anti-sex pervert.)

    Joanne23:
    Lasciel – go read the comments above. Most are just attacks on the guy.

    Why do I agree with (some) of what he writes? Because I think his argument has some merit. You keep saying we are each responsible for our behavior, yet fail to allow for the fact that dressing a certain way may indeed turn a guy on. Of course a perv can get turned on by anything or nothing, but arguing exceptions isn’t an argument.

    Also, he says he works with guys that “struggle with porn”. I believe in sex addiction and have seen the devastation it can bring to relationships first-hand. So, I don’t see all the porn, lust, and pictures as just harmless fun, because too many relationships are being destroyed by the “harmless” stuff.

    BTW – I am not saying the guy is above criticism, but why do so many of these comments have to attack him and not his argument? Is there some kind of empowerment in belittling others? I think this is the exact opposite of what feminism is really all about. I also think it is non-feminist to use our female bodies as some kind of bargaining chips for power. We women shouldn’t have to sink to the levels of the men who have pushed us down for so long. It is better to rise above rather than jump into the muck.

    I don’t see my female sexuality as a mere commodity to be traded. I think it is a wonderful part of who I am as a woman and an expression of me. To dress in a way that shows too much is to allow someone to use my femininity for their own selfish reasons. This isn’t exactly what I call empowerment of women. So, I don’t see his call for modest dress as a call to wear a burka but a call to stand up for women – me included.

    I understand others might disagree, but the vitriol is quite unnerving by some of the posters and the failure to engage a coherent argument does not push women forward.

    My thoughts.

  71. Girl from Ontario
    Girl from Ontario July 27, 2011 at 10:36 pm |

    Joanne23, here’s the thing. I recognize that when I choose to get dressed up or expose certain parts of my body, I may be turning a guy on. Big fucking deal. What else do want me to say? Everyone gets turned on by everything, not just dudes. And we all need to behave respectfully and keep it to ourselves. I don’t see how they have some sort of special cross to bear.

    Also, if someone struggles with a porn addiction, they have my utmost sympathy. But that is their journey, their struggle. It’s up to them to take the steps they need to get better. If they can’t look at harmless, fun bikini pics on facebook without being triggered, again, they have my utmost sympathy. But they need to disable those pics to prevent themselves from being triggered. It’s not up to girls who want to have fun taking cute pics of themselves to peer into your mind, know your problems, and then alter their behaviour at your convenience.

    So if I choose to dress in a way that doesn’t cover up most of my body, I’m commodifying my sexuality and devaluing my femininity? Oh hell to the no. My sexuality and femininity are mine to do whatever I damn well please with. I don’t cheapen either of them by dressing sexy, or wearing a bikini, or wearing a short dress because it’s too damn hot outside. I don’t have to dress a certain way to respect myself, and I shouldn’t have to dress a certain way to get at least the most basic respect from others.

    Also, annoying tone arguments and finger wagging are annoying. :/

  72. evil fizz
    evil fizz July 27, 2011 at 10:59 pm | *

    As a side note, everyone should realize that he is happily married with five beautiful children and not some repressed, anti-sex pervert.

    You’re not familiar with David Vitter, are you?

    To dress in a way that shows too much is to allow someone to use my femininity for their own selfish reasons.

    As opposed to me using my body for my own purposes regardless of what other jackasses might be doing?

  73. Mr. Kristen J.
    Mr. Kristen J. July 27, 2011 at 11:13 pm |

    Jill: Ham & cheese sandwiches turn some guys on.

    Mmmm. Cornbeef on rye. *drool*

  74. Geoff
    Geoff July 28, 2011 at 12:11 am |

    jill, you’re commenting on a source that is at least a tertiary one, a commentary on a news story about a scientific study done on men. You were off to a bad start from there. You selectively ignored from the source article he drew from:

    “Scans of some of the men found that a part of the brain associated with empathy for other people’s emotions and wishes shut down after looking at the pictures.

    The difference between a woman and a power tool? I would have assumed you knew that already. You can’t and shouldn’t empathize with a power tool. You should empathize with a woman. So the study found that they man isn’t just “excited” in some measurable way, but inured to empathy, perhaps naturally, by this stimulus. But let’s examine this psychologist! Surely she’s some right-wing nut job…

    Susan Fiske, a psychologist at Princeton University in New Jersey, said the changes in brain activity suggest sexy images can shift the way men perceive women, turning them from people to interact with, to objects to act upon.”

    So her name is Susan Fiske and she’s from a quite reputable University. Perhaps it would be worth it to, I don’t know, run a search on her?:

    Most recently, she won a the 2010 APA Distinguished Scientific Contributions Award, the 2010 Society for Personality and Social Psychology Donald T. Campbell Award, a 2009 Guggenheim Fellowship, and the 2009 William James Fellow Award from the Association for Psychological Science. Previously, she won the American Psychological Association’s Early Career Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest for anti-discrimination testimony and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues’ Allport Intergroup Relations Award for ambivalent sexism theory (with Glick), as well as Harvard’s Graduate Centennial Medal.

    Huh. Anti-discrimination expert witness? So beyond “just” being a woman, she’s concerned with equality for women? See, that’s how you begin to write an article.

    If you really have an issue with the methodology of the study, can I suggest reading the actual study instead of filtering it through two other writers first and ignoring half of what they said in order to turn out one more post about how men just want to put you in a burka?

  75. On Sexual Objectification | No, Seriously, What About Teh Menz?

    […] Via Feministe, we have a really startling example of misandry from some gentleman at Aggie Catholics: Something I never really wanted to post about, but feel I have to, because I don’t think that young women quite understand the problem. […]

  76. Jenae
    Jenae July 28, 2011 at 1:19 am |

    Joanne23:
    Lasciel – go read the comments above. Most are just attacks on the guy.

    Why do I agree with (some) of what he writes? Because I think his argument has some merit. You keep saying we are each responsible for our behavior, yet fail to allow for the fact that dressing a certain way may indeed turn a guy on. Of course a perv can get turned on by anything or nothing, but arguing exceptions isn’t an argument.

    Of course some guys might get turned on by how a woman dresses. What we are saying is that THE WOMAN ISN’T RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS RESPONSE. HE IS.

    Also, he says he works with guys that “struggle with porn”. I believe in sex addiction and have seen the devastation it can bring to relationships first-hand. So, I don’t see all the porn, lust, and pictures as just harmless fun, because too many relationships are being destroyed by the “harmless” stuff.

    Again, it’s not every woman’s responsibility to keep a man from “falling” anymore than it is every person’s responsibility not to drink because alcoholics exist. These men have to deal with their addiction themselves and not put the blame or responsibility on others for their actions.

    BTW – I am not saying the guy is above criticism, but why do so many of these comments have to attack him and not his argument? Is there some kind of empowerment in belittling others?

    Awesome, a tone argument. *yawn*

    I think this is the exact opposite of what feminism is really all about. I also think it is non-feminist to use our female bodies as some kind of bargaining chips for power. We women shouldn’t have to sink to the levels of the men who have pushed us down for so long. It is better to rise above rather than jump into the muck.

    I don’t see my female sexuality as a mere commodity to be traded. I think it is a wonderful part of who I am as a woman and an expression of me. To dress in a way that shows too much is to allow someone to use my femininity for their own selfish reasons. This isn’t exactly what I call empowerment of women. So, I don’t see his call for modest dress as a call to wear a burka but a call to stand up for women – me included.

    You realize that in the above you said that you don’t believe that your sexuality is a “commodity” and then expressed a fear that men will “use” your sexuality…exactly as if it were an object that could be “used.” Do you see the problem with that? You have basically just admitted that your sexuality is an object that can be used. You’ve made it a commodity, by your own admission.

    I understand others might disagree, but the vitriol is quite unnerving by some of the posters and the failure to engage a coherent argument does not push women forward.

    My thoughts.

    Here’s the problem with the OP’s post: It is not a (young or otherwise) woman’s responsibility to look at her body through the eyes of a man and then act accordingly. In fact, the mere suggestion that she should is extremely sexist because it implies that ideating her body in her own mind is somehow wrong and it also implies that she is somehow responsible for how men react to her body. He further compounds his error by suggesting that men who see female flesh *gasp* will begin to see women as objects. This is both factually untrue (he misrepresents the research) and insulting to both genders. Men who see woman as objects will continue to do so regardless of how they dress (which is why men who rape rape regardless of what the woman is wearing.)

    I grew up fundamentalist Christian. What the author is saying is the same tired shit I grew up with–the same women-shaming, body-shaming, healthy sexuality-shaming shit. It’s wrong. It’s harmful. It’s misogynistic. And the OP deserves the derision he’s received here.

  77. Jenae
    Jenae July 28, 2011 at 1:23 am |

    Geoff:
    jill, you’re commenting on a source that is at least a tertiary one, a commentary on a news story about a scientific study done on men. You were off to a bad start from there.

    Reading comp fail. Jill isn’t criticizing the study (in fact, as others have pointed out, the OP misuses the study). She is, in fact, criticizing Marcel’s post.

  78. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen July 28, 2011 at 2:48 am |

    Yep, Jill points out in her original post that the writer — in classic Focus-on-the-Family fashion — misrepresents Fiske’s study in order to leap to the conclusion that bikinis cause men to objectify women. That’s nonsense — if revealing clothing correlated with objectification, then we’d have seen more rapes and harassment in the last 4 decades as women’s lib made it more acceptable for women to wear what they actually wanted. Instead, all evidence indicates the opposite has occurred — despite all the sexy clothing people wear nowadays, more and more generations have been taught to respect all genders, which has correlated with a 4-decade drop in rape rates. (Interestingly this trend didn’t reverse itself till midway through the Bush II administration.)

    Pardon the broken record, but perverts who objectify women because their clothes are too sexy are the EXCEPTION. All the studies I’ve seen indicate that modest dress and submissive personalities correlate with HIGHER rates of rape and objectification. (My own experiences with misogynist date rapists bear me out. To quote one bloke from university: “I want to **** an innocent girl.”) If, as the writer contends, clothing influences men’s thoughts and actions, then he should be teaching men not to judge books by their covers, instead of outsourcing partial responsibility to women and then telling them to wear things that put them at greater risk. This isn’t about protecting women — it’s about expecting them to conform to his offensive notions of female sexuality.

  79. karak
    karak July 28, 2011 at 3:16 am |

    Dear Facebook Guy:

    If you happen to view me as an object, and indeed, approach me as an object to be used, you may find an object (such as a bat, table, chair, can of mace, or fist) applied to your face or upside your head.

    Sincerely,
    Woman Who is Writing This In Her Panties

  80. Kx
    Kx July 28, 2011 at 3:24 am |

    So Joanne, lets say I’m a store manager, and I stock alcohol on my shelves. One day, an alcoholic walks in, sees my booze display and falls off the wagon. Do you think this is my fault? I should stop stocking or displaying alcohol?

    If someone with a pornography addiction happens to be browsing facebook and comes across a picture of me and my friends having fun at the beach, and has bad thoughts* or whatever about us, that’s our fault for posting the pictures? Or wearing swimsuits in the first place?

    This attitude that sexual feelings are all dirty and bad and wrong is part of what fosters this hostility towards women. If people are taught from a young age that sexuality, particularly female sexuality, is a dirty, icky, sinful thing, then they are going to view any person, particularly any woman that they perceive to be sexual as also being dirty and sinful. From there it’s not a huge leap to less than human.

    * I say bad thoughts, to be honest, unless he’s thinking “wow, I’d really like to chop those girls up”, in which case he’s gone beyond the point at which not looking at sexy pictures could help him, I couldn’t care less what he thinks about me.

    One more point: I AM NOT HERE FOR YOU. If I wear something revealing, it is because I want to. My body is not yours to police. If looking at me causes you to struggle to maintain your ‘purity’, go elsewhere. I refuse to take responsibility for somebody else’s thoughts.

  81. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable July 28, 2011 at 7:02 am |

    Joanne23: Is there some kind of empowerment in belittling others?

    Joanne23: But, it is easier to just dismiss him for being catholic, male, repressed, sexist, etc. and to run with the group than actually think independently.

    lulz

  82. PeggyLuWho
    PeggyLuWho July 28, 2011 at 8:12 am |

    tim f:
    I like that he felt the need to specify spanners and screwdrivers, you know, in case we didn’t know what tools were.

    He’s a tool.

  83. PeggyLuWho
    PeggyLuWho July 28, 2011 at 8:35 am |

    My Bad!

    Seriously, ‘objectify’ is a verb. If objectification is a problem, then the problem lies with the person doing the action. Not the noun being acted upon.

    Maybe all us women just need to stop being nouns.

  84. sangetencre
    sangetencre July 28, 2011 at 8:43 am |

    In fact, he states that men are to blame if they lust after women.

    And then turns right around and says: “a woman cannot be left off the hook for dressing in a way that invites lustful thoughts because of immodest clothing.”

    Which boils down to: Men wouldn’t have these lustful thoughts/have such a problem with these lustful thoughts if you/women would stop dressing so immodestly.

    Which boils down to: Victim Blaming.

    You keep saying we are each responsible for our behavior, yet fail to allow for the fact that dressing a certain way may indeed turn a guy on.

    A man being turned on by me is not “my responsibility.” Anymore than my being turned on by a man is “his responsibility.”

    And I don’t go around telling men they must sport a certain style of clothing in order to avoid *my* being turned on.

    My attraction? Is mine to deal with.

    And it doesn’t prevent me being a decent human being to men (or people) I’m attracted to.

    Also, he says he works with guys that “struggle with porn”.

    Yes, and much like other addicts, those guys are going to have to learn to navigate through day-to-day life which will be filled with temptation.

  85. Veronika
    Veronika July 28, 2011 at 8:45 am |

    So, besides the article, did anyone read the comments to it? I will never understand where these people get off…

  86. preying mantis
    preying mantis July 28, 2011 at 8:51 am |

    “Yes, and much like other addicts, those guys are going to have to learn to navigate through day-to-day life which will be filled with temptation.”

    And seriously, if a guy who has a “porn addiction” can’t look at a sexually inexplicit picture of what is presumably a woman he knows without mentally going “Porn! Pornpornpornpornporn!”, his problems might extend beyond just having an issue with porn.

  87. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil July 28, 2011 at 8:58 am |

    And I don’t go around telling men they must sport a certain style of clothing in order to avoid *my* being turned on.

    I’d prefer it if men wore less clothing in general. Can we work on that?

  88. preying mantis
    preying mantis July 28, 2011 at 9:06 am |

    Also:

    “I will never understand where these people get off…”

    *snicker* (Sorry, it seems like I’m twelve today.)

  89. William
    William July 28, 2011 at 9:23 am |

    Lasciel – go read the comments above. Most are just attacks on the guy.

    I attacked him rather than engage. Why? Because it was funnier that way. The guy is an old, boring, variety of wrong which has been answered to death and really isn’t worth the time of careful consideration anymore. Its like people who argue against evolution or for eugenics, sure, you could engage them but its really not worth your time. Besides, if you point and laugh you might be able to marginalize their vile little opinions on the private lives of others.

    Because I think his argument has some merit. You keep saying we are each responsible for our behavior, yet fail to allow for the fact that dressing a certain way may indeed turn a guy on

    This is the same whiney, privilege, “what about the community” garbage that is always used to police the behaviors of marginalized people. No one is saying the cowering Papist isn’t allowed to be turned on, just that if he’s turned on it’s his responsibility to be a fucking adult and control his urges. If seeing someone in a bikini is so disturbing for him he’s more than welcome to disconnect himself from the internet, pursue chemical castration, take a vow of celibacy, whatever. Its not anyone else’s responsibility to help him on his path, though.

    Also, he says he works with guys that “struggle with porn”.

    So have I, both as a clinician and as a lay person. In virtually every case “struggle with porn” is code for “I don’t want to be a sexual being because god tells me its dirty and I’ll go to hell if I get a boner but I just can’t stop masturbating, its totally the porn’s fault!” “Struggle with porn” is a euphemism like when my aunt says “those people.”

    So, I don’t see all the porn, lust, and pictures as just harmless fun, because too many relationships are being destroyed by the “harmless” stuff.

    To be clear, what you’re arguing is that Woman A, who has no romantic or sexual interest in Man B, ought to limit her behavior on the off chance that Man B finds her attractive and cannot respect his marriage vows. Yeah, thats a (barely) new coat of paint on the same tired old “homewrecker!” argument. It was boring 40 years ago, its still boring today. It is not the responsibility of other women to keep your man on the straight and narrow.

    BTW – I am not saying the guy is above criticism, but why do so many of these comments have to attack him and not his argument?

    Because his argument exists in the context of a continuous, aggressive, often violent assault on the rights and agency of women. It also implicitly paints men as animals. Its pretty much insulting to everyone involved. I don’t see the point in engaging with someone like that. He doesn’t even really have an argument beyond “I can’t control my sexuality and it scares the hell out of me so all you whores needs to stop being so whorish or I just don’t know what I’ll do!”

    Is there some kind of empowerment in belittling others?

    Yes. When you mock the power and privilege of those who hold power and privilege they lose some measure of their power and privilege.

    I think this is the exact opposite of what feminism is really all about. I also think it is non-feminist to use our female bodies as some kind of bargaining chips for power.

    Holy scarecrows and fake Scotsmen, Batman!

    We women shouldn’t have to sink to the levels of the men who have pushed us down for so long. It is better to rise above rather than jump into the muck.

    Waitaminute…weren’t you just saying we shouldn’t seek empowerment through belittling people? Now you’re talking about sinking and jumping into the muck and…honestly your argument is getting a little muddy.

    I don’t see my female sexuality as a mere commodity to be traded.

    Show me who has argued otherwise. We’re not talking about mailorder brides. We’re talking about women posting pictures of themselves out with their friends having fun wearing clothes that they chose to wear. The only people seeing commodity are the people who think any sight of skin suggests business. And thats fucking gross, you know? Like, rape culture gross.

    So, I don’t see his call for modest dress as a call to wear a burka but a call to stand up for women

    Ahh, yes, the old “taking on the values and orders of the most oppressive current powers is the only way to truly rebel against a blasphemous world.” Because Jesus is cool and stuff, or something. I dunno, I never got into Jars of Clay.

    I understand others might disagree, but the vitriol is quite unnerving by some of the posters and the failure to engage a coherent argument does not push women forward.

    Stopping every time some asshole, who is clearly speaking from a place of deep oppression and misogyny, makes a comment thats 101 level doesn’t serve to do anything but hold people exactly where they are. He’s still shouting “ITS ALL ABOUT ME AND MY SIN-STICK!!!!!!” while the rest of the world doesn’t even think the 50’s were quaint anymore.

  90. Natalia
    Natalia July 28, 2011 at 10:30 am |

    Because Jesus is cool and stuff, or something. I dunno, I never got into Jars of Clay.

    BAHAHA.

  91. Ellie
    Ellie July 28, 2011 at 11:18 am |

    Joanne23: it seems very few actually read and thought about what he wrote. Rather, it seems most see “catholic” and a man and dismiss his argument.

    And it seems some see “catholic” and a man and dismiss those who disagree with him.

    I don’t have to read this and think about it; I’ve done my thinking on this very old concept long ago. The concept hasn’t changed. Some people have been saying pretty much this same thing, just about forever, and it’s wrong every time they say it. I have seen this far too many times for a re-consideration to be necessary.

  92. Tim
    Tim July 28, 2011 at 12:14 pm |

    If this guy actually has any respect for women, he might think about not using the word “coed” as a noun. At least to mean “female college student.” Or preferably, ever.

    There is something about this usage that just makes me want to rage, probably beyond all reason or at least out of proportion to its actual harm. It just shouldn’t be done, any more than saying n****r or f*g or k**e, etc.

  93. Alvin
    Alvin July 28, 2011 at 12:59 pm |

    I hate how religious folk suddenly decide that scientifically-obtained evidence is correct when it suits the worldview they already believe in, and reject it when it clashes with an already-formed, rigid belief system. But that Guardian article is really interesting, and I’m glad Feministe linked to it, even if I had to wade through the generic religious nut to get to it.

  94. Ellie
    Ellie July 28, 2011 at 1:04 pm |

    Tim: If this guy actually has any respect for women, he might think about not using the word “coed” as a noun.

    I never hear this usage, except in porn titles and descriptions.

    Also reminds me of using “female” as a noun instead of an adjective. Gross.

  95. Florence
    Florence July 28, 2011 at 1:07 pm |

    Tim: There is something about this usage that just makes me want to rage, probably beyond all reason or at least out of proportion to its actual harm.

    It bugs me too. It’s a linguistic marker of sexism, essentially saying that women are accessories to the college experience/environment, or that male is the default. Male college students are not referred to as “co-eds” and there is no linguistic equivalent for male students. They’re just the norm. They belong in college. And presumably, women are extraneous.

  96. Hashmir
    Hashmir July 28, 2011 at 1:25 pm |

    Re: Making snap judgments based on groups to whom the original author happens to belong

    I happen to be attending Texas A&M. So I can assure you that neither “Catholic” nor “male” nor even “Aggie” means “sexist.”

    An official, male-dominated-and-probably-male-exclusive-by-convention organization using both “Catholic” and “Aggie” branding, on the other hand? Oh god incoming sexism everyone hit the deck before it’s too la–*FWOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH*

  97. Hashmir
    Hashmir July 28, 2011 at 1:37 pm |

    Florence: It bugs me too. It’s a linguistic marker of sexism, essentially saying that women are accessories to the college experience/environment, or that male is the default.Male college students are not referred to as “co-eds” and there is no linguistic equivalent for male students.They’re just the norm. They belong in college. And presumably, women are extraneous

    I’m curious, as a current (21-year-old) college student to anyone who is, well, older than a college student: What is the precise history of the term’s use and connotations?

    I ask because it obviously originates from around when women started to going to “men’s” colleges, which was obviously well before my time. However, I’ve only really heard “co-ed” in my lifetime in a distinctly pornographic sense — the only time you would say “co-ed” is if you’re specifically referring to or advertising porn featuring (ostensibly) college-aged women, probably with a connotation of “Girls Gone Wild”-style exploitation.

    Now, it hardly surprises me that a writer for “Aggie Catholics” would use such a term with a connotation that’s about a generation old, but I would be interested to know how we got from there to here, and maybe what the term implied ten or twenty years ago.

  98. Ismone
    Ismone July 28, 2011 at 2:09 pm |

    Joanne23,

    I am Catholic. And my priests would never say anything like what this man says. And yes, he is blaming women, because he is telling them not to post the pictures because they are tantilizing to men. All this modesty talk is really about telling women how to dress. Men dressing in a way that women find provocative is given lip service, if that, and never discussed in any detail.

    As a woman, and this may shock you, I don’t think women going topless is any worse than men going topless. I find shirtless men, or men in muscle shirts, very, very distracting. But I do not think it give me the right to treat those men as any less than human. I do not think it gives me the right to tell them how to dress. I do my best to either not be distracted, or not let my distraction show.

    As a woman, I have also learned that it really doesn’t matter what I wear. I got written up in the mens room at a military school for having the “best tits” when we all wore uniforms (and when I didn’t, I wore crew-neck t-shirts two sizes too big) that were not at all flattering. One thing I learned, over time, is that no matter what I wear, some men will talk about my body in an obsessive fashion. I cannot predict what will set them off. And not only that, but the men who can deal with me in a bikini or showing cleavage and still treat me like a woman–are better people. I am not kidding on this one. The sexual harassers I dealt with while dressed modestly in the military were all-around bad people. They did other bad, dishonest things, that later circulated back to me.

    Which makes sense. Because sexual harassment and focusing on other people’s bodies like that is externalizing responsibility. I am Catholic, like I said, and have engaged significantly with the modesty movement because some members of my family, Catholic and Pentecostal, believe in it strongly. And I respect their owner personal choices to dress as they choose, but my bikini pics are staying up on fb, and since I posted them, none of my guy friends have started disrespecting me.

  99. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen July 28, 2011 at 2:32 pm |

    I found the writer’s use of the word “coed” to be offensive too, for reasons Florence already mentioned. (It puzzles me how this creep has any Facebook friends who wear bikinis.) And to reiterate to those who think we’re being meanies who hate anything Catholic or male (which would mean we all hate Mark Wahlberg), we wouldn’t be nearly as derisive if we hadn’t read his other articles and realised what an utter misogynist he was. This is an extremist who attacks women who want better access to contraception, who lies that BC causes abortions and who believes women who defy God through contraception should be punished with pregnancy if their condoms break. Hell, he even lies in his article titles, like the one where he claims the IOM “…Says All Women Should Have Free Contraception.” (The IOM actually recommended eliminating insurance co-pays, but if a misogynist is going to lie, he may as well go full-bore.) For these reasons — including telling women to wear “more modest” clothes that actually INCREASE objectification and rates of assault — this writer deserves all the derision he’s getting here.

  100. EmbarrassedAggieCatholic
    EmbarrassedAggieCatholic July 28, 2011 at 2:46 pm |

    Yikes. I cringed when I saw this article linked on Facebook, and then reminded myself, for the umpteenth time, that clicking on Marcel’s blog is *never* a good idea. (I’ve never met him in real life. I kinda don’t want to.)

    Then I came here, saw the title of this article, and went, “Oh no… not again.”

    On behalf of all of the Catholics, Aggies, and human beings who *aren’t* into blaming women for all the “evils” of the world, and don’t think real 20-year-old guys go: “Bathing suit! MUST FAP! … Fapped! Must give myself 20 lashes!” in response to Facebook pictures…

    Yeah, sorry you had to see that. We’ll try to keep him away from the computer. And please, please, please don’t think this guy speaks for us all. >_<

  101. Tim
    Tim July 28, 2011 at 2:51 pm |

    Hashmir: I’m curious, as a current (21-year-old) college student to anyone who is, well, older than a college student: What is the precise history of the term’s use and connotations?

    I ask because it obviously originates from around when women started to going to “men’s” colleges, which was obviously well before my time. However, I’ve only really heard “co-ed” in my lifetime in a distinctly pornographic sense — the only time you would say “co-ed” is if you’re specifically referring to or advertising porn featuring (ostensibly) college-aged women, probably with a connotation of “Girls Gone Wild”-style exploitation.

    Now, it hardly surprises me that a writer for “Aggie Catholics” would use such a term with a connotation that’s about a generation old, but I would be interested to know how we got from there to here, and maybe what the term implied ten or twenty years ago.

    I have heard the term used in a TV news story, as recently as in the past few months. And it was a woman anchor reading the story, too. Not that she was the copywriter, and she might not even have had much chance to review it before going on air.

    I should have called them up, that second, and complained. I did do that once with the same station over the phrase “ground zero mosque” back when that story was in the news. I got right up and went to the phone while the newscast was still going on. They did have someone answering the phone and I was very polite and nice but firm about it. I got a respectful hearing from a woman who said thank you and she would pass it along. I never have heard it again, but the story was, mercifully, just about dead anyway at that point.

  102. BHuesca
    BHuesca July 28, 2011 at 2:51 pm |

    the author seems to want a trigger warning on pictures of women??

  103. EmbarrassedAggieCatholic
    EmbarrassedAggieCatholic July 28, 2011 at 3:04 pm |

    Also… I might need to go “stand in [his] office in a bra and panties” now.

  104. Hashmir
    Hashmir July 28, 2011 at 3:29 pm |

    EmbarrassedAggieCatholic:
    Also… I might need to go “stand in [his] office in a bra and panties” now.

    I might join you.

    …I also might need to borrow a bra and panties.

    BHuesca:
    the author seems to want a trigger warning on pictures of women??

    Might I propose “Not Safe For Sexists”?

  105. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen July 28, 2011 at 4:08 pm |

    If everyone wore (only) bras and panties, perhaps sexual assault would plummet. The 20-year-old men that Marcel seems so protective of would out themselves by virtue of their bulging pants, and we would avoid involving ourselves with juveniles who can’t see skin without doing the one-gun salute. But perhaps we should limit such an operation to “pro-family” red states — after all, they boast the highest rates of sexual assault and pornography consumption in the nation (source: Journal of Economic Prospectives). Who else is getting tired of moral degenerates/elitists lecturing us under the pretense of wanting to “protect women”?

  106. Club Troppo » Missing Link Friday – Costume edition

    […] At Feministe, Jill responds: "look, if dudes see women as not-quite-human, what you wear isn’t going to change that. And if it does change it, then dude has a problem. Why do you want to hang out with a guy who sees you as a ‘full human being’ only so long as you’re wearing a loose floor-length skirt and an oversize turtleneck?" […]

  107. Will
    Will July 28, 2011 at 10:45 pm |

    I agree with everything you said, but I stop listening to people when they say things like “I know many young men struggling with pornography”. Sure, some people have porn addictions and that can be a bad thing, but the implicit assumption that enjoying sexy pictures of naked men and women is a problem is just about all you need to know to judge this person’s ability to comment on gender equality and human sexuality.

  108. Tony
    Tony July 29, 2011 at 12:03 am |

    This is a really difficult topic, IMO. One side of the debate thinks that men can do better and treats anything short of expecting men to be practically perfect as a concession to injustice. The other side of the debate accepts male reactions as more or less a fixed constant and puts all the rest of the onus on women without even bothering to argue whether women deserve that onus. One side of the debate can be accused of utopianism-in-the-guise-of-justice, the other side can be accused of sexism-in-the-guise-of-realism.

    Yeah, Catholic guys peddling really reactionary views about sexuality are suspicious, but so are liberal guys encouraging women to dress skimpily. I’m still waiting for the hard anti porn Dworkian radfem guy– now that guy would have credibility.

  109. Jadey
    Jadey July 29, 2011 at 12:17 am |

    Tony: I’m still waiting for the hard anti porn Dworkian radfem guy– now that guy would have credibility.

    Met him – no, he doesn’t. Tends to be condescending and controlling for women’s “own good”. Any ideological position can be twisted to suit a particular motivation if you’re dedicated enough, sadly.

  110. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen July 29, 2011 at 2:06 am |

    I concur — I knew a guy like that, always lecturing ignorant women on how sex was bad and promoted patriarchy. (He was abused as a kid — long story.) I don’t think (most) women have anything against being perceived as sexy — they take issue with being perceived as objects. Folks like Marcel can’t comprehend the fact that the two can be mutually exclusive, but that’s besides the point. Concern over objectifying women is merely their cover for attacking women’s sexuality — Marcel isn’t saying anything that misogynist extremists haven’t already been saying for years, under the pretense that their anti-woman efforts are somehow pro-woman.

  111. preying mantis
    preying mantis July 29, 2011 at 6:35 am |

    “Yeah, Catholic guys peddling really reactionary views about sexuality are suspicious, but so are liberal guys encouraging women to dress skimpily.”

    Or! We could settle on women dressing however they’re most comfortable, and people who don’t like it can go fuck themselves. Because? The whole idea that women are just there are sexy props or eye-candy or decoration or stumbling blocks for men? Is pretty fucking vile.

  112. William
    William July 29, 2011 at 7:26 am |

    Yeah, Catholic guys peddling really reactionary views about sexuality are suspicious, but so are liberal guys encouraging women to dress skimpily.

    Except…thats a false dichotomy here. This discussion isn’t about Catholics supporting the burka and “liberals” demanding bikinis. This is about one side being afraid of their own sexuality and demanding that women cover up in order to help them along an unrealistic and deeply pathological lifestyle and the other side saying that people who want to control the behaviors of others can go fuck themselves.

    Do I like seeing women in bikinis? Sure I do, but neither I (nor anyone else here) is arguing that women ought to wear bikinis. Thats like the old argument that men who are pro-choice can only be pro-choice because they want unprotected sex. The problem with your argument is that, essentially, you can’t imagine anyone not being a conservative and not ultimately making their decisions based on a desire to control the behaviors of others.

  113. Hallie
    Hallie July 29, 2011 at 10:17 am |

    Lynnsey:
    Shorter original post:“Okay, sexy ladies…cover it up because NO ONE wants to see that.Er, um…well they do, actually…but they SHOULDN’T because it’s dirty and wrong…or something.”

    I’m just wondering if you realize where the original post comes from and if you are taking it out of context a little. The guy who wrote it works at a church so he has different standards for girls than you may have. I do not mean to insult you, but taking this post so personally may show that you either feel insecure about yourself or that maybe you agree with him a tiny bit (on the inside?). Everyone wants to feel sexy and that is totally cool because that is what women are made for (to be beautiful). however, the point that this man was making was to be careful what you post on FACEBOOK not what you do in real life. Honestly, I can see where he s coming from and I have to agree. also, the idea of one of my friends jacking off or whatever to my picture in a bikini is slightly (REALLY) gross.

  114. Tony
    Tony July 29, 2011 at 10:33 am |

    We all agree that objectification is degrading and dehumanizing, regardless of who you are?

    Now… for the sake of argument, if women choose to dress in a way to encourage men to objectify her– let’s say this is done intentionally– and suppose we accept unconditionally her right to do so. But do you say free choice and that’s it? Is that enough to justify completely ignoring the nature of the choice? I mean, we don’t live in a larger society that determines the context of all choices? No further analysis required?

  115. Lynnsey
    Lynnsey July 29, 2011 at 12:31 pm |

    Let’s address this world of fail, one bit at a time…

    Hallie: I’m just wondering if you realize where the original post comes from and if you are taking it out of context a little.

    Having read it, yes…I do realize where it comes from; a repressed, religious d-bag. I don’t really give a shit about the “context” of telling women to dress in a way that implies that they are responsible for the thoughts of others.

    Hallie: The guy who wrote it works at a church so he has different standards for girls than you may have.

    Really? I bet you’re right. That doesn’t make his standard right, however. Nor does it make it okay for him to blame some dude’s “pornography problem” on women because they’re wearing something he doesn’t approve of. Even if the rest of his cult believes the same thing.

    Hallie: I do not mean to insult you, but taking this post so personally may show that you either feel insecure about yourself or that maybe you agree with him a tiny bit (on the inside?).

    Implying that I am a) reacting personally to this idiocy that said d-bag is spewing and that b) it’s because I’m insecure as opposed to his position being inherently misogynist and just all around bullshit is in NO WAY insulting. Really.

    Not only that, but how does anything I wrote imply that I took it personally? Hell, I don’t even swim…

    Hallie: Everyone wants to feel sexy and that is totally cool because that is what women are made for (to be beautiful).

    Um, no…that’s not what women “are for.”

    Hallie: however, the point that this man was making was to be careful what you post on FACEBOOK not what you do in real life.

    No, it wasn’t. His point was that WOMEN should be careful what they post because it might make men think “the dirty thoughts.” Which is also misogynist and just all around bullshit.

    But thanks for playing.

  116. William
    William July 29, 2011 at 12:51 pm |

    Tony:

    It isn’t your place, or mine, or Jill’s, or anyone the fuck else’s to question the means of empowerment someone else finds. Is analysis worthwhile? Of course it is, but human autonomy always trumps analysis and analysis which is aimed at judgement and coercion is just cover for oppression. We can talk about why someone would choose to be objectified, but we have to do it in the context of respecting their choice because if we do not we are treating them as objects.

    Thats the real rub here. It isn’t as if women who cover up are not objectified while women in bikinis are. Women, regardless of what they’re wearing, get objectified because some people see other people as objects. That means that some people see others not as individuals but as things to be used. That “use” isn’t limited to sex and sexual fantasy. It can be bound up in politics, in greed, in orthodoxy. The dichotomy is not covered up or naked; the dichotomy is whether we respect other human beings enough to recognize that they have a right to choose for their bodies and experiences, even if those choices are not choices we might want, or not. Its that simple. Either we respect the choices of other people or we use other people for our own ends.

    The douche who wrote the original post doesn’t stop objectifying women if they cover up the cleavage. He’s still objectifying, he’s merely objectifying in a way that is egosyntonic. Now the women who had existed as sexual objects for him, an objectification which disturbs him for reasons that have nothing to do with respect for the women he just can’t stop jerking off too, exist as a different kind of object which provokes less anxiety. He’s still playing virgin/whore, women are still there for his benefit, and he is still demanding that women behave in a certain way for his benefit. The difference between Larry Flint and Jerry Falwell is one of set dressing, not plot.

    Also, can we talk for a minute about your gaze problems here? Say this mythical Woman A decides she wants to be objectified and Man X objectifies her. Do you really think that Woman A is objectively dehumanized by Man X, or is it possible that Woman A is fine and dandy playing with her sexuality and feeling empowered while the degradation exists completely within Man X? More to the point, I’d argue that your fale hypothetical suffers from a lack of empathy. I doubt Woman A is really out to be objectified. She is out to do whatever it is she wants to do (perhaps to own her own experience of objectification, which isn’t quite the same thing as wanting to be objectified). The idea that her behaviors and motives must conform to the responses of an oppressive society is…concerning. It sounds dangerously like an inability to understand that not all people have the same motives and desires as you, the observer, have.

  117. Ismone
    Ismone July 29, 2011 at 12:56 pm |

    William,

    Brilliant post.

    Tony,

    To sort of give my own synthesis of what William wrote, if someone chooses to dress sexy to get attention, that doesn’t mean that they don’t want people to see them as a person, but see them as an object or a thing. It usually means they want to be seen as a sexy person. With thoughts, feelings, and desires. I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive. Noticing someone is attractive and that you are attracted to them isn’t objectification–only noticing your attraction to them and giving no thought to their humanity is.

  118. Ismone
    Ismone July 29, 2011 at 1:05 pm |

    I am posting this here because it didn’t show up on Marcel’s blog yesterday, so if it never gets out of the mod queue I would like it to see the light of day, and it is my response to him under my handle Junia:

    Marcel,

    I tried to post this yesterday, but apparently it didn’t go through, so apologies if this is a repeat.

    As far as my language goes, the only word I used on the other blog that was close to being profane was to repeat the specific comment that was made about my body when I was in the military, dressed modestly. If you meant to imply that I used foul language in that thread, or worse still, that I used foul language with regard to you, I resent that.

    1-Since you seem to think Feministe is a horrible blog, I am a little surprised that you would base your use of language on theirs–the blog does not purport to be Catholic, yours does. I told you about your use of language because I thought you might not know how it would be read, and you might want to know.

    2-It is in the Catechism, agreed.

    3-The point of the harassment story is twofold–that men harass women dress modestly, and that harassers, in my experience, are all-around bad guys. They don’t just sexually harass women or behave in a sexist fashion, they commit all kinds of morally questionable acts. Is that your experience as well? Or do you disagree? Do you think that men who manage to put the onus on themselves rather than on women for being tempted are better people?

    4-I haven’t defined sexism, but if you would like me to, it is treating people with less dignity or discriminating against them based on sex. I don’t defend pornography, and if you would like, I can come up with a number of feminists who don’t defend it, or at the very least, think that porn as currently produced is exploitative, derogatory, and damaging to the dignity of men and women.

    I am plenty wrathful about porn. But right now, we are discussing the Catholic position on modesty in terms of women who are not in porn.

  119. Andie
    Andie July 29, 2011 at 1:20 pm |

    Ismone:

    The comment moderation there is ridiculous. I made a few comments on the birth control article, first about HOW birth control works, and also rebutted a few of their other top ten points.. never got posted. Then I posted again with a link to ‘How BC works (eg. ovulation suppression as opposed to abortifacient)’ and he posted that one and rebutted it with ‘scientific facts’ from a clearly anti-choice site stating again that it works as ovulation suppressant AND abortifacient and when I rebutted that this was contradictory, my comment didn’t make it out moderation.. again.

  120. Ismone
    Ismone July 29, 2011 at 1:23 pm |

    Yeah, I hear you, Andie. He doesn’t have to engage with us, but if so, do it on a fair playing field.

    I was also offended that he would suggest that I was pro-pornography and/or that I directed profanity at him over here. The only profanity I used on this thread was quoting bathroom graffiti written about me. And profanity is allowed on this blog, so I don’t see his point.

  121. William
    William July 29, 2011 at 2:14 pm |

    I’m shocked, SHOCKED, that a dude who would tell women in his Facebook feed to put more clothes on and stop tempting him with their devilish figures might use moderation powers to bullshit his way through an argument. Seems kinda out of character, you know?

  122. Tony
    Tony July 29, 2011 at 10:12 pm |

    William,

    I agree, agree, and agree, except for a few things. Analysis of someone’s choice is not necessarily treating them as an object. In fact it happens every day, and none more than analysis of one’s own choices. Economists, policy makers and media outlets that report on human behavior and its effects (positive or negative) are obviously treating people as ‘objects’ – as statistics, etc., but that doesn’t mean there’s anything inherently immoral about it- unless that kind of analysis is overused to the exclusion of others, which happens to be true, but that is besides the point. And intelligent feminists have engaged in plenty of agonizing over womens’ choices. I’m not saying that’s the particular line of feminism promoted at Feministe, but it’s a legitimate (if dying) line of feminism, too. It is not without its compassion and idealism. Secondly, trying to read realities into a constructed hypothetical is kind of absurd– of course all hypothetical persons only exist in our heads, as do all our thoughts about them. One cannot have empathy for a hypothetical character. Speculating about the true motives of a hypothetical character is even more absurd. Besides that you are right.

    Ismone,

    They are obviously not mutually exclusive in the realm of experience, or applied to an actual person (of course. otherwise the world would be a monstrous place), but they are mutually distinct modes of thought– as Jill recognized in the OP.

    Currently my thoughts are: the liberal feminist position is that objectification is fine so long as it is under control of the one being objectified. It is all about power, in the end. Objectify me when I want you to, but don’t do so when I don’t want you to.

    After reading further down on Marcel’s response, it is clear that he is coming from what he thinks is a Catholic viewpoint (which you disputed) where women are responsible for men’s desires. That is obviously absurd for anyone that does not share his viewpoint.

  123. William
    William July 29, 2011 at 10:53 pm |

    Analysis of someone’s choice is not necessarily treating them as an object.

    I think that depends. We have to ask why we’re doing analysis. Observation tends to be rooted, ultimately, in coercion. When you analyze someone’s choices, especially in the context of something as traditionally oppressive as clothing, what you’re really doing is promoting a specific course of action. That ends back up at objectification, no matter how honorable your intentions. Just because you aren’t driven by a desire to fuck an object doesn’t mean you don’t think you own it.

    And intelligent feminists have engaged in plenty of agonizing over womens’ choices.

    Intelligent feminists have also shat on brown people, gay people, and trans people. I think the same problem I’ve already discussed is carrying over here. Feminism isn’t a good idea because its good and feminists aren’t on the side of empowerment because they’re feminists. Feminism and feminists can be oppressive if they advocate oppression. I’m not terribly concerned why someone is obsessing over the choices of others, just that they are. Theres a reason some feminists opposed to porn find themselves allied with Christian fundamentalists, you know?

    At the end of the day I believe that the most ethical stance is to respect the choices of others unless they’re actively oppressing someone else. It doesn’t matter how you dress up oppression, its still wrong.

    It is not without its compassion and idealism.

    Neither is Christianity, but if you start talking about biblically based laws I’m gonna make sure I’m not running low on ammo.

    Secondly, trying to read realities into a constructed hypothetical is kind of absurd– of course all hypothetical persons only exist in our heads, as do all our thoughts about them. One cannot have empathy for a hypothetical character. Speculating about the true motives of a hypothetical character is even more absurd.

    Not to be a dick but…you presented the hypothetical. Either you’re arguing in bad faith by distancing yourself from it because someone else ran with it or you were arguing in bad faith when you presented a rhetorical device you think is absurd.

    Currently my thoughts are: the liberal feminist position is that objectification is fine so long as it is under control of the one being objectified. It is all about power, in the end. Objectify me when I want you to, but don’t do so when I don’t want you to.

    You’re really fixated on this objectification thing. Is it really so hard to imagine that a woman might wear a bikini without regard for your gaze?

  124. Ismone
    Ismone July 30, 2011 at 1:02 am |

    Tony,

    My position is that treating a person as an object, instead of as a whole person with the attribute of sexy, is really, really wrong. Objectification is something someone else does to you, so by definition is never controlled by the object. What this feminist is advocating is that all people, whether or not you find them sexually attractive, are to be treated as people, not things or means to an end.

    But I was clear about that in my first post to you.

  125. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable July 30, 2011 at 7:38 am |

    Can I just say that the comments there are hilarious? He is his “brother’s keeper” … but definitely not his sister’s, so it’s cool that he’s being an offensive prick. See his comment on refusing to give on the coed issue, and ctrl+f brother’s keeper, hahaha

  126. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub July 30, 2011 at 8:07 am |

    I love how we’re getting lectured to engage people who will not engage with us.

    I also love how it’s supposed to be reasonable to engage with people who are spewing the same misogynist, privilege denying, hateful and bigoted rhetoric against women that we’ve heard for millenia. Here are other people I don’t seriously engage with: those who think that White people are superior to all others, those who insist the Holocaust never happened, and those who think that the prospect of Sharia law in the US must be stopped but have no problems foisting laws based on the Bible on the rest of us.

    If women wearing two-piece bathing suits or shorts or a bag slung across their chests is too much for your delicate sensibilities, I suggest you stay indoors and monitor your own behavior. I am not responsible for you or your reactions, and I don’t see too much in the way of men trying to exhort other men to be modest in the way they dress and act. And guess what d00ds? We women notice.

  127. Tony
    Tony July 30, 2011 at 2:12 pm |

    William: I think that depends. We have to ask why we’re doing analysis. Observation tends to be rooted, ultimately, in coercion. When you analyze someone’s choices, especially in the context of something as traditionally oppressive as clothing, what you’re really doing is promoting a specific course of action. That ends back up at objectification, no matter how honorable your intentions. Just because you aren’t driven by a desire to fuck an object doesn’t mean you don’t think you own it.

    So merely by thinking about another person’s choices or discussing them with an opinion that you are engaging in coercion, ownership, or objectification. That’s hard to agree with. You can of course disagree with my interpretations of the impacts of clothing, as people here disagree with Marcel, but your position is the far more radical one that merely by discussing it is wrong. I think that you can totally back up politically and morally a person’s right to do whatever, even while admitting that not all of their choices have positive impacts all the time.

    Intelligent feminists have also shat on brown people, gay people, and trans people.

    Yup. But we’re talking about a topic that has traditionally been privileged in feminist discourse, not one that has been traditionally marginalized like the experience of brown people, gay people and trans people. The early feminists weren’t just neglecting this out of myopia and a desire to ride their existing privileges at the expense of others… this was one of their core issues. I wish I could be a better spokesperson for the radical feminist position, because I feel that it deserves one.

    Not to be a dick but…you presented the hypothetical. Either you’re arguing in bad faith by distancing yourself from it because someone else ran with it or you were arguing in bad faith when you presented a rhetorical device you think is absurd.

    No, I failed to engage your response that on a second reading, deserved a more serious acknowledgement than I gave it. My bad for being so dismissive. It is of course possible that Woman A has no problem with the situation with respect to Man X. She may have anticipated it, and is still happy with the way she dresses. Actually this is a great point. Marcel’s original post was really condescending because he assumed that these ladies in bikinis on FB had no idea that men might find them sexy. Ladies by the time they reach that age have a pretty good idea.

    You’re really fixated on this objectification thing. Is it really so hard to imagine that a woman might wear a bikini without regard for your gaze?

    As a possibility and common occurrence? Of course not. I’m not talking about that case though because I think it’s one that’s ethically easy to handle and so pretty boring to talk about. Bottom line, I think the job for men is to respect what’s not wanted when it isn’t while still being able to recognize when attention is wanted, (or at least not unwanted).

    Ismone,

    Oral sex is something ‘done to you’, but it’s under your control, if you invited it and consented to it. That is what I meant. We may just have a difference in semantics. I think you can both objectify someone and treat them as a person all at the same time, in the same interaction, even. Arguably we all do this during sex. But to you, that is seeing them as a ‘sexy person’, not objectifying them. In your view, it’s only objectification if you don’t interact with someone as a human in any way. I don’t see anything wrong with that perspective, either.

  128. William
    William July 30, 2011 at 2:58 pm |

    So merely by thinking about another person’s choices or discussing them with an opinion that you are engaging in coercion, ownership, or objectification.

    Yes, and it isn’t a new idea either. Thats pretty much the core of Foucault’s conceptualization of power. The reason is because our observation and conceptualization of other people’s choices does not exist in a vacuum. All of us have values, desires, axes to grind, goals, and political points to make. We support and argue these values every single time we speak. At the same time, we live in a deeply coercive society which often uses judgment as a tool of oppression. So when we talk about the choices of specific people, when we observe them and subject those choices (and, by extension, the individuals who made those choices) to the judgement of our values we are engaging in coercion. We would not be talking about an analyzing an action if we didn’t have a horse in the race.

    So yes, when you begin talking about the choices of specific women and throw around words like “objectification” it sounds to me like you’re trying to stop some people from doing somethings. I’m doing the same thing here talking about your argument. Thats what observation and judgement are.

    but your position is the far more radical one that merely by discussing it is wrong.

    I’m tempted to just tell you to go fuck yourself with your attempt to argue through marginalization, but I think its worth engaging here.

    Not all observation and judgement is necessarily wrong. Sometimes its good (calling out comes to mind), but we cannot deny the effects of our discourse. I think that in, in general, talking about the specific choices of specific women is probably not a good idea. More broadly I think that any discussion which tends to support the more aggressive institutions of oppression is probably not going to be geared towards empowerment. So when you say you want to talk about and analyze the implications of women objectifying themselves, what I hear isn’t your argument but your end goal of making women do what you want them to do.

    I think thats shitty.

    I think that you can totally back up politically and morally a person’s right to do whatever, even while admitting that not all of their choices have positive impacts all the time.

    Who the fuck are you to have an opinion on whether someone else’s behavior is positive or not. First, positive comes down to your subjective values which amount to sweet fuck all in the lives of others. Second, it isn’t your damned life. You’re wringing your hands and being nosey about shit that is none of your business. It isn’t your place to decide what is positive and what is negative when it comes to the private behavior of others.

    I simply don’t know how to be more clear on that point. Your opinion doesn’t matter when it isn’t your life. Voicing it can only serve to promote your opinion which, traditionally, means coercion.

    But we’re talking about a topic that has traditionally been privileged in feminist discourse, not one that has been traditionally marginalized like the experience of brown people, gay people and trans people. The early feminists weren’t just neglecting this out of myopia and a desire to ride their existing privileges at the expense of others… this was one of their core issues. I wish I could be a better spokesperson for the radical feminist position, because I feel that it deserves one.

    That sounds dangerously close to an appeal to authority. What I think you’re failing to recognize is that early feminism, like any movement, had a lot of people in it who were deeply interested in controlling the lives and behaviors of others. I’m not interested too impressed by the why of tyranny because my value is liberation. If avoiding the male gaze is liberating for someone, I’m all for it. The very second that shifts to a demand that other people do what you want them to do you’ve lost me. I can’t shake the sense that underlying many of your statements is the belief that societies and communities have a valid say in the private behaviors of their members, that somehow individual experience is public business. Theres an element of slut shaming there, I think, that I’m having a lot of trouble putting my finger on but that reaches back to post 109 when you were talking about how this was a “difficult issue” and pining for an anti-porn man to make everything ok.

  129. Tony
    Tony July 30, 2011 at 3:51 pm |

    At the same time, we live in a deeply coercive society which often uses judgment as a tool of oppression. So when we talk about the choices of specific people, when we observe them and subject those choices (and, by extension, the individuals who made those choices) to the judgement of our values we are engaging in coercion.

    it sounds to me like you’re trying to stop some people from doing somethings. I’m doing the same thing here talking about your argument. Thats what observation and judgement are.

    I am not trying to stop anyone from doing anything. I am posting here because I think this is an interesting topic, and my thoughts aren’t fully fleshed out on this topic yet. I deliberately decided to play a bit of the devil’s advocate to see what I can learn. If, by some side effect, this discussion is “coercive”, or has “negative effects” then too bad! The negative effects aren’t so bad that I shouldn’t have the right to make a comment. I really think you need to, for lack of a better phrase– lighten up a little bit.

    I mean, yes, Foucault. Foucault’s conception of power is notoriously loose. He thinks pretty much anything is power. In a way, sure, yes. But he also thinks of power not exclusively negative terms, in the terms of oppression, he identifies it with a lot of positive and productive outcomes. I think where you make the mistake is where you take the leap from individual “judgments” and opinions, and values, and having a “horse in the race” to something oh-so-out-of-bounds horrible, that even a discussion on a blog is oppressive and coercive and horrendous.

    Basically, I have the right to discuss whatever I want to, please engage me on the substance of my points (as I have tried to do for you), and do not shame me for the subjects that I bring up. When you say, “More broadly I think that any discussion which tends to support the more aggressive institutions of oppression is probably not going to be geared towards empowerment.” that sounds dangerous close to a limitation on free speech. You are saying (loudly) that any speech which doesn’t please you is “coercion.” So any discussion that *in your opinion* tends to support institutions that you don’t like are the equivalent of restricting someone else’s freedom and liberty. Wonderful!

    I can’t shake the sense that underlying many of your statements is the belief that societies and communities have a valid say in the private behaviors of their members, that somehow individual experience is public business.

    You’re right. I think that when you go to buy good from the grocery store, that purchase should be taxed, even though it’s a ‘private behavior’. I don’t think 10 year olds should be legally able to smoke crack. And so on.

    Judging by the amount of times you’ve thrown around the F bomb in your last post I’m guessing that you’re getting uncomfortable with this discussion. If we were meeting in person, I imagine that your face is getting red, your body language is sending off alarm bells in the manner that a person gets when they were under personal attack, which was certainly not my intention. So while I can’t say for sure that you can’t bait me into another reply, but I feel the usefulness of this discussion is coming to a close.

  130. William
    William July 30, 2011 at 4:54 pm |

    I am not trying to stop anyone from doing anything.

    Thats what arguing a point does. Either you’re promoting something or you’re trying to prevent it.

    I deliberately decided to play a bit of the devil’s advocate to see what I can learn.

    So, in other words, bad faith…

    If, by some side effect, this discussion is “coercive”, or has “negative effects” then too bad!

    Because your education trumps all. Not that you’re speaking from privilege or anything.

    The negative effects aren’t so bad that I shouldn’t have the right to make a comment

    You’ve got the right to say anything you please. I’ve got the right to call you out when its shitty. Thats the other side of rights. You’ve no right to be insulated from criticism. Then again, maybe someone disagreeing with you on the internet is to you what a bikini on facebook is to our dear Marcel. I think you can predict my suggestion there.

    I really think you need to, for lack of a better phrase– lighten up a little bit.

    Yes, because I am too emotional. And mean. Like a woman, amirite?

    Even your passive aggression is boring.

    I think where you make the mistake is where you take the leap from individual “judgments” and opinions, and values, and having a “horse in the race” to something oh-so-out-of-bounds horrible, that even a discussion on a blog is oppressive and coercive and horrendous.

    Hyperbole aside, you’re missing the context. The context here is a guy who told women on facebook not to post pictures of them in bikinis because he can’t stop jerking off. More, no one here has said that talking about this is horrendous. I’ve said that suggesting women have a responsibility for the reactions of others is oppressive and that people who seriously entertain that idea are seeking to coerce others. I stand by that. When you say its a “difficult topic” you’re suggesting that the idea of not telling women what to wear is somehow complicated. More than that, you immediately projected the assumption that if someone isn’t telling women to cover up they must be telling them to strip. Thats…problematic.

    Basically, I have the right to discuss whatever I want to, please engage me on the substance of my points (as I have tried to do for you), and do not shame me for the subjects that I bring up.

    Don’t give me orders and don’t try to hide behind a right to speak in order to avoid criticism. I’m sure this is difficult for you, but you don’t get to dictate the terms of discourse anymore than Marcel gets to dictate what people wear in pictures they post to Facebook. You’ve got the right to demand whatever you want, but I promise you’ll be frustrated by the reaction.

    that sounds dangerous close to a limitation on free speech. You are saying (loudly) that any speech which doesn’t please you is “coercion.”

    It is interesting that you consider any criticism to be a restriction. Almost as if you believe that someone disagreeing with and challenging you means that they want to control you. Thats telling. It sounds as if, on a basic level, you believe that discourse comes down to domination which implies that people who face power must submit.

    Now at least I know why I’ve been finding you so creepy.

    So any discussion that *in your opinion* tends to support institutions that you don’t like are the equivalent of restricting someone else’s freedom and liberty. Wonderful!

    Well, yes, if something restricts liberty I’m going to oppose it. Regardless of your thought process, if you end up on the same side of an argument as Michele Bachmann I’m going to think you’re wrong. And I’m going to say it, I might even get loud.

    You’re right. I think that when you go to buy good from the grocery store, that purchase should be taxed, even though it’s a ‘private behavior’. I don’t think 10 year olds should be legally able to smoke crack. And so on.

    So you are willing to entertain the idea that society might have enough of an investment in the clothing choices of women to use physical coercion?

    I want to be clear here. You’re invoking taxes and child welfare laws. Are you seriously suggesting that societies, by way of a violent government and PIC, have a say in what consenting adults wear?

    Judging by the amount of times you’ve thrown around the F bomb in your last post I’m guessing that you’re getting uncomfortable with this discussion.

    Nah, I grew up in a working class neighborhood in Chicago. I’ve described sandwiches as “fucking incredible.” I’m just crude.

    Also, I totally get off on violating oppressive social norms.

    . So while I can’t say for sure that you can’t bait me into another reply, but I feel the usefulness of this discussion is coming to a close.

    Ahh, the old “you’re being unreasonable so I’m going to flounce off to show I’m the bigger man while reserving the right to come back for the last word.”

    But, you know, you’re right. This has become two men sniping at each other on a feminist blog about a third man trying to shame women into doing what he says. That does make me uncomfortable, so I’ll be bowing on out.

  131. Tony
    Tony July 31, 2011 at 1:15 am |

    PS a personal anecdote from tonight. I was with a group of men, and a mutual woman friend happened to come up in conversation because she’ll be living in the same apartment as another friend starting in the fall. As it was, one guy didn’t know her, so we passed around a couple of pics of her. We talked about her as a person. We didn’t talk about how she looked, besides that she looks nice, we talked more about her recent actions, profession, background and personal traits.

    I noticed that in one of the pictures, she was wearing a bikini. The bikini made no difference in our conversation at all. If it hadn’t been for participating in this thread earlier today, I’m not sure I would have even noticed it, and if anyone else did, they didn’t comment. People I know don’t find that kind of thing as shocking or unusual. We’ve seen enough women in bikinis to take it as just another mode of dress. If we were younger and had grown up in an repressive society where you never see women in bikinis, either because of societal sanction or some other reason, then it might be different. Then we’d probably be drooling over it. Then we’d probably have been objectifying her.

  132. Veronica
    Veronica August 7, 2011 at 10:08 pm |

    As soon as I clicked your first link I felt ashamed. I went to Texas A&M and am a recent graduate. As some previous commenters have said, this attitude isn’t the predominant one in Aggieland, but I can’t help but feel betrayed when people with such fundamental views hijack the Aggie name and use it for these purposes. It makes me sick.

  133. Ell Tee
    Ell Tee August 8, 2011 at 1:26 am |

    It concerns me that a big leap is being made between something that is physiological (brain activity) to “that guy needs to change his attitude” without touching on the fact that there’s a big gap in between the two things. I don’t know of many — if any — people who are aware of how their brain is firing in particular situations. I know I like to eat fried chicken have no idea what parts of my brain, my endocrine system, or any other part of my body are doing when I see fried chicken. (Except my salivary glands; they’re watering right now with the thought of fried chicken.)

    Education and a proper upbringing are, of course, the ways to reign in that caveman/woman within, but it would be nice if an admission that we’re all subject to subtle, hidden processes that are often mis- or not understood by the average Jane and Joe.

    P.S. I’m not justifying asshole behaviour, just making a plea for those who are aware to shine a little light on those who might not be as much so.

  134. Nifty
    Nifty August 8, 2011 at 10:51 pm |

    Absolutely true. The idea that women can’t do what they darned well please, especially so that we won’t hurt the poor little male specimens who are apparently so distressed at having to look at females in swimwear, is so completely ridiculous…

Comments are closed.

The commenting period has expired for this post. If you wish to re-open the discussion, please do so in the latest Open Thread.