Why “I prefer small boobs” isn’t helping

[A note: While this post might come across as a calling-out of specific commenters here, it's intended as commentary on the phenomenon as a whole. No getting defensive in comments. --C]

“I like small boobs.” “I actually prefer untrimmed pubic hair.” “Ew, skinny girls! Eat a sandwich, amirite?” They’re inevitable contributions to any thread discussing women’s bodies, always offered by men as a word of comfort to insecure women or as valuable male insight into the male gaze.

Thanks for thinking of us, guys, but trust me: We get insight into the male gaze every day. We’re soaking in it, and in a way most men don’t actually recognize. We’re given insight into the male gaze by random men hooting at us on the sidewalk. “Don’t worry, insecure girl, there are people out there who think you’re hot” isn’t a revolutionary perspective, and thinking it’s a necessary contribution to a thread about female objectification and body image demonstrates a lack of understanding of the subject. The real impact of the male gaze, and objectification, and judgment, is about way more than beer commercials, Playboy pictorials, and who does and doesn’t have to pay her own bar tab.

It’s about casting directors who automatically cast large-breasted actresses to play The Slut or The Airhead, and who automatically cast fat actresses as The Desperate Single Friend Who Eats All the Time. It’s about women who get kicked off of planes for outfits that would be deemed perfectly inoffensive on a less-blonde, less-busty woman. It’s about women who aren’t traditionally attractive getting not getting hired, and women who are traditionally attractive not getting taken seriously in the workplace. It’s about elementary school teachers who favor pretty girls over the less-pretty ones. It’s about dismissing rape accusations because you’re either not sexy enough to get raped or so sexy you must have been asking for it. It’s about men at work and out in the world who automatically assume you’re flirting just because you have breasts in their presence. It’s about the women you fuck vs. the women you marry. It’s about having your eating habits criticized regardless, whether it’s Ew, push away from the buffet or Ew, eat a sandwich. It’s about character actors who can cover the full spectrum of physical appearance and character actresses who get cut off at “quirky-looking.” It’s about teen movies where first you get the makeover, then you get the guy. It’s about never seeing yourself represented on TV or in movies because 90 percent of the world doesn’t look like 90 percent of Hollywood.

The message isn’t just you’re unfuckable, although that’s generally part of it. The message is there’s something wrong with you, and it’s one that affects women every day, everywhere, in every context. And the opinion of one complete stranger on the Internet isn’t going to fix that.

“I actually prefer small breasts” only reinforces the grand tradition of women’s bodies as objects to be presented for judgment and rated on a scale from Hot to Fugly. It removes the breasts or ass or pubic hair from the context of the woman as a whole, as if our value can be appraised one piece at a time. And it ignores the reality that while it does matter to many of us, in the grand scheme, finding someone willing to screw us is the least of our problems.

Any teen-movie makeover worth its salt begins with the Ditching of the Glasses, because of course glasses are repellant to high school quarterbacks. The knowledge that at any moment, somewhere in the world a stripper is slooowly removing a Naughty Librarian costume is not the solution to that message. My specific brand of butt is celebrated by several magazines wrapped in opaque plastic in the way-back of the top rack at Barnes & Noble, yet knowing this has somehow not had an effect on my negative body image.

You know what would help? Seeing someone on TV who has a butt like mine and is the smart, classy, desirable character and not the goofy friend. Reading a profile of a female C-level executive that doesn’t mention her hair. Reading blog posts by women at tech or sci-fi conventions that don’t make a single mention of sexual harassment. Seeing a female comic book character who actually gets to wear armor on the parts of her that need armoring. Never again hearing the word “anorexic” if it’s not referring to an actual medical condition. Never again seeing thong underwear sold in the children’s department. Putting on a short skirt on a hot day and walking outside confident that I won’t have to suffer any abusive commentary. And then going to a feminist blog to read about body image without worrying that some random guy is going to backhandedly criticize my body because in his unsolicited opinion, my breasts are just too big to be attractive.

Author: has written 262 posts for this blog.

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790 Responses

  1. Ladeeda
    Ladeeda April 9, 2012 at 2:52 pm |

    I have a feeling this post might have been partially inspired by this comic, but in case people haven’t seen it: http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=2571#comic

  2. Ashley Pariseau
    Ashley Pariseau April 9, 2012 at 2:56 pm |

    Right on.

  3. Brandon
    Brandon April 9, 2012 at 3:04 pm |

    I fail to see how this is any different than women typing out a laundry list of “what they want in a man” on OKCupid. With things like “must be over 6 feet”, “must earn six figures”, “must do/have X thing”, etc…

    People have the right to voice their opinions on what they find attractive (based on looks and/or personality). Peoples sexual preferences aren’t oppressing anyone.

  4. Jenny
    Jenny April 9, 2012 at 3:09 pm |

    Brandon, do you not see a difference between listing one sexual preferences in an ad seeking a sexual partner and in stating them on a blog post discussing body image and representation in a feminist context? Really?

  5. outrageandsprinkles
    outrageandsprinkles April 9, 2012 at 3:09 pm |

    Well, that was fast.

  6. D.N. Nation
    D.N. Nation April 9, 2012 at 3:09 pm |

    Brandon-

    Except the issue is that looks are brought up herein as a response to women’s encounters with sexist behavior, which in of itself is a sexist response. Have your preferences. No one’s telling you not to. Just know they aren’t valid to bring up in *this* particular context.

  7. librarygoose
    librarygoose April 9, 2012 at 3:09 pm |

    Bahahahaha.

    Comment 3. That’s all, it got to comment 3.

    Bahaahahahaha

  8. D.N. Nation
    D.N. Nation April 9, 2012 at 3:11 pm |

    Brandon has to be kidding, right? The problem was more than laid out in full in the post itself. Mercy.

  9. iiii
    iiii April 9, 2012 at 3:11 pm |

    Brandon, your objection only makes sense if you presume that for women, “existing on the planet” is EXACTLY THE SAME as “signing up for a dating site.”

    Can you conceive of any situation in which a woman’s principal concern might be something other than men’s assessment of her fuckability? If not… maybe this is the wrong site for you.

  10. Jadey
    Jadey April 9, 2012 at 3:12 pm |

    Oh for fuck’s sake, Brandon, get a clue.

    FEMINISTE is NOT a DATING SITE. There is no comparison to be made to OKCupid.

    Men voicing their opinions on women’s sexual desirability are not actually important to furthering social justice work. And, actually, yeah, being told that my body exists for men’s judgment, regardless of whether the outcome is approval or disapproval, is fucking oppressive.

  11. ellestar
    ellestar April 9, 2012 at 3:12 pm |

    I fail to see…

    Yes. Yes you do.

    Awesome post, Caperton.

  12. librarygoose
    librarygoose April 9, 2012 at 3:14 pm |

    Obviously we’re oppressing him by insisting that he never have sex again or something else feminazis are always getting too emotional about. We must all be on our periods.

    I’m stuck in “this is just fucking ridiculous” mode.

    HAHAHAHAHA

  13. Erin
    Erin April 9, 2012 at 3:19 pm |

    Right on.
    And just to be a little bit nitpicky:

    Reading blog posts by women at tech or sci-fi conventions that don’t make a single mention of sexual harassment.

    …because there is no sexual harassment, not because we’re afraid to mention it.

  14. Partial Human
    Partial Human April 9, 2012 at 3:24 pm |

    They’re like every majority group. They just can’t, they won’t, accept that not every conversation, or space, or body, is not theirs. Their stinking entitlement permeates every discussion, seeps under every door, and lingers on the skin and in the nostrils.

    It’s like having an infestation of mice or roaches, for every one you see you can guarantee there are ten more, hiding out in the walls. No matter how much you clean and scrub, how many assurances you hear like “They’re gone” or “They won’t be back”, you know it won’t stay clean for long and that they will inevitably return, to swarm and scuttle.

    I dare not let myself believe that this won’t always hold true. As much as I dream of a truly safe place, free of intrusion, I can’t see it ever happening. The majorities won’t let us be.

  15. BBBShrewHarpy
    BBBShrewHarpy April 9, 2012 at 3:27 pm |

    Mostly, amen. With a clarification that embodies my perspective:

    “The message isn’t just you’re unfuckable, although that’s generally part of it. The message is there’s something wrong with you, and it’s one that affects women every day, everywhere, in every context.”

    That’s not even it, for me, though I know this is part of the problem, and terribly undermining for many women. It’s the message “There’s nothing wrong with you… I’d fuck you, in spite of bla bla bla that the magazines say men don’t like and you have, but it’s ok because I actually like!” that is so irritating to me. I don’t give a toss what any of them, or you, think about my body. My appearance is just not part of my self-validation process, and I find it really condescending when people assume it is.

  16. librarygoose
    librarygoose April 9, 2012 at 3:33 pm |

    Those “don’t worry I’d fuck you” ego boosters always make me fell like I should have an inspection sticker. Like a shirt, just a sticker on my forehead or something that says “Inspected by *insert name*” Just to remind me and others I was deemed “fuckable” and therefore I am a worthy product for consumption.

  17. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig April 9, 2012 at 3:45 pm |

    For the record, any time I hear that I always assume three things: that the guy is desperate, lying, and an asshole.

  18. K
    K April 9, 2012 at 3:45 pm |

    I agree with all this (especially the last paragraph), and yet. “I prefer small boobs” etc seems like the closest anyone ever gets to treating ideas about what is attractive as personal preference rather than as a platonic ideal. And acknowledging notions of beauty as questions of personal preference seems to me to be an extremely powerful way of breaking the cultural stranglehold of a certain type of beauty (thin, white, young, blah blah blah you’ve heard this song before.) And, relatedly, to countering the idea that not being attractive to a particular person is some sort of character flaw rather some so-fucking-what aside.

    What if everyone understood “I don’t find him/her attractive” to be about the speaker and not about passing judgment on the object of the sentence? I would much prefer that to a world in which people are encouraged not to speak about what they find beautiful in others. I personally think it is kind of great that we all find different things (physical features as well as personality traits) attractive, and I wish we had a good way of talking about that reality as a good thing and without it being heard as making some sort of value judgment.

  19. Anna
    Anna April 9, 2012 at 3:51 pm |

    Brandon, your objection only makes sense if you presume that for women, “existing on the planet” is EXACTLY THE SAME as “signing up for a dating site.”

    Thanks for this, it made me laugh out loud. And pretty much perfectly encapsulated the issue as well, as if the original post didn’t do that well enough already.

    There really does seem to be a phenomenon of “feminist” guys who like to assure us that their beauty standards are unconventional, but it’s still all about conceptualizing of the female body as an object that’s here to please men. Wow, I’m so glad that my [insert "unconventionally attractive" body part/type here] is sexy to you, because that’s the only thing I was ever worried about.

  20. catfood
    catfood April 9, 2012 at 3:53 pm |

    This post is totally made of win. It is right on. It is well written. Yay.

  21. K
    K April 9, 2012 at 3:54 pm |

    BBBShrewHarpy:

    [quote]That’s not even it, for me, though I know this is part of the problem, and terribly undermining for many women. It’s the message “There’s nothing wrong with you… I’d fuck you, in spite of bla bla bla that the magazines say men don’t like and you have, but it’s ok because I actually like!” that is so irritating to me. I don’t give a toss what any of them, or you, think about my body. My appearance is just not part of my self-validation process, and I find it really condescending when people assume it is.[/quote]

    Yes, exactly. I always want to remind those people that the only way I give a shit if you want to fuck me is if I am also interested in fucking you. Which I am not. So let’s all please move along.

  22. EG
    EG April 9, 2012 at 3:56 pm |

    I would much prefer that to a world in which people are encouraged not to speak about what they find beautiful in others.

    This post isn’t advocating a world in which people are discouraged from voicing what they find attractive in others. This post is arguing that a feminist discussion of the way women are objectified via our level of attractiveness to men is neither the time nor the place for men to voice what they find attractive in women. All it does is to reify the idea that getting a dude hard is the sine qua non of feminine worth.

  23. Emolee
    Emolee April 9, 2012 at 4:07 pm |

    Great post, Caperton!

    What always stands out to me is the conceit and self-importance of these guys. I don’t mean that they think they are so great individually, but that they think by virtue of their maleness, their opinion is the holy grail. Like we’re all going to have a collective “phew! I feel better now!” moment after a random dude from the internet tells us that he “actually” likes a fat ass/small boobs/whatever.

    It is like they hear our interrogation of gender and beauty expectations in society as just whining that we can’t get laid.

  24. Jadey
    Jadey April 9, 2012 at 4:12 pm |

    I personally think it is kind of great that we all find different things (physical features as well as personality traits) attractive, and I wish we had a good way of talking about that reality as a good thing and without it being heard as making some sort of value judgment.

    A lot of that is context. The problem isn’t someone merely having and expressing an attraction preference, it’s when that preference is being used as a way to reassure someone that she’s fuckable too. What Caperton’s article describes is instances when it’s being *used* as a judgment, not just when it’s being heard as a judgment.

    I have been able to have completely fine, interesting and mutual discussions with male friends about what we do and do not find physically attractive. What made it cool was the foundation of trust, the fact that they didn’t talk over me or impose their opinions on me, and that the actual topic was “what do you find physically attractive?” and not “what kind body image crap do women have to put up with?”. Also, they didn’t expect that their personal preferences made them more feminist or enlightened or anything like that.

    (And, for the angry lurkers thinking along the lines of Brandon, yes, it is often harder for a man to express an attraction preference without this baggage cropping up because the general context in which we are usually operating is one in which men’s opinions of women are automatically granted the status of “ultimate judgment of her worth”. It’s the “price” of privilege and it’s why you should care about ending social inequality. Trust me, the cost of oppression isn’t a better bargain.)

  25. Emolee
    Emolee April 9, 2012 at 4:15 pm |

    Brandon, your objection only makes sense if you presume that for women, “existing on the planet” is EXACTLY THE SAME as “signing up for a dating site.”

    Yup. But that’s exactly the problem. So many men think, consciously or otherwise, that the point of women’s existence is to be attractive to them/have sex with them. They completely miss the fact that women are complete human beings, with facets of their lives that (should) have nothing to do with sex or attractiveness, just like men.

  26. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig April 9, 2012 at 4:15 pm |

    I also count “I like smart women” as another meaningless noise. And is there some kind of charity auction we can hold to buy Brandon a clue? Wasn’t he banned?

  27. Abby Spice
    Abby Spice April 9, 2012 at 4:21 pm |

    Just piping up to say that I saw Brandon’s comment and started mentally composing my response, only to find that Jenny, D.N. Nation, iiii, and Jadey said exactly what I was going to say. Basically, I adore you guys.

    Erin–I thought the same thing. Double take. I’m also iffy on the anorexic one. Anorexia is such a complicated issue with the whole “pro-ana” thing. I’m not sure that making it clear that it’s a medical condition is beneficial to the girls (and boys) involved in that community, or if it will just make them feel like they have a legitimate excuse. In other words, anorexia is a medical condition, but should we worry about the side effects of making that point?

  28. Attackfish
    Attackfish April 9, 2012 at 4:31 pm |

    FEMINISTE is NOT a DATING SITE. There is no comparison to be made to OKCupid.

    Wait, it isn’t? I’VE BEEN WRONG ALL THIS TIME!!!!1

  29. K
    K April 9, 2012 at 4:39 pm |

    EG, my take is that what any particular man finds attractive reflects on him, and not on any particular woman who does or does not possess that physical trait. And yes, sometimes that is totally irrelevant to the topic at hand (feminst discussion of body image/ body representation in the media, check — if this is about a particular Feministe discussion lately, I wouldn’t know that because I am tragically behind in my RSS feed, so I apologize if I am unaware of some important specific context tha twasn’t described in the post). I was reacting to the idea that saying “I prefer small breasts” is or should be understood as a backhanded criticism of women with large breasts (as in the last sentence in the post)… To me, the only way of severing the imagined link between personal appearance and personal value is to reject it that link altogether, and not treat statements about preference as though they are statements about worth.

  30. Angel H.
    Angel H. April 9, 2012 at 4:50 pm |

    And is there some kind of charity auction we can hold to buy Brandon a clue?

    HA! Now I’ll have to be on the lookout for places I can use this.

    Thanks, Politicalguineapig!

  31. SaraA
    SaraA April 9, 2012 at 4:55 pm |

    I believe I can explain the confusion. Brandon is one of those guys who thinks that hanging around with feminists is a great way to pick up chicks. Ergo, OKCupid = Feministe.

  32. Captain Awkward
    Captain Awkward April 9, 2012 at 5:12 pm |

    Oh god, thanks for this, Caperton.

    I always mentally classify these “helpful” compliments as Notes From Your Boner, and unless I’m fucking you, I don’t really need to know what your boner thinks about things, so maybe keep it to yourself and let the grownups talk. The people who interject these “helpful” “compliments” always seem to be confused that they don’t get a cookie for being so generous in their appreciation. I mean, they told us what their cock likes, and it bestowed its approval. What more do we need?

  33. Mark
    Mark April 9, 2012 at 5:22 pm |

    Oh, for the love of little green treefrogs in Texas, people! Could you *really* not see that “Brandon” was trolling your comments? And look how much time and attention he’s gotten out of it. An article like that on a website like this is a great shining troll-target. I’m just surprised he was the only one.

    And yes, I see the irony in my contributing to his success by posting this. Carry on.

  34. KR
    KR April 9, 2012 at 5:23 pm |

    Why so many negative comments to Brandon? He voiced his opinion without insulting anyone. Why not just disagree with him? Maybe he would change his opinion with a educated response.

  35. ally?
    ally? April 9, 2012 at 5:35 pm |

    A tricky thing here is that dudes read about women and body image, and they could be forgiven for thinking that the discussion had something to do with sexuality. I mean, if we were talking about executives and ideas and whatever, why would we be talking about boobs? Boobs are either sex or breastfeeding. In the less-sexual world of the workplace, they are something we need to endeavor not to be distracted by.

    Another tricky thing is that dudes who recognize that oppression exists (and who think that it is bad) still have boners. They might wish that their significant other would lose a bit of weight, or lust after something that’s incredibly rare (i.e.: fast hard anal sex where the woman is doing something other than humoring you). The boner and the mind need not be linked. You can want these things viscerally while understanding how problematic they can be. Its a balancing act to figure out what you actually seek and what you forego in the name of not being an asshole.

    Of course, that conversation is for within-sexual-relationship body image discussions, not the unprompted your-image-has-something-to-do-with-something-that-its-unrelated-to discussions.

  36. Gruntle
    Gruntle April 9, 2012 at 5:39 pm |

    Being a dick is offensive.
    Being nice is also offensive.

    There is no correct way to act, only repeated trail and error and the first error is instant and severe judgment.

    No wonder men get confused and turn inward.

  37. EG
    EG April 9, 2012 at 5:40 pm |

    Maybe he would change his opinion with a educated response.

    Oh, you mean if girls are nice enough to him, he might realize that a feminist discussion of body image is different than an online dating site?

    Fuck that.

  38. Li
    Li April 9, 2012 at 5:51 pm |

    Hey, um, other dudes on this thread? This might be an appropriate time for y’all to sit back and just read. Because OH THE HUMANITY ALL OF THE FEET IN ALL OF THE MOUTHS.

  39. iiii
    iiii April 9, 2012 at 5:53 pm |

    Mark’s right. We should sit silent like nice little ladies and just let the bullies talk. Really, they’re only looking for attention. Telling the assholes to

  40. Diane
    Diane April 9, 2012 at 5:54 pm |

    The sentiments and commentary in this post help explain why I think the most subversive high school romance movie of all time is “Hairspray” – because the “fat chick”‘s makeover is not a slim-down, and because she attracts the heartthrob. That story is far more revolutionary than the mixed-race couple (not that John Waters was not well aware of that).

  41. Brandon
    Brandon April 9, 2012 at 5:55 pm |

    @Jenny: I see the difference, but I don’t think it changes anything. Feministe, OKCupid, a group of friends talking, etc… The point is you are discussing body image and you are inviting people to voice their opinions on that subject. And those opinions might be the complete opposite from yours. Just because you find something rude or inappropriate, that does not make it oppressive or harmful.

    @D.N Nation: Is there some committee that gets to decide what subjects are appropriate in what contexts? I was under the impression that individuals decided what is appropriate at that given time. The whole “this is inappropriate in this context” idea is highly subjective. What next? Do we have to listen to people that don’t like “naughty words” and insist we say “poop” instead of “shit”?

    @iiii: “existing on the planet” is rather abstract. I think you mean “having a conversation about body image” or maybe “I overheard a conversation I was not apart of about what female celebrities two guys find attractive”.

    @Jadey: I couldn’t agree with you more. Yes, Feministe is definitely not a dating site.

    So by that logic, am I being oppressed when a group of women are belittling men because they don’t make enough money?

    @SaraA: Funny, since I hold the complete opposite belief. Hanging around feminists isn’t a great way to meet single women.

  42. xenu01
    xenu01 April 9, 2012 at 5:55 pm |

    Let me quote my husband here: “Oh, I’m making it about me again, aren’t I?”

    Dudez. SERIOUSLY.

  43. iiii
    iiii April 9, 2012 at 5:58 pm |

    Mark’s right. We should sit silent like nice little ladies and just let the bullies talk. Really, they’re only looking for attention. Telling assholes to go annoy someone else is playing right into their hands.

    Thank you Mark! I’ll be very quiet now, and listen carefully while you men hash this out for me.

  44. gratuitous_violet
    gratuitous_violet April 9, 2012 at 5:59 pm |

    Being nice is also offensive.

    Interjecting the opinion of one’s wang into a conversation about the pressure produced by such wangly opinions /= being nice. Please try again.

    No wonder men get confused and turn inward.

    Ooh! Is this where I get to accuse men of being too emotional and just not thinking logically enough? I hope so.

  45. Antonia
    Antonia April 9, 2012 at 5:59 pm |

    Since no one has mentioned it yet:

    I’m a queer woman, and:

    1. I still find the male gaze and stringent female beauty norms oppressive, and
    2. male approval of any sort is clearly not going to make me feel visible again or end my oppression.

  46. xenu01
    xenu01 April 9, 2012 at 5:59 pm |

    And hey, maybe it’s a great thing if privileged people “get confused and turn inward” because maybe that inward turning means thinking about one’s position of privilege.

    Example: I got shut down righteously by a woman of color in the comments section of an anti-racist blog. Sure, I had hurt feelings. Sure, I wanted to say, “Why are you mad at me? I meant well?”

    But I didn’t. I turned inward and reflected painfully on what a (however unintentionally! It doesn’t matter what you MEANT) clueless asshole I was. Then I kept reading comments and didn’t contribute for a while for a few months until I felt like maybe I had learned enough to try again.

  47. Angel H.
    Angel H. April 9, 2012 at 6:04 pm |

    I always mentally classify these “helpful” compliments as Notes From Your Boner, and unless I’m fucking you, I don’t really need to know what your boner thinks about things, so maybe keep it to yourself and let the grownups talk.

    @ Captain Akward: Between this comment and what politicalguineapig said earlier, y’all have me rollin’ in this thread! Srsly, “Notes From My Boner” should be printed on stationary.

    Maybe he would change his opinion with a educated response.

    Matt, is that you?

  48. Andie
    Andie April 9, 2012 at 6:11 pm |

    This is why context is important.

    Example:

    Woman: I feel like I’m being judged by supervisors at work because {physical trait}

    Good ally response: wow, that’s bullshit. You’re a great employee, your {physical trait} should have no bearing on your work.

    Unhelpful response: wow, that sucks. I think {physical trait} is totally hot.

    Why is the latter unhelpful? Because her concern is how she’s being perceived at work. Unhelpful response brings the conversation back to her fuckability, which has nothing to do with the conversation, but a lot to do with how women are valued.

  49. Andie
    Andie April 9, 2012 at 6:13 pm |

    Since no one has mentioned it yet:

    I’m a queer woman, and:

    1. I still find the male gaze and stringent female beauty norms oppressive, and
    2. male approval of any sort is clearly not going to make me feel visible again or end my oppression.

    Excellent point.

  50. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig April 9, 2012 at 6:17 pm |

    Gruntle: It might help if you learned the difference between trail and trial. Also, there’s a huge difference between being a nice guy (as in an every day polite dude) and a Nice Guy (who’s only nice to women that he thinks will fuck him). You are obviously one of the latter, and think women are too stupid to know the difference. Come back when you grow out of it.

    AngelH: You’re welcome. Please, post a photograph when you do use that expression.

    Mark: Weren’t you banned a while ago too? Or was that another asshole named Mark?

    KR: Some people are beyond education. You and Brandon are two of them. So why don’t you go play outside while the grownups talk?

  51. Jo
    Jo April 9, 2012 at 6:20 pm |

    And to continue on from Antonia: I’m an asexual woman. I’m not looking to attract anyone, I don’t want anyone to be interested in me. I’d just prefer it if they keep their judgements about my appearance to themselves. But that doesn’t happen much, because in my experience, most men (on the street, at uni, etc) will give their unsolicited opinions about my body anyway. And it’s something I could really do without.

    I am not simply made up of different parts of my body that may or may not be “the right shape/size.” I’m a person. I wish people would treat me like one when I’m out and about.

  52. Kelly
    Kelly April 9, 2012 at 6:21 pm |

    Gruntle haz a sad.

  53. Emolee
    Emolee April 9, 2012 at 6:22 pm |

    TW: Eating Disorders

    If we let ourselves decide that anorexic = skinny, we end up pathologizing women who are just naturally thin, and we end up missing women who actually do have EDs but don’t fit the physical stereotype.

    @Caperton, Yes. I was anorexic at over 200 pounds. The medical definition of anorexia may require one’s weight to be low- I don’t know- but what I mean is that I was eating less than 500 calories a day for a very extended period of time (which, btw, was encouraged by everyone I knew).

    I became SEVERELY anemic to the point of needing transfusions. I went to numerous doctors, including hemotology experts, to try to figure out why I was so anemic. I had numerous, very expensive, hardly-ever-done blood tests. Doctors were mis-diagnosing exotic blood diseases. No one in all of those offices ONCE thought to ask me if I was eating enough- because I was fat, I presume- even though anemia is a very common result of anorexia or not eating enough.

  54. unyun
    unyun April 9, 2012 at 6:27 pm |

    The unwillingness of folks (I’m assuming dudes but I might be wrong) to own the context here is really frustrating. I guess part and parcel of privilege is being able to analyze this shit in a void and, by virtue of having a penis, believing you’re right. Ugh.

    And Gruntle, I happen to love nice men. But a dude giving me an unsolicited opinion like “you look so much prettier without make up” IS NOT NICE. It makes me feel like shit because it’s implying that what I think of myself isn’t enough, that I MUST want to hear your (male) opinion otherwise how will I feel validated? And it ends up pissing a lot of us ladies off when we’re admonished to hand out gold stars to dudes for opining about our appearance when the context doesn’t call for it (hint: most of the time it doesn’t, and ESPECIALLY on a feminist blog during a discussion of body image).

    And I CAN’T STAND how the guys that say shit like “I prefer smaller boobs” within the context of a feminist discussion on body image try to insist that they’re “being nice”, thus positioning us as the hysterical feminists and them as the “totes enlightened” men. Just no.

  55. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh April 9, 2012 at 6:27 pm |

    I was reacting to the idea that saying “I prefer small breasts” is or should be understood as a backhanded criticism of women with large breasts (as in the last sentence in the post)…

    You really should have read the original thread before responding to this. This wasn’t the issue at all, really (although Caperton did make the point that having National Cleavage Day excludes and alienates women who don’t have cleavage), but rather that displaying cleavage is not some noble feminist act of empowerment, and women don’t need to have some lofty excuse to display cleavage if that’s what they want to do. And then, lo and behold, several male commenters showed up to present verbal diarrhea about boobs, to tell tell us all how much they like small breasts, or how they saw really great cleavage on a woman recently, etc. etc. etc.

    I was going to share in the original thread some thoughts about being a larger-chested woman who often does display cleavage, about how while I love my chest, I don’t always love the treatment I get from people, especially men, because of it, but I nixed the idea once the thread was flooded by men who don’t know when to butt out.

  56. Emolee
    Emolee April 9, 2012 at 6:35 pm |

    @ Andie- your example is spot-on. Anyone who is not getting the point of this post- read that!

    @Ally?

    A tricky thing here is that dudes read about women and body image, and they could be forgiven for thinking that the discussion had something to do with sexuality. I mean, if we were talking about executives and ideas and whatever, why would we be talking about boobs? Boobs are either sex or breastfeeding.

    No, no no. Breasts are body parts that many women have. At work, at home, at play, etc. Breasts are not “either sex or breastfeeding” (much like women are not just for sex and babies), breasts are PART OF THE BODIES OF MANY HUMAN BEINGS. And these human beings live in these bodies all the time.

    This is the problem. Thinking of women’s bodies in “parts” and what those parts are “used” for.

  57. D.N. Nation
    D.N. Nation April 9, 2012 at 6:46 pm |

    Brandon:

    Is there some committee that gets to decide what subjects are appropriate in what contexts?

    Uh, yeah. The original person who brought up their issue. They most likely don’t care what gives you a stiffy. Dig?

  58. EG
    EG April 9, 2012 at 6:49 pm |

    Right? Right? I have breasts all the time. Not just when I’m having sex or breastfeeding. Every minute of every day. I have them when I’m washing dishes, when I’m teaching, when I’m trying on a pair of shoes, when I’m having a cup of tea. Constantly.

  59. Andie
    Andie April 9, 2012 at 6:51 pm |

    Breasts are not “either sex or breastfeeding” (much like women are not just for sex and babies), breasts are PART OF THE BODIES OF MANY HUMAN BEINGS. And these human beings live in these bodies all the time.

    This. Also, human beings that may not breast feed and may not have sex, but lo and behold still have breasts… Breasts that are not up for public evaluation, whether positive or negative, just by virtue of bing there.

  60. Mxe354
    Mxe354 April 9, 2012 at 6:53 pm |

    Being a dick is offensive.
    Being nice is also offensive.

    No, being nice is much appreciated; if we’re talking about body image, then mentioning pertinent sexual preferences is absurd. It’s not “nice.”

    There is no correct way to act, only repeated trail and error and the first error is instant and severe judgment.

    Let me guess; now you’re going to say that all feminist women are uptight and hyperemotional. I can see it coming from a mile away, indeed.

    No wonder men get confused and turn inward.

    Actually, none of this is confusing. Now, shoo!

  61. AfterMath
    AfterMath April 9, 2012 at 7:01 pm |

    I just think this was a GREAT post.

  62. EG
    EG April 9, 2012 at 7:04 pm |

    The more I think about it, the more I think it’s amazing that some of these guys can’t recognize that information about what turns them on might be welcome in some contexts but not in others. I mean, how do they function in society if they can’t figure out when it is appropriate to volunteer such information. There they are, at Thanksgiving dinner, or in a board meeting, or paying for groceries, and they, in all innocence and with good will, announce that they prefer small boobs, and for some reason they can’t imagine, people react poorly. But what else can they do? They can’t tell the difference between a conversation about a feminist analysis of body image issues and objectification as they affect women, an on-line dating site, a conversation with a sexual partner, and a group of friends having an informal conversation.

    Oh, that doesn’t happen? Then…I guess they can figure out the appropriate context for letting people know what gets their dicks hard.

    See? It’s not really that difficult.

  63. Glass
    Glass April 9, 2012 at 7:08 pm |

    Cis male here with a point of order for any fellow dudes reading Feministe or any other Feminist space:

    If you have a comment or point you’d like to share that in any way, shape, or form is the “male perspective” on the topic at hand you really should seriously consider keeping it to yourself. This also applies if your point is specifically from the male perspective but one from any privileged group.

    Come here to learn the feminist perspective, not to share the male perspective. Rest assured that most feminists are quite familiar with it already.

    See also: mansplaining

  64. Glass
    Glass April 9, 2012 at 7:09 pm |

    Should read- “This also applies if your point isn’t specifically from the male perspective but one from any privileged group.”

    Sleep deprivation is awesome.

  65. Jenkitty
    Jenkitty April 9, 2012 at 7:17 pm |

    Fine, I’ll spell it out and use small words.

    We would like our value to society, as individuals and as a group, to be measured by some factor other than primarily (or often solely) our physical attributes. Thank you.

  66. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh April 9, 2012 at 7:18 pm |

    While I thank the cis men in here who have tried to talk to the influx of dudes about their unsolicited opining (this time whining about the treatment of the dudes in the last thread on this subject), it is fucking frustrating that the mouth-diarrhea dudes don’t listen to the rest of us. But that’s just another illustration of privilege at work. *sigh*

  67. Emolee
    Emolee April 9, 2012 at 7:23 pm |

    Come here to learn the feminist perspective, not to share the male perspective.

    Right. The majority of the world is about sharing the male perspective… its not like there is not an outlet for these dudes thoughts on women’s bodies.

    It’s also so annoying how these guys seem to assume that
    1) all feminists are women;
    2) we don’t know any men; and
    3) we are waiting and hoping that some dude on the Internet will enlighten us on what men think about us.

  68. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve April 9, 2012 at 7:25 pm |

    Beauty is not necessarily the same as attraction. When I see the scar on my wife’s chest, I find it a thing of unbelievable beauty, because I know what she went through with her cancer ordeal. That doesn’t mean I have a scar fetish, I just recall the year of fear, sickness, hair loss, etc and I’m so proud of how strong she was.

  69. karak
    karak April 9, 2012 at 7:51 pm |

    I don’t need to be told you find my body type beautiful, I need to be told that I don’t need to stare at myself in the mirror terrified that the most minute change to my appearance will suddenly make a different person who exists in a different world.

    I need to know that when I gain or lose 20 pounds, I am not a different human being. That getting a few wrinkles won’t suddenly make my job application more or less valuable. I need to know that I am okay as ALL the women I am and will be, and that none of them are inherently better than any other.

  70. Matt
    Matt April 9, 2012 at 8:45 pm |

    What a fitting post! I was just thinking about this today. 19 year-old me was exactly that guy. I thought I was doing something good by complimenting women, despite being completely oblivious to the patriarchal context of what I was saying.

    It stings a bit to remember, but I’d rather endure a little shame and re-affirm my feminism than lash out with defensiveness and derailment like many who are taught this lesson might think to do.

  71. Scott
    Scott April 9, 2012 at 8:52 pm |

    As a male I found this post challenging.

    I think the biggest challenge was shifting my point of view. My gut reaction was to say something like “What’s wrong with stating a preference?” or “I’m sure most of those guys didn’t mean any harm.” Both of which would have gotten me an internet smack down I’m sure.

    For me this post wasn’t about the intent of such posts, it’s about the effect and I believe it applies to both genders. Since I’m shorter, any comment that said “I date tall guys” would feel like a complete discount of my personality and someone saying “I love short guys” would make me feel like a fetishists object of desire.

    If I’m waaay off base let me know but I think taking the time to prevent objective thinking about either gender is admirable.

  72. theLaplaceDemon
    theLaplaceDemon April 9, 2012 at 9:11 pm |

    I also count “I like smart women” as another meaningless noise.

    Yes yes YES. I’ve dated guys who have said “…and she’s really smart!” as if it was some kind of trophy, while not actually being interested in engaging with me intellectually at all – it was just about validating his self-worth and bragging to his friends.

    It felt really icky, really objectifying – it was just a slightly altered set of criteria for fuckability.

    (I’ve also had guys I’ve dated tell me I’m smart in a non-icky way, more in the context of “wow, that was a really great conversation, you’re really smart, thanks for talking that out with me!” and not “HEY GUYS LOOK WHAT I HAVE.” There is a big difference.)

  73. BBBShrewHarpy
    BBBShrewHarpy April 9, 2012 at 9:12 pm |

    Andie:

    This is why context is important.

    Example:

    Woman: I feel like I’m being judged by supervisors at work because {physical trait}

    Good ally response: wow, that’s bullshit. You’re a great employee, your {physical trait} should have no bearing on your work.

    Unhelpful response: wow, that sucks. I think {physical trait} is totally hot.

    Why is the latter unhelpful? Because her concern is how she’s being perceived at work. Unhelpful response brings the conversation back to her fuckability, which has nothing to do with the conversation, but a lot to do with how women are valued.

    So fabulous it bears quoting in its entirety.

    So much great stuff in the post & in the comments. Oodles a self-reflective man who had been swatted down but wanted to be an ally could learn. Just by reading. And refraining from commenting. Please!

  74. ally?
    ally? April 9, 2012 at 9:12 pm |

    People have no right to judge people’s non-sexual attributes based on their physical appearance. This should be obvious. And men (and others) who are turned on by cleavage should restrain themselves from commenting about it, drooling noticeably, or otherwise reacting to it unless invited to.

    But ladies, I’m totally going to notice the hell out of your boobs. If I do a good job, I will completely separate my evaluation of your boobs from my opinion of your intelligence or competence. Also if I do a good job, you will not notice me noticing them.

    Women have a right to demand that men make this separation. Women do not have a right to demand that men not notice them. If you exist in a public space, your body will be noticed. I realize that people are a thing that women have when they are not being sexual or breastfeeding. But the evolutionary purpose of the things is sexual and/or about breastfeeding. I have my penis when I am cleaning the bathroom. It doesn’t mean my penis isn’t a reproductive organ. It is a part of my body that isn’t being used when I am not pissing or fucking (or doing cool tricks).

    Really, a lot of people don’t want dudes to be jerks, but then take it too far to insist that men aren’t allowed to be attracted to women.

  75. DonnaL
    DonnaL April 9, 2012 at 9:19 pm |

    Wonderful post, and more thoughts when I have time.

    But as to this:

    FEMINISTE is NOT a DATING SITE. There is no comparison to be made to OKCupid.

    I’m not sure you’re right. Because, looking back on my life, I can truthfully say that I have never, ever slept with a man I didn’t meet through Feministe. I don’t know how I would have managed my love life with men without it.

  76. Jenny
    Jenny April 9, 2012 at 9:20 pm |

    It all comes down to dudes being afraid that feminists are telling them they can’t fuck or want to fuck anymore, doesn’t it?

    NO ONE IS TELLING YOU NOT TO BE ATTRACTED TO WOMEN.

    Ok? Can we just be clear on that? No one has made any value judgments on what anyone is or is not attracted to.

    The point, if I may reiterate, is that your attraction is not always, or even usually, the fucking point. Please, just meditate on that for a while, ok?

  77. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh April 9, 2012 at 9:21 pm |

    Oh my, bring out the orchestra of teeny teeny tiny tiny violins for ally? and his lamentations over the horrible, horrible feminists that won’t let men be attracted them!

  78. Andy
    Andy April 9, 2012 at 9:23 pm |

    Also if I do a good job, you will not notice me noticing them.

    You are doing a bad job. I’m noticing. Try harder.

  79. DonnaL
    DonnaL April 9, 2012 at 9:25 pm |

    Really, a lot of people don’t want dudes to be jerks, but then take it too far to insist that men aren’t allowed to be attracted to women.

    WTF? Can you point to one single comment in this thread that “insisted” this, or even said it? Are you really that dense?

  80. flightless
    flightless April 9, 2012 at 9:25 pm |

    Also if I do a good job, you will not notice me noticing them.

    In which case you presumably would NOT be interjecting your random boob-noticey comments into all manner of blog threads, right? So um then, good job.

  81. EG
    EG April 9, 2012 at 9:25 pm |

    I have my penis when I am cleaning the bathroom. It doesn’t mean my penis isn’t a reproductive organ.

    Interestingly, we don’t live in a society that demands, through its clothing norms, that men put the size and shape of their penises on display, and then judges them as human beings by those attributes. If we did, your analogy might have some bearing on the issues in question.

    Really, a lot of people don’t want dudes to be jerks, but then take it too far to insist that men aren’t allowed to be attracted to women.

    Example? Evidence?

    Demanding that you understand that whether or not you are attracted to us is neither relevant nor interesting to us, and thus that you shouldn’t volunteer such information unless the context is appropriate is not demanding that you not be attracted to us. It is demanding that you shut the fuck up about it while we discuss the effects your gender’s inability to understand that we are human beings regardless of your desire to fuck us.

  82. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh April 9, 2012 at 9:26 pm |

    Andddd my snark got caught in the moderation filter. Damn. Oh well. Still hard to feel sorry for ally? and his woes caused by straw feminists.

  83. Jenny
    Jenny April 9, 2012 at 9:28 pm |

    My comment to Ally? got stuck in moderation. Too much profanity?

    Anyway, the gist is: It all comes down to dudes being afraid that feminists are telling them they can’t f*ck or want to f*ck anymore, doesn’t it?

  84. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve April 9, 2012 at 9:36 pm |

    Really, a lot of people don’t want dudes to be jerks, but then take it too far to insist that men aren’t allowed to be attracted to women.

    The OP makes no comment on men being attracted to women. She merely questions the validity of sharing this information and whole-heartedly rejects the idea that hearing it will make small chested women feel better about themselves. She makes an excellent case- pointing that it is the objectification of breasts which is offensive, so offering a preference at all is doing that very thing.

    HTH

  85. shfree
    shfree April 9, 2012 at 9:36 pm |

    This reminds me of this one dude in a Women’s Studies class I had once, when we were talking about body image. This one dude, who had this gift for thinking he was saying the Right Thing, but ALWAYS had it so, so wrong, said that he was so said that Cameron Diaz lost all that weight, because she was so much hotter in the Mask. I really, really wished my instructor hadn’t set the tone she did, where we were focused on history and not theory, so debate was actively discouraged. Because I so wanted to pummel him into the ground verbally almost every class.

  86. unyun
    unyun April 9, 2012 at 9:40 pm |

    @ally?… I don’t know who you are talking about, but I don’t think anyone here has even come close to insisting that “men aren’t allowed to be attracted to women”.

  87. DonnaL
    DonnaL April 9, 2012 at 9:47 pm |

    It all comes down to dudes being afraid that feminists are telling them they can’t f*ck or want to f*ck anymore, doesn’t it?

    Exactly. First men aren’t allowed to notice boobs; the next thing you know, feminists will be saying it isn’t OK to pick up women in elevators at 3 am. If this keeps up, the human race is doomed

    And who will be left to speak up for the men? Somewhere, Pastor Niemöller is weeping.

    .

  88. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh April 9, 2012 at 9:48 pm |

    @ally?… I don’t know who you are talking about, but I don’t think anyone here has even come close to insisting that “men aren’t allowed to be attracted to women”.

    I think deep down his issue that feminists have the audacity to say if that a man finds us attractive, we don’t need or necessarily want to hear about it, and he feels entitled to tell any woman his opinion of her, whether she wishes to hear it or not.

  89. librarygoose
    librarygoose April 9, 2012 at 9:57 pm |

    @ally?

    Who the fuck said you can’t be attracted to women? I’m sure pretty much no one said that. The point is stop acting like your “compliments” are a fucking daily affirmation. I don’t wake up every morning, go to mirror and say, “*random dude* would totally get off on my tits. *random dude* would totally get off on my tits.” Then high-five my reflection. Stop acting like everyone here is ruining your boob fun. I have NO fucking desire to know about your preference for boobs. It has no place in discussions of women’s body images.

  90. K
    K April 9, 2012 at 10:04 pm |

    Aannaleigh, you may be right that it would have been helpful to read some other previous thread for context. In my defense, no prior thread was clearly linked in this post as its starting point, and as I mentioned before, I am waaaay behind in my blog feeds. (I caught this post linked from Twitter.) But it does seem like I’m missing some piece of the background so I’ll bow out.

  91. pheenobarbidoll
    pheenobarbidoll April 9, 2012 at 10:04 pm |

    Reminds me of a conversation I had with an ex

    Me- I may cut my hair shorter.

    Idiot- I like long hair

    Me- Well I like Brad Pitt so I guess we’ll both be disappointed.

  92. unyun
    unyun April 9, 2012 at 10:07 pm |

    @librarygoose: I love that you put “compliments” in scare quotes cuz….SERIOUSLY. Any guy who insists that their unsolicited opinion on boob size within the context of a feminist discussion on body image is a “compliment” or “being nice” needs to quit being so damn dishonest. For real.

  93. ally?
    ally? April 9, 2012 at 10:17 pm |

    Oh yeah, totally, I agree with all of you who say that your goal shouldn’t be to make dudes want to have sex with you. But while you’re in the process of winning the nobel prize or whatever, if you’re in good shape and have any charm, fellows will have impure thoughts about you. Those of you who think that dudes are jerks for doing so (not all of you) should get over yourselves.

  94. DonnaL
    DonnaL April 9, 2012 at 10:20 pm |

    your gender’s inability to understand that we are human beings regardless of your desire to fuck us.

    I think you, and a lot of other women here, might find it hard to believe — or perhaps not — how many arguments I had with men, once upon a time when they thought I was one of them, in which they came right out and said that they didn’t think women were “people” in remotely the same way that men are. I would get so overwhelmingly angry and frustrated I couldn’t stand it. There were a couple of times I was even tempted to say who I really was. But it wouldn’t have helped, so I didn’t.

  95. unyun
    unyun April 9, 2012 at 10:21 pm |

    @Annaleigh: Yeah it’s incredibly obnoxious. How dare we not care what he thinks?!!?!?!?! We’re women! Our lives our supposed to be shaped by men’s desires!!! And if we refuse to give a shit… well, that’s not a power that men relinquish with ease.

  96. HelpMeBeaBetterMan
    HelpMeBeaBetterMan April 9, 2012 at 10:25 pm |

    I saw the link here from Male Feminists and found it deeply troubling for me, mostly because I have been (perhaps misguidedly so) proud that I thought curvier women were more beautiful, and that I was doing my part to combat Hollywood and cultural norms.

    So I’ve read the post a few times, have been reading through the comments, and in my commute home I’ve reflected on all this, and I’m just looking for help in understanding–with the understanding that my male privilege clouds my perspective.

    To start, I’m in full agreement that in the cartoon linked above in Laleeda’s comment (#1) and Andie’s comment (#49), that these are great examples of where these comments only perpetuate women being judged by their physical traits and outward appearances. Further, that focusing on appearances (even in an attempt to be nice) is irrelevant to the real issue of privilege and oppression the effort is not helpful and is worthy of dismissal.

    My question is then, is the kind of response of “I think curvy women are beautiful” (and its analogs) *always* inappropriate in *all* situations? Or is the scope of the prohibition here narrowed to the situations mentioned above by Laleeda and Andie, as well as here on feminism blogs?

    For example, if I were consoling a girl friend who was just dumped by a boyfriend for some shallow physical reason — that she gained weight and was no longer sexy in his eyes, or maybe he doesn’t like her (short or long) hair cut, or the small boobs thing, I don’t know. It would be appropriate to highlight the boyfriend’s lameness and shallowness and also talk about my friend’s wonderful qualities and personality — this would definitely be a given. However, I guess what I’m trying to set up here is that, where body image is directly at issue–in addition to highlighting the great non-physical parts of a person, isn’t it also appropriate to say something like “Hey, he’s a jerk, not all men want rail thin super models, plenty of men like curvy women too, there is some great guy out there for you!” ? Or not?

    Or that in eating disorder blog I’ve visited, a lot of the anecdotes cite the negative cultural expectations of thinness growing up (from the opposite gender and from family suggesting that they would never attract the opposite gender) as one of the main causal factors in their struggle with their self image. Part of me feels like this frustration and pain could be mitigated some if there was some proclamation out there that this just reflects one cultural/Hollywood norm and that not all men or whoever feel this way. Am I completely misguided in this belief? Should I completely shut up about the curvy women thing altogether? I want to be helpful and feminist minded, but I didn’t realize I was/could be perpetuating further harm.

  97. librarygoose
    librarygoose April 9, 2012 at 10:27 pm |

    if you’re in good shape and have any charm, fellows will have impure thoughts about you. Those of you who think that dudes are jerks for doing so (not all of you) should get over yourselve

    Keep the thoughts to yourselves. That’s all. I don’t see some dude walking down the street and say, “WOW. I would bang you! Have a ribbon of fuckablity!” I keep that shit to myself. Fuck, do you just shout all the thoughts you have all day? “I like boobs!” “Sometimes I wonder if posters can really move, like in Harry Potter.” “Man, my ass itches right now.” etc.

  98. BBBShrewHarpy
    BBBShrewHarpy April 9, 2012 at 10:30 pm |

    A world full of Homer Simpsons!

  99. Jenny
    Jenny April 9, 2012 at 10:35 pm |

    I just can’t even with this guy.

    Feminist thought police! Trying to ruin everyone’s sexual fantasies while they run around doing whatever it is they do when they aren’t appearing in my sexual fantasies!

  100. Jenny
    Jenny April 9, 2012 at 10:42 pm |

    Helpmebeabetterman:

    The thing is, you don’t have the power to negate an entire society fully of negative images and objectification. If you want to help, making proclamations about your own personal desires is not really that effective. You are just one dude. I would say, if you really want to help, refrain from reducing women to objects – this goes for women you do know and women you don’t know. Date women you are attracted to. Be a good friend. Listen to women. Refrain from mansplaining. Call out other dudes when you see them engaging in negative behaviors. You can do so much more and so much better than just declaring your personal preference for for X body type.

  101. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. April 9, 2012 at 10:44 pm |

    @HelpMeBeaBetterMan

    Okay, try this. If the topic is what type of women you person are attracted to, then feel free to express your opinion. If the topic is women or beauty or thinness or norms, then your opinion on what is or is not attractive is not relevant.

  102. HelpMeBeaBetterMan
    HelpMeBeaBetterMan April 9, 2012 at 10:55 pm |

    Jenny,

    I definite do and continue to aspire to do the things you’ve outlined — and seeing them articulated again is a helpful reminder in that effort. Thank you and thanks for responding! I didn’t mean to characterize that I believed declaring personal preference for body types was a solely sufficient tool for promoting feminism, but rather — it is altogether categorically incorrect and offensive to do? In other words, in addition to those things you mentioned, does it not even ever belong in the tool box of being a male ally?

    Maybe this is a cleaner articulation of my jumbled mess earlier (apologies) — I recognize the problems inherent in declaring personal physical preferences, in that it does objectify people. However, it struck me that it seems like there are some circumstances where people (men and women alike, though in different ways given differences in privilege) can be insecure of or frustrated with their physical image. I feel like my natural instinct is to directly address that insecurity with the physical preference thing (despite the inherent problems with objectification) because that appears to be what is at issue.

    Is there no place for that still?

  103. Dominique
    Dominique April 9, 2012 at 11:00 pm |

    Great post. You express very effectively something it has taken me many more words to say.

    Re: Brandon. Looks like someone didn’t read the definition of “derail” in Feminism 101. You can google “what about teh menz”, in case you’re wondering.

    @ Other commenters: I suggest redirecting comments such as Brandon’s to a Feminism 101 post somewhere in order not to waste everyone else’s time. Thanks.

  104. Andy
    Andy April 9, 2012 at 11:01 pm |

    Oh yeah, totally, I agree with all of you who say that your goal shouldn’t be to make dudes want to have sex with you. But while you’re in the process of winning the nobel prize or whatever, if you’re in good shape and have any charm, fellows will have impure thoughts about you. Those of you who think that dudes are jerks for doing so (not all of you) should get over yourselves.

    Any time a woman thinks a man is a jerk for “having impure thought about her” it means one thing: SHE MANAGED TO NOTICE THE MAN HAVING IMPURE THOUGHTS. Otherwise, she wouldn’t even be able to think he was a jerk. Right? By your own admission, this means the man is fucking up.

  105. unyun
    unyun April 9, 2012 at 11:03 pm |

    @ally?….. Once again, no one said that a dude having impure thoughts about a woman makes him a jerk. I’m not really sure where you’re getting this shit.

  106. umami
    umami April 9, 2012 at 11:07 pm |

    Hmbabm:
    If in any doubt? No. Women already know that many men are attracted to curvier women. It’s really hard not to know that! And I mean, I’m attracted to curvier women. Doesn’t stop me wanting to be much thinner than the shape I find attractive.

    I won’t say it is absolutely always the wrong thing to say. Just 99.9% of the time. And really, you sound like you have a lot more to offer than just telling people what the weather is like in your underwear. Stick to the good stuff. :)

  107. Jenny
    Jenny April 9, 2012 at 11:10 pm |

    Helpmebeabetterman: I’m going to direct you to Kristin J’s wonderfully helpful and succinct comment above.

  108. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune April 9, 2012 at 11:12 pm |

    @HelpMeBeaBetterMan,

    Here’s the scenarios:

    “I like big butts and I cannot lie” —> statement of personal preference, not really useful, for, say, queer me, who isn’t really invested in men’s reaction to me.

    “Lots of people like big butts and cannot lie” —> reassuring statement of diverse body type preferences among human beings, good for saying while patting on the shoulder and offering kleenex, say, but not a really full ally statement.

    “Big butts are a feature of the body and people making you feel like shit about big butts, round butts, flat butts or inky-dinky butts are reducing you to your butt, and you are absolutely not required to take those dumbfucks seriously, and I am so sorry that people think your big/round/flat/inky-dinky butt is a reason to judge your worth as a human being. Want to see my Youtube puppy videos?” —> better statement.

    In any case, bringing personal preferences into reassurance is a bad bet. You may thus cause the “um, I don’t care about your preference” ego-crushing honesty, the “um, I don’t want to know what gives you boners” intensely awkward moment, the “gee thanks creeper” justified anger… possibly all of the above in one comment. AND you haven’t really made the woman in question feel better, because it’s not really a conversation about your boner, unless she’s actually worried about whether YOU have a boner for HER given that she’s big/round/flat/inky-dinky. At that point, tell her all about your preferences, because your preferences ARE relevant to it. Does that make sense?

  109. HelpMeBeaBetterMan
    HelpMeBeaBetterMan April 9, 2012 at 11:19 pm |

    Kristen J., Jenny, and Caperton — I believe I get it now, and I shall keep reflecting on the contextual nuances. Thank you for your time and insights.

  110. HelpMeBeaBetterMan
    HelpMeBeaBetterMan April 9, 2012 at 11:29 pm |

    Oh, thank you too mccavity and umami… I’m not sure why comments that I haven’t seen appear to be popping up in different chronological orders…

  111. igglanova
    igglanova April 9, 2012 at 11:38 pm |

    Attention men and boys: nobody cares about your ‘impure thoughts.’ We don’t want to police them, shun them, or hear about them in intricate detail. Because they are boring. So. BORING. And irrelevant to any pressing issues whatsoever. It reveals an embarrassing amount of ego-centrism to even believe that we could be arsed to care what goes on inside your special brain, unheard and unseen.

    Anyway. If your goal is to reassure women, commiserate, make us feel better about oppression, what have you – that sharing your boner’s opinion does not work should be enough to convince you to stop. But of course, if any of you were interested in listening to what women want instead of telling them what you think they should hear, we wouldn’t be having this particular difficulty, would we…

    tl;dr version NOBODY cares about your boner. Seriously.

  112. Jadey
    Jadey April 9, 2012 at 11:38 pm |

    re: reassuring people who are insecure about their physical characteristics

    As a person who has HELLA body image issues (like, my body image issues have body image issues) I can say that, at least for me, compliments are as bad as criticisms. Seriously.

    The problem with compliments is that all they do is make me focus *more* on my body when the problem is that I’m already way too focused on my body. The insecurity goes so much deeper than what I actually look like. Even if I momentarily think I look nice, I’m apt to start ruminating, “Oh shit, but even if my hair/tits/skin/whatever looks good now, I’ll never be able to keep it up! And now the expectations are higher and SOON THEY WILL ALL REALIZE I AM HIDEOUS” or “Sure, my hair/tits/skin/whatever is attractive, but every other part of me is even MORE HIDEOUS BY COMPARISON.” Yadda yadda.

    The problem is that these kinds of traits are basically essential – I can’t control them for the most part, so I can’t take credit for them, I can only be reduced to them. What I actually get something out of is compliments on how I did something awesome (which may even include putting together a fantastic ensemble!), but not on things I don’t have a say in and can only ruminate over (like the size of my boobs, whether I’m sexy or not – this just puts me at the mercy of my body and someone else’s opinion of it).

    And, you know, there probably will be women out there who are pleased and grateful to be complimented on their tits or what have you. I think even 5 years ago still, I might still have tripped over myself for anyone who told me they thought I was attractive, but actually depending on other people to generate my “self” esteem was the most psychologically unhealthy time in my life. Just because I was socially conditioned to it didn’t make it good for me. There are so many other ways to support and compliment people without playing into the objectification trap.

  113. ch
    ch April 10, 2012 at 12:33 am |

    Also, in addition to the fantastic things that Caperton and everyone else has said, my feminism is for all women. All of them. I might be relatively small-breasted, but I do NOT want, in the context of a feminist discussion, to be told that my breasts are attractive and those awful big-breasted women’s breasts aren’t. Because I don’t care about only the rights of small-breasted women just because I am one. I care about the rights of women, full-stop, and whenever body image issues are reduced to fuckability issues, there’s always someone left outside of the lines of whatever particular dude happens to be speaking. I don’t believe there’s anyone who wants to fuck every. last. person. of a given gender. Someone is always left out of the “well, I think you’re hot” spiel, and certain, already marginalized groups tend to be among them– fat women, for example (why do these dudes always think that the two types of women out there are “skinny” and “curvy”, anyway?). And older women, and women who don’t have breasts at all, or have only one, due to a mastectomy, etc.

    This sort of “small breasted women are beautiful” talk is just more of the same division of women and trying to set us against each other, more of the same “you’re not like those other girls” talk that tends to be the grudging approval of a misogynist. And my feminism advocates for the rights of all women, regardless of (bah, I can’t even believe I have to type this!) breast size, regardless of race, sexual orientation, etc, etc, etc.

  114. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig April 10, 2012 at 12:59 am |

    Ally?: Do you even have a brain? Cause it sounds like your cock is doing the thinking, and that’s gonna cause problems. Actually, on this thread H.M.B.A.B.M. is the only proof I have that men aren’t just their dicks.

    DonnaL: I always figured that men don’t really see women as human. That’s one of the reasons I spent most of my adolescence pretending to be a robot. I still do a great impression of a very polite ice queen.

    Jadey: I think I’m a member in good standing of that club. At this point I just figure that if anyone thinks I’m attractive, they’re delusional. I’ve just given up on the old meatsack.

  115. Major Karnake
    Major Karnake April 10, 2012 at 1:40 am |

    You know what would help? Seeing someone on TV who has a butt like mine and is the smart, classy, desirable character and not the goofy friend.

    So after the whole argument about why it does not make you feel better that some guy on the internet thinks you’re hot, it would make you feel better that some NBC casting director thinks you’re hot? What’s the difference really? The anonymity?

    Why are sitcom characters the benchmark for validating your self image?

  116. librarygoose
    librarygoose April 10, 2012 at 2:27 am |

    Why are sitcom characters the benchmark for validating your self image?

    Because representation in media is a good benchmark for people acknowledging you exist? Hell, I’m gonna caveat that with good representation. Which is what the original poster wants, to see a woman who looks like her but is not just parts. A fucking human character. With human bits like personality and depth.

    Asshole.

  117. LotusBecca
    LotusBecca April 10, 2012 at 3:09 am |

    No wonder men get confused and turn inward.

    I love this. I mean: what? “No wonder”? Are confusion and inwardness supposed to be among the trademark attributes of male trolls on feminist blogs or something? I’ve always thought that men who got called out for ridiculous levels of unexamined privilege were more likely to become self-assuredly belligerant, but I guess I was wrong. Huh. Someone needs to create the catchy bumper sticker “Men: confused and turning inward since 2003.” The year Feministe was founded I believe.

    So by that logic, am I being oppressed when a group of women are belittling men because they don’t make enough money?

    Yes, you are (provided you are one of the men who doesn’t make enough money). It’s called classism.

    ally?

    No, you’re not. Thanks for asking though.

    Really, a lot of people don’t want dudes to be jerks, but then take it too far to insist that men aren’t allowed to be attracted to women.

    Listen up, girls!! This is Feminazi High Command speaking. Grab your de-bonerification ray guns and castration hooks; our latest intelligence indicates that in Sector 46-J a man is experiencing sexual attraction to a woman. This cannot be allowed. Swarm! Swarm! Swarm!

  118. John
    John April 10, 2012 at 3:18 am |

    I read this discussion with interest, and would like to share my thoughts on some of the points that have been raised.

    First of all, some commenters seem to be missing the point (which has been eloquently reiterated by others) that a discussion of body image and the “expected” standards isn’t helped by injecting personal opinion, because it means the discussion is still about body image and not how it shouldn’t even be a thing.

    If I may take a moment to flagrantly disregard the given advice and inject my personal opinion…I don’t care. If I or my wang make any internal observations of a woman I keep them to myself. As long as I can have a decent conversation with you, you’re good people.

    Someone above mentioned the fact that it’s still objectification if you comment on a woman’s intelligence; however, does this still count if I want to compliment my girlfriend on, say, how I love the way we can have a conversation about random gibberish and it still somehow makes sense because she has the same lateral outside-the-box way of thinking that I do?

  119. Clueless
    Clueless April 10, 2012 at 3:20 am |

    Isn’t a self image problem just a problem of: “the weight I put on others’ perception of my image to important”? (or something similar)

    If that is true it should, hopefully, help explain to everyone why in a discussion about self image (through any medium: in person/on a feminist forum/in the newspaper/on a dudes forum etc.) you shouldn’t bring up your own preferences for *insert physical trait*. The problem with self image problems is not linked to something that needs to change in society (even if changes in society would help create less self image problems), the problems stems from the “self”(hence maybe why SELF image problems?).

    The problem with a person claiming their personal preferences is that in the case of a self image problem, your preferences (and the one of society) shouldn’t matter. If you want to help the person shouldn’t you try to make them step over their self imposed dependence on others’ acceptation and perception, instead of promoting such self destructive behavior?

    Do I get any of this right?

    This comment part of a comment seems, to me, to partly confirm my understanding: “I think even 5 years ago still, I might still have tripped over myself for anyone who told me they thought I was attractive, but actually depending on other people to generate my “self” esteem was the most psychologically unhealthy time in my life.”
    __________________________________________________
    The fact that this whole issue is discussed here as strictly a “feminist” issue is quite troubling to say the least… My whole comment is quite valid no matter if we are talking about a women/a dude/a f*ing boner/a men/a black person/a white person/an old person/etc…

  120. jennygadget
    jennygadget April 10, 2012 at 4:25 am |

    “I mean, how do they function in society if they can’t figure out when it is appropriate to volunteer such information?”

    Wasn’t there a study recently that showed that indirect “nos” ( that men claim are confusing when they come from women and are about sex/dating) are used by EVERYBODY like ALL THE TIME and no one has trouble understanding them in other contexts EVEN THE MENZ?

    Yeah, I think this is like that. Exactly like that.

  121. Faithless
    Faithless April 10, 2012 at 4:32 am |

    so uh first of all, can we stop with the “in pure thoughts” crap and just stick to “is attracted to?” cus “impure” implies there is something wrong with them and im pretty sure women have the same “thoughts” about who ever the hell they ogle.

    2nd I’d be real nice to get past the ACTUAL topic of discussion which is rating people IN GENERAL in order of “hawtness” rather than their other typically more relevant qualities because this (like pretty much everything feminists complain about) happens to men too (in b4 what about teh menz comment, cus thats NOT what im saying here).

    and ya know, it would be nice to NOT have women tell me on a regular “omg your such a talented musician if only you were cuter” or “yo I would have picked you as my assistant but your not as cute as ” and as SOON as women get their skin colored rainbows represented in enough stuff to not feel only worthy if they fit 1 mold, the sooner I (read as we, aka men) can call BULLSHIT on the giant body of THEM that do it to US!

    also on the whole “omg how do I know when its ok to tell a chick about her tits being awesome”, um is the easy solution not to simply never say anything? I mean pretty much every egalitarian minded women I’ve ever talked to complains about “men commenting on body part and how they hate it”, so if they always hate it unless there literally on top of you in a bed room or wherever, then just never say anything!

    My silence towards women in all areas public and professional has kept me from getting punched in the face pretty well, and last time i checked its pretty easy to just shut the hell up.

  122. Falcon
    Falcon April 10, 2012 at 5:16 am |

    Great post!! A major issue that doesn’t get dealt with enough. I teach my kids. “Bodies are about what they do, not what they look like.”

    @ HelpMe I don’t think it is useful when talking about the skinny thing in culture in general but if you hear a woman say “No one will find me attractive because I am fat.” it might well be good to hear. I would have given my eye teeth to hear that when I used to starve myself. I literally did not know one man who did not think I plump women were as attractive as thin ones, let alone more.

    If you aren’t fed a straight line like that then just leave it alone but if you are that might be the time to say something.

    @49

    Woman: I feel like I’m being judged by supervisors at work because {physical trait}

    Good ally response: wow, that’s bullshit. You’re a great employee, your {physical trait} should have no bearing on your work.

    This is such a useful approach! I will try to think of ally responses to more feminist issues as they come up.

    We would like our value to society, as individuals and as a group, to be measured by some factor other than primarily (or often solely) our physical attributes. Thank you.

    @66 Perfect summary. You have answered Freud’s question. “What do women want?” Feminists anyway. So many women don’t but that can be fixed.

  123. Shigekuni
    Shigekuni April 10, 2012 at 5:33 am |

    because [...] pretty much everything feminists complain about [ ] happens to men too

    dude can you even hear yourself? Women making negative comments on your appearance (I hear a tiny violin again) is not the fucking same thing as men making the comments on a woman. These two acts don’t have the same culturally entrenched foundations, don’t have the same kind of cultural and social sanctioning and backing. They work in different ways. Men’s comments have a bibliography that contains much of the past centuries’ literary and musical work, women’s comments don’t. I mean, what the solipsist fuck? I’s called privilege. You have it.

  124. Faithless
    Faithless April 10, 2012 at 5:44 am |

    @Shigekuni :123

    omen making negative comments on your appearance (I hear a tiny violin again) is not the fucking same thing as men making the comments on a woman. These two acts don’t have the same culturally entrenched foundations, don’t have the same kind of cultural and social sanctioning and backing.

    good thing I didn’t say they did then huh.

  125. samanthab
    samanthab April 10, 2012 at 6:41 am |

    Spot on post. One personal irritation I will add. When I was younger and more conventionally attractive, even when men would make evident their attraction in relatively polite-ish ways, can I tell you how often it would happen at the beginning of a conversation rather than the end? Wtf is up with attraction being *solely* based on looks rather than together with emotional compatibility. Seriously, that’s some toxic shit, dudes.

  126. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable April 10, 2012 at 7:09 am |

    good thing I didn’t say they did then huh.

    …You did exactly that. You actually pulled a “what about the menz” and then said we can’t call you on it. No, asshole. Stop making it about you. No one here gives a shit because your head is so far up your ass that you think men getting judged on appearance is remotely relevant or akin to what happens to women.

    PS, head up your ass? So not cute. Now fuck off.

  127. unyun
    unyun April 10, 2012 at 7:21 am |

    @Faithless: Are you kidding man? For fuck’s sake. This thread is about why a guy stating his preferred boob size during a feminist discussion on body image does more harm than good. It is NOT about how women make YOU feel. You have the rest of the fucking world to talk about those women, and you’ll get sympathetic ears all over the place. And yes, you essentially pulled a “what about the menz” card and then denied doing so. Please just stop.

  128. Douche, Bag and Shoes
    Douche, Bag and Shoes April 10, 2012 at 7:24 am |

    Never again hearing the word “anorexic” if it’s not referring to an actual medical condition.

    I couldn’t agree more, the use of “anorexic” as an adjective is truly awful.

    I’ve just written something related, to do with what i’ve termed ‘concern’ (faux)feminism, which is basically just another opportunity for people to obsess about other women’s bodies under the rubric of well-meaning ‘advice’/’concern’ (trigger warning for discussion of eating disorders):

    http://douchebagandshoes.blogspot.co.uk/#!/2012/04/wonderful-world-of-lorraine-kelly.html

  129. Jen in Ohio
    Jen in Ohio April 10, 2012 at 7:29 am |

    I think you, and a lot of other women here, might find it hard to believe — or perhaps not — how many arguments I had with men, once upon a time when they thought I was one of them, in which they came right out and said that they didn’t think women were “people” in remotely the same way that men are.

    I’m a genderqueer woman and am occasionally interpreted as a man so I have encountered this up close and personal as well. It’s a thing I’m constantly at least vaguely aware of because my father thinks like that, so it was a track laid down early on (oh and how we argued). It’s embedded in virtually every aspect of the culture in which I was raised, too, so I’ve never been surprised by it, but it’s still always kinda shocking to hear men talk about it like they actually believe it. It feels like I’ve taken that infamous wrong turn at Albuquerque and somehow wandered into a cult meeting.

    I’m also psychologically sideswiped by how much respect, space, and presumptions of “general knowledge” that I’m suddenly afforded whenever folks interpret me as a dude. I mean, I’m generally perceived as “a smart woman”, but having these experiences on a semi-regular basis is a smackdown of a reminder that how I am usually categorized is not so much people-smart, but more like a clever house-pet.

  130. Angie unduplicated
    Angie unduplicated April 10, 2012 at 7:36 am |

    Guys: I don’t go to political websites and comment, on totally unrelated subjects that Matt Taibbi (for instance) is hawt but I really prefer bigger shoulders. No woman I ever heard of would have the temerity to accost an achiever in a print interview with comments about his presumed fuckability or lack of same.
    So why are y’all doing this here?

  131. Li
    Li April 10, 2012 at 7:48 am |

    I’m a genderqueer woman and am occasionally interpreted as a man so I have encountered this up close and personal as well. It’s a thing I’m constantly at least vaguely aware of because my father thinks like that, so it was a track laid down early on (oh and how we argued). It’s embedded in virtually every aspect of the culture in which I was raised, too, so I’ve never been surprised by it, but it’s still always kinda shocking to hear men talk about it like they actually believe it. It feels like I’ve taken that infamous wrong turn at Albuquerque and somehow wandered into a cult meeting.

    Count me in as another person who occasionally gets let in on the ‘secret’ misogyny club. Of course, I mainly associate with queer people, so in this case it’s more gay men’s complaints that straight women are fun-draining succubi and queer women gross femi-dykes, but the gist is much the same.

  132. LC
    LC April 10, 2012 at 8:38 am |

    It’s embedded in virtually every aspect of the culture in which I was raised, too, so I’ve never been surprised by it, but it’s still always kinda shocking to hear men talk about it like they actually believe it.

    This. I’m in a play this month. Five one-acts. I only saw mine until the full run through last weekend. Mine is… ok, aiming at bigger thoughts but not well-written enough to get there. The other four, however, hit the “Women are weird space aliens” vibe at least once each. The writer thinks he’s actually being progressive because the men are messed up, too, but it’s clear he really believes this.

    As for the main topic, I thought Caperton hit it out of the park, and the willful misunderstanding of the point going on by some of the men in this thread is almost impressive. This isn’t a hard concept. If it isn’t relevant, it isn’t relevant and you’re not really helping.

  133. AfterMath
    AfterMath April 10, 2012 at 8:45 am |

    It’s about casting directors who automatically cast large-breasted actresses to play The Slut or The Airhead, and who automatically cast fat actresses as The Desperate Single Friend Who Eats All the Time. It’s about women who get kicked off of planes for outfits that would be deemed perfectly inoffensive on a less-blonde, less-busty woman. It’s about women who aren’t traditionally attractive getting not getting hired, and women who are traditionally attractive not getting taken seriously in the workplace. It’s about elementary school teachers who favor pretty girls over the less-pretty ones. It’s about dismissing rape accusations because you’re either not sexy enough to get raped or so sexy you must have been asking for it. It’s about men at work and out in the world who automatically assume you’re flirting just because you have breasts in their presence. It’s about the women you fuck vs. the women you marry. It’s about having your eating habits criticized regardless, whether it’s Ew, push away from the buffet or Ew, eat a sandwich. It’s about character actors who can cover the full spectrum of physical appearance and character actresses who get cut off at “quirky-looking.” It’s about teen movies where first you get the makeover, then you get the guy. It’s about never seeing yourself represented on TV or in movies because 90 percent of the world doesn’t look like 90 percent of Hollywood.

    I just loved this part so much. It felt like a halftime speech or something that belongs at a political convention.

    I’m a guy, but I can really relate to a lot of the stuff mentioned in this article, probably because I can understand just the point, or maybe because of similar things do happen to us (by men and women), or maybe because I feel like this is part of a larger movement that needs to be made about being “told” how to think (is that really thinking?).

    As I think about it, I think that last one is what attracts me to this article the most. I don’t care whether its “man law” commercials, or the everlasting campaign that its cool to be dumb (and even cooler to not know math), or the main point of this article which is the way men treat women. Unfortunately, we live in a society where the normal thing to do is do as we see others do, which in many ways resorts to treating women in the ways mentioned (as well as many other misfortunes that we are still struggling to change).

  134. Athenia
    Athenia April 10, 2012 at 8:49 am |

    When talking about preferences, I think the ultimate test is who’s preference is implemented (if possible). In other words, you have a right to a preference, but ultimately, the person who lives in that body has the final say.

    And many people find that inalienably right to your own body very offensive indeed.

  135. Jen in Ohio
    Jen in Ohio April 10, 2012 at 9:05 am |

    Li, I know what you mean. Before I moved out of Miami, FL I used to run in predominantly queer circles and would occasionally find myself in those kinds of toxic, sexist environments with a bunch of gay guys. It always felt especially awful to me because I was naive enough to have had the expectation that pretty much all queer dudes would be “natural allies” and had to be painfully disabused of that notion.

    The writer thinks he’s actually being progressive because the men are messed up, too, but it’s clear he really believes this.

    This seems to be a very common false equivalency in this territory, the idea that portraying men as flawed humans is somehow analogous to portraying women as incomprehensible and not-entirely-human. Personally, I usually blame it on Aristotle and Hegel, partially because they deserve it, and partially because it makes me laugh.

    Hey, break a leg with that play, LC.

  136. may
    may April 10, 2012 at 9:24 am |

    Thanks! I needed this excellent post and the many wonderful comments that followed and expanded it. Now I can take on the day.

  137. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie April 10, 2012 at 9:35 am |

    If I’m waaay off base let me know but I think taking the time to prevent objective thinking about either gender is admirable.

    Dear God, What About The MEN?

  138. ally?
    ally? April 10, 2012 at 9:55 am |

    I guess my point was to say that if you body is visible in a public space, it will be objectified. Breasts and butts are composed of matter and take up space.

    My point is that being objectified by someone checking you out does not necessarily mean that that person is making some judgment about your intellect or character, though in our society it all too often does.

  139. EG
    EG April 10, 2012 at 10:01 am |

    But while you’re in the process of winning the nobel prize or whatever, if you’re in good shape and have any charm, fellows will have impure thoughts about you. Those of you who think that dudes are jerks for doing so (not all of you) should get over yourselves.

    Do…you understand the difference between your brain and your mouth? Or your brain and your keyboard? I don’t give two shits about what you think–that’s the whole point. The issue isn’t what you think. It’s your compulsion to let us know what you think, as though we should care. We don’t, and so we don’t find your impure thoughts the least bit interesting. Get over it.

    I also find it telling that you can’t be anything but sarcastic about the possibility that women might be doing something with our lives that involves not being your sexual fantasy.

  140. EG
    EG April 10, 2012 at 10:09 am |

    I guess my point was to say that if you body is visible in a public space, it will be objectified. Breasts and butts are composed of matter and take up space.

    No shit, Einstein. Trust me, women have noticed this phenomenon. That is what we are unhappy about. Because it does not happen to men. I guess your bodies are composed of light and airless vacuums?

  141. Esti
    Esti April 10, 2012 at 10:13 am |

    And the point everyone else is making, ally?, is that that’s not what this conversation is about.

    This is a discussion about why you should not try to help someone who is upset about being objectified by telling them that you are objectifying them in a positive way. This is a discussion about why “but I like small boobs!” is not a good response to your girlfriend telling you that her boss gives special treatment to the employees with bigger breasts. This is a discussion about why “I think curvy girls are hotter” is not a good response to your female friend telling you that she wishes there was a plus-sized character on television who wasn’t the sassy friend. This is a discussion about why, if a woman in your life tells you that being objectified upsets them, you should not assume that means “I’m upset that someone didn’t want to bang me” and respond with “well, my penis thinks you’re hot so you can cheer up now!”

    And seriously, if the reason you’re participating in this discussion is to spread valuable male insight like “if your body is visible in a public space, it will be objectified,” then just stop. You don’t need to tell a group of women that they are being objectified every single second they exist in the world. Trust me, we get it.

  142. gratuitous_violet
    gratuitous_violet April 10, 2012 at 10:15 am |

    Oh. My. Maude. This thread just keeps going!

    I know it’s hard for some people (dudes) to believe that every thought in their precious heads ISN’T of burning importance in every topic, but it really isn’t that complicated! Would you expect people to take you seriously if you showed up at an academic conference about gastrointestinal research with a paper about your preferred dump-taking reading material? No? That’d be not only irrelevant, but also insulting, you say, even though people were talking about POOPING after all? So men are capable of understanding both relevance and social appropriateness when it matters (with other men) but not at a feminist blog? Color me surprised.

    Willful ignorance, we’re soaking in it.

  143. Andie
    Andie April 10, 2012 at 10:26 am |

    My point is that being objectified by someone checking you out does not necessarily mean that that person is making some judgment about your intellect or character, though in our society it all too often does.

    See Bolded? That’s what we’re talking about. So, can we fuck off with the talking about the few times it DOESN’T happen?

    To all the guys saying how men get objectified too, talk to me the next time a dude outside of the porn industry gets passed over for employment because the size of his pants-bulge prevented people from taking him seriously.

  144. Emolee
    Emolee April 10, 2012 at 10:27 am |

    I guess my point was to say that if you body is visible in a public space, it will be objectified. Breasts and butts are composed of matter and take up space.

    My point is that being objectified by someone checking you out does not necessarily mean that that person is making some judgment about your intellect or character, though in our society it all too often does

    You do get that there is a difference between attraction and objectification, right?

    No one is asking men to not notice boobs and butts, or not be attracted to boobs and butts. WE DON’T CARE!! That’s the whole point- be attracted or not, whatever.

    But don’t assume we want to hear about your attraction or lack of attraction to our specific boob/butt types, and don’t assume that your male approval is helpful in spaces where we are talking about body image and objectification.

    What we are asking is for men to acknowledge that all women are full human beings, regardless of whether men want to fuck them or not.

  145. Angel H.
    Angel H. April 10, 2012 at 10:46 am |

    I don’t give two shits about what you think–that’s the whole point. The issue isn’t what you think. It’s your compulsion to let us know what you think, as though we should care. We don’t, and so we don’t find your impure thoughts the least bit interesting. Get over it.

    THIS. This. A thousand times, this!

  146. LC
    LC April 10, 2012 at 11:01 am |

    This seems to be a very common false equivalency in this territory, the idea that portraying men as flawed humans is somehow analogous to portraying women as incomprehensible and not-entirely-human. Personally, I usually blame it on Aristotle and Hegel, partially because they deserve it, and partially because it makes me laugh.

    And now I totally have a brain crush on you, Jen in Ohio. :-)

    Hey, break a leg with that play, LC.

    Thanks!

    And Aftermath quoting that earlier bit reminded me of a movie my sister was involved in where the actors were allowed to cast themselves. Basically a rep group that had already agreed to a general type of film, but they got to propose their own characters, with the specific instructions of “propose something you know they would never let you play”. To this day, it’s still the only film I’ve ever seen where the fun-loving, sex-pot woman who has joyful sex with lots of admiring lovers is short and round and older than 30. In real life, I know lots of women who fit that description; on film it was almost shocking to see because it’s so rare.

  147. unyun
    unyun April 10, 2012 at 11:22 am |

    @ally? DUDE. You are not getting it. And if you haven’t gotten it by now, it’s probably because you don’t really want to. Colour me shocked, indeed.

  148. Boosting the Signal « I am the Lizard Queen!

    [...] Why “I prefer small boobs” isn’t helping (Alternate title, from comments: Female Body Image and Male Perception in the Context of Feminist Discussion: When Women Talk About Body Image on a Feminist Blog, We’re Not Actually Worried That Men Don’t Think We’re Pretty): “Don’t worry, insecure girl, there are people out there who think you’re hot” isn’t a revolutionary perspective, and thinking it’s a necessary contribution to a thread about female objectification and body image demonstrates a lack of understanding of the subject. [...]

  149. ally?
    ally? April 10, 2012 at 11:37 am |

    No, I get that women almost never want dude’s judgement of their physical characteristics to enter into conversations with them. I was mostly reacting to people who seem repulsed by this “male gaze”.

    The main point of the post is that:
    1. Woman is pissed that she is treated like X because she has boobs like Y, when really X is not correlated to Y.
    2. Guy is like “but Y is hott”
    3. Woman is like “zomg totes not the point WTF”

    My conversation was totally a side-thread, and I was reacting to some people who took the basic thing a bit too far.

  150. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil April 10, 2012 at 11:45 am |

    My conversation was totally a side-thread, and I was reacting to some people who took the basic thing a bit too far.

    Except nobody did.

  151. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve April 10, 2012 at 11:55 am |

    @Ally

    Let me explain this in a gender neutral way so you could perhaps get over your insistence that this is unfair to men.

    If I was embarking on a new relatioship with a woman who gave her reason for being attracted to me ‘I prefer Jewish men’, I would run in the opposite direction. And just because I, for example, love it when people compliment my shoes, I would be offended if I found out someone thought my best quality was my taste in shoes.

  152. Chingona
    Chingona April 10, 2012 at 12:17 pm |

    Dude, you don’t get to dictate what constitutes a bridge “too far” in a discussion about feminism.

    And reiterating EG’s comment about your “nobel prize” slur. Hur-hur-hur, women might have thoughts and aspirations that don’t revolve around their tits and how best to flaunt them (or hide them) for the benefit of men.

    Also, you don’t understand what the male gaze is. Please stop talking shite.

  153. ohplease
    ohplease April 10, 2012 at 12:19 pm |

    My conversation was totally a side-thread, and I was reacting to some people who took the basic thing a bit too far.

    Translation: I’m a douchy mansplainer. Give me a cookie.

  154. alice
    alice April 10, 2012 at 12:30 pm |

    *trigger warning*
    “It’s about dismissing rape accusations because you’re either not sexy enough to get raped or so sexy you must have been asking for it.”
    When I told my mom I was raped, she answered “it’s because you’re such a beauty! these boys can’t help it!” as if I ought to take it as a compliment.
    thank you for this article.

  155. anon male
    anon male April 10, 2012 at 12:33 pm |

    I guess I get your point, but I don’t think men that say “I like small breasts” (which by the way I do) want to help. They want to counterbalance the notion that men only like big boobs simply out of self interest. It’s just that a feminist blog may not be a suitable venue to do so.

    But this body image issue has other dimensions. For example obesity, anorexia, and bulimia are medical conditions. Body hair is a fetish. You cannot expect people to ignore these things.

  156. Rob in CT
    Rob in CT April 10, 2012 at 12:34 pm |

    I just want to say that “notes from your boner” is funny as hell. Thank you, Captain Awkward, for a good chuckle.

    The thinking part of one’s brain should quietly (inwardly) say “hush now” and avoid allowing the boner note to actually get out into the wild. In almost every context, anyway.

    And thanks to Caperton for a very good post.

  157. Ranger Joe
    Ranger Joe April 10, 2012 at 12:38 pm |

    I think a lot of the times, men think that they are helping by saying it. I will admit, I have been guilty of the “I prefer..” gag before. I can definitely see the point you are making, however. I learned that a while back.

    I think that some men do it without even thinking/realizing it’s bad. Then, when called on it, they get a bit butt hurt about the entire ordeal.

    Regardless, men should take a moment and learn what should be said, and what is better off left in their minds.

    I think mostly everyone has seen someone they found attractive and had the lust flare up. It’s one of the side effects of being human. The difference is, whether or not they act like a human when they decide to speak those thoughts or keep them to themselves.

  158. John
    John April 10, 2012 at 12:39 pm |

    Wow, glad to know what a welcoming environment this is for the males who happen to wander by.

    What are you trying to accomplish here? Commiserate about an issue that is apparently a big deal to the people who read your blog? Or try to effect some positive change in the world? Cause if it’s the second, why in the world would any male ever change if, when they pose a contrary opinion, they get utterly jumped on?

    And the weird part is the hypocrisy of the jumping-on. It’s not just “that opinion is baseless” it’s:

    “Shoo.”
    “This might be an appropriate time for y’all to sit back and just read. Because OH THE HUMANITY ALL OF THE FEET IN ALL OF THE MOUTHS.”
    “HAHAHAHAHA”
    “…use small words.”

    And plenty, plenty more. I’m sure there were similar comments from men about voting before suffrage.

    I’ll use regular words, like I’m talking to people: If you think your point is so esoteric and ungraspable by men that they can never understand, the situation will never improve. But if you actually do want things better for you and your friends and your family, maybe try engaging the commentators here, subjectively dumb comments and all. Instead of taking the time to give each other pats on the back on how you beat the crap of some ignorant poster, take it as a teaching moment for someone who actually did take a moment out of their day to read the post and try to engage.

    It’s just human decency.

  159. rain
    rain April 10, 2012 at 12:42 pm |

    ally?@ 76

    But Mom, I’m totally going to notice the hell out of your boobs.

    Tilts head. Shudders.
    Sorry, I just wanted to see how that looked.
    Another one:

    But [daughter's name], I’m totally going to notice the hell out of your boobs.

    Just one more and I’ll stop:

    But Grandma, I’m totally going to notice the hell out of your boobs.

  160. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil April 10, 2012 at 12:46 pm |

    Ooh, now we’re attracting contestants for FNTT.

  161. gratuitous_violet
    gratuitous_violet April 10, 2012 at 12:47 pm |

    (which by the way I do)

    And around we go again.

  162. Chingona
    Chingona April 10, 2012 at 12:48 pm |

    I’ll use regular words, like I’m talking to people

    Women aren’t people. Got it.

  163. gratuitous_violet
    gratuitous_violet April 10, 2012 at 12:53 pm |

    Wow, glad to know what a welcoming environment this is for the males who happen to wander by.

    I hear a tiny violin. I thought this was one of the more tame threads, so far at least. I’m only getting two hits for “fuck off” on Ctrl+F, so good job everyone!

    I’ll use regular words, like I’m talking to people:

    You, on the other hand, are a real winner, lecturing about human decency. Your irony meter must be broken.

  164. Chingona
    Chingona April 10, 2012 at 12:53 pm |

    Interesting how a discussion about counteracting banal, bog-standard occurrences of misogyny within the context of feminism becomes: (1) a terribly difficult task (2) men must be talked through slowly (3) using “regular,” non-threatening, presumably “unacademic” language because (4) women’s rights are theoretical rather than practical, something dudes are privileged enough to treat as philosophy rather than as a matter of urgency for real people, right now, in the present day.

  165. LC
    LC April 10, 2012 at 12:54 pm |

    I think Captain Awkward’s “Notes from My Boner” is so great, I want to start a blog by that name, and use this as the source for header images.

  166. HelpMeBeaBetterMan
    HelpMeBeaBetterMan April 10, 2012 at 12:55 pm |

    John @ 163,

    It’s not that feminist blogs are an unwelcoming place for males–to the contrary, the responses to my questions here were respectful, thoughtful, and engaging.

    It’s just that many men on feminist blogs appear to come looking for a fight. They come with whatever prior frustrations and baggage, read a feminist blog post, misconstrue the meaning (often because of whatever prior baggage or perspective clouding there is), and then comment in a way that is irrelevant to the conversation, but moreso, combative, antagonistic, and vitriolic.

    In other words, it’s evident from the outset that they are looking for a fight and are not looking to be convinced (even when confronted with overwhelming reason). So… what’s the value of engaging someone like that?

    People honestly looking for answers will get them. People looking for a fight… well they will get that too.

  167. librarygoose
    librarygoose April 10, 2012 at 12:59 pm |

    I’m sure there were similar comments from men about voting before suffrage.

    Yes, because suffrage and not derailing are exactly the same.

    Anyway,

    My sister and I were discussing this post and my dad blurted “Well, I like little boobs.” And I laughed and laughed. I almost see why he thought that fit into the conversation, but it was just too perfect.

  168. Mxe354
    Mxe354 April 10, 2012 at 1:14 pm |

    …why in the world would any male ever change if, when they pose a contrary opinion, they get utterly jumped on?

    It’s not about posing a contrary opinion. V_V

  169. Emolee
    Emolee April 10, 2012 at 1:32 pm |

    I was mostly reacting to people who seem repulsed by this “male gaze”.

    I’m not sure you understand that the phrase “male gaze” means more than just the physical act of male persons’ eyeballs taking in visual stimuli.

    Also, you keep asserting your right to look at boobs and comment on boobs. OK, you have that right. But I also have the right to be repulsed by it. Note: I am not actually always repulsed by men who look at boobs or who make boob-related comments.

    But consider: just because you have the “right” to do something- even something you might argue is “natural” or “inevitable”- doesn’t mean that other people won’t object to it. Your “right” does not extend to silencing me.

  170. Emolee
    Emolee April 10, 2012 at 1:40 pm |

    For example obesity, anorexia, and bulimia are medical conditions. Body hair is a fetish. You cannot expect people to ignore these things.

    Uh, no.

    Body hair is something that grows on most adult bodies naturally, with absolutely no regard for anyone’s “fetish.” People may have fetishes about body hair (or the lack thereof), but that is an entirely irrelavant matter. I mean, people can have fetishes about anything.

    Obesity is defined solely by BMI, which is defined solely by a ratio of height to weight. A height/weight ratio that qualifies as “obese” may (or may not) be a symptom or a cause of a medical condition, but it is not one in and of itself.

  171. roymacIII
    roymacIII April 10, 2012 at 2:06 pm |

    Wow, glad to know what a welcoming environment this is for the males who happen to wander by.

    I’ve never found this site anything but welcoming to sincerely interested men who come into discussion acting on good faith.

    I’ll use regular words, like I’m talking to people

    Take this, for example. I wouldn’t think that starting off a post that way would be a good way to encourage or further polite discourse. I might, instead, expect it to get people’s backs up.

    As for the rest: the issue isn’t esoteric or ungraspable by men. There are many of us who do get it, and who are interested and invested in making the world a better place, but I don’t see why anyone is obligated to treat every single post as though it’s somehow a good faith attempts at discussion. I don’t treat every single thing someone says to me offline as though it’s a legitimate attempt at discourse, why should I treat everything some jackass says online that way?

  172. petpluto
    petpluto April 10, 2012 at 2:07 pm |

    Or try to effect some positive change in the world? Cause if it’s the second, why in the world would any male ever change if, when they pose a contrary opinion, they get utterly jumped on?

    Dude, really? If the title of the post is “Why ‘I prefer small boobs’ isn’t helping” and commentors jump in and say, “Well, I don’t see why I can’t state my preference for small boobs”, that isn’t a contrary opinion. That is (a) a reading comprehension fail and (b) a failure to recognize what the conversation is about.

    And once you ask for the conversation to center around explaining, over and over again, why you stating your preference and feeling all good about being about the small boobs doesn’t help *women*, you aren’t looking to change the world in a positive manner. You’re looking for the conversation to remain where it has always been, which is men deciding that their sexual preferences should be where women get their positive body image from.

  173. JetGirl
    JetGirl April 10, 2012 at 2:09 pm |

    Ladies, just accept it: No matter how many Nobel prizes we win, cancers we cure, classics we write, people we save, joy we bring to the world, to men, our ENTIRE VALUE lies in our effect on their boners, and how many sandwiches we make them. That is just HOW MEN ARE, and they have every right to let us know that whenever they feel it’s necessary, lest we ever forget.
    We need to understand they don’t notice women doing anything that doesn’t involve sex/sandwich-making. If we wanted them to notice anything else, it’s our fault, because we just needed to be men, since only men can do that stuff right.
    And no, it’s not dehumanizing, or offensive, or just plain assy to have this point of view. It’s just the natural order. If we just understood that, we’d be so much happier!
    Now, who wants pink cupcakes and puppies? How about some chocolate and a cosmo?
    PS All of the above is meant to be sarcasm.
    PPS If anyone wants to send me pink cupcakes, chocolate, cosmos and puppies, I would welcome them.

  174. pheenobarbidoll
    pheenobarbidoll April 10, 2012 at 2:45 pm |

    “I was mostly reacting to people who seem repulsed by this “male gaze”. ”

    Hate to shit all over your pity parade, but sometimes it IS repulsive.

    Just the idea that I may be starring in a running porn in some random dude’s head just because I entered his field of vision is fucking nasty.

    I grok what men are visualizing when they’re “noticing” my tits, ass or any other feature they’re “noticing”.

    I’ve understood this since I was 12 and had them screaming out those visuals when driving by. I understood it at age 13 when I was walking into the mall and some asshole actually hit the car in front of him because he was too busy “noticing” my boobs.

    And if, while in the process of “noticing” my body parts, a mans brain exploded in his skull, I would dance a dance of GLEE.

    28 years of men “noticing” body parts is goddamn tiresome. It’s even worse when they think I give one good goddamn fuck about about their thoughts.

    So whine that women are saying you can’t think or look. I don’t care, even if they WERE saying that.

  175. John
    John April 10, 2012 at 2:53 pm |

    Well Caperton, since you asked, I did read your post and all the comments proceeding it. I thought your post was well-written, and I’m sure your hair is as luxurious as the sun. I’m sure it feels good to write something that speaks to the experience of so many people. Kudos to you!

    My kudos are not extended to the people who jumped down Brandon et al’s throat and then spinning their incorrect comments into a comment on 1) people who are wrong here will be wrong every time and/or 2) men will always be wrong. You can call it cherry-picking if you want but I think there’s enough comments here to top a lot of sundaes.

    My comment on talking to people like people is that I’m trying not to talk down (or up) to people based on gender, the “correctness” of their comments, or anything else silly. I’m not trying to insult people based on these factors and I’m not trying to stymie anyone from ever commenting again. Comments that do this, I argue, are counter-productive to the goals of this post.

  176. pheenobarbidoll
    pheenobarbidoll April 10, 2012 at 2:54 pm |

    Also- since it’s been repeated to death about how normal and natural it is for men to notice women and our bodies:

    It is also just as natural and normal for women to be disgusted when they catch you “noticing”.

    Being repulsed by your gaze is just as normal as being flattered. It’s NOT abnormal or mean or oppressive or unfair.

  177. petpluto
    petpluto April 10, 2012 at 3:12 pm |

    My kudos are not extended to the people who jumped down Brandon et al’s throat and then spinning their incorrect comments into a comment on 1) people who are wrong here will be wrong every time and/or 2) men will always be wrong

    A lot of the comments you highlighted were about how specific men were wrong now and here, and that they might gain some perspective if they took some time to STFU and listen. If instead of prioritizing what they wanted to say, they took the time to learn what the real issue for women was and what they could do about it.

    Because sometimes people aren’t just wrong. Sometimes they engage immediately in the behavior the OP has described as not helpful. Which is, in a word, irritating. And then people are going to call you out on your complete fail. And if you’re a decent human being you’ll do what you should have done in the first place, and figure out if your actions/reactions are full of fail and why that might be. And if you want to go the extra mile, figure out what you can do differently.

    Because here’s the thing: you’re demanding that people here use kid gloves and worry about the commenter’s intent when zie says something stupid and really try to see this issue from the other person’s perspective – and the problem is the person in question can’t get out of their own way to see anyone else’s. If your reaction to a post about body image and how it’s not helpful to say “I like X” is to say “Well I do like X” or “Why can’t I tell people my opinion on X?” then you (general you) should be mocked. Because you aren’t engaging in good faith. So why should I?

  178. umami
    umami April 10, 2012 at 3:17 pm |

    I’m not trying to insult people based on these factors and I’m not trying to stymie anyone from ever commenting again. Comments that do this, I argue, are counter-productive to the goals of this post.

    Silly me, I thought the goal of this post was for people on Feministe to be able to have body image discussion in future without anyone derailing with their Notes from My Boner.

    I fail to see how “stymieing” Brandon (your named example) from ever commenting again is counter-productive to that goal. It seems quite directly aligned with that goal, to me.

    (And that’s even allowing that “stymieing Brandon from ever commenting again” was a useful description of the reactions to his ridiculous comment, which, of course, it wasn’t, because it’s not all about Brandon’s feelings.)

    This whole thread is so bizarre. People are being quite clear and explicit in what they’re saying, yet all these guys coming in derailing are somehow reading something completely different.

  179. John
    John April 10, 2012 at 3:23 pm |

    Because you aren’t engaging in good faith. So why should I?

    I appreciate your honesty. And I could respond it’s about being more mature, or the right thing to do, but that’s pretty squishy and subjective.

    I’ll just reiterate my original point: Maybe the guys are looking for a fight, maybe they have a genuine, contrary opinion. In any case sinking to that level (or worse) is simply counter-productive to your goals. It makes what you want to happen in society less likely to happen.

  180. Angel H.
    Angel H. April 10, 2012 at 3:29 pm |

    In any case sinking to that level (or worse) is simply counter-productive to your goals. It makes what you want to happen in society less likely to happen.

    Ladies, raise your hand if you don’t give a damn about how men think women should handle feminism!

    [raises hand]

  181. Xtina
    Xtina April 10, 2012 at 3:32 pm |

    Ladies, raise your hand if you don’t give a damn about how men think women should handle feminism!

    *raises hand*

    “I’m going to come in here and be condescending and rude and snarky and completely misread these comments, but if yall don’t respond to me nicely, then you’re not being The Bigger Person™!”

    Yes, how very dare we.

    Frankly, I tend to expect men to be able to read for basic comprehension, know that women are people, and not come in and ‘splain crap to us like it’s never occurred to us that most men ogle.  Shows what I know.

  182. librarygoose
    librarygoose April 10, 2012 at 3:35 pm |

    Ladies, raise your hand if you don’t give a damn about how men think women should handle feminism!

    *raises hand*

    Seriously, if you’re gonna come here and be an asshole, why do I have to be nice? Be stupid all you want. I plan to treat you like you aren’t worthy of seriousgoose…’cause you’re not.

  183. pheenobarbidoll
    pheenobarbidoll April 10, 2012 at 3:37 pm |

    *raises hand*

  184. Past my expiration date
    Past my expiration date April 10, 2012 at 3:40 pm |

    I’ll just reiterate my original point: Maybe the guys are looking for a fight, maybe they have a genuine, contrary opinion. In any case sinking to that level (or worse) is simply counter-productive to your goals. It makes what you want to happen in society less likely to happen.

    Caperton: explains why “I prefer small boobs” isn’t helping.
    Some commenters: but I do prefer small boobs!
    Other commenters: again explain why “I prefer small boobs” isn’t helping.
    Caperton: again explains why “I prefer small boobs” isn’t helping.
    John: how can people ever expect to defeat the idea that “I prefer small boobs” is helping if they refuse to keep on explaining, to people who insist on declaring that they prefer small boobs, why “I prefer small boobs” isn’t helping?

    Yesterday on the John Derbyshire thread there was somebody making a very similar comment about how could people ever expect to defeat racism if they refused to keep on explaining, to racists, why racism is wrong. To which Caperton made a response I admired. Will somebody please give Caperton a book deal?

  185. Brandon
    Brandon April 10, 2012 at 3:44 pm |

    So let me see if I got this straight. I can be attracted to whatever I want…I just can’t open my mouth and voice my opinion about what I find attractive on the off chance that someone might feel bad or be offended by it?

    Ya, I am not going to do that. If I think of something I want to say and I personally think it is meaningful, appropriate or relevant (hell, even if it is a non sequitur), then I am going to say it. I am not responsible for someone elses feelings getting hurt. Mainly because I don’t control other peoples feelings. Your feelings and reactions are your responsibility, not mine.

  186. igglanova
    igglanova April 10, 2012 at 3:45 pm |

    I’ll just reiterate my original point: Maybe the guys are looking for a fight, maybe they have a genuine, contrary opinion. In any case sinking to that level (or worse) is simply counter-productive to your goals. It makes what you want to happen in society less likely to happen.

    Citation needed.

    You do realize that people will say this about every single progressive, counter-culture movement in existence…and yet those movements still manage to gain more traction every year. It is simply not possible to tell people that they’re wrong and full of shit without offending them somehow. Strident! Arrogant! Shrill! Such meany bears. You want your feelings coddled, go back to preschool. Come back when you’re old enough to deal.

  187. Partial Human
    Partial Human April 10, 2012 at 3:50 pm |

    New Feministe commenting rule: every partial human (or “woman”) must run their comments past an actual human before posting.

    This will ensure that any feminist or social justice discussion is pleasing to our male superiors. It will ensure that feminist space is, as it should be, focused on centring the precious feelings, needs, and views of the men, lest they feel threatened by having only most of the space and control instead of all of it.

    Let’s put the men into FeMENiste!

  188. LotusBecca
    LotusBecca April 10, 2012 at 3:59 pm |

    In any case sinking to that level (or worse) is simply counter-productive to your goals. It makes what you want to happen in society less likely to happen.

    It seems to me a big goal of threads like this is for women to build solidarity with each other over the shared oppression we experience at the hands of sexist men. This gives us the emotional (and sometimes also logistical) resources we need to fight back against said oppression. The point of a progressive movement for social change–in my opinion–isn’t to make nice with oppressors so that one gets a few more proverbial scraps from the proverbial table. It is to assertively confront oppressors and let them know their abuse will no longer be tolerated and that we intend to fight back. As pertains to this thread, I will be happy when there is longer any depictions of women that stereotype them due to their appearance in any form of media, when there is no woman who suffers employment discrimination or differential pay based off her appearance (or for any other reason), when there is no woman who experiences harrassment, sexual or otherwise, due to her apperance (or for any other reason). Feel free to support these goals if you are so inclined.

  189. roymacIII
    roymacIII April 10, 2012 at 4:00 pm |

    I’ll just reiterate my original point: Maybe the guys are looking for a fight, maybe they have a genuine, contrary opinion. In any case sinking to that level (or worse) is simply counter-productive to your goals. It makes what you want to happen in society less likely to happen.

    That might be true if the goal of this site or any particular comment is “convince the person being responded to,” but sometimes the point of the comment is something else, entirely. Sometimes the point is “Get the fuck out if you’re not going to engage in good faith” or sometimes the point is to warn other people who are thinking of acting like jerks that they’re not going to be treated with kid gloves. Sometimes the point of the comment is to express aggrevation and frustration.

    There are some people who will never ever recognize and respect the inherent human worth of women in our society. I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect everyone to pretend that every response is worthy of being treated like a serious discussion starter.

  190. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable April 10, 2012 at 4:04 pm |

    YESSS tone policing

  191. John
    John April 10, 2012 at 4:04 pm |

    I’m glad immaturity has no gender divide. Self-destructive solidarity must be very satisfying compared to time-honored methods of persuasion and advocacy. Why care about social change when you can make comments on the internet to feel good?

    Who was once a supporter of your noble cause but now no longer cares?

    *Raises hand*

  192. Chingona
    Chingona April 10, 2012 at 4:12 pm |

    Who was once a supporter of your noble cause but now no longer cares?

    More lies and bad faith.

  193. KAJ
    KAJ April 10, 2012 at 4:16 pm |

    Who was once a supporter of your noble cause but now no longer cares?

    *Raises hand*

    I know I’ll be having a cry-party over this, if anyone cares to join.

  194. Faithless
    Faithless April 10, 2012 at 4:17 pm |

    @129:PrettyAmiable
    @130:unyun

    so this is the new call out culture tactic huh? totally ignore what people actually say and just yell at them for what you want to yell at them about? .. cool

    what I actually said was nobody deserves to be judged by their hawtness for anything other than sex but ya know, since it dosen’t matter what i actually said, fell free to keep screaming about the pieced together sentences you made up out my my post.

  195. Angel H.
    Angel H. April 10, 2012 at 4:20 pm |

    Who was once a supporter of your noble cause but now no longer cares?

    Make way for the waaahmbulance!

  196. LotusBecca
    LotusBecca April 10, 2012 at 4:23 pm |

    Who was once a supporter of your noble cause but now no longer cares?

    Fuck off and good riddance.

  197. Charlie
    Charlie April 10, 2012 at 4:24 pm |

    I would imagine most here would like to define themselves as “progressive”, but you’d never know based on the mob-mentality and notion that only those prepared to chime in with a “right on!” need apply.

    It was rather pathetic, actually. I would like to think that the author had something more ambitious than just putting out a rant that shall not be challenged when she wrote this. Perhaps not.

    But, here’s one guy who “gets” what the author was trying to say but who, none the less, has also been shown by plenty here that guys apparently don’t have a monopoly on being dick-waving a-holes.

  198. librarygoose
    librarygoose April 10, 2012 at 4:28 pm |

    If I think of something I want to say and I personally think it is meaningful, appropriate or relevant (hell, even if it is a non sequitur), then I am going to say it.

    Fuck off. Seriously, you don’t want to engage in any helpful way, Fuck off. Fuck off, fuck the hell off.

  199. petpluto
    petpluto April 10, 2012 at 4:29 pm |

    I appreciate your honesty. And I could respond it’s about being more mature, or the right thing to do, but that’s pretty squishy and subjective.

    I’ll just reiterate my original point: Maybe the guys are looking for a fight, maybe they have a genuine, contrary opinion. In any case sinking to that level (or worse) is simply counter-productive to your goals. It makes what you want to happen in society less likely to happen.

    What you’re ignoring here (and before, and continuously in these comments) is that the posters who have been ridiculed are not expressing “contrary opinions”. They are – possibly deliberately – missing the point of the whole post. In fact, they are, through genuine obtuseness or something more malicious – demonstrating the very behavior the OP is pointing out as harmful.

    You seem unwilling to engage on THAT point.

    Who was once a supporter of your noble cause but now no longer cares?

    Well, fuck off then. Seriously, if a couple of posters engaging in snark is enough to make you give up your commitment to recognizing feminism as a worthwhile pursuit, then you weren’t too strongly committed in the first place. My hunch, though, is you were never that much of a supporter if you care more about the feelings of the menz than you are of the actual women who are frustrated with the “but your boobs attract me” response to their actual problems.

    So let me see if I got this straight. I can be attracted to whatever I want…I just can’t open my mouth and voice my opinion about what I find attractive on the off chance that someone might feel bad or be offended by it?

    Thanks for playing, but no. If the discussion is what do you find attractive, then you’re free to open up and let it all out. If the conversation is how women are bombarded all day every day with the compliments of men telling them what they find attractive – even if it’s *gasp* something so subversive as small boobs! – and how that’s really not helpful or empowering in any way shape or form, you’d do everyone a favor to not make yourself and your preferences the center of that discussion. Because:

    It. Is. Not. About. You.

    When it’s about you? All good. When it’s about someone other than you? When it’s about the problems women face because of the resonse you are so desperate to give? You are fucking up.

    It’s REALLY not that hard to figure out.

  200. igglanova
    igglanova April 10, 2012 at 4:30 pm |

    So let me see if I got this straight. I can be attracted to whatever I want…I just can’t open my mouth and voice my opinion about what I find attractive on the off chance that someone might feel bad or be offended by it?

    Wrong. You may do so whenever you wish. And we may repudiate you when stating your preference is an irrelevant, annoying nonsequitur.

    Nobody is saying what you can and cannot do. We don’t have that power and nor do we particularly want it – because, again, monitoring your every impulse? Boring.

    Though not nearly as boring as actually reading the fucking article, it seems…

  201. tempo
    tempo April 10, 2012 at 4:30 pm |

    I didn’t read all of the thread, but some words on the controversy surrounding Brandon’s comment: I think Caperton’s post isn’t as well-written as it could have been in that it’s directed towards men (“it means to educate them”, so to say), yet for someone to have the expected emotional response to the article they need to be female, because it’s about being on the wrong side of a certain type of comment.

    So most women can very much sympathize (empathize? don’t know the right word) with what Caperton is saying and the many contexts in which such comments are bad. However, I think a lot of men who read this might wonder: “I say such things on occasion, yet I don’t think the context in which I say them is harmful at all.”

    Because this isn’t an academic debate, people are imprecise with their language, use hyperbole and such(or maybe Brandon was trolling? don’t know..), and you end up with both sides essentially agreeing, yet masking this by bickering about context and semantics.

    It also doesn’t help that Brandon was insulted a lot, often with vicious psycho-analytical theories about the origin of his thoughts that are honestly quite offensive. I’ve been reading this blog occasionally, and for instance someone like librarygoose is always very quick to directly derail the discussion with purely insulting comments.

    I might be wrong about this, but I think feministe sometimes only works as a blog for women in that the female experience is the central frame of reference. I’m a guy and I often feel a bit targeted in some of the language used here, because the description of certain condemned behavior is overly broad and inclusive.

    It’s not a bad thing, I mean, I know I’m being too sensitive when I get annoyed by such comments, and that this blog doesn’t exist for my benefit etc. but it does mean I generally won’t post here. :(

  202. Xtina
    Xtina April 10, 2012 at 4:31 pm |

    “I used to support feminism! But then some feminists did not specifically hold my hand in an online post where the topic wasn’t actually about holding men’s hands, so I said fuck it.”

    There goeth the principled man!  “I shall fight the good fight alongside you, until you’re less than unfailingly nice to me!”

  203. R J K
    R J K April 10, 2012 at 4:33 pm |

    I think it needs to be pointed out that not all men here aren’t getting it.

    For whose sake are you pointing this out? It would be half-sad, half-nice if the not-getting-it guys could look at those who do and see the errors of their ways. Half-sad because why should men behaving decently be any more convincing than women demanding to be treated decently? Half-nice because more men behaving decently is not a bad thing.

    I just don’t see it happening though. And something about highlighting men behaving decently as though it deserves special notice rubs me the wrong way.

  204. igglanova
    igglanova April 10, 2012 at 4:34 pm |

    I would imagine most here would like to define themselves as “progressive”, but you’d never know based on the mob-mentality and notion that only those prepared to chime in with a “right on!” need apply.

    Please explain why our ‘mob mentality’ (which is an amusingly hysterical bit of hyperbole, by the way) is incompatible with progressivism.

  205. Jadey
    Jadey April 10, 2012 at 4:36 pm |

    Who was once a supporter of your noble cause but now no longer cares?

    *Raises hand*

    I wonder if I will ever stop being amazed about people who assume that they are integral to a social movement by virtue of existing and that their “sudden” apathy to our concerns (usually preceded by a whole lotta nothin’ and functional apathy anyway) will surely devastate us!

    Quality, guys. Not quantity. If you aren’t helping, no one actually wants you. This isn’t just hostility – this is an immune system response, ridding the body of a harmful toxin. We are better for the absence of people who only want to keep on doing the exact shit we’re trying to fight and forcing us to waste our precious time and energy “convincing” and “educating” people who are perfectly capable of convincing and educating themselves should they actually be so concerned and supportive as they claim to be. Strategy 101: pick your battles.

    You know, I often question how much effort I should put into educating people on the Internet – the cluelessness is high, the douchery is thick, and it just never, ever, ever stops. For every person I think I get through to, there’s 10 other who just want to grind me down. I’m embarrassed sometimes by how much time and energy I put into explaining things to complete strangers based on the faint hope that we might actually make some progress. And yet time and time again, dudes will tell me I’m not trying hard enough, not being nice enough, not agreeing with them enough, or letting them off the hook enough. And if I lose my temper, get exhausted, or give up, sure enough there’s some dude there ready to tell me how I’m hurting my own cause by not being a perfect fucking diplomat while also unabashedly and ignorantly flaunting his own fucking ignorance and exposing me to yet more exhausting, sexist crap.

    And that’s how they win. That’s how we “nice” ourselves right back into the same problem we’re trying to fight. And it’s not just women fighting sexism who put up with this – it’s POC fighting racism, PWD fighting ableism, etc. (and of course a lot of people fighting on multiple fronts). It’s why I don’t get frustrated when POC or PWD or trans people and so forth don’t take the time to be nice to me (and really effing appreciate it when they do), but I finally understand the cost of it. Of putting yourself out there time and time again, with a greater likelihood of being slapped down for it than actually making a difference in most cases.

    The next time someone tells me that I would get farther by being nicer and taking the time to explain things, I will show them this thread and maybe they will see how far that gets us.

  206. tmc
    tmc April 10, 2012 at 4:38 pm |

    Who was once a supporter of your noble cause but now no longer cares?

    *Raises hand*

    Ha! Yeah, okay. If you’re willing to blithely retract your support for women’s equality on a whim just because some ladies on the internet didn’t coddle your widdle fee-fees, that means women never had your support to begin with. Don’t let the doorknob hit you on the way out, asshole.

  207. librarygoose
    librarygoose April 10, 2012 at 4:41 pm |

    and for instance someone like librarygoose is always very quick to directly derail the discussion with purely insulting comments.

    Hey! I resemble that remark.

    But on a serious note, I see no reason why I’m called out on the derail. If purposely obtuse assholes think I’ll play nice, they’re wrong.

  208. Geoff
    Geoff April 10, 2012 at 4:43 pm |

    You know what would help? Seeing someone on TV who has a butt like mine and is the smart, classy, desirable character and not the goofy friend.

    And while we’re at it, we can cast Charlize Theron as Abraham Lincoln and Cuba Gooding Jr. as Robert E. Lee.

  209. petpluto
    petpluto April 10, 2012 at 4:50 pm |

    I think a lot of men who read this might wonder: “I say such things on occasion, yet I don’t think the context in which I say them is harmful at all.”

    I don’t want to be an asshole about this, but that is the problem. If a man reads this and his immediate reaction is “I do this and I think it’s fine!”, then he has a sincere lac of empathy. Maybe it’s only on this issue. Maybe its only on issues that have to do with the ladies. Maybe it’s only on things he personally does. But if a guy who does this doesn’t read this and at least pause, then he’s just being a jerk. And it being written for women doesn’t make this any a more understandable reaction. Because that’s a lack of empathy.

    Here’s a clue: if women are like, This? This is a problem!, men don’t get to go, “Yeah, I do this and therefore it’s not.” Trust that women know of what they speak. Trust that maybe you’re doing wrong, because it’s understandable that you may be. Not because you’re a bad person, but because the conventional response is often not the best response.

    And understand that sometimes you don’t get a post written directly to men even when the writer expects men to get something out of it.

  210. Mxe354
    Mxe354 April 10, 2012 at 4:52 pm |

    Who was once a supporter of your noble cause but now no longer cares?

    *Raises hand*

    I’m male. I understand this article easily after I read Caperton’s comments in this thread. Why can’t you just read what ze has to say? Is it really that hard? Reading comprehension, sir – do you have it?

    This is not the thought police; this is a request for people to stop bringing up irrelevant things in discussions concerning body image, because such remarks not only fail to be helpful, but also are entirely inappropriate.

  211. R J K
    R J K April 10, 2012 at 4:53 pm |

    Re: tempo at 209

    I might be wrong about this, but I think feministe sometimes only works as a blog for women in that the female experience is the central frame of reference. I’m a guy and I often feel a bit targeted in some of the language used here, because the description of certain condemned behavior is overly broad and inclusive.

    It’s a trip, isn’t it? I reckon it’s still a pale shadow of what lots of women face as they go about their lives.

  212. EG
    EG April 10, 2012 at 4:59 pm |

    I think feministe sometimes only works as a blog for women in that the female experience is the central frame of reference.

    Yes. That’s right. There are a very few places in the world and on the internet that make women’s experiences the central frames of reference. Now you have the faintest glimmering of what it’s like to be a woman dealing with almost everywhere in the world, which makes men’s experiences the central frames of reference. We’ve had to learn to deal with it. You can too.

  213. tempo
    tempo April 10, 2012 at 4:59 pm |

    feministe sometimes only works as a blog for women in that the female experience is the central frame of reference

    * hed esplodeysplode *

    (hope I got the quotes right)

    Sorry, I’m not good at expressing myself well with regards to such things. :o (not a native speaker)

    I just mean that you are writing for women, having female experiences as something one is expected to have ..resonate(?). So I tihnk it’s inevitable for things to get Lost in Translation a little bit if one doesn’t share those experiences.

  214. librarygoose
    librarygoose April 10, 2012 at 5:06 pm |

    I just mean that you are writing for women, having female experiences as something one is expected to have ..resonate(?). So I tihnk it’s inevitable for things to get Lost in Translation a little bit if one doesn’t share those experiences.

    Like EG pointed out, this is one of few places that are from the female perspective…so try and shift perspective a bit? It will only help if you want to engage. But if women are telling you something is problem, try thinking about why they may think it, not that women must obviously be wrong because you don’t get it.

  215. R J K
    R J K April 10, 2012 at 5:10 pm |

    Re: Caperton at 219

    Gotcha. It’s such a simple concept that watching guys wrestle with this kind of thing kind of tosses the whole idea of men as more objective and rational out the window.

    Also, for everyone who worries about Brandon’s delicate feelings, I direct you to his comment at 191:

    Your feelings and reactions are your responsibility, not mine.

    Presumably his feelings and his reactions are his responsibility, not anyone else’s.

  216. Shigekuni
    Shigekuni April 10, 2012 at 5:11 pm |

    John, although you don’t deserve a reasoned reply, but here’s the thing. You have a point (a small one) about social change. If we want to change racist/sexist/… laws, we need to talk to misogynists and racists and find a way to talk to them that is understandable by enough of them to effect that kind of change.

    But there are different kinds of public spaces, and different kinds of rules in them. This space is one for women. Did you notice the frequent trigger warnings? The rules of this place demand that this is a discussion about issues that does not include an obsessive account of your boner’s notes, like most other spaces are.

    Different spaces demand different discourses. Caperton and many, many others explained in admirably patient comments just that. That there are spaces where your solipsist bonerology is not welcome. Where it’s hurtful and offensive to the people who make up this social space. How can you not have enough respect for your fellow human beings to see this?

  217. Emolee
    Emolee April 10, 2012 at 5:17 pm |

    So let me see if I got this straight. I can be attracted to whatever I want…I just can’t open my mouth and voice my opinion about what I find attractive on the off chance that someone might feel bad or be offended by it?

    No, you can be attracted to whatever you want, and you can open your mouth and say whatever you want. This post is not about policing your thoughts or even your words. This post is about reminding men that- in some contexts- comments on what they find attractive is off-topic and not helpful. Can they still say it? Sure. Will it piss people off? Probably.

    Ya, I am not going to do that. If I think of something I want to say and I personally think it is meaningful, appropriate or relevant (hell, even if it is a non sequitur), then I am going to say it. I am not responsible for someone elses feelings getting hurt. Mainly because I don’t control other peoples feelings. Your feelings and reactions are your responsibility, not mine.

    You have made it clear that you don’t care if you are helpful to women’s conversations about feminism/body image. So, maybe that’s why this post did not speak to you. It was directed at men who say these things trying to be helpful and comforting, but unknowingly end up being part of the original problem. That is not you. You have shown yourself to be an entitled narcissist who cares more about the right to swing his fist than about the bruises left on the other person’s nose.

    Shorter you: “I want to be an asshole.”

  218. D
    D April 10, 2012 at 5:18 pm |

    anon male
    “i guess I get your point, but I don’t think men that say “I like small breasts” (which by the way I do) want to help. They want to counterbalance the notion that men only like big boobs simply out of self interest. It’s just that a feminist blog may not be a suitable venue to do so.”

    (if you told your girlfriend or boyfriend you never get picked for the high school basketball team because you’re too short,now they say”but tall people are ugly and stretchy looking!i LIKE short guys”

    you are going to tell them to stfu.
    get it?
    its not about YOU then…..
    and its not consolling.
    its crap.
    and its insensitive crap.

  219. GoingPostal
    GoingPostal April 10, 2012 at 5:21 pm |

    Well done, Caperton. Not only does this accurately reflect some of my issues with the male-privileged and male-oriented society that I live in, but it’s also reminded me to be careful that I not do similar things and perpetuate the cycle of reinforcement per “fuckability” [e.g. when a male friend was rejected by the woman he liked and began to bemoan some of his attributes, to say"hang on, there are women who like (particular attribute)" and not "well, I like (particular attribute)"].

  220. BBBShrewHarpy
    BBBShrewHarpy April 10, 2012 at 5:26 pm |

    I think tempo at #209 actually almost gets it. He’s not quite there, because he’s still annoyed, and still centering dudedom, but he seems to realize his irritation doesn’t matter in his forum, which annoys him more, and then he is able to pull back upon realization that it’s not about him. His post (apart from the singling out of librarygoose) was considerably less heckle-raising than most of the others.

  221. Mxe354
    Mxe354 April 10, 2012 at 5:28 pm |

    @Charlie

    I would imagine most here would like to define themselves as “progressive”, but you’d never know based on the mob-mentality and notion that only those prepared to chime in with a “right on!” need apply.

    This isn’t about attacking dissenters; this is about how talking about what turns you on in a discussion concerning body image is inappropriate, especially if everyone dislikes it.
    But, here’s one guy who “gets” what the author was trying to say but who, none the less, has also been shown by plenty here that guys apparently don’t have a monopoly on being dick-waving a-holes.

    I’m willing to bet that they seem to be “dick-waving a-holes” because SOME people here are plugging their ears while a number of commenters here are constantly trying to explain the problem with remarks like “I prefer small boobs” in a body image discussion.

    How about you actually read what everyone is trying to say?

  222. Mxe354
    Mxe354 April 10, 2012 at 5:28 pm |

    oh great; i fucked up the quotes again X_X

  223. tempo
    tempo April 10, 2012 at 5:34 pm |

    R J K I’m not some naive person who has never encountered feminists up until now. :o I do get the point of Caperton’s post(I followed several courses about related issues @uni), but I really feel like say comment section discussion which often very clearly speculates about someone’s nefarious intent and penchant for oppression etc. after someone posts a contrary opinion can also make others reading this fee ..maybe uneasy about engaging. (again, it’s not necessarily bad since as people say this site is about women’s experiences for the most part) And well often they’re not really contrary opinions, just people wanting to frame the debate a different way that doesn’t include them in the list of people that do bad things. (which is really natural too but of course a website like this can’t work if people are too sensitive about feeling one’s behavior targeted, so I won’t defend Brandon’s actions at all)

    But I do think that maybe a little more dissolving of semantics and framing debates and less hostility can give better comment section debates. (that’s just my 2c, but I won’t post further! <3 all!)

  224. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable April 10, 2012 at 5:35 pm |

    Faithless, get over it. You tried to focus your concerns. You are apparently unable to handle women talking about problems that are NOT experienced by men, and needed to interject “OMG THEY TOTALLY ARE.” That’s classic “what about the menz.” Sorry you suck.

  225. tempo
    tempo April 10, 2012 at 5:38 pm |

    (suppose I can’t edit) – wanted to add that of course contrary opinions can be uninformed and very unproductive, so again I don’t want to defend people like that per se

  226. pheenobarbidoll
    pheenobarbidoll April 10, 2012 at 5:48 pm |

    So let me see if I got this straight. I can be attracted to whatever I want…I just can’t open my mouth and voice my opinion about what I find attractive on the off chance that someone might feel bad or be offended by it?”

    You can open your mouth and say whatever you want. JUST LIKE ALL THESE WOMEN HERE CAN TOO.

    Without regard for your fee fee’s, even!

    Imagine that!

  227. pheenobarbidoll
    pheenobarbidoll April 10, 2012 at 5:49 pm |

    Who was once a supporter of your noble cause but now no longer cares?

    Don’t let the door hitcha

  228. Grace
    Grace April 10, 2012 at 5:51 pm |

    I think feministe sometimes only works as a blog for women in that the female experience is the central frame of reference. I’m a guy and I often feel a bit targeted in some of the language used here, because the description of certain condemned behavior is overly broad and inclusive.

    Tempo, one of the reasons I enjoy Feministe is because it is not a feminisim 101/comfortable-education-for-dudes space. The female experience is and should be the central frame of reference. As a dude, you shouldn’t feel comfortable reading every post, because they should make you think about the ways in which you are privileged. And that has to be okay.

    often they’re not really contrary opinions, just people wanting to frame the debate a different way that doesn’t include them in the list of people that do bad things.

    Yes, there’s a difference between someone who really hates women and a guy who doesn’t understand why his ladyfriend might not want him to be talking about how much he likes her boobs in a certain context. But that doesn’t make it okay when the second guy ignores his ladyfriend, and reframing the debate so that guy can feel better about making her feel bad is not okay.

    Seriously, we’re not asking that dudes be perfect paragons of feminism. We are just asking that when we say things like, “It’s a problem when people do x,” men who do x listen to us, instead of a) immediately assuming because they do it, it can’t be offensive, or b) becoming so embarrassed about the fact that they have privilege that they lash out and deny its existence.

  229. Radiant Sophia
    Radiant Sophia April 10, 2012 at 6:11 pm |

    Sexism exists. The root cause of sexism is… well… sex (the act and the thought process associated with it). We, as a society have the ability to banish sex. It need not exist. Continuation of the species is no longer dependent upon sex. To rid someone of their thoughts of another within a sexual context, we must, quite simply, rid thoughts of sex.

  230. theLaplaceDemon
    theLaplaceDemon April 10, 2012 at 6:16 pm |

    @ John : 121

    Someone above mentioned the fact that it’s still objectification if you comment on a woman’s intelligence; however, does this still count if I want to compliment my girlfriend on, say, how I love the way we can have a conversation about random gibberish and it still somehow makes sense because she has the same lateral outside-the-box way of thinking that I do?

    Not Objectification: “Person who I am dating, I love the way we can have a conversation about random gibberish and it still somehow makes sense because you have the same lateral outside-the-box way of thinking that I do!

    Objectification: Bragging to friends about smart girlfriend because they will be impressed that you managed to snag a smart chick.

  231. EmilyBites
    EmilyBites April 10, 2012 at 6:20 pm |

    Although this is a brilliant thread full of hilarious comments, John’s bit about how he IS LEAVING NOW AND TAKING HIS MARBLES made me laugh out loud. Priceless.

    If there’s one thing I know we all need, it’s a man who will ‘let’ women be human as long as we’re really, really sweet to him.

    And oh dear ascended lord the objectification – like so many people have said, it’s not the ‘nice’ things men say, it’s the constant assessment. I don’t want to hear if you like my ass, don’t like my ass, saw my ass…just stop making me think about my ass.

    Does anybody else walk down the street in a weird disembodied way sometimes? I can almost SEE myself walking because I am so aware of being evaluated. Most guys are NOT subtle about it, and if we’re getting daily/weekly verbal evaluations delivered, there aren’t enough guys shutting the fuck up about what they think of our asses yet.

  232. theLaplaceDemon
    theLaplaceDemon April 10, 2012 at 6:25 pm |

    just people wanting to frame the debate a different way that doesn’t include them in the list of people that do bad things.



    …… No.

    No, we should not reframe the debate to make people who did bad things feel like they aren’t in the group of people who did bad things.

  233. Mxe354
    Mxe354 April 10, 2012 at 6:42 pm |

    @Radiant Sophia

    Sexism exists. The root cause of sexism is… well… sex (the act and the thought process associated with it). We, as a society have the ability to banish sex. It need not exist. Continuation of the species is no longer dependent upon sex. To rid someone of their thoughts of another within a sexual context, we must, quite simply, rid thoughts of sex.

    …You’re joking, right?

  234. Mxe354
    Mxe354 April 10, 2012 at 6:43 pm |

    @Radiant Sophia

    Sexism exists. The root cause of sexism is… well… sex (the act and the thought process associated with it). We, as a society have the ability to banish sex. It need not exist. Continuation of the species is no longer dependent upon sex. To rid someone of their thoughts of another within a sexual context, we must, quite simply, rid thoughts of sex.

    …You’re joking, right?

  235. librarygoose
    librarygoose April 10, 2012 at 6:45 pm |

    Sexism exists. The root cause of sexism is… well… sex (the act and the thought process associated with it). We, as a society have the ability to banish sex. It need not exist. Continuation of the species is no longer dependent upon sex. To rid someone of their thoughts of another within a sexual context, we must, quite simply, rid thoughts of sex.

    I read a book with this premise once. That shit did not work out.

  236. Emolee
    Emolee April 10, 2012 at 6:45 pm |

    Does anybody else walk down the street in a weird disembodied way sometimes? I can almost SEE myself walking because I am so aware of being evaluated.

    YES, I do this.

  237. Diz
    Diz April 10, 2012 at 6:47 pm |

    Are you meaning to tell me that dudes are flouncing the fuck out of the movement because those AWFUL women won’t be nice like they were trained to be from birth?

    Sweet.

  238. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig April 10, 2012 at 6:50 pm |

    JetGirl: We need to understand they don’t notice women doing anything that doesn’t involve sex/sandwich-making. If we wanted them to notice anything else, it’s our fault, because we just needed to be men, since only men can do that stuff right.

    I’m glad you added that p.s. because I thought you were totally serious about what men think.

    Brandon: And it is also my right to elbow you in the face and make it look like an accident. You are one of the many reasons why I try to avoid talking to men when I’m out in public. I don’t really want or need to know what you or other men find hot or not, especially when I’m running an errand or trying to do my job. Which women need if they want to live.

  239. Emolee
    Emolee April 10, 2012 at 6:55 pm |

    Sexism exists. The root cause of sexism is… well… sex (the act and the thought process associated with it). We, as a society have the ability to banish sex. It need not exist. Continuation of the species is no longer dependent upon sex. To rid someone of their thoughts of another within a sexual context, we must, quite simply, rid thoughts of sex.

    It isn’t necessary to eliminate sex in order to eliminate sexism. People can (and do) have sexual thoughts about one another outside of a sexist context.

    I do agree that one of the roots of sexism is men’s sexual objectification of women (men seeing women as f*ckable objects instead of as human beings). But this is caused not only by men’s sexual desire for women but ALSO from men’s power and privilege over women. Objectification is not a necessary part of sex or of sexual thoughts (one can want to f*ck someone and still see them as a human being).

  240. Jtma237
    Jtma237 April 10, 2012 at 7:04 pm |

    The problem with this argument is that, as established in the OP, this kind of “objectification” occurs after the prompting of a women. Do you really expect a man to comment on a thread about having small boobs with “you’re really smart!” Of course not, that’s a joke. The man is genuinely trying to comfort you and then you come back and bite his head off? All of the commenters here are acting like the topic is brought up by men. Don’t go fishing for a compliment by degrading your own body and then get mad when the response you get isn’t what you expect. It’s a sexual topic, you’re going to get sexual answers. Im not saying that the objectification of women is acceptable but in this particular situation, you’re bringing it on yourself.

  241. Faithless
    Faithless April 10, 2012 at 7:14 pm |

    @PrettyAmiable

    Get over it, you reacted to something I didn’t say, and you clearly refuse to go back and read what I wrote so as to understand my position. Sorry you suck.

  242. Charlie
    Charlie April 10, 2012 at 7:15 pm |

    This is amazing. First, apparently my coming to the conclusion, from evidence in this thread, that guys obviously don’t have a monopoly on being “dick-waiving a-holes” is not because, well, there’s a bunch of women here frothing at the mouth and acting dismissive a-holes, but because I really haven’t been reading the thread carefully enough.

    I’ve been married long enough to know that sometimes you have to read between the lines to understand what a woman is saying. But I didn’t realize “STFU” and “GFY” had alternate meanings. Shall we go back and count up the number of insult-laden missives that have been written?

    Sorry, but if you don’t want us guys “to make it all about us”, then you can’t turn around and blame us for the pathetic and regretful manner so many women in this thread have been conducting themselves. Grow the hell up.

    More specifically, I’m astonished at the prevailing opinion that there is apparently exactly one correct answer to “People say my breast are too small” And that answer is so obvious that anyone who doesn’t know it is a total idiot and deserves the shit storm that some of you here feel duty bound to lay upon his head.

    So, based on the cartoon linked in one of the first comments, the appropriate response for the guy, when a woman starts a discussion about people thinking her breasts are too small is to say, “That’s horrible. They should really understand what a wonderful person you are.” Which, of course, is as likely as not to get him a, “So you agree that my breast are too small. Thanks.”

    If you deny this, you’re lying to yourself. And, btw, you can’t also just pawn this off as “well that’s some hyper-sensitive person who worries about the wrong things.” Because, many well-adjusted and proud people have moments when they just want to look good and worry that they don’t. I sure as hell do. I work my ass off to try to make my body sexy for my wife. As each of us gets older, we obviously temper our expectations of what that has to mean but it is something that we do for each other as much as for ourselves. I want my wife to be physically turned on to me, just as she wants the same from me.

    And, when my wife asks me a question along those lines, I understand that she’s asking me because she wants to be assured that I find her sexy in that specific way. And that, saying, “I think you’re a fascinating woman” is about the last thing she wants to hear, at that very moment. If she brings up boobs, then we’re talking boobs. Of course she wants to know that I respect her and admire her for her intellect and creativity and kindness, but not then. Not when she says, “My breasts are so much smaller than all my friends”. Any man who’s not a freaking idiot knows there is, actually, one answer that works right then, and it ain’t the one you all are so pompously saying means the difference between guys who “get it” and don’t.

    Now, that said, I realize this is your thread and, thus, are free to shout down anyone who doesn’t walk in step with your specific beliefs. You’re also free to assume that what I’ve written above means that I have no idea about how effed up and misogynistic our society is inclined to be and that women are held to a cruel and unfair standard while men have a license to get fat once they turn 30.

    But you’d be wrong.

    At any rate, have at it.

  243. librarygoose
    librarygoose April 10, 2012 at 7:35 pm |

    Don’t go fishing for a compliment by degrading your own body and then get mad when the response you get isn’t what you expect.

    You are aware that not every woman on the planet wants to be deemed “fuckable” by your highly esteemed self, right? Or am I wrong? Is complaining about sexism and inequality really all about “fishing for compliments”? Feminism isn’t about women wanting to be treated like human beings AT ALL! It’s all about getting dudes to say, “don’t worry, you’re pretty.” I must spread the truth. To the roof tops!!

  244. Radiant Sophia
    Radiant Sophia April 10, 2012 at 7:36 pm |

    Emolee, I see your point, and I agree that objectification is also caused by power over and privilege. I, however, feel that someone thinking of me in a sexual context IS being objectifying. I admit I may be biased in this regard.

  245. Mxe354
    Mxe354 April 10, 2012 at 7:37 pm |

    This is amazing. First, apparently my coming to the conclusion, from evidence in this thread, that guys obviously don’t have a monopoly on being “dick-waiving a-holes” is not because, well, there’s a bunch of women here frothing at the mouth and acting dismissive a-holes, but because I really haven’t been reading the thread carefully enough.

    All I said is that many of the commenters here (many of whom happen to be female) are irritated because no one is paying attention to what they’re saying. Don’t twist my words.

    I’ve been married long enough to know that sometimes you have to read between the lines to understand what a woman is saying.

    Oh my, an essentialist remark. Isn’t that surprising, coming from you?

    And, when my wife asks me a question along those lines, I understand that she’s asking me because she wants to be assured that I find her sexy in that specific way. And that, saying, “I think you’re a fascinating woman” is about the last thing she wants to hear, at that very moment. If she brings up boobs, then we’re talking boobs. Of course she wants to know that I respect her and admire her for her intellect and creativity and kindness, but not then. Not when she says, “My breasts are so much smaller than all my friends”. Any man who’s not a freaking idiot knows there is, actually, one answer that works right then, and it ain’t the one you all are so pompously saying means the difference between guys who “get it” and don’t.

    Context. Context is at the crux of the issue here, and you brought it up, yet you still can’t see how talking about breast size preferences in a feminist discussion of body image is inappropriate because of the context.

  246. gratuitous_violet
    gratuitous_violet April 10, 2012 at 7:37 pm |

    Aaaaaand once again, a genuinely interesting thread is full of men talking about their hurt feelings toward feminism.

    Geez! Those guys! Always getting so emotional and illogical! Amirite?

  247. Mxe354
    Mxe354 April 10, 2012 at 7:40 pm |

    @Charlie

    This is amazing. First, apparently my coming to the conclusion, from evidence in this thread, that guys obviously don’t have a monopoly on being “dick-waiving a-holes” is not because, well, there’s a bunch of women here frothing at the mouth and acting dismissive a-holes, but because I really haven’t been reading the thread carefully enough.

    All I said is that many of the commenters here (many of whom happen to be female) are irritated because no one is paying attention to what they’re saying. Don’t twist my words.

    I’ve been married long enough to know that sometimes you have to read between the lines to understand what a woman is saying.

    Oh my, an essentialist remark. Isn’t that surprising?

    And, when my wife asks me a question along those lines, I understand that she’s asking me because she wants to be assured that I find her sexy in that specific way. And that, saying, “I think you’re a fascinating woman” is about the last thing she wants to hear, at that very moment. If she brings up boobs, then we’re talking boobs. Of course she wants to know that I respect her and admire her for her intellect and creativity and kindness, but not then. Not when she says, “My breasts are so much smaller than all my friends”. Any man who’s not a freaking idiot knows there is, actually, one answer that works right then, and it ain’t the one you all are so pompously saying means the difference between guys who “get it” and don’t.

    Context. Context is at the crux of the issue here, and you brought it up implicitly, yet you still can’t see how talking about breast size preferences in a feminist discussion of body image is inappropriate because of the context.

  248. Mxe354
    Mxe354 April 10, 2012 at 7:46 pm |

    @Charlie

    This is amazing. First, apparently my coming to the conclusion, from evidence in this thread, that guys obviously don’t have a monopoly on being “dick-waiving a-holes” is not because, well, there’s a bunch of women here frothing at the mouth and acting dismissive a-holes, but because I really haven’t been reading the thread carefully enough.

    All I said is that many of the commenters here (many of whom happen to be female) are irritated because no one is paying attention to what they’re saying. Don’t twist my words.

    I’ve been married long enough to know that sometimes you have to read between the lines to understand what a woman is saying.

    Oh my, an essentialist remark. Isn’t that surprising?

    And, when my wife asks me a question along those lines, I understand that she’s asking me because she wants to be assured that I find her sexy in that specific way. And that, saying, “I think you’re a fascinating woman” is about the last thing she wants to hear, at that very moment. If she brings up boobs, then we’re talking boobs. Of course she wants to know that I respect her and admire her for her intellect and creativity and kindness, but not then. Not when she says, “My breasts are so much smaller than all my friends”. Any man who’s not a freaking idiot knows there is, actually, one answer that works right then, and it ain’t the one you all are so pompously saying means the difference between guys who “get it” and don’t.

    Context. Context is at the crux of the issue here, and you brought it up implicitly, yet you still can’t see how talking about breast size preferences in a feminist discussion of body image is inappropriate because of the context.

  249. Mxe354
    Mxe354 April 10, 2012 at 7:56 pm |

    @Charlie

    This is amazing. First, apparently my coming to the conclusion, from evidence in this thread, that guys obviously don’t have a monopoly on being “dick-waiving a-holes” is not because, well, there’s a bunch of women here frothing at the mouth and acting dismissive a-holes, but because I really haven’t been reading the thread carefully enough.

    All I said is that many of the commentariat here (many of whom happen to be female) are irritated because no one is paying attention to what they’re saying. Don’t twist my words.

    I’ve been married long enough to know that sometimes you have to read between the lines to understand what a woman is saying.

    Oh my, an essentialist remark. Isn’t that surprising?

    And, when my wife asks me a question along those lines, I understand that she’s asking me because she wants to be assured that I find her sexy in that specific way. And that, saying, “I think you’re a fascinating woman” is about the last thing she wants to hear, at that very moment. If she brings up boobs, then we’re talking boobs. Of course she wants to know that I respect her and admire her for her intellect and creativity and kindness, but not then. Not when she says, “My breasts are so much smaller than all my friends”. Any man who’s not a freaking idiot knows there is, actually, one answer that works right then, and it ain’t the one you all are so pompously saying means the difference between guys who “get it” and don’t.

    Context. Context is at the crux of the issue here, and you brought it up implicitly, yet you still can’t see how talking about breast size preferences in a feminist discussion of body image is inappropriate because of the context.

  250. Mezzanine
    Mezzanine April 10, 2012 at 7:58 pm |

    It’s a sexual topic, you’re going to get sexual answers.

    *headdesk*

    It’s NOT a sexual topic. Just because we’re talking about something that happens to involve our bodies, that doesn’t mean the topic is sexual.

    And if we ARE talking about sexual topics, that still doesn’t mean the topic is “What all the male commenters personally think is sexy, because we totes care about that”.

  251. Emolee
    Emolee April 10, 2012 at 8:18 pm |

    Do you really expect a man to comment on a thread about having small boobs with “you’re really smart!”

    Do you really think this is a thread about having small boobs? Or that this thread is talking about what men should say in conversations “about small boobs”? We are taking about conversations about body image and societal pressure.

    Don’t go fishing for a compliment by degrading your own body and then get mad when the response you get isn’t what you expect.

    Who was “fishing for a compliment” or “degrading [her] own body”? That is not what this is about!

    It’s a sexual topic, you’re going to get sexual answers.

    Once more, breasts are not exclusively a sexual topic. Ahoy, male privilege and perspective!

  252. Mxe354
    Mxe354 April 10, 2012 at 8:20 pm |

    @Charlie

    This is amazing. First, apparently my coming to the conclusion, from evidence in this thread, that guys obviously don’t have a monopoly on being “dick-waiving a-holes” is not because, well, there’s a bunch of women here frothing at the mouth and acting dismissive a-holes, but because I really haven’t been reading the thread carefully enough.

    All I said is that the reason why many of us are pissed off in this thread is that some people, like you, somehow can’t grasp what we’re trying to say. It’s not that fucking hard to grasp the idea that bringing up body preferences in a feminist discussion concerning body image is inappropriate. Context, sir – pay attention to it.

    I’ve been married long enough to know that sometimes you have to read between the lines to understand what a woman is saying.

    Oh dear, another essentialist remark. That’s surprising.

    And, when my wife asks me a question along those lines, I understand that she’s asking me because she wants to be assured that I find her sexy in that specific way. And that, saying, “I think you’re a fascinating woman” is about the last thing she wants to hear, at that very moment. If she brings up boobs, then we’re talking boobs. Of course she wants to know that I respect her and admire her for her intellect and creativity and kindness, but not then. Not when she says, “My breasts are so much smaller than all my friends”. Any man who’s not a freaking idiot knows there is, actually, one answer that works right then, and it ain’t the one you all are so pompously saying means the difference between guys who “get it” and don’t.

    Cool. However, that’s in an entirely different context, not in, you know, the context of a feminist discussion concerning body image. Again: context, context, context. That’s the core of the issue in question.

  253. EG
    EG April 10, 2012 at 8:22 pm |

    Do you really expect a man to comment on a thread about having small boobs with “you’re really smart!”

    When the thread is about breasts, the male gaze, and the objectification of women, I expect the man to have basic reading comprehension, realize that the thread is not about his sexual preferences, and keep them to himself. The fact that you can’t see the difference between that thread and someone doing her body down is mind-boggling to me.

    As to the sex-banning idea: no thanks. I like sex when it’s with someone I’m attracted to. I see no evidence for it being the root of sexism. I cannot take this idea seriously at all.

  254. unyun
    unyun April 10, 2012 at 8:24 pm |

    @ Charlie: Dude, you’ve completely missed the point. The OP wasn’t simply about “boobs”. It was about being incessantly analyzed and objectified by men and how much it sucks. Then some guy comes into the thread and decides to throw in his preference for small boobs (you know…analyzing and objectifying women). That is the wrong context to bring up one’s personal preference of boob size in. Holy fuck my head’s about to explode. How do you not understand this?

  255. Mxe354
    Mxe354 April 10, 2012 at 8:31 pm |

    *mods, if you see my longer comment, please delete it*

    I’ve been married long enough to know that sometimes you have to read between the lines to understand what a woman is saying.

    Excuse me, sir; if you want to be taken seriously in this thread, don’t spew essentialist shit based on worthless anecdata.

    Have a nice day.

  256. EG
    EG April 10, 2012 at 8:35 pm |

    I’ve been married long enough to know that sometimes you have to read between the lines to understand what a woman is saying.

    I’ve been alive long enough to know that the vast majority of women are not your wife. Thank goodness.

  257. LotusBecca
    LotusBecca April 10, 2012 at 8:37 pm |

    OK Charlie, it sounds like you are annoyed because you believe that many women on this thread are being assholes. You wish we would take responsibility for our behavior rather than blaming you for being obtuse. Because in fact you have diligently read every post in this entire thread. You also think that what we are saying doesn’t really apply to your relationship with your wife. You feel surprised and frustrated because you believe we should see how what we’re saying is the exact wrong type of advice for men in your situation.

    I am angry at you because I don’t like it when you tell us what we “can” and “can’t” do. I resent you for what I believe are incredibly condescending remarks such as “frothing at the mouth” “grow the hell up” and “you’re lying to yourself.” I believe these remarks also have a sexist subtext because they feed into a larger cultural narrative where women are caricatured as hysterical, immature, and self-deluded. Furthermore, I believe you are misconstruing the thrust of our arguments, which pertain to how we want to men to conduct themselves a) on feminist blogs and b) in public places like workplaces or the sidewalk. Frankly, I don’t care about how you behave toward your wife so long as whatever happens is consensual and not abusive.

    Finally, to be completely honest, and judging from what you’ve posted here, I’d say you are pretty much a jerk.

  258. theLaplaceDemon
    theLaplaceDemon April 10, 2012 at 8:40 pm |

    @Jtma237 – You misunderstood the topic. Please try again. (and read the comments, focusing on those by Caperton.)

    Also, seriously? Trying to discuss body image and society is fishing for compliments? What reality do you live in?

    @Charlie

    I’ve been married long enough to know that sometimes you have to read between the lines to understand what a woman is saying

    It is possible this is true for your wife. Please do not extrapolate that to All Women.

    Also – as has been described I don’t know how many times – there is a difference between you telling your wife she is beautiful when she initiates a conversation about whether or not you think she is beautiful. That is not the issue here. The issue is when a woman says “This sucks, I am being discriminated against for [body type],” and the man she is talking to says “I love [body type]!” Do you see the difference?

  259. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. April 10, 2012 at 8:41 pm |

    @All the commentors whining and moaning about “reading between the lines” and “trying to do the right thing”.

    Let’s cut to the chase shall we? Intent is not fucking magic. That you intended to do something *nice* does not mean that it doesn’t cause harm.

    When a dude comes into one of these conversations (like Brandon, or John, or random letters dude, etc) and makes an observation about his personal preference that is not a neutral act. Its a sexist act. It causes actual women, actual harm. Which is what every other person in this thread is trying to freaking tell you.

    It doesn’t matter if he didn’t mean it *that* way.

    If I accidentally hit you in the nose, “I didn’t mean it” may make *me* feel better, but it doesn’t stop your nose from hurting. Intent is not magic.

    The appropriate response when you do something hurtful to another human being is not “But I didn’t mean it!” It’s “I’m sorry, I’ll try not to do that again.” And the appropriate response from a friend or ally is not…”Why are you angry at that dude for hitting you in the nose?”…it’s “I’m sorry that dude hit you in the nose.”

    I don’t think the lot of you need feminism 101, you need fucking human decency 101. Asshats.

  260. accalmie
    accalmie April 10, 2012 at 8:44 pm |

    John: I’m glad immaturity has no gender divide. Self-destructive solidarity must be very satisfying compared to time-honored methods of persuasion and advocacy. Why care about social change when you can make comments on the internet to feel good?

    Who was once a supporter of your noble cause but now no longer cares?

    *Raises hand*

    ROTFL!!! …and not a single fuck was given. also, you can drop that hand now.

  261. shfree
    shfree April 10, 2012 at 8:47 pm |

    ….Oh for the love of….IT’S NOT ABOUT WHAT YOU FIND HOT. It’s also not what ANYONE finds hot, because that isn’t germane to the topic of body image, unless a specific person is asked for input regarding their lust in relation to physical appearance. If it were possible for me to spell it out in interpretative dance to make it clearer, I would, but this medium doesn’t allow for it.

    And again, NO ONE IS STOPPING ANYONE FROM HAVING AN OPINION REGARDING WHAT TURNS THEM ON. Just that many of us, as women, are SICK TO DEATH of being reduced to body parts, and having them being told that we are attractive as a means to shore up our self worth. Because frankly, I don’t care if the dude down the street prefers my breasts to my neighbors, or vice versa. I just don’t want to hear about it, and I bet she doesn’t either.

    And LASTLY, quit fucking whining about us being mean about being fed up and sick of this damn conversation. Some of us have been dealing with this shit for DECADES, and me personally? I have no patience for dealing with anyone, male or female, who expects me to show any more tolerance than I’m willing to give regarding this sort of misogyny. I have a thirteen year old daughter, so I’ve got to not only continue to deal with crap directed at me, I need to be the sort of advocate she requires of me as well, and that takes some doing, as this shit has already started for her. So basically, flounce on out if you just don’t like our tone if we aren’t all patient and kind when we tell you to shut up and listen when you don’t get that saying “small breasts are just fine!” isn’t cool when discussing body image. Just….Gaaah.

  262. LotusBecca
    LotusBecca April 10, 2012 at 8:54 pm |

    Do you really expect a man to comment on a thread about having small boobs with “you’re really smart!”

    No. I expect a man to make an intelligent, original, well-written, thought-provoking and/or entertaining comment that’s consistent with a feminist political analysis aimed at dismantling systematic patriarchal oppression and other forms of kyriarchy. If you don’t know what the previous sentence means, then I’d appreciate it if you please stop posting on this blog until you figure it out and consent to make posts in line with my expectations.

  263. R J K
    R J K April 10, 2012 at 9:01 pm |

    Sorry, but if you don’t want us guys “to make it all about us”, then you can’t turn around and blame us for the pathetic and regretful manner so many women in this thread have been conducting themselves. Grow the hell up.

    What does this even mean? Are you saying that men posting about their sexual preferences at inappropriate times (making it “all about us”) is somehow connected to women posting about how fed up they are with that kind of shit? I mean, obviously there’s a connection, but I think the causal arrow runs in a pretty singular direction.

  264. Angel H.
    Angel H. April 10, 2012 at 9:06 pm |

    This is amazing. First, apparently my coming to the conclusion, from evidence in this thread, that guys obviously don’t have a monopoly on being “dick-waiving a-holes” is not because, well, there’s a bunch of women here frothing at the mouth and acting dismissive a-holes, but because I really haven’t been reading the thread carefully enough.

    Yes, that’s what we’ve been saying! Oh, wait. That was sarcasm, wasn’t it?

    I’ve been married long enough to know that sometimes you have to read between the lines to understand what a woman is saying.

    Listen, ladies. The expert on women is talking.

    But I didn’t realize “STFU” and “GFY” had alternate meanings. Shall we go back and count up the number of insult-laden missives that have been written?

    Sorry, but if you don’t want us guys “to make it all about us”, then you can’t turn around and blame us for the pathetic and regretful manner so many women in this thread have been conducting themselves. Grow the hell up.

    [lips quivering..] “You…you MEANIES!”

    More specifically, I’m astonished at the prevailing opinion that there is apparently exactly one correct answer to “People say my breast are too small” And that answer is so obvious that anyone who doesn’t know it is a total idiot and deserves the shit storm that some of you here feel duty bound to lay upon his head.

    Shitstorms: Because We Must!

    So, based on the cartoon linked in one of the first comments, the appropriate response for the guy, when a woman starts a discussion about people thinking her breasts are too small is to say, “That’s horrible. They should really understand what a wonderful person you are.” Which, of course, is as likely as not to get him a, “So you agree that my breast are too small. Thanks.”

    “I should know. I take my marital advice from primetime sitcoms and Midol commercials.

    If you deny this, you’re lying to yourself.

    Mind-reading, FTW!

    And, btw, you can’t also just pawn this off as “well that’s some hyper-sensitive person who worries about the wrong things.”

    Actually, the word “sensitive” is the last thing that comes to mind when I read your garbage. Continue.

    Because, many well-adjusted and proud people have moments when they just want to look good and worry that they don’t. I sure as hell do. I work my ass off to try to make my body sexy for my wife. As each of us gets older, we….

    Blah, blah, blah, blah. Do not care.

    Blah, blah. Fart . Poot. Me angry man. You mean women.

    Translation: “My wife and I have a certain relationship and I am perplexed, shocked, and appalled – appalled, I say! – that not all women are like my wife. This angers me. My anger is your fault.”

    Now, that said, I realize this is your thread…

    So, are you shutting up? No such luck, huh?

    …and, thus, are free to shout down anyone who doesn’t walk in step with your specific beliefs.

    It is law.

    You’re also free to assume that what I’ve written above means that I have no idea about how effed up and misogynistic our society is inclined to be and that women are held to a cruel and unfair standard while men have a license to get fat once they turn 30.

    But you’d be wrong.

    At any rate, have at it.

  265. BBBShrewHarpy
    BBBShrewHarpy April 10, 2012 at 9:09 pm |

    Charlie:

    I’ve been married long enough to know that sometimes you have to read between the lines to understand what a woman is saying.

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!
    We so tricky and devious. And emotional. And just plain crazy and far too difficult for teh menz to take at their word.

    In other news, I decided not to go to the Louis Farrakhan public talk at the local HBCU this evening. I was really interested in going to listen and learn, but having tested the waters as to whether I should go, felt not so welcome. That’s fine by me, despite my interest and (imho) good intent. No offense taken. No platform for me to get on and gripe.

  266. Matt
    Matt April 10, 2012 at 9:23 pm |

    One time when I was like 2, this person told me why something I had done was inappropriate and asked me not to do it anymore and I totally understood why and stopped. I must have been a real prodigy to accomplish something in my terrible twos that most of the grown men with grown up self control and understanding who have commented in this thread seem unable to do. My self esteem has been immeasurably boosted.

  267. Some Guy
    Some Guy April 10, 2012 at 9:24 pm |

    Wow. First-world problems much?

  268. EG
    EG April 10, 2012 at 9:28 pm |

    Wow. First-world problems much?

    Ladies! Your alleged problems are petty and silly! Please immediately direct your attention to something that a random dude approves of as important.

    Feminism: if only it could be directed by men.

  269. Mxe354
    Mxe354 April 10, 2012 at 9:28 pm |

    Wow. First-world problems much?

    Wow. Misunderstanding the issue much?

  270. Anthony Driesen
    Anthony Driesen April 10, 2012 at 9:29 pm |

    “I prefer small boobs” indeed. Yeah, the guy’s an idiot for saying something like that, but WHY IS HE SAYING IT?!

    He was worried. You looked unhappy. You made a comment about how you feel ugly. Maybe you were crying and you think he doesn’t see it in your eyes. Most men, whether by nature or nurture, have a drive to protect those they care about, regardless of sexual attraction. So this hypothetical man puts his foot in his mouth in an attempt to make you feel better. To boost your ego, because the thought of you hurting physically pains him. Because he can’t hurt those women’s magazines that make you feel fat. He can’t punch those reality stars who spend thousands to get butt implants. He can’t shield you from the constant bombardment from soulless ad executives who know that the best way to sell their swill is to make you fearful and self-loathing.

    Because if he touches you it could be sexual harassment. If he smiles at you he could be fired. If he hugs you he could go to jail. So he tries to help you the only way he can think of, by being supportive. Yeah, it’s a dumb comment in hindsight, when it’s being torn apart by someone looking for the worst meaning to every word. Well, there was a sentiment behind that statement that you missed.

    Why did you bring your butt into it? Aren’t you arguing against the objectification of the female form? Isn’t this a grand slam against sexism, in all it’s forms large and small?

    Of course it isn’t. It’s yet another little insecure girl bitching about how she never was prom queen.

    And you have the nerve to yell at him because he tells you you’re beautiful, no matter what they think of you.

    Yeah, he’s a jerk all right. Objectifying your body like that. What a creep.

  271. LotusBecca
    LotusBecca April 10, 2012 at 9:29 pm |

    Wow. First-world problems much?

    Sorry you accidently clicked on this blog post when you meant to click on the NPR story about the civil war in Mali. I know it’s really frustrating whenever that happens.

  272. LotusBecca
    LotusBecca April 10, 2012 at 9:31 pm |

    Damn it! Shit. I need to improve my snark response times.

  273. Matt
    Matt April 10, 2012 at 9:31 pm |

    Ladies! Your alleged problems are petty and silly! Please immediately direct your attention to something that a random dude approves of as important.

    Feminism: if only it could be directed by men.

    EG you have it all wrong! If we only focused on important things, why would we need feminism at all?

  274. fifthpevensie
    fifthpevensie April 10, 2012 at 9:31 pm |

    I’m almost having a hard time believing that most of the d00dz on here regularly even *speak* to women. As said above: do you just go around telling the women around you that you like their asses or their boobs? Does that work for you?
    An example, kind of funny but pertinent, of a time when a dear male friend of mine did NOT feel he needed to tell me about his own boner preferences:
    my first year of college my small town got its first tanning salon so tanning in winter became THE THING to do. I couldn’t afford to go but I started using self-tanner and as a result my knees and my knuckles turned orange. so I was on a walk with my friend Mike.

    me (whiny voice): “My knuckles are orange! All I wanted was to be tan!”

    Mike: “fifthpevensie, no one is going to look at you and go ‘oh, she has orange knuckles. she must be a BAD PERSON.”

    now, Mike could have told me how he thought pale girls were super hot, or how orange knuckles were totally his thing. but he didn’t, because IT WASN’T ABOUT HIM. despite the fact that he really liked me and DID think I was really attractive, he was able to deduce that his friend was not asking if she was still attractive despite her orange-ness, or fishing for compliments about her pale skin or anything like that.
    but for pete’s sake.
    not all women suffer from body image issues.
    a lot of women do.
    either way, it doesn’t mean that we will be “fixed” or “helped” by being told that a man, stranger or no, thinks we are attractive.

  275. pheenobarbidoll
    pheenobarbidoll April 10, 2012 at 9:32 pm |

    Does anybody else walk down the street in a weird disembodied way sometimes? I can almost SEE myself walking because I am so aware of being evaluated.

    Yup. And when it’s not that, you are more hyper aware of your ass/boobs than you ever thought you’d be. You can feel the eyes on it.

  276. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig April 10, 2012 at 9:34 pm |

    Some Guy: No, it’s not just a first world problem. The problem is that men are so fucken distracted by women that they can’t help but comment, or they feel so ashamed that they want to wall women up in the house so that they can stop being distracted. Men always want to reduce women to parts: that’s true of the first world and it’s even truer in the third. The difference is that the first world dudedom is supposed to be a bit more educated. After all, women have been around in public for more then a century here.

  277. JetGirl
    JetGirl April 10, 2012 at 9:54 pm |

    Oh, if only being objectified and dehumanized by men were just a first world problem!

  278. igglanova
    igglanova April 10, 2012 at 10:00 pm |

    I’ve been married long enough to know that sometimes you have to read between the lines to understand what a woman is saying

    I had to LOL for real at the notion that a straight dude knows more about women than women do because he’s married to a woman. I bet you’d shit if any of us justified sweeping genralizations about men by saying we’ve totally had boyfriends before.

    I also continue to be amused by Charlie’s insistence that we are all ‘frothing at the mouth’ because we’re having a disagreement with strong language. I dunno about anyone else, but I’m actually rather relaxed right now, leaning back in my comfy office chair with deliciously terrible posture. I must be so apoplectic with rage that I forgot to show any sign of it whatsoever.

  279. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable April 10, 2012 at 10:14 pm |

    @PrettyAmiable

    Get over it, you reacted to something I didn’t say, and you clearly refuse to go back and read what I wrote so as to understand my position. Sorry you suck.

    That’s so cute how you can’t be bothered to read what you wrote for comprehension. Please resume with your regularly scheduled whining about being a dude, where you try to dictate what women talk about when you don’t understand the topic at all. It’s kinda funny when men are so stupid. Carry on, mouth-breather.

  280. sportofthefuture
    sportofthefuture April 10, 2012 at 10:20 pm |

    You know, I actually small penises.

    Anyway, there have been many, many wonderful commenters in this thread, who have said everything that needs to be said many, many times. You know who you are (Brandon nods, thinking that I’m talking about him).

    So, just two quick things:

    1) Physical and bodily issues are not automatically sexual ones. This seems to be somewhat confusing to people. My body image issues are not the same as my sexual self-esteem issues (although they can overlap). In other words, a chat about breasts is not always a chat about sex.

    2) Charlie, it sounds like even though your wife and I are both women, we have very little in common. She is married to you. I am not. She (presumably) wants to be married to you. I do not. These are just a couple of our differences. So stop acting like by virtue of knowing her, you know me, and all women.

  281. sportofthefuture
    sportofthefuture April 10, 2012 at 10:23 pm |

    Why would it delete the most important word of my comment? I wrote that I actually PREFER small penises. I’m so ashamed of my fail.

  282. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve April 10, 2012 at 10:49 pm |

    @Jadey

    The next time someone tells me that I would get farther by being nicer and taking the time to explain things, I will show them this thread and maybe they will see how far that gets us.

    I think the fact that you were able to overlook our past quibbles and not criticize me when I was self disclosing earlier up this thread makes you an extremely nice person. I do look forward to your criticism when I say something thoughtless again :)

  283. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh April 10, 2012 at 11:06 pm |

    Since evidently this thread will continue to be flooded with men throwing their privilege around like poo, it’s clear that if I wait to talk about what it has meant to be big-breasted until they go away or until they decided to check their privilege, shut up, and listen, then I will never tell these stories.

    So, here goes. As I’ve said earlier, I love my breasts, I don’t love being reduced to them and nothing else by men.

    Being large chested has meant street harassment from age 10 till the present.

    Being large chested meant getting on Topix to try and find something worrying about my town and instead realizing that someone started a thread about me, which quickly descended into discussing my body part by part, but oh, some kind anonymous male soul decided to tell the people in the thread he loves my breasts and tells them what he would do to my breasts!

    Being large chested has meant that during my very first appointment with a psychiatrist, the doc was apparently under the impression that it was my breasts that laid awake at night sobbing because they didn’t understand what was happening to me (I am Bipolar and didn’t know it then).

    Being large chested meant that during one sexual assault I suffered, that part of me was singled out for humiliation.

    Being large chested as meant that when I found lumps in one breast and scared shitless as was preparing for my first mammogram, I was on the receiving end of breast exam “jokes.”

    If someone were to reply to me that he was sorry to hear about these things because he loves big breasts, I would want to spit in his sorry face.

  284. R J K
    R J K April 10, 2012 at 11:17 pm |

    “I prefer small boobs” indeed. Yeah, the guy’s an idiot for saying something like that, but WHY IS HE SAYING IT?!

    [. . .]

    And you have the nerve to yell at him because he tells you you’re beautiful, no matter what they think of you.

    Do you see what you did here?

  285. Mezzanine
    Mezzanine April 10, 2012 at 11:26 pm |

    He was worried. You looked unhappy. You made a comment about how you feel ugly. Maybe you were crying and you think he doesn’t see it in your eyes.

    Wow. He detected all of that just from my username?

    Most men, whether by nature or nurture, have a drive to protect those they care about, regardless of sexual attraction.

    Seriously? I, as a woman, have absolutely no drive to protect people I care about. I’d rather crush them beneath my heel. What is this strange manly thing called “compassion”, and where do I get some?

    To boost your ego, because the thought of you hurting physically pains him.

    Is he getting stomach cramps? Or a headache? Or… maybe you were being metaphorical.

    He can’t punch those reality stars who spend thousands to get butt implants.

    Because what I want from a man is someone who fantasises about punching famous women. What a champ.

    Because if he touches you it could be sexual harassment.

    If he’s not a close enough friend to touch me, how the hell is he a close enough friend to comment on my breasts?

    If he hugs you he could go to jail.

    This is why America’s jails are overcrowded: too much hugging.

    Well, there was a sentiment behind that statement that you missed.

    That sentiment being “I love your boobs”. Or was there an epic poem about the value of fleeting time encoded somewhere in the middle?

    Why did you bring your butt into it? Aren’t you arguing against the objectification of the female form?

    Apparently it is impossible to discuss one’s body without objectifying oneself. Trufax.

    It’s yet another little insecure girl bitching about how she never was prom queen.

    Can’t imagine why anyone might not think you’re woman-friendly.

    And you have the nerve to yell at him because he tells you you’re beautiful, no matter what they think of you.

    “Beauty” in this case being defined as “this dude totally wants to fuck me”. Because that’s what I always wanted to hear.

  286. shfree
    shfree April 10, 2012 at 11:37 pm |

    “I prefer small boobs” indeed. Yeah, the guy’s an idiot for saying something like that, but WHY IS HE SAYING IT?!

    He was worried. You looked unhappy. You made a comment about how you feel ugly. Maybe you were crying and you think he doesn’t see it in your eyes. Most men, whether by nature or nurture, have a drive to protect those they care about, regardless of sexual attraction. So this hypothetical man puts his foot in his mouth in an attempt to make you feel better. To boost your ego, because the thought of you hurting physically pains him. Because he can’t hurt those women’s magazines that make you feel fat. He can’t punch those reality stars who spend thousands to get butt implants. He can’t shield you from the constant bombardment from soulless ad executives who know that the best way to sell their swill is to make you fearful and self-loathing.

    Because if he touches you it could be sexual harassment. If he smiles at you he could be fired. If he hugs you he could go to jail. So he tries to help you the only way he can think of, by being supportive. Yeah, it’s a dumb comment in hindsight, when it’s being torn apart by someone looking for the worst meaning to every word. Well, there was a sentiment behind that statement that you missed.

    Why did you bring your butt into it? Aren’t you arguing against the objectification of the female form? Isn’t this a grand slam against sexism, in all it’s forms large and small?

    Of course it isn’t. It’s yet another little insecure girl bitching about how she never was prom queen.

    And you have the nerve to yell at him because he tells you you’re beautiful, no matter what they think of you.

    Yeah, he’s a jerk all right. Objectifying your body like that. What a creep.

    HE might mean well, presuming the woman who is upset about the her appearance and he get along well with each other, and they have the sort of relationship where he is free to make statements regarding his feelings about her appearance. But YOU are a jerk and a creep. “little insecure girl bitching about how she was never prom queen” my ass.

  287. librarygoose
    librarygoose April 10, 2012 at 11:55 pm |

    “Beauty” in this case being defined as “this dude totally wants to fuck me”. Because that’s what I always wanted to hear.

    I know, right? Makes me feel like a goddamn princess and shit.

  288. Some Guy
    Some Guy April 10, 2012 at 11:58 pm |

    Your alleged problems are petty and silly!

    Yes, you self-absorbed little twit, they are.

    Women in the middle east get beaten, imprisoned, or even killed killed for being raped, and here you are bitching about guys trying to make you feel better when you whine about playboy magazines.

  289. librarygoose
    librarygoose April 11, 2012 at 12:01 am |

    @ Angel H

    I love your gifs. That Obama one made me giggle like a child.

  290. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. April 11, 2012 at 12:04 am |

    Of course it isn’t. It’s yet another little insecure girl bitching about how she never was prom queen.

    Charming. Of course you’re just an insecure dipshit bitching about how women don’t think and feel exactly what you think is appropriate.

    So sorry…but even if it makes you uncomfortable or unhappy…our opinions about our own bodies and our own experiences are more valid than yours. You don’t get to decide what is and isn’t appropriate for a woman to feel. Asshat.

  291. Some Guy
    Some Guy April 11, 2012 at 12:15 am |

    Men always want to reduce women to parts

    What utter crap.

    You toss off a condemnation of half of the people in the entire world like this, and you have the nerve to accuse anyone else of sexism?

  292. Donna L
    Donna L April 11, 2012 at 12:16 am |

    All these guys can’t possibly be as stupid as they’re pretending to be, right? There hasn’t been anything mysterious; there hasn’t even been anything requiring them to exercise their talents for reading between the lines in order to understand what women say and figure out the answer to that eternal question of what women want.

    It isn’t that hard. No difficult feminist words, even, for the most part! It’s all right there. But apparently it’s just too difficult to comprehend that there are contextual differences between what’s appropriate to say when you’re reassuring your wife and what’s appropriate to say when you’re talking to a woman who isn’t in a sexual relationship with you and probably doesn’t want to be. Never mind what’s appropriate when women are having a discussion on a feminist blog.

    Oh, and having been socialized as a guy is no excuse. Testosterone is not incompatible with listening to what women say and seeing them as human beings. Trust me. I wonder when the last time was that any of the clueless guys posting here actually did something like read a book written by a woman. Fiction, non-fiction, it doesn’t matter. Try it sometime, you might learn something.

    Finally, there’s one additional thing that bothers me when I hear or read men say that they like small boobs, that I haven’t seen anyone else mention. So maybe it’s just me. But in my experience (and, as I’ve said before, I’ve been privy to a lot of conversations in which men talked about women when they thought there were no women listening), what a lot of men mean by “small boobs” — the visual image of “small boobs” which they see floating in their mind’s eye when they say those words — bears no resemblance whatsoever to what those words signify to me. There are plenty of guys who think of breasts big enough for men’s magazines as being “average,” and anything even a little bit smaller as being “small.”

    Whereas what I would think of as “small boobs” (namely, mine), they think of as “flat as a board,” not even counting, etc. Which is pretty much the general societal viewpoint. A viewpoint that women — including me — internalize way too often; it isn’t as if I haven’t heard women who clearly do have breasts refer to themselves as being completely flat-chested. Sometimes I have to affirmatively remind myself that none of that is true, and that yes, in fact, what I have is “real,” as much as anyone’s. Even if I haven’t had them as long as most women my age. Not that it took me very long at all to internalize all the negative body image stuff — about five minutes, maybe! (Although it’s a very different feeling from the actual body dysphoria I used to have — a difference it’s not easy to articulate, and this isn’t the place to do it anyway.)

    So even if I really cared what people who say that thought, which I don’t, I wouldn’t necessarily believe that it meant anything.

  293. EG
    EG April 11, 2012 at 12:25 am |

    You toss off a condemnation of half of the people in the entire world like this, and you have the nerve to accuse anyone else of sexism?

    Don’t you have starving orphans to feed somewhere or something? You know, something really important to do, as opposed to all those spoiled feminists who insist on discussing their first-world problems?

  294. Some Guy
    Some Guy April 11, 2012 at 12:32 am |

    I had to LOL for real at the notion that a straight dude knows more about women than women do because he’s married to a woman.

    That’s not why he knows more than you do. He knows more than you do because he has more experience than you. If you pay attention to what he wrote, you might learn something.

  295. Some Guy
    Some Guy April 11, 2012 at 12:34 am |

    Don’t you have starving orphans to feed somewhere or something?

    Aw, don’t get all butthurt just because I’m calling you on your bullshit.

  296. Mezzanine
    Mezzanine April 11, 2012 at 12:36 am |

    I had to LOL for real at the notion that a straight dude knows more about women than women do because he’s married to a woman.

    That’s not why he knows more than you do. He knows more than you do because he has more experience than you.

    – A is a woman.
    – B is a man, married to a woman.
    – Therefore, B has more experience of women than A.

    Logic: You do not have it.

  297. LotusBecca
    LotusBecca April 11, 2012 at 12:40 am |

    If you pay attention to what he wrote, you might learn something.

    Oooooh!! YAY!! I want to learn something!! What about you good sir, do you have any valuable lessons you impart unto us?? Pleasepleaseplease don’t be stingy!

  298. Mxe354
    Mxe354 April 11, 2012 at 12:42 am |

    That’s not why he knows more than you do. He knows more than you do because he has more experience than you. If you pay attention to what he wrote, you might learn something.

    That he is married to a woman does not entail that he knows more about women in general than that other woman. Anecdata aren’t legitimate evidence for general claims about human personality. End of story.

  299. librarygoose
    librarygoose April 11, 2012 at 12:47 am |

    If you pay attention to what he wrote, you might learn something.

    The fucking nerve. Do you guzzle rubbing alcohol to get to the point where you mind is working in such dissonance? Have you read the original post? Nah, never mind. Of course not, you’re busy solving world hunger or some other important thing, not like us ladies.

    Silly ladies.

  300. EG
    EG April 11, 2012 at 12:53 am |

    Aw, don’t get all butthurt just because I’m calling you on your bullshit.

    You have a hard time telling the ladies apart, don’t you? You haven’t called me on jack shit.

    I’ve had years of experience being a woman–if we go by legal ages, 18 of them. During that time, my closest relationships have been with women. How many years of experience being a woman does Charlie have again? How many close relationships with women?

  301. librarygoose
    librarygoose April 11, 2012 at 1:00 am |

    I’m sorry to point this out to you EG, but your time as a lady is discounted. See…it’s the whole “being a woman” thing. It automatically means you can’t be an expert on anything, even your own experience. Because…well…You get to *whispers* your “time” and then you start shouting and being mean, and it hurts dudes. On the inside.

  302. DonnaL
    DonnaL April 11, 2012 at 1:13 am |

    He knows more than you do because he has more experience than you

    You know this how, exactly? Just what kind of “experience” would this be? Being married to one woman for X years = knowing what all women are like?

    Unbelievable.

  303. igglanova
    igglanova April 11, 2012 at 1:16 am |

    Some Guy, you have absolutely no idea as to who I am – my age, my relationships with women, my accumulated experience as a woman myself, or anything else about me. And yet you feel comfortable asserting that some other internet stranger who you also know nothing about has the superior level of experience with the ladies? Because ____? The arrogance astounds.

  304. LotusBecca
    LotusBecca April 11, 2012 at 1:20 am |

    I think we all need to have a little more respect for Charlie’s epistemology here. I mean, what could one really learn by being a woman? One would obviously be too close to the action to be truly objective. On the other hand, Charlie has cold, dry, incontrovertible facts at his disposal. He has not only been married to a woman for a “long” time, but he is “not a freaking idiot” and has surveyed the “evidence in this thread.” He’s even prepared to “count up the number of insult-laden missives that have been written” to indisputably prove his conclusions. Counting! Numbers! Here is a man who has a true spirit of independent inquiry, who righteously rages like Gallileo or Buckminister Fuller against “prevailing opinion” even though everyone around him is trying to “shout down” the Truth. All I can do now that I’ve finally realized this is bow down to such a manly paragon of objective research and humbly ask to be taught another lesson.

  305. Li
    Li April 11, 2012 at 1:58 am |

    What. The. Fuck. What cavernous cesspit spawned these leering troglodytes? Guys, it’s not that difficult for men not to comment on women’s bodies. Watch, I’m doing it right now.

    WOAH IT’S LIKE FUCKIN’ MAGIC.

  306. Mxe354
    Mxe354 April 11, 2012 at 2:11 am |

    Women in the middle east get beaten, imprisoned, or even killed killed for being raped, and here you are bitching about guys trying to make you feel better when you whine about playboy magazines.

    Ah, the not-as-bad-as fallacy. How lovely.

    Also, those remarks that are supposed to make women “feel better” are not only unsolicited, but also inappropriate and out of context. Is it really that hard to read Caperton’s comments? Seriously, WTF

    You’re a close-minded dipshit. Good day.

  307. Today
    Today April 11, 2012 at 2:21 am |

    I would like to point out that the promotion of these things only applying to women promotes the existence of it. Let me clarify, I’m in no way saying that one shouldn’t point out inconsistencies in misdemeanor but the idea that it’s separate from what any other person feels is what feeds the beast.

    No longer do you need to subject yourself to these objectifications. Projection of material matter in the essence and so-called promotion of form. It feeds on the recognition of the void, laugh at it, and fight it. It exists in all creatures, humans especially due to their heightened awareness. Yet it is not necessary, your wound comes from the recognition of this undermining of you that is taking place all around you… but how much do you yourself feed into that and allow it to become common place? I know I do, and every time I do I feel worse for it…. only when you recognize that you too are feeding it can you begin to fight it on the battlefield.

    Much love and light. Happiness and abundance to you and yours :)

  308. librarygoose
    librarygoose April 11, 2012 at 2:36 am |

    @Someguy

    Why are you here commenting? Don’t you know there are women in other parts of the world whose lives are fucking miserable? Isn’t pontificating to spoiled western women a little selfish? You really need to address your own privilege and take a look at the world around, there are bigger problems than women saying things that you think are frivolous. Get on that shit. GO.

  309. Li
    Li April 11, 2012 at 2:40 am |

    I would like to point out that the promotion of these things only applying to women promotes the existence of it. Let me clarify, I’m in no way saying that one shouldn’t point out inconsistencies in misdemeanor but the idea that it’s separate from what any other person feels is what feeds the beast.

    No longer do you need to subject yourself to these objectifications. Projection of material matter in the essence and so-called promotion of form. It feeds on the recognition of the void, laugh at it, and fight it. It exists in all creatures, humans especially due to their heightened awareness. Yet it is not necessary, your wound comes from the recognition of this undermining of you that is taking place all around you… but how much do you yourself feed into that and allow it to become common place? I know I do, and every time I do I feel worse for it…. only when you recognize that you too are feeding it can you begin to fight it on the battlefield.

    Much love and light. Happiness and abundance to you and yours :)

    Whut…

  310. Shigekuni
    Shigekuni April 11, 2012 at 3:34 am |

    Also, dear Charlie, I suspect that “you have to read between the lines with women” is a cover-up for men who don’t really pay attention to their partners, because with women, you know, they are all chatty and stuff, why would you listen to their woman chatter (>.<) and that puts you at a disadvantage for actually hearing what your wife's problems are. So when you're at that point you're naturally reduced to guessing and 'inferring' and reading between the lines and randomly telling women you like small boobs. UR doin it wrong, dude. Treat women like people, and a lot of things will be better. When was the last time you went up to an insecure dude in your office and complimented him on his small cock? See? Try to treat women at least as well as you treat men.

  311. LotusBecca
    LotusBecca April 11, 2012 at 4:01 am |

    You really need to address your own privilege and take a look at the world around, there are bigger problems than women saying things that you think are frivolous. Get on that shit. GO

    Exactly. Every moment that Some Guy spends making fun of us is a moment he could have used installing solar panels in impoverished herding villages in Senegal or helping exhausted women in rural India go to the well to gather water for their thirsty children. Instead, he chooses to sit on his ass and talk about what twits we are. OH MY GOD SOME GUY STOP COMPLAINING ABOUT YOUR FUCKING FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS AND DO SOMETHING!!!1!!1!

  312. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable April 11, 2012 at 7:12 am |

    Don’t you have starving orphans to feed somewhere or something?

    Aw, don’t get all butthurt just because I’m calling you on your bullshit.

    …Aw, don’t get all butthurt just because people called you on your bullshit, sweetheart.

  313. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. April 11, 2012 at 8:56 am |

    FYI. This:

    Three! Three insult-laden missives! Ah-ah-ah-ah. Four! Four insult-laden missives…

    Funniest thing in the history of ever.

  314. Radiant Sophia
    Radiant Sophia April 11, 2012 at 9:00 am |

    Librarygoose, I giggled at your response (218).
    I don’t believe someguy is actually a male human. I believe it’s a troll. Perhaps it should be treated as such.

  315. Radiant Sophia
    Radiant Sophia April 11, 2012 at 9:01 am |

    oops… I meant (#318). sorry.

  316. Kxx
    Kxx April 11, 2012 at 9:27 am |

    Oh god this thread makes me want to quit the planet.

    Some Guy – So a man, who is married to a woman, obviously knows more about all women than women? Because being married to a woman meanhave spent years being women? By that logic, having a friend/spouse of [unspecified ethnic group] makes you more qualified to speak on discrimination faced by [unspecified ethnic group] than all members of [unspecified ethinc group]. We are sick of being seen as a collection of body parts that exist for the pleasure of men. That is not a first world problem, it is a world problem.

    If I were Charlie’s wife, I would be quite peeved about how he clearly thinks that she is so unindividual and ununique that a quirk of her personality can be extrapolated to all women, everywhere. My significant other doesn’t know how best to converse with every woman in the world by extention of knowing how best to converse with me.

    And to the dudes complaining that they ‘can’t win’, yes, yes you can. Stop treating us as objects and realise that we are more than a collection of body parts.

    Other condescending creep – If you don’t know me well enough to know when it is appropriate to touch me or hug me, then damn right I’m going to be angry is you offer up your opinion on my breasts. How the absolute fuck can you recognise that touching and hugging may be considered inappropriate, while failing to see how “I like your breasts” is inappropriate?

  317. Kxx
    Kxx April 11, 2012 at 9:30 am |

    Ok, posting fail. The sentence that makes no sense should have been:

    “Because being married to a woman means having more experience of women than all these other women who have spent years being women?”

  318. gratuitous_violet
    gratuitous_violet April 11, 2012 at 9:34 am |

    He knows more than you because he has more experience than you.

    Oh yeah? Well, I’ve had a brother and an asshole father my WHOLE LIFE, so that qualifies me to make inane generalizations about all men, right? Since I must have more experience than you?

    My word, but these Gentlemen are really fucking stupid. Like, stupider than usual. Did this piece get linked at Scott Adams’ blog or something?

  319. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig April 11, 2012 at 9:42 am |

    SomeGuy: You told EG that she has less experience of living life as a woman then some guy who’s wife’s experience of being a woman magically transferred to him, and then you accuse me of sexism? LOL. You’re too precious for words.
    Also, rape and imprisonment happen here too: just ask Elizabeth Smart, Jaycee Dugard, and Miss Fritzl for a start. Or turn on the nightly news if you live near a college campus with fraternities. Oh, wait, all these examples are of Western women, who, since they live in the West must be asking to be raped, unlike those third world women who dream of becoming Some Guy’s mail order bride. Am I somewhere on the right frequency?

  320. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. April 11, 2012 at 10:01 am |

    Also, does anyone else find it hilarious that these kind and thoughtful gentlemen can only comfort their partners by pointing out the hotness of their various body parts…rather than saying something like “You are beautiful and not because of your breasts or your ass, but because you are a beautiful human being and I love you.” You know the stuff you say when the people we love are hurting.

  321. Crys T
    Crys T April 11, 2012 at 10:05 am |

    Don’t be silly, gratuitious_violet & Kxx, men obviously ALWAYS have more experience than us silly little women in ANY aspect of life.

  322. may
    may April 11, 2012 at 10:06 am |

    So some rude dudes interupt a converstaion and change the subject to what they think the converstaion should be about without bothering to figure out what the conversation is about.

    Then those trying to have the conversation say, “Wow, that is rude and also proves the very thesis of the post we awere discussing. Maybe you should either listen to what we are saying or go away.”

    Then rude dudes accuse the people who were interupted of not being nice enough when pointing out that they are rude and missing the point.

    I am really sick of being told that if we ladyz just asked a little more nicely, if I were just a little more polite to our oppressors, we would be taken seriously and not trivialized. Telling me to be nice when I point out that I am being treated like a second class citizen is treating me like a second class citizen. Duh…

    And…

    My significant other, our daughter, and I were discussing exactly what kind of piece of crap needs to come into a space and conversation like this one and spend so much time being obtuse and condescending. As he is a man and we have been together for many years, I now know everything about all men. He tells me that many of them are real patriarchial shits, and even though that is my personal experience as well, now that he has told me that I am right in my own lady musings, I can say with certainty that it is so.

    Thanks Feministe!

  323. JustJohn
    JustJohn April 11, 2012 at 10:41 am |

    Fun Fact: I realize the point of this post is not for my own personal interest/and or development. I present the following more as a note for the guys who don’t seem to understand the point of what’s going on here:

    When I read the OP, it took me a moment too- my original thoughts were along the lines of “is this really a big deal?” and “is this overdramatic?”

    Then I you know, READ the post. And the comments. And thought about it.

    This isn’t complicated, and it’s about something pretty specific. No one’s saying you can’t be attracted to women. No one’s saying there aren’t appropriate times to EXPRESS that attraction. No one’s saying you can’t have the dirtiest PRIVATE thoughts you want (although for fuck’s sake, some of your private thoughts might be a little out there too). What the post is SAYING is that in a very narrow situation where the conversation is about how your female-identified friend has been discriminated against because of X body part or told she’s somehow unworthy because of that body part, or accosted because of that body part, THEN is not the time to reassure her that it should all be okay in her world and the world at large because YOU still like small boobs or whatever.

    As a guy who wasn’t completely onboard with the original post initially, but is capable of critical thinking, and you know, read and paused for thought, why is this still confusing for other guys?

    People are really explaining this pretty obviously and simply. I don’t get the confusion.

  324. jrockford
    jrockford April 11, 2012 at 10:51 am |

    So I’ve been lurking on this whole thread, and I was really worried I wouldn’t get BINGO. But then Some Guy came with the “There are women in [x non-western nation] that are suffering [x awful injustice], therefore your problems don’t matter.” I said, “BINGO!” to myself triumphantly, and my co-worker gave me a weird stare.

    This thread pretty much delivered every troll trope imaginable. What a production.

    I guess I could contribute some actual content as long as I’m coming out of lurk mode.

    Charlie, John, Some Guy, Brandon, etc.: I spent a substantial portion of my life as a big time privilege denying liberal d00d. It was when I learned to take a step back, listen, and engage in prudence when in spaces of non-privileged classes that I really began to develop as a thinker. It’s by listening that one learns to develop different ways of seeing. Of course, I’m by no means perfect, and no one expects you to be.

    Here’s an experiment for you: Next time you see a long comment thread on a blog that challenges your experience, and works up an ire in you, read it, observe it, try not commenting in it. In doing so, try as best you can to see the issue from a different perspective. Even if you don’t come around to that perspective, you’ll probably be better for the experience.

    /resume lurking.

  325. Gullvyuhr
    Gullvyuhr April 11, 2012 at 10:57 am |

    Bare with my logic, just a second — I am one of the cave trolls who drag a penis around this rock from day to day, and do frequently feel like the way I naturally approach complimenting, or commenting to women is offensive for a whole gambit of reason I never once thought of while trying to help.

    It seems to me that a portion of the problem is rooted in how men and women think and communicate, and if you’re only willing to look at what YOU mean if YOU had said the sentence you are scrutinzing heavily, then you’re losing something in translation.

    I think men are just prone to putting things in terms of sex, not as a form of objectification, but because to many it’s the highest “physical” compliment a woman could pay them. I don’t think (most) they mean it as the subversive, backhanded statement it gets construed as, mostly because they way men communicate just tends to be function over form — which sets us up for wonderful levels of miscommunication that both parties have to actively put effort into getting around. This means men have to learn to communicate on a higher level, and women.. well, you guys have to be willing to dumb down yours just a touch for us.

    Just my take though, ymmv.

  326. Wednesday Link Round-Up « ShoutOut! JMU

    [...] discovered a blog article about how men’s reassurances to women insecure about their bodies d…. It, in fact, makes things worse because they are still seeing women’s bodies as something to [...]

  327. EG
    EG April 11, 2012 at 11:15 am |

    Yes, we’re aware that too many men see their sexual approval as the best thing we could wish for from them and that such men have no interest in pausing for a moment and considering things from our perspective. That’s the problem. Those men can change, or they can fuck right off.

    if you’re only willing to look at what YOU mean if YOU had said the sentence you are scrutinzing heavily, then you’re losing something in translation.

    Oh, sure, the idea that women should try to see things from a man’s perspective is so unusual. It’s not like that’s the message we’re bombarded with every damn day from almost every aspect of western culture for hundreds of years or so.

  328. Gullvyuhr
    Gullvyuhr April 11, 2012 at 11:24 am |

    Oh, sure, the idea that women should try to see things from a man’s perspective is so unusual. It’s not like that’s the message we’re bombarded with every damn day from almost every aspect of western culture for hundreds of years or so.

    I’m pretty sure I said it goes both ways, and did in no way put the ownership of the issue on women. I don’t really get the victim response, but to each their own.

    The idea of effective communication does revolve around both sides trying to understand the other. It does mean it would help women to try and see things from men’s perspective as much as it would help men to try and see things from a woman’s. To disagree with that as a notion is no different than all the “victimized” men who’ve posted in this thread about how misunderstood they are without ever having considered the vantage point of another.

  329. Bisky
    Bisky April 11, 2012 at 11:25 am |

    I think men are just prone to putting things in terms of sex, not as a form of objectification, but because to many it’s the highest “physical” compliment a woman could pay them. I don’t think (most) they mean it as the subversive, backhanded statement it gets construed as, mostly because they way men communicate just tends to be function over form

    Yes. We understand this. We very much understand this. THIS IS WHAT WE’RE SAYING WE DON’T LIKE. We know you think it’s a compliment. We know you think it’s the right thing to say.

    What we’re telling you is that it is not the right thing to say. In fact, in many contexts it MAKES US FEEL WORSE. It doesn’t change the fact that we’re just senseless body parts. It doesn’t actually help.

    And that’s what we’re trying to say. This is not a helpful statement. We expect that men are adults and can take that kind of feedback.

    This thread has demonstrated we’re wrong in at least a few cases.

  330. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil April 11, 2012 at 11:28 am |

    I think men are just prone to putting things in terms of sex, not as a form of objectification, but because to many it’s the highest “physical” compliment a woman could pay them. I don’t think (most) they mean it as the subversive, backhanded statement it gets construed as, mostly because they way men communicate just tends to be function over form — which sets us up for wonderful levels of miscommunication that both parties have to actively put effort into getting around. This means men have to learn to communicate on a higher level, and women.. well, you guys have to be willing to dumb down yours just a touch for us.

    As Kristen J said earlier, intent is not magic. Not possessing ill intent does not magically make your words inoffensive.

    I am not sure how much dumbing down you think is necessary, either. Many commenters have explained (repeatedly! with examples!) why these comments are inappropriate to the topic at hand.

  331. Xtina
    Xtina April 11, 2012 at 11:28 am |

    Gullvyuhr:

    a) I prefer to think of men as being smart enough to be able to learn things without the knowledge having to be pre-chewed.

    b) If men can’t understand “responding in this fashion is inappropriate”, then I really would rather not dumb myself down that much, thanks.  I rather like being able to tie my shoes.

  332. Jadey
    Jadey April 11, 2012 at 11:29 am |

    This means men have to learn to communicate on a higher level, and women.. well, you guys have to be willing to dumb down yours just a touch for us.

    See, that’s why I don’t get the accusation about feminists being man-haters, because so often it seems like we have a much higher opinion of what men are capable of than some men do.

  333. flightless
    flightless April 11, 2012 at 11:30 am |

    It did get posted to Reddit; maybe that’s why the parade of trolls. Gotta say, as wilfully obtuse as those particular menz are being, I have really enjoyed the many, many fabulous feminist smackdowns that ensued. “Solipsist bonerology”!!!

  334. Xtina
    Xtina April 11, 2012 at 11:32 am |

    “It does mean it would help women to try and see things from men’s perspective as much as it would help men to try and see things from a woman’s.”

    We already have a fairly thorough understanding of the man’s perspective on things, because yall won’t goddamn shut up about your perspective for even one second.  TV, books, movies, advertising, essays, medical research… all typically assume that men are the default, and women are Other.  How on earth could we avoid learning the man’s perspective?  On anything at all?

    What this is is a post, on a feminist blog, providing the woman’s perspective on an issue.  Alas, if only more men would learn it, rather than ignoring it wildly.

  335. petpluto
    petpluto April 11, 2012 at 11:33 am |

    I think men are just prone to putting things in terms of sex, not as a form of objectification, but because to many it’s the highest “physical” compliment a woman could pay them.

    Here’s the thing: I am friends with guys. Liberal guys, conservative guys, guys who think libertarianism is awesome. I’m also related to guys – and they also cover a wide spectrum of guyness. And I’m engaged. To a guy.

    None of them – not even the one I sleep with – ever seriously tries to compliment me by putting things in terms of sex. It, frankly, would be beyond weird and uncomfortable if one of them did.

    So, your thesis? It’s wrong. Because men aren’t “just prone” to doing this. It’s learned behavior. It has to do with how men see and interact with women. It’s up to men to treat women like we’re real people, and not just strange creatures that need to be given “physical” compliments.

  336. EG
    EG April 11, 2012 at 11:39 am |

    None of them – not even the one I sleep with – ever seriously tries to compliment me by putting things in terms of sex.

    Right? The list of men I know who manage to compliment me without referring to sex is long: my best friend’s husband, my stepfather, my uncle, my friend’s boyfriend. Clearly it is possible.

    It does mean it would help women to try and see things from men’s perspective as much as it would help men to try and see things from a woman’s.

    Look, sunshine, here’s a woman’s perspective: we do that all the damn time. Every damn day. The fact that you don’t realize that is evidence of your, dare I say, privilege.

  337. Gullvyuhr
    Gullvyuhr April 11, 2012 at 11:43 am |

    None of them – not even the one I sleep with – ever seriously tries to compliment me by putting things in terms of sex. It, frankly, would be beyond weird and uncomfortable if one of them did.

    So men who know you well don’t do that.

    I would expect that, but I doubt the comments being referenced in the blog are coming from men who know (or potentially care) that those compliments are meaningless to her. Which was more or less where I was focusing.

    I’m also fairly amazed at the level of condescending comments here. Putting my “words” in “quotes” doesn’t actually strengthen your position, or imply logic. I also added that your milage may vary because, it was, just my perspective.. sorry, my “thesis”.

    Beyond that, I’m in complete agreement with you on treating everyone like real people (I will assume this means with respect, basically). I do think, however, that how that simple sounding action is executed on varies from person to person — and sometimes how it’s defined causes disagreement that stems from nothing more than a definition not being agreed upon and met.

    Good luck though, didn’t mean to ruffle feathers. Found the original post well written,.

  338. EG
    EG April 11, 2012 at 11:45 am |

    Also, can I just say how fucking much I hate the “men just aren’t as smart and complex as you gals are, you gotta remember that and dumb it down for us” argument? Because, really? Really? OK, let’s play that game. If men as a group are constitutionally unable to understand other people’s points of view, if they really are dumber than us, then I want that recognized by society. Prevent them from entering professions that require a complex understanding of other people’s psyches, like anything having to do with psychiatry. Make their testimony at trial worth half of a woman’s, because they’re too dumb to really understand what’s going on. Put it into action. Otherwise, shut up. If men want all the rights and privileges of adult human beings, they can fucking well be as smart and sophisticated as adult human beings are expected to be.

  339. Gullvyuhr
    Gullvyuhr April 11, 2012 at 11:47 am |

    Look, sunshine, here’s a woman’s perspective: we do that all the damn time. Every damn day. The fact that you don’t realize that is evidence of your, dare I say, privilege.”

    And, princess, the fact that you think you do all the damn time is evidence of your, dare I say, astounding ignorance.

    Admittedly I’m clueless why you’ve decided to become insulting, but it’s not a hard game to play.

  340. pheenobarbidoll
    pheenobarbidoll April 11, 2012 at 11:54 am |

    Admittedly I’m clueless why you’ve decided to become insulting, but it’s not a hard game to play.

    Perhaps she just dumbed it down for you.

  341. EG
    EG April 11, 2012 at 12:04 pm |

    I would expect that, but I doubt the comments being referenced in the blog are coming from men who know (or potentially care) that those compliments are meaningless to her.

    So these men don’t know her as well as my friend’s boyfriend knows me, but they still think that it would be appropriate to comment on the attractiveness of her breast-size?

    How well do you think you have to know somebody to realize that your opinions on her breasts are not appropriate?

    And what does that have to do with a discussion about body image?

    I do not put your comments in blockquotes as some kind of evidence, but so you know to what I am responding.

  342. EG
    EG April 11, 2012 at 12:09 pm |

    Admittedly I’m clueless why you’ve decided to become insulting, but it’s not a hard game to play.

    You could put that period after “clueless.” Try reading the past 300 comments. My patience for disingenuous bullshit about how men just don’t understand why their comments about what kind of breasts turn them on aren’t appropriate in any and all situations is at this point negative.

    And, princess, the fact that you think you do all the damn time is evidence of your, dare I say, astounding ignorance.

    Have you ever interacted with any aspect of Western culture at all? Congratulations, you’ve been asked to understand men’s perspectives. But I’m not going to rehash standpoint theory for you Read a book or something.

  343. Kxx
    Kxx April 11, 2012 at 12:10 pm |

    Admittedly I’m clueless why you’ve decided to become insulting, but it’s not a hard game to play.

    Consider how many dudes have appeared, halfheartedly agreed with the original post but then felt it appropriat to add that the women here may not like being objectified, but they don’t need to be nasty about it, the men are just trying to pay them a compliment, after all, and it isn’t the mens fault that they don’t know what’s appropriate, even though they’ve had it explained over and over and over and over and over again. The men would be so much more likely to change if women would just be nice about it, and welcoming, and not call out male privilege, and if only women would just think about things from the perspective of the poor, poor men!

    Consider how many times that has happened in this thread about how it is not helpful or appropriate to state what makes your boner happy in a thread about how society at large treats women’s bodies, and you begin to see why people are being less than courteous when yet another dude shows up, halfheartedly agrees, and then says that we all need to look at it from the perspective of the men, as if the rest of the world isn’t already about that anyway.

    Consider how women are socialised from childhood to be nice, and compliant and welcoming, and smile and take objectification as a compliment, no matter how creepy, and you begin to realise just how fucked up it is to tell a group of women discussing objectification that they should just be nicer about it.

  344. librarygoose
    librarygoose April 11, 2012 at 12:10 pm |

    Admittedly I’m clueless why you’ve decided to become insulting, but it’s not a hard game to play.

    This can be answered with:

    My hypothesis is that somewhere around the 200 mark, newcomers feel that reading all the previous comments presents an unfair burden and just jump straight to the end, where they bring up completely ignorant and/or irrelevant points that have already been addressed three times in the comments they didn’t read, and then they complain that women are self-centered bitches because we’re not interested in going for Round 4.

  345. Li
    Li April 11, 2012 at 12:12 pm |

    I think men are just prone to putting things in terms of sex, not as a form of objectification, but because to many it’s the highest “physical” compliment a woman could pay them. I don’t think (most) they mean it as the subversive, backhanded statement it gets construed as, mostly because they way men communicate just tends to be function over form — which sets us up for wonderful levels of miscommunication that both parties have to actively put effort into getting around. This means men have to learn to communicate on a higher level, and women.. well, you guys have to be willing to dumb down yours just a touch for us.

    I think I’ve figured out your problem. Are you communicating using some kind of genital semaphore? Because otherwise I don’t think there’s any translation needed here. Some guys think that inserting “BREASTS!” into every damn conversation is a compliment. Those guys are wrong. No supposedly essential characteristics of men or women comes into it.

  346. petpluto
    petpluto April 11, 2012 at 12:13 pm |

    So men who know you well don’t do that.

    I would expect that, but I doubt the comments being referenced in the blog are coming from men who know (or potentially care) that those compliments are meaningless to her. Which was more or less where I was focusing.

    Dude, if you don’t know a woman well and you’re trying to compliment her, you probably shouldn’t be going immediately to sex or her physical characteristics and how they remind you of sex. And by “probably”, I mean “definitely”.

    This is like the guy upthread who said something like, “If I hug a woman, I’ll go to jail”. One, probably not true. Two, if hugging a woman is a problem, why would talking about her breasts or butt be seen as in any way appropriate?

    Also, if you read all of the comments, you’d see that there are any number of men who have chosen to weigh in to this debate based on things they tell women they know well. So, given that, I’d say where you’re absolutely right is that a majority of the men the OP has a problem with don’t care that these compliments are more than meaningless to her and are actually unhelpful. Because, as many of the obtuse comments suggest, what is more important to some men is what makes them feel good and if they think it’s helpful, and not what the actual women they’re talking to think.

    I’m also fairly amazed at the level of condescending comments here. Putting my “words” in “quotes” doesn’t actually strengthen your position, or imply logic. I also added that your milage may vary because, it was, just my perspective.. sorry, my “thesis”.

    If I want to be condescending, believe you me, you’ll know it.

    I put your words in quotes so it would be clear I wasn’t taking you out of context or attributing something to you that you did not actually say. You said men are “just prone” to do something. I’m asking you to seriously examine why men are prone to doing it, and whether or not there is a reason beyond “just” the natural way of doing it. Actually, I’m not asking you to seriously examine it. I’m telling you that you’re wrong. That “men” are not a monolith and those that recognize that women are people have developed better ways of interacting with and complimenting the women who are even tangentally in their lives.

  347. Grace
    Grace April 11, 2012 at 12:24 pm |

    Consider how many dudes have appeared, halfheartedly agreed with the original post but then felt it appropriat to add that the women here may not like being objectified, but they don’t need to be nasty about it, the men are just trying to pay them a compliment, after all, and it isn’t the mens fault that they don’t know what’s appropriate, even though they’ve had it explained over and over and over and over and over again.

    THIS. Thank you, Kxx.

    Nalo Hopkinson has a great anecdote about oppression and politeness. She says it’s like having someone step on your foot repeatedly over the course of an evening. The first few times, you figure it’s an accident, but after a certain point, it feels like the foot-stepper can’t even be bothered to notice your existence, and when it keeps happening, you lose your shit, and zie says, “But I didn’t mean to! Why are you so mad at me? You don’t have to yell!”

  348. gratuitous_violet
    gratuitous_violet April 11, 2012 at 12:24 pm |

    Yep, I think we’ve reached the point where we can take a page from Sady Doyle’s book and just redact all further asinine comments to [BONERS].

    Also, Caperton, I love you. Please don’t commit DOSuicide!

  349. HelpMeBeaBetterMan
    HelpMeBeaBetterMan April 11, 2012 at 12:25 pm |

    Gullvyuhr @ 336

    I think men are just prone to putting things in terms of sex, not as a form of objectification, but because to many it’s the highest “physical” compliment a woman could pay them. I don’t think (most) they mean it as the subversive, backhanded statement it gets construed as, mostly because they way men communicate just tends to be function over form — which sets us up for wonderful levels of miscommunication that both parties have to actively put effort into getting around.

    This is the problem. And as a guy I know it took me a while to get this through my thick skull.

    It doesn’t matter what the “intent” is, and in my view, it’s the sticking point where men get all butt hurt about this. If you’re doing the wrong thing, it doesn’t matter whether you meant well, it’s still the friggin wrong thing. (echoing Kristen’s comments) It doesn’t have to be “subversive, backhanded” to be insulting or bad, at the end of the day, it’s still just wrong.

    Ex. If you see someone suffer a spinal injury and in a well-meaning attempt to help, you throw them over your shoulder and run to the nearest hospital (instead of immobilizing and waiting), in the process accidentally paralyzing them for life, you don’t get a pat on the back and a cookie. In fact, you can subject to legal liability because you have a legal duty to assist correctly or not assist at all.

    So the point is, no men don’t get a free pass on being insulting, degrading, objectifying just because they were well-meaning and trying to be nice. And as the story goes, the response to the well-meaning insult is not the reaction men expect (in that a guy expects thankfulness and approval of his nice gestures), and is instead met with condemnation. Then men accuse women of blah blah blah and then use it as an excuse to write off what women say and “clam up” or whatever.

    I understand it can be a painful sting when one is only trying to help, but it’s on us to suck it up, deal with it, and learn why we’re wrong. It’s not about us and we frequently turn it into that. It’s about your friend who is suffering through or frustrated by some workplace incident, oppression, objectification or whatever it is. All of a sudden making it about you when someone is going through that is pretty much the most selfish low possible.

    Grace @ 237 said something that really resonated with me:

    Tempo, one of the reasons I enjoy Feministe is because it is not a feminisim 101/comfortable-education-for-dudes space. The female experience is and should be the central frame of reference. As a dude, you shouldn’t feel comfortable reading every post, because they should make you think about the ways in which you are privileged. And that has to be okay.

    The fact that we as men don’t immediately see why what we say is hurtful is evidence of a huge amount of privilege. We just don’t have the life experience of constantly being assaulted by objectification and oppression (and the one or two anecdotes a guy has doesn’t count).

    If men want to really support women in good faith, we will accept the infinitesimally small cost of feeling bad that our intentions weren’t met with the expected response, the frustration of being wrong for what feels like the first time, or feeling guilty or uncomfortable about our privilege.

    And one last note — from the comments here, it seems pretty evident that women understand exactly that the comments are well meaning and are the result of the whole “men communicate just tends to be function over form ” — it just doesn’t friggin matter. Explaining (mansplaining?) it to women why it happens and why it’s the result of miscommunication doesn’t make it any better and it doesn’t (and shouldn’t) make women any less angry, because it’s still completely wrong at the end of the day.

    The whole “levels of miscommunication that both parties have to actively put effort into getting around”… this may be a practical reality because men are so blinded by privilege yes, but recognize that this is a completely unfair and disproportionate burden for women. In addition to being the subjects of oppression and objectification, women then have to expend additional efforts to put “effort” into teaching men why their feeble attempts to be reassuring are ineffective and insulting. Where is the burden on men here?

    Note: I recognize that nothing I’ve said is new to the comments and reiterates much of what has already been patiently offered by many women here, so I’m not trying to take away anyone’s agency or suggest I can do it better than anyone else — much of this is an expression of catharsis from reading and trying to reflect/internalize the comments here.

  350. LotusBecca
    LotusBecca April 11, 2012 at 12:35 pm |

    Gullyvhr. . .your gender essentialism is complete bullshit. It is not just that the men who know an individual woman well will know enough about her preferences to communicate more effectively with her. It’s that your beliefs as to how men “naturally” communicate are complete crap unsupported by any form of evidence. Yes, a lot of men (too many) have very poor communication skills in our society due to how they were socialized. But this is not an innate, inevitable result of their gender. One need look no further than JustJohn’s wonderful post @333 and jrockford’s wonderful post @334 to notice that plenty of men exist who are capable of actually listening to women, appreciating our viewpoints, respecting us, and not viewing everything in terms of sex. So don’t blame your retrograde social views on the fact that you’re a man; that’s no excuse.

  351. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. April 11, 2012 at 12:37 pm |

    You know…while I revile the d00ds that have irrevocably derailed what might have been a fascinating discussion of the pervasiveness of the male gaze, I have to say they have inspired some quality snark. From notes from your boner to genital semaphore…it has been fucking hilarious. Brava.

  352. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil April 11, 2012 at 12:48 pm |

    genital semaphore

    This made me think of The Wiggle.

  353. Q Grrl
    Q Grrl April 11, 2012 at 12:52 pm |

    I think men are just prone to putting things in terms of sex, not as a form of objectification, but because to many it’s the highest “physical” compliment a woman could pay them.

    Let’s see:

    Bible — written by men. Not in terms of sex.
    American Constitution — written by men. Not in terms of sex.
    Presidential election — candidates judged by other men. Not in terms of sex.
    Astrophysics — developed and discussed mostly by men. Not in terms of sex.
    Football — viewed, played, and discussed by men. Not in terms of sex (which, really? Wide receiver? Safety? Tight end?)

    Women — not created or written by men. Totes sexual though!

    So when is it that men “just” use sexual terms in discussion? Oh, right. When they’re talking about women.

    What definition is it that you are using for “objectification?”

  354. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar April 11, 2012 at 12:59 pm |

    If you are a man, and you are shocked at the notion that every little thought or desire that you have is not a special snowflake, or that the world is not embiggened by the expression of each of them: that’s because you have unexamined privilege.

    This is your cue to examine it.

    I’m going back to shutting up and listening now. I invite other men to join me.

  355. Donna L
    Donna L April 11, 2012 at 1:05 pm |

    Bible — written by men. Not in terms of sex.

    Have you read the Bible lately?

  356. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil April 11, 2012 at 1:11 pm |

    Have you read the Bible lately?

    Yeah, I was going to say…

  357. LotusBecca
    LotusBecca April 11, 2012 at 1:13 pm |

    Bible — written by men. Not in terms of sex.

    Have you read the Bible lately?

    I know, right? I read the Bible every day and it’s obviously not written by men but by God.

  358. Esti
    Esti April 11, 2012 at 1:16 pm |

    @Gullyvhr

    I think men are just prone to putting things in terms of sex, not as a form of objectification, but because to many it’s the highest “physical” compliment a woman could pay them

    But the point Caperton’s post was making is that when a woman says “I wish people would stop judging me for my looks” she is not looking for a physical compliment. She was in fact being pretty explicit that she did not want a physical compliment.

    If I say to a guy friend “I don’t think this dress is doing anything for my boobs” and he says “no way, your boobs look awesome in that!”, that’s an appropriate response. But if I say “ugh, my boss won’t stop staring at my co-worker’s boobs” and my friend says “but your boobs are awesome, too!”, then he has totally missed the point.

    No one here — not a single person — is saying that there’s a problem with guys paying physical compliments to women. We’re saying that there’s a problem with guys who listen to you say that you are upset about judgments about your appearance and then respond with a physical judgment about your appearance. It doesn’t matter if the guy who does that is trying to make you feel better, or if he just didn’t realize what he was doing would upset you, or if he also values non-physical things about you. He shouldn’t say it.

    If the default you (the non-specific you) have when responding to a woman who is upset about something, regardless of the context, is “but you’re attractive! Men want to have sex with you!”, that is a really big problem. Woman, shockingly, care about a lot of things other than whether they are attracting men. When they say they are upset about one of the multitude of things not related to whether they are attracting men, and the response they get is “but you attract men!”, they are being told “the only thing about you that matters is whether you attract men. You might have thought other things matter, but they don’t.”

    Do you really not see why that is something women would be legitimately upset about? Especially if they were upset about that to start with, and then some guy decided the way to cheer them up was to reassure them of their fuckability?

  359. B
    B April 11, 2012 at 1:17 pm |

    I have spent the entire morning reading this blog and comments. What fun. Ladies, this has made my day, Thank you all. It wouldn’t have been as much fun w/o the dudes but you ladies rock.

    Caperton should have a larger forum to share her thoughts, shiny hair and a big paycheck.

  360. Abby Spice
    Abby Spice April 11, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    [EG @ 347] Look, sunshine, here’s a woman’s perspective: we do that all the damn time. Every damn day. The fact that you don’t realize that is evidence of your, dare I say, privilege.

    [Gullvyuhr @ 350]
    And, princess, the fact that you think you do all the damn time is evidence of your, dare I say, astounding ignorance.

    Admittedly I’m clueless why you’ve decided to become insulting, but it’s not a hard game to play.

    Do you see nothing problematic about the fact that EG used a gender-neutral term and you didn’t? And that “sunshine” is a general term of endearment/descriptor, here flipped to be snide, while “princess” is a title, co-opted to mean a spoiled woman? Worse, a spoiled little girl. You couldn’t even respond without invoking gender. Do you see how pervasive it is?

  361. Ranger Joe
    Ranger Joe April 11, 2012 at 1:30 pm |

    Dear Women,

    Hi! I don’t really have much else to say because it’s not my business to tell an entire gender (that I don’t even belong to) what they should be doing.

    -Ranger Joe

  362. LC
    LC April 11, 2012 at 1:35 pm |

    Abby, I caught that “sunshine/princess” contrast, too.

    HMBABM – That sounds like you had an epiphany.

    There has been some grade-a quality snark here, and I do appreciate it.

    As for the clueless guys posting, I often vacillate between thinking people are being deliberately obtuse and thinking I am too kind to humanity to expect that people aren’t actually that obtuse. I am going to go with the former today, because the sun is out.

  363. Radiant Sophia
    Radiant Sophia April 11, 2012 at 1:37 pm |

    This has taught me some things.

    1). I am very lucky to live, work, and play in spaces where I am rarely objectified or marginalized.
    2). My roommate is not like most men, who, by their behavior here, seem to seek to subvert any dialog not focused upon themselves.
    3). I think I live under the proverbial rock.

    Very enlightening.

    However… could we please not bring “The Bible” into this, as it will only divide people, and cloud issues.

  364. LotusBecca
    LotusBecca April 11, 2012 at 1:49 pm |

    Intent isn’t magic–no matter how much you sincerely want to help with your comment, it might actually just make things worse.

    I know that “intent isn’t magic” is a very common idea in progressive communities, and it’s a useful one, too. But just to provide another angle on this I will say that intent really is pretty powerful. If one genuinely and deeply wants to help someone else, of course that doesn’t guarantee anything, but it is definitely important and meaningful. But people aren’t always self-aware or honest about their motivations. If I’m trying to help someone, and then that person tells me what I’m doing is actually hurting them and is unwanted, and I keep doing it anyway or get super-defensive, what does that say about me? I think it says that my intention to help was pretty weak and superficial in the first place, and that I was probably primarily motivated by something else entirely–a desire to look good or shore up my own ego perhaps.

    Anyway, intent is powerful, if not magical, because in the long term it actually will lead one to choose actions that really do tend to lead to the intended outcomes. Because we are all capable of learning and reality testing. So sexist men’s inability to assimilate new information about the negative consequences of their behavior for women and change their actions accordingly tells me that not only are they not being helpful to women, but they are not really intending to be helpful to women either.

  365. Colin Reid
    Colin Reid April 11, 2012 at 1:57 pm |

    Re the SMBC comic: I think it only addresses half the problem. There’s a more sophisticated version of “actually, I prefer small boobs”, which is to say “actually, I find it sexy when women are smart/witty/badass”. An improvement perhaps, but still problematic in a basic way. The judgement has changed, but the reason for judging has not.

  366. auditorydamage
    auditorydamage April 11, 2012 at 2:26 pm |

    So, I first saw this post a couple of days ago, read the first clueless dudebro posts, went away… and watched the post count climb to… 375 as of the moment I decided to post something out of amazement at the level of myopia and ignorance that must be required to sustain what I thought would be a 50-comment-and-out conversation about the bleeding fucking obvious to anyone with a hint of awareness. The sense of entitlement dripping from some of the early mansplaining made my brain go screaming to a completely different website, just to seek brain bleach.

    Guys, if you have to whip up paragraph after paragraph explaining why women should just understand that men naturally default to thinking about things in terms of sex, and it’s really a compliment to make sexist and sex-objectifying remarks, and why can’t the fun-ruining feminazis just accept the obvious compliments because other women say they do, and it’s natural to make objectifying remarks, and why are you so mean to the menz… perhaps you need to examine why you believe these things yourself and flatly refuse to acknowledge statements in which women clearly tell you otherwise. What threatens you so much about a woman expressing discomfort with so-called “compliments” that boil down to “I’d still decide you’re worth having sex with?” that you have to persist in justifying it instead of analyzing your own immediate reaction? Are you incapable of learning how to express yourself any other way?

    I’m reasonably sure the above have been said every which way by multiple people over the past 350-odd posts, with little to no success, so consider this a convoluted “co-sign” to those comments. I’m not reading the other 350 comments that I haven’t read yet, save the five or so newest ones. I just can’t handle the rage that will result.

    In conclusion, I’m ashamed to share a chromosome with you mansplaining dudebros, go fuck yourselves, good day.

    *runs for more brain bleach*

  367. Not So Sure
    Not So Sure April 11, 2012 at 2:30 pm |

    Let’s just say, hypothetically, that a person was a friend with (and totally not the same person as) a guy that had a small penis. There is a pervasive notion advanced by the media, porn, and comedians, that women prefer men with gigantic penises. This totally other person, who, in addition to the general sorts of fears and insecurities surrounding inexperienced sexual encounters, was deeply embarrassed by his lack of a throbbing, snarling, porno cock. Statements from women explaining that enjoyable sex did not require a specific, cartoonish physical attribute (one forever denied to this poor gentleman, regardless of the number of pumps, pills, and exotic pulley-systems employed) were reassuring.

    Being told, “no one gives a shit about that,” or better, “I’ve been attracted to comedically undersized genitalia ever since my first Ken doll,” can actually reduce anxiety and help people get beyond their hang-ups.

    To be clear, the OP and commenters are 100% correct about context. Telling a woman she looks nice when you run into her at a bar is a different act than complementing her looks when she’s just delivered a lecture about String Theory. That type of “compliment” has a long history of undermining a woman’s legitimacy in a manner that no man will ever experience–though I can guess that few men would want to have a discussion about how their bulge looked after a sales presentation. Nevertheless, there are almost no situations where it’s condescending to tell a man they look good, but that sort of statement is very often used to inform a woman of where she stands, treat her like a child or an object.

    Additionally, men are not judged at work for the size of their penis, so the analogy doesn’t undermine anything said in the OP, but from personal experience (and again, I cannot stress enough that the penis thing was totally about someone else), reassurance that the object of one’s insecurity is not, in fact, that important to other people can be liberating. I can only guess that women are similarly affected, but when (given the appropriate context) a woman says, “I feel so embarrassed, my _____ looks terrible,” it’s a natural human response to try and mollify that discomfort. That, of course, does not justify every such attempt.

    P.S.-well, I typed all that, so fuck it, might as well post it, but this made the same point more clearly with significantly fewer penis references:

    370 Esti

    If I say to a guy friend “I don’t think this dress is doing anything for my boobs” and he says “no way, your boobs look awesome in that!”, that’s an appropriate response. But if I say “ugh, my boss won’t stop staring at my co-worker’s boobs” and my friend says “but your boobs are awesome, too!”, then he has totally missed the point.

  368. Xtina
    Xtina April 11, 2012 at 2:58 pm |

    Honestly, even trying to be polite when responding to tone-arguers doesn’t win.  Alls I’ve ever seen that result in is the person saying something like “thank you for being polite to me, unlike everyone else here! finally!!”, and then they argue that they’re right anyhow.  Feh.

  369. pheenobarbidoll
    pheenobarbidoll April 11, 2012 at 3:08 pm |

    Because, as many of the obtuse comments suggest, what is more important to some men is what makes them feel good and if they think it’s helpful, and not what the actual women they’re talking to think.

    Boom.

  370. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune April 11, 2012 at 3:49 pm |

    @374,

    Dear Women,

    Hi! I don’t really have much else to say because it’s not my business to tell an entire gender (that I don’t even belong to) what they should be doing.

    Dead on. Thanks; you, Thomas and HMBABM are sort of Hope Spots in this clusterfuck.

  371. LC
    LC April 11, 2012 at 4:21 pm |

    Dead on. Thanks; you, Thomas and HMBABM are sort of Hope Spots in this clusterfuck.

    Thank you macavitykitsune, for using Hope Spot, which always makes me smile.

  372. Feminist Man
    Feminist Man April 11, 2012 at 4:51 pm |

    As a male-bodied, male-identified, hetero-ish feminist I first off acknowledge that I’m part of the privileged group in this discussion. I found this article very interesting and has got me self-reflecting on my own behavior. I’m wondering what some opinions are on this:

    My girlfriend has suffered from body-image self esteem issues. On top of that, she’ll call herself a hypocrite for being a feminist and believing that all bodies are beautiful, yet still being insecure about her own body. Often times she’ll say things like “I hate my big hips” or “I have such a big butt”.

    When I hear this, I know that it’s because society’s norms for women’s bodies are fucked up. But sometimes I feel like simply telling her that is not enough (she obviously knows society is fucked up). I’ll find myself saying things like “but I LIKE your big butt” or “your hips are BEAUTIFUL”. I’m wondering if people think that is an appropriate context to say something like that, or if it falls into the same objectifying, patriarchal attitude that the article discusses.

    I understand that my (a man’s) approval of her body is not what determines her self-worth as a person. I guess my justification is that it is validating her on one aspect of her being–in this situation, her body–that she is critiquing. I’m wondering if the context of me as her boyfriend, and her as a woman who is insecure about her body changes this. Personally, I feel like it is the difference between implying “I like YOUR butt. As a romantic partner, I think YOU are beautiful” and implying “I like big BUTTS, and you fit up to MY standards of beauty”.

    What are people’s thoughts?
    (By the way, I typed out this whole thing and only now realized that a similar question was address above. Sorry for redundancy.)

  373. Sauron's Contact Lens
    Sauron's Contact Lens April 11, 2012 at 4:55 pm |

    Uhm, what if a woman is specifically concerned or insecure about her body? Because in my experience (TV etc.) that’s usually when this kind of thing is said. I agree that it would be weird to just say something like “I like small boobs”, because then you’re talking about someone’s boobs. That’s not really an appropriate topic to bring up unless they’re your boobs.

  374. Sauron's Contact Lens
    Sauron's Contact Lens April 11, 2012 at 5:06 pm |

    I mean, I don’t really talk to girls, so maybe this is something that actually happens? It just seems really weird that there are men coming in and saying “HEY, I LIKE SMALL BOOBS!”

    And if you’re just talking about innernet threads, maybe part of it is that when you talk about the “male gaze”, you’re always framing it in terms of physical attributes. I mean, if you’re talking about impossible beauty standards, what else are men going to do to offer support? ok? ok.

  375. Grace
    Grace April 11, 2012 at 5:15 pm |

    I mean, if you’re talking about impossible beauty standards, what else are men going to do to offer support? ok? ok.

    …say, “That is fucked up. I agree. Your worth as a person should not be based in any way on your cup size,” instead of, “Well, you don’t conform to that standard, but I’d fuck you anyway!”

    Not. That. Hard.

  376. EG
    EG April 11, 2012 at 5:16 pm |

    I mean, if you’re talking about impossible beauty standards, what else are men going to do to offer support? ok? ok.

    You haven’t read any of the previous comments at all, have you?

  377. LotusBecca
    LotusBecca April 11, 2012 at 5:24 pm |

    I’m wondering if people think that is an appropriate context to say something like that, or if it falls into the same objectifying, patriarchal attitude that the article discusses.

    IMO I don’t know enough about your life or your girlfriend’s life to offer a judgment. My best advice is that this seems like an issue best addressed through open, honest communication and negotiation between you and your girlfriend. I don’t believe in a uniform, politically-derived standard for intimate relationships other than consent and that neither party should feel like they are being abused. Other than that I just hope that people do whatever makes them happy.

  378. Sauron's Contact Lens
    Sauron's Contact Lens April 11, 2012 at 5:26 pm |

    Yeah, okay, fine, I get that. But sometimes I think it’s hard to make a judgement call. Because I mean get real, a lot of the time when women talk about their insecurities they DO want someone to reassure them. That happens a lot on General Hospital. Yeah I suppose there’s a fine line between criticizing beauty standards and confessing personal insecurity… and one big clue might be, is this a feminist website… but. Still. I don’t think it’s “sad” or “unreasonable” that this post needed to be made. Because feminist websites aren’t like others places. Define your terms. ok? ok.

    But now that it’s been defined, I get it. So thanks.

  379. umami
    umami April 11, 2012 at 5:29 pm |

    If I have learned one thing from this thread, it is that the denizens of Reddit should not be allowed out of Reddit, ever. I know that sounds like condemning them to a mean, hopeless troll-filled existence as they slowly suffocate in swamps of stupidity and their souls gradually wither away, first into black bitter goo, and then into nothingness, but it’s for the greater good.

    Otherwise, we are all doomed. My own soul is withering as I write this. This thread. How.. is… this… thread?

    No, but HOW though?

  380. Emolee
    Emolee April 11, 2012 at 5:33 pm |

    @Feminist Man

    I live in a body that is stigmatized by our culture. I love my body more than I hate it, but it is definitely a struggle.

    My fiancee says things to me along the lines of “Your hips are beautiful,” and this does make me feel good. I think why it works for me is that he does it without prompting from me. I really don’t say things like “I hate my hips.” to him. It is hard for me to imagine what would help in this situation, but I think it would be something more than “but I love ‘em!”

    However, what I do complain to him a lot about is the hate for bodies like mine in our culture. When I bring up this cultural discrimination, he does not respond with “But I love bodies like yours!”- which would be beside the point and would therefore frustrate me. he responds with something along the lines of “Yeah, the culture sucks, and I’m sorry you have to live with this.” So much better.

    The big distinction I thin kis whether the woman is actually complaining about HER BODY or about how SOCIETY responds to her body. I think many men would be suprised at how many comments they take for the former are actually the latter.

  381. Grace
    Grace April 11, 2012 at 5:33 pm |

    @Feminist Man: This is something we talked about somewhere in this gargantuan thread, but: telling your partner you find zir attractive is TOTALLY different from announcing your preferences to a friend who’s complaining about men’s perceptions of her body or another woman’s body affecting their ability to advance in the workforce or announcing them in the comments section of a feminist blog post on body issues–which was the original subject of Caperton’s post. Though as LotusBecca pointed out, everyone’s mileage varies in terms of what they like to hear from their partners.

  382. Sauron's Contact Lens
    Sauron's Contact Lens April 11, 2012 at 5:40 pm |

    Um, also to Feminist Man, I think there’s a difference between reassuring someone who clearly is concerned about the desirability of her body, and pontificating to a mass of people who are talking more abstractly about culture and shit. Of course, teh women do this too, let’s not let them off the hook. In fact I think they have more leeway to do this kind of thing. Last year on my floor, this girl loved to talk about how she wasn’t into Brad Pitt, because he was “too perfect”. Who was she into? Johnny Depp. It’s like, well whatever, lady.

  383. Sauron's Contact Lens
    Sauron's Contact Lens April 11, 2012 at 5:47 pm |

    And no, I didn’t look at all 400 comments. I’d rather spend that time reading high literature like Blood Meridian or Bossypants.

  384. EG
    EG April 11, 2012 at 5:56 pm |

    So you couldn’t be bothered to read the previous comments, but you’re certain that your own thoughts are so original and important that they must be posted and that we should read them? Great. Perfect. I’m sure they’ll be a big help.

  385. librarygoose
    librarygoose April 11, 2012 at 5:58 pm |

    And no, I didn’t look at all 400 comments.

    You should really skim at least, and try to figure out what has already been covered. It will save you getting a case of the sads when commentors get annoyed at saying the same thing 7 times.

  386. Mxe354
    Mxe354 April 11, 2012 at 5:59 pm |

    And no, I didn’t look at all 400 comments.

    Then don’t comment on things you don’t really know about in this thread. Simple. It will certainly save you time.

  387. EG
    EG April 11, 2012 at 5:59 pm |

    Last year on my floor, this girl loved to talk about how she wasn’t into Brad Pitt, because he was “too perfect”. Who was she into? Johnny Depp. It’s like, well whatever, lady.

    Like this, for example. So eloquent, so pertinent.

  388. BBBShrewHarpy
    BBBShrewHarpy April 11, 2012 at 6:03 pm |

    As it happens, Blood Meridian is my 2nd favorite book, so I understand this prioritization of your free time. Refraining from commenting on a thread you didn’t bother to read is probably as well-advised as not offering writing tips to Cormac McCarthy.

  389. flightless
    flightless April 11, 2012 at 6:06 pm |

    Wow, the comments really do get all “I haven’t read any of the comments, but now answer my question that’s been answered 25 times already,” don’t they?

    I think we are at about Camp 7 on this thread; the summit must be almost visible.

    So but this…

    I think men are just prone to putting things in terms of sex, not as a form of objectification, but because to many it’s the highest “physical” compliment a woman could pay them.

    interested me because I do think that ONE of the ways men are sometimes projecting/extrapolating from their own viewpoints here is due to viewing physical body-based compliments from women as rare and desired. This is partly because our culture doesn’t tend to put men on display for critique, and partly because women tend to be less physically threatening to men (so if men do get unwanted attention from women, it’s more likely to be flattering rather than scary). This is another aspect of unexamined male privilege. A “compliment” to you does not have the same weight, or resonance, or loadedness, as a “compliment” to us.

    I *am* sorry that men don’t get many chances to be admired and viewed as sexy — in my world you would get nothing but applause for glamming it up like early Bowie — but even being treated as a disembodied brain in a power suit still beats being afraid to walk to the corner store at night. #PHMT

  390. Abby Spice
    Abby Spice April 11, 2012 at 6:22 pm |

    Sauron’s Contact Lens says:
    @ 386: Because in my experience (TV etc.)
    @ 387: I mean, I don’t really talk to girls
    @ 391: a lot of the time when women talk about their insecurities they DO want someone to reassure them
    @ 391: That happens a lot on General Hospital.

    Okay. First of all. TV is not real life. Second of all. General Hospital is definitely not real life. Third of all. If you don’t really talk to girls, why the fuck are you saying that that’s what they mean?!

    I *have* read all the comments, via the magic of RSS, but only been able to pop in a couple short bits of my own. Most of what I would say is being said anyway. I just. This one. Seriously? General Hospital? Seriously? You’re basing your view of women on fucking television? I don’t even–you’re missing the point so hard it’s like you and the point are in different galaxies.

  391. BBBShrewHarpy
    BBBShrewHarpy April 11, 2012 at 6:25 pm |

    Caperton, I think you have it covered. I’m not sure they’ll listen though.

  392. Emolee
    Emolee April 11, 2012 at 6:32 pm |

    That happens a lot on General Hospital.

    I truly hope that is a joke.

  393. EG
    EG April 11, 2012 at 6:40 pm |

    You know what happened a lot on the TV show I was really into last year? People kept getting murdered by ghosts. I guess that must really be how things are as well.

  394. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve April 11, 2012 at 6:44 pm |

    This. Post. Is. About. Feminist. Discussion. Of. Body. Image.

    It’s not about complimenting your girlfriend or your wife. It’s not about making your best girl friend feel better when she’s down.

    @Feminist man
    Read this three times.

  395. gratuitous_violet
    gratuitous_violet April 11, 2012 at 6:46 pm |

    LOLOLOL General Hospital. I give up. This thread is Poe’d.

    @392 umami

    This made me guffaw because I feel the same way. My medievalist slip is showing, but I always imagine Reddit like Dante’s description of the fifth circle of Hell, for the wrathful. The sullen lie submerged in the foul waters of the Styx, seething in silence, trying to drag others down underwater, while the angry brawl eternally and aimlessly on its banks. Redditors seem to bring that stench around wherever they go looking for fights on the Internet.

  396. umami
    umami April 11, 2012 at 6:51 pm |

    The General Hospital comment has convinced me SCL is performance art. Well, that, and also on the thread above this one he’s asking if there are any movies about male friendship!

    I know it’s hard to tell the difference between actualfax mindboggling obtuseness and deliberate trolling on this thread, but there’s no way he can be for real.

    Also, Caperton, that rant at 403 is utterly glorious.

  397. Lauralot
    Lauralot April 11, 2012 at 6:54 pm |

    Just a head’s up to anyone with the slightest inkling that Brandon may be here in good faith: he’s a banned manboobz troll who sees no issue with taping women during sex without their consent, because how else he is supposed to project himself against false allegations, amirite?

  398. Marksman2010
    Marksman2010 April 11, 2012 at 6:54 pm |

    I’d rather spend that time reading high literature like Blood Meridian or Bossypants.

    That was a poorly constructed novel.

  399. librarygoose
    librarygoose April 11, 2012 at 6:56 pm |

    I watch a lot of TV where people live in space…so do I get a space ship? That’s how life works right? Because, and I mean this so sincerely, I want a fucking space ship. Almost more than world peace.

  400. Tulgey Logger
    Tulgey Logger April 11, 2012 at 7:08 pm |

    Enormous thread. Two cents:

    Cent one: Brandon is a troll. On other sites, such as Manboobz, he has compared Feminism to the KKK. He was not commenting in good faith, and does not need to be kindly lead along with a trail of sweets.
    Cent two: Men don’t need to be kindly lead along to Feminism with a trail of sweets. Plenty of men are fully capable of jumping on the train as it passes them by and working their way forward from the caboose. I know I did. The arguments that the trail of sweets is needed are just about slowing the train down, and taking them seriously makes it susceptible to Gingerbread Train Robbers (See cent one). Please excuse the mixed metaphors: I am a railroad engineer in Candyland.

    Having graced you with my Invaluable Male Perspective, I’m going back to doing what I always do, which is reading feministe and other sites patiently for insight and writing limericks about internet trolls.

  401. pecunium
    pecunium April 11, 2012 at 7:41 pm |

    Hi Brandon,

    I see you decided to take the show on the road.

    To everyone else (though by now it ought to be obvious) Brandon isn’t engaging in good faith. Goalposts will move, comments will be ignored, context doesn’t matter.

    The implications of his actual words will be denied.

    He spent something more than six months on Manboobz, before he got banned for saying some women deserve to be raped.

    He’s not worth engaging.

  402. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil April 11, 2012 at 8:17 pm |

    When was General Hospital last culturally relevant? Luke and Laura’s wedding? When was that? 1981?

    TV shows from 30 years ago, tellin’ it like it is.

    (Anyone besides me starting to wonder what the spam/mod folder on this thread must look like at this point?)

  403. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil April 11, 2012 at 8:21 pm |

    Oh, and in googling when Luke and Laura’s wedding was, I learned that Luke raped Laura. And she married him. Geez.

  404. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig April 11, 2012 at 8:29 pm |

    Sauron’s Contact Lens: I think part of your problems (which are legion) is that you seem to have mistaken General Hospital for the real world. It’s a soap opera, not a reality show. The fact that you can’t distinguish between reality and TV does not bode well for you.

    Most of this thread has provided justification for my avoidance of men. I try not to talk to them whenever it can be avoided, and given that all these commentors are out there in the real world, I think I’m going to continue that behavior.
    I wish that Reddit was just a giant artificial intelligence that decided to mess with humans. The idea that these are actual humans is depressing.

  405. Radiant Sophia
    Radiant Sophia April 11, 2012 at 8:39 pm |

    “some women deserve to be raped” (quoted in #415)
    I am nearly speechless.

  406. pecunium
    pecunium April 11, 2012 at 8:51 pm |

    Yes, he said that. It’s why he got banned from Manboobz, which is amazingly lenient with people who behave trollishly.

    But Brandon managed it.

  407. suspect class
    suspect class April 11, 2012 at 9:02 pm |

    Sauron’s Contact Lens says:
    @ 391: That happens a lot on General Hospital.

    Sorry, we already have the “tv tropes count as real life” troll here. Try another feminist community.

  408. DonnaL
    DonnaL April 11, 2012 at 9:09 pm |

    Who was the commenter a while back who didn’t actually know any black people or gay people, but loved to share everything she’d learned about them from watching fictional TV programs, like the fact that with gay male couples there’s usually one truck driver guy and one fashion guy?

    We should introduce her to Sauron’s Contact Lens, so they can talk to each other about what they’ve learned about life from General Hospital and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, etc.

  409. hellkell
    hellkell April 11, 2012 at 9:09 pm |

    Brandon AND Sauron (hi, MRAL!) have managed the feat of being banned from Manboobz, which is quite the feat.

    One is the King of Oblivious Douchcanoe-osity, the other has about a million socks and lives to troll feminist blogs.

  410. gratuitous_violet
    gratuitous_violet April 11, 2012 at 9:16 pm |

    @ DonnaL

    NO CHIARA NO

    This thread kinda makes me miss her. Which is sad for many reasons.

  411. EG
    EG April 11, 2012 at 9:18 pm |

    Nah, Chiara of the “I learned all I know about gay people from Buffy” got banned. I guess Sauron’s Contact Lens figured that the position was open.

  412. Alex
    Alex April 11, 2012 at 9:34 pm |

    *another manboobzer here*

    I…just…finished…reading…all of that. “hed esplodeyplode” is a perfect summation of how I feel right now. WHY DON’T THEY GET IT?!?

  413. suspect class
    suspect class April 11, 2012 at 9:36 pm |

    NO CHIARA NO

    This thread kinda makes me miss her. Which is sad for many reasons.

    I know, right? March was a more innocent time.

  414. LotusBecca
    LotusBecca April 11, 2012 at 9:45 pm |

    This thread has gone a bit down the lane and into the Mace.

    I miss Jorge.

  415. Matt
    Matt April 11, 2012 at 9:48 pm |

    down the lane and into the mace? i remember that. was a great day.

  416. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. April 11, 2012 at 10:01 pm |

    gone a bit down the lane and into the Mace.

    Awww…*tears up*…time passes so quickly.

  417. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. April 11, 2012 at 10:03 pm |

    Blast you html!

  418. thinksnake
    thinksnake April 11, 2012 at 10:26 pm |

    You know what happened a lot on the TV show I was really into last year? People kept getting murdered by ghosts. I guess that must really be how things are as well.

    I would say that EG won the thread with this, but this thread has been won several times by so many people.

  419. gratuitous_violet
    gratuitous_violet April 11, 2012 at 10:34 pm |

    We should have a do-over thread for the original topic, because I’m finally starting to get my thoughts together about existing as a person with breasts who experienced little to no interest in men for a majority of my formative years. However, four hundred of these comments, I just have the inexplicable urge to take my boobs and go watch General Hospital to try and gain some insight into things while waiting for my evil twin to return from the dead.

  420. Tamara
    Tamara April 11, 2012 at 10:36 pm |

    I’ve been following this thread avidly and big thanks to all those who persisted with the wonderful explanations and top grade snark. I am a little sad to see things winding down actually…

  421. LotusBecca
    LotusBecca April 11, 2012 at 10:53 pm |

    I would say that EG won the thread with this, but this thread has been won several times by so many people.

    Yup yup. When I think of this thread I can only think of what was written 153 years ago in the first paragraph of A Tale of Two Cities, which I believe encapsulates the tenor of “Why ‘I prefer small boobs’ isn’t helping” quite succintly. Pardon my self-indulgence:

    It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of [winning the thread over and over again], it was the epoch of [epic fails by douche-trolls at every turn], it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was [an interesting conversation about the politics of body image], it was [flooded by a bunch of asshats from Reddit whom I wished would guzzle rat poison], we had everything before us, we had [wasted a bunch of time addressing the aforementioned assclowns' same stupid points time after time after time: seven times over (hed esplodeysplode)], we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going [to need some Xanax]

    Forgive me Charles.

  422. thebewilderness
    thebewilderness April 11, 2012 at 10:55 pm |

    I stopped by to give you a heads up on the troll invasion, but I see you figured it out about 250 comments ago. Still, it was worth it for the “notes from my boner” snark.

  423. BBBShrewHarpy
    BBBShrewHarpy April 11, 2012 at 11:05 pm |

    Caperton, given the very low barrier to entry evident in the quality of some of the 437 posts, could you please share with the commentariat how many posts you received that failed to clear even this obstacle and remained in your mod-box? Did you get whiny personal mail, too?

  424. jennygadget
    jennygadget April 11, 2012 at 11:52 pm |

    I realize I am late to the game and that most of these people have left but – at 400+ comments does it really matter? :p

    ally? @141:

    I guess my point was to say that if you body is visible in a public space, it will be objectified.

    Do these assholes realize that they are talking not just about me, as I am now, but nine-year-old me as well? Do they not realize that their arguments also excuse adult men saying such shit to teen – and sometimes pre-teen! – girls? Do they care? (and do I actually want to know the answers to any of these questions?)

    John @ 163

    What are you trying to accomplish here? Commiserate about an issue that is apparently a big deal to the people who read your blog? Or try to effect some positive change in the world? Cause if it’s the second, why in the world would any male ever change if, when they pose a contrary opinion, they get utterly jumped on?

    It’s always nice when the assholes make it clear up front that they don’t think women exist as a potential audience and that women’s discussions only carry weight so long as they affect “males.” Saves time in weeding out the useless ones.

    John (ha! again!) @ 185

    Maybe the guys are looking for a fight, maybe they have a genuine, contrary opinion. In any case sinking to that level (or worse) is simply counter-productive to your goals.

    One cannot have a “genuine, contrary opinion” to another person saying “stop doing that to me.” And self-defense = / = “sinking” to any level.

    Brandon @ 191

    So let me see if I got this straight. I can be attracted to whatever I want…I just can’t open my mouth and voice my opinion about what I find attractive on the off chance that someone might feel bad or be offended by it?

    Most people, I would advise they think carefully about how it will make the other person feel and then use their best judgement. You, otoh? Yes, you should keep your mouth shut about this topic. At all times. Because you clearly either have no sense of nuance or are willfully ignoring what few scraps of empathy you posses.

    Anthony Driesen @ 279

    So this hypothetical man puts his foot in his mouth in an attempt to make you feel better. To boost your ego, because the thought of you hurting physically pains him.

    And yet clearly it doesn’t physically pain him all that much because if it did he would be all about listening when we explain that this is not helpful. He would be spreading the word to fellow men! because he knows they listen to him more than to women! and he would bask in all the good he has done and think happy thoughts about all the women who now feel better because of him.

    He would not be typing up treatises in response that explain that he really meant well. And also can’t help it. And how women should be nicer when they point out such things.

    *********

    Radiant Sophia @ 238

    Sexism exists. The root cause of sexism is… well… sex

    I admit I’m waiting with bated breath to learn what the root cause of racism is.

  425. Sauron's Contact Lens
    Sauron's Contact Lens April 12, 2012 at 12:19 am |

    Er, I was joking about the TV references… trying to inject some lightheartedness into the conversation. The rest of my post was in complete seriousness. I appreciate Caperton’s post at #403, that makes sense. I’m still a little surprised, though… are there really men who insert themselves into a critical feminist discussion to discuss body parts they like? That’s kinda weird. Do you have a link to one conversation like that?

    And I agree, Blood Meridian was an amateur effort.

  426. Jadey
    Jadey April 12, 2012 at 12:21 am |

    are there really men who insert themselves into a critical feminist discussion to discuss body parts they like? That’s kinda weird. Do you have a link to one conversation like that?

    Already in the thread.

  427. Sauron's Contact Lens
    Sauron's Contact Lens April 12, 2012 at 12:23 am |

    Oh, and wow, reading back over the comments it seems a bunch of Manboobz people have come here to harass me. Fact: I’m not trolling, I’m engaging. I’m allowed to do that, am I not?

  428. EG
    EG April 12, 2012 at 12:45 am |

    I’m still a little surprised, though… are there really men who insert themselves into a critical feminist discussion to discuss body parts they like?

    No. You got us. We’ve made this whole thing up, just to fuck with well-meaning men. That’s how we get our kicks.

    Already in the thread.

    C’mon, Jadey. You don’t expect SCL to actually read the previous comments, do you? Gawd, do you know how long that’ll take? Can’t you just do his homework for him? You’ll never win him over by being mean, y’know.

  429. Sauron's Contact Lens
    Sauron's Contact Lens April 12, 2012 at 12:51 am |

    Well, sure, Brandon is a douche, but I think most of these have been honest misunderstandings. It’s not an intuitive subject IMO.

    Also, @PGP, I don’t care if you avoid men or not. Is that supposed to be like, a challenge or something? Do what you want.

  430. discretion
    discretion April 12, 2012 at 1:02 am |

    I would like to take a moment to point out something very simple. Women are every bit as guilty of this kind of behavior as men. Whether based on looks, the car one drives, muscle tone or lack therof, and of course that all encompassing genitalia size or any number of other factors.

  431. gratuitous_violet
    gratuitous_violet April 12, 2012 at 1:05 am |

    Do you have a link to one conversation like that?

    We were attempting to have a conversation about things that happen in our real lives. For which we are not obligated to provide citations.

    However, there’s this really fascinating thread going on in which attempts at serious feminist discussion are sidelined by men and their unsolicited opinions. On this very page even!

    In case you’re really interested in finding examples of this phenomenon, I’d recommend any article written by a feminist blogger about high heels or other controversial trapping of femininity with an open commentariat. Those dudes will be there. (Actually, if memory serves me right, pretty much every dude who comments at Pandagon fits into this category but that’s neither here nor there.)

    And yeah, the General Hospital crack was funny, but not for the reasons you think.

  432. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig April 12, 2012 at 1:33 am |

    JennyGadget: Birth trauma is apparently the root cause of racism and domestic abuse. It came up on another thread, by a now-banned commenter who was Radiant Sophia’s ideological twin.

    SCL: I thought you might be interested to know that you and your fellows, like Brandon, are giving men a very bad name. Guess not. I’d like to add that most women get intuitively that one does not say whatever is on one’s mind, and it’s bad form to comment on or gawk at other people’s bodies. Given how many men abjectly fail at that idea, one wonders why men are allowed in public without supervision. Also, if you think you are being light-hearted, you are truly astoundingly dim. So, Mr. Slow-coach, I recommend that you stop pretending to read mindless best-sellers and start doing some research. If your tiny little brain can handle that without exploding. One more thing: stop pretending you’ve read Tolkien. Based on your comments here, I suspect that you found anything longer than ‘See Spot Run’ mindbogglingly difficult.

  433. Lauralot
    Lauralot April 12, 2012 at 1:37 am |

    @Sauron/MRAL:

    Have you actually read Blood Meridian, or is this one of those “I haven’t read it but I’ve read the summary on Wikipedia” things that you did with American Psycho?

  434. Sauron's Contact Lens
    Sauron's Contact Lens April 12, 2012 at 2:06 am |

    @violet- Well, the OP was actually, you know, addressed to men, and concerned itself with men’s behavior, so I don’t think there’s anything wrong with men responding.

    @Lauralot- I had to read Blood Meridian for my English seminar about a week ago. I have also read Bossypants, but I did that on my own.

  435. Sauron's Contact Lens
    Sauron's Contact Lens April 12, 2012 at 3:06 am |

    @PGP- Yeah, you’re right. I’m not interested. I have bigger concerns, and I’m not going to get all butthurt about one internet commenter who “avoids men”, though I’m sure that’s what you want. It’s actually kind of the analogue to [BONERS]. Much like I’d imagine women aren’t interested in my erections, please tell me why I should give a shit? Have a nice life.

    PS- I don’t agree I’ve been giving men a bad name, so it seems we’ve reached an impasse. Brandon, okay, maybe, but I’m pretty sure he’s trollin’. Anyway, I can’t control other mens’ behavior. We’re not a hivemind.

    PPS- You’re right, I haven’t read Tolkien. I did watch the movie on Youtube, though.

  436. Your Mom Uses Birth Control
    Your Mom Uses Birth Control April 12, 2012 at 3:21 am |

    It’s kind of unfortunate that body image issues will never go away…I wonder if there is some scientific method that has been devised that would make people Not Care. Particularly 14 year old girls who flirt with anorexia.

    Celebrities and other writers/speakers/etc talk all the time about how to feel comfortable with oneself, and say that everyone should, but it would be worthwhile to know if there is a tangible method for doing so.

    I think the “this is what this billboard looked like without Photoshop” and “this is what this celebrity looked like without makeup” are particularly helpful. Also, the “draw your body on a wall with a Sharpie, then stand next to it, and the outline is way bigger” are pretty eye-opening. More of that, maybe…

  437. DoublyLinkedLists
    DoublyLinkedLists April 12, 2012 at 3:30 am |

    You guys, so, my bird is a Quaker Parrot, and he’s green and grey, but when he sees other birds that are brown and red and blue and stuff he gets all down on himself and he’s like “squawk” and I’m like “You know society is the messed up one for judging based on the color of your feathers!” but then he’s all “squawk chirp” and then does a biting motion so I wanna tell him that I LIKE green and grey feathers but I’m afraid he’ll just squawk if I do.

    So my question (I’m asking because I BELIEVE in FEMINISM, and if you believe in FEMINISM you’ll help me because that’s your job as King Feminism) but like seriously Caperton, since you wrote this article addressing me:

    Can I tell my bird that it’s pretty?

  438. Kyrie
    Kyrie April 12, 2012 at 3:42 am |

    @DoublyLinkedLists : if you do, you may have to give back your feminist card after that.

  439. Xanthë
    Xanthë April 12, 2012 at 5:32 am |

    Awesome things I learned on this thread:
    1.

    If I have learned one thing from this thread, it is that the denizens of Reddit should not be allowed out of Reddit, ever. I know that sounds like condemning them to a mean, hopeless troll-filled existence as they slowly suffocate in swamps of stupidity and their souls gradually wither away, first into black bitter goo, and then into nothingness, but it’s for the greater good.

    2. There actually is a Raccoon Sex Dungeon… dot tumblr dot com. (How could there not be? It’s like Rule 34 surely.)

  440. Past my expiration date
    Past my expiration date April 12, 2012 at 6:02 am |

    We’ve made this whole thing up, just to fuck with well-meaning men. That’s how we get our kicks.

    EG, I read this as “That’s how we get our kids.” At last the Feminists admit to sperm-burglary!

  441. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil April 12, 2012 at 6:42 am |

    Women are every bit as guilty of this kind of behavior as men. Whether based on looks, the car one drives, muscle tone or lack therof, and of course that all encompassing genitalia size or any number of other factors.

    What About the Menz, take 17.

  442. Shigekuni
    Shigekuni April 12, 2012 at 7:01 am |

    I would like to take a moment to point out something very simple. Women are every bit as guilty of this kind of behavior as men. Whether based on looks, the car one drives, muscle tone or lack therof, and of course that all encompassing genitalia size or any number of other factors.

    1. as a lot of people including me (#126?) pointed out even if this were true, it wouldn’t actually be the same behavior
    2. a lot of your fellow boner messengers said they would welcome that kind of attention
    3. “all encompassing genitalia size” sounds somehow painful

    that is all.

  443. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable April 12, 2012 at 7:16 am |

    @violet- Well, the OP was actually, you know, addressed to men

    No, you idiot. It wasn’t. You are not the center of the Goddamned universe. Unless Caperton said, “Dear Men,” you are likely not the intended target just because you are a man. This is a feminist blog, dipshit. Why would men be the target of this post? Just because it talks about how you’re assholes (citation: all of your comments on this thread)? Get over it, you self-absorbed shitbag.

  444. Sauron's Contact Lens
    Sauron's Contact Lens April 12, 2012 at 8:27 am |

    Thanks for thinking of us, guys

    That seems to me essentially an equivalent of “Dear Men”. Unless you’re speaking a different language, I suppose. It seems to me if you only want women to respond (I guess that’s your problem…?), there are a few suggestions I would make:

    a. Make Feministe women-only.
    b. Specify this post as women-only.

    But the passive-aggressive, condescendy bullshit (how DARE men post on a feminist blog!1) is pretty obnoxious.

  445. Natalia
    Natalia April 12, 2012 at 8:40 am |

    This thread brings the lulz.

  446. Li
    Li April 12, 2012 at 8:47 am |

    But the passive-aggressive, condescendy bullshit (how DARE men post on a feminist blog!1) is pretty obnoxious

    Not that it shouldn’t be painfully obvious to anyone who actually read the comments, but there are a whole pile of men who manage to comment on this blog without inspiring condescension. But, you know, continue to play that MAN HATERS!!! tune. I’m sure it will turn out well for you.

  447. Crys T
    Crys T April 12, 2012 at 8:56 am |

    Also, I think SCL is confusing contempt & scorn for condescension.

  448. thinksnake
    thinksnake April 12, 2012 at 8:59 am |

    Feeding a troll again. I should probably stop doing this.

    a. Make Feministe women-only.
    b. Specify this post as women-only.

    See, now, there’s a difference between something being woman-centred, and something being woman-only. I’m not sure why this even needs to be said, I would have thought it self-evident, but there you go.

    Centring the experiences of an oppressed group (on Feministe, women; on Racialicious, people of colour; there are many other examples) doesn’t mean that people who aren’t part of that group, those who experience the privilege denied that oppressed group, shouldn’t access that information. Often, it can be very important for the privileged to access that information, as part of unlearning it.
    But that doesn’t mean the information is tailor-made for the privileged, and certainly doesn’t mean that it needs to be directly targeted at the privileged.

  449. Taliesin_Merlin
    Taliesin_Merlin April 12, 2012 at 9:03 am |

    Funny. I missed the part of that statement which qualifies as an utter dismissal of male feedback. There have been several men who have made appropriate posts because they were willing to listen and therefore not repeat certain maligned behaviors. They have received no undue criticism.

    Nice try picking through the straws to find a needle of contention though.

  450. EG
    EG April 12, 2012 at 9:06 am |

    And mistaking mockery for passive-aggressiveness.

  451. BBBShrewHarpy
    BBBShrewHarpy April 12, 2012 at 9:16 am |

    And mistaking snark for bullshit.

  452. Jadey
    Jadey April 12, 2012 at 9:26 am |

    But the passive-aggressive, condescendy bullshit (how DARE men post on a feminist blog!1) is pretty obnoxious.

    Except for all the men who have participated quite productively, against whom there has been no backlash whatsoever. (Note: this does not include the dudes who only *think* they were contributing productively.)

    I do agree that we should make all posts 1) non-douchebags only and 2) people who actually read the post and are prepared to comment on topic only. Somehow, that never seems to stop the people who assume that because they *can* say something, they must. But who are we to expect self-restraint from adult human beings with fully-functional frontal cortexes! Madness.

  453. Jennifers
    Jennifers April 12, 2012 at 9:31 am |

    I concur with the sentiment that, yes, this thread brings the lulz indeed.

  454. petpluto
    petpluto April 12, 2012 at 9:31 am |

    I think most of these have been honest misunderstandings. It’s not an intuitive subject IMO.

    Yes, actually, it is. It’s pretty intuitive. If I’m talking about societal expectations of beauty and how those expectations of beauty get me down because of X, and how I’d like to work to remove that societal pressure, and you – someone I don’t even know – come in and say, “Well, personally, I like X on the ladies”, you’re being an asshole. You, intuitively, should know that I, Person You Don’t Know, don’t give a flying leap about what your personal attraction factor to X is. Because unless you’re the center of the universe (and you’re not, because I know who is and she’s my kitten), you’re opinion does not (a) fix the societal problem because society exists around and apart from your opinion on the matter, (b) fix my X issues, and (c) help me change the societal pressure encompassing X.

    What you’re doing? Is centering the conversation around you. And where the conversation should be? Is not there.

    It seems to me if you only want women to respond (I guess that’s your problem…?), there are a few suggestions I would make:

    a. Make Feministe women-only.
    b. Specify this post as women-only.

    Hmm… Nope and nope. Because, as hard as portions of this thread make this to believe, men can have actual and good contributions to the conversation – and by that, I mean have thoughts that don’t revolve around “But what do you meeeeeean, I can’t tell women what I think about their boobs?! Why are you telling me I’m a bad person?! I just can’t hug a woman! I could go to jail!” I could disagree with and/or agree with those thoughts. I’ll never really know, now, because this has become a cluster of f’d up ness.

    Also? What men have the ability to do? Is listen, read (ALL OF THE COMMENTS), and learn. And then comment, after absorbing some understanding of the situation. You should try it some time.

  455. jrockford
    jrockford April 12, 2012 at 9:32 am |

    @LotusBecca

    This thread has gone a bit down the lane and into the Mace.

    I miss Jorge.

    You win. Laughed out loud.

    It’s so funny, but you can’t hope to explain “why” it was funny to someone who wasn’t there.

  456. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune April 12, 2012 at 9:38 am |

    @454

    I love you and want to do your taxes. ^__^

  457. PDA
    PDA April 12, 2012 at 9:42 am |

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with men responding

    No, Mr. Al, there’s nothing “wrong” with men responding… there’s not even anything “wrong” with sidelining the discussion, which was Violet’s complaint and is what you are doing. Moreover, there’s nothing “wrong” with showing up on a 400-comment thread and posting inane, poorly-(or un-)thought-out opinions, unsolicited.

    You just don’t get a cookie for doing so. People may actually respond. Then, you get the chance to either listen or just ignore everything and keep saying the same thing over and over again.

    This thread is not here as your personal refresher to Basic Human Interaction at the preschool level.

  458. jrockford
    jrockford April 12, 2012 at 9:48 am |

    It seems to me if you only want women to respond (I guess that’s your problem…?), there are a few suggestions I would make:

    a. Make Feministe women-only.
    b. Specify this post as women-only.

    If you would bother to take any time to learn about how this community actually works instead of diving in and making assumptions, or if you had an even remotely proper interpretation of the original post, you wouldn’t say things like this.

    All of the troll backlash here has been based upon a fundamental misunderstanding of what the original post actually said. So much so that Caperton felt the need to clarify and spell it out in broad strokes at # 403. If you read # 403 and still don’t understand, try listening instead of posting. If you’re actually interested in learning more about feminism, try visiting http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/ . It isn’t the job of the posters here to teach you.

    Though if you are indeed MRAL from Manboobz, then I wont hold my breath for you to hit the books.

  459. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune April 12, 2012 at 9:50 am |

    It seems to me if you only want women to respond (I guess that’s your problem…?), there are a few suggestions I would make:

    a. Make Feministe women-only.
    b. Specify this post as women-only.

    Except…why? There’s been a whole lot of guys on this thread being perfectly decent about the topic, ranging from people like Thomas and Ranger Joe who simply stepped out of the discussion, to people like HMBABM who had genuine questions and – and this is important – went away, thought about it and came back with genuine replies – to people like Li, who’ve been here for years and have been commenting intelligently on the thread from the beginning. Banning guys only means that these men, being respectful and intelligent, are not going to be allowed onto the thread, while trolls like you just have to change your names and you can troll away to your grubby hearts’ content. Seems a poor decision to me.

  460. Mxe354
    Mxe354 April 12, 2012 at 10:01 am |

    Women are every bit as guilty of this kind of behavior as men. Whether based on looks, the car one drives, muscle tone or lack therof, and of course that all encompassing genitalia size or any number of other factors.

    Sorry, that’s irrelevant to this post. And if what you’ve said is supposed to constitute a counterargument, then you’re merely committing the tu quoque fallacy. Also, women’s worth is judged by their bodies far more than any other group because of sexist, patriarchal norms in society.

  461. LC
    LC April 12, 2012 at 10:03 am |

    It’s so funny, but you can’t hope to explain “why” it was funny to someone who wasn’t there..

    So true.

    But the passive-aggressive, condescendy bullshit (how DARE men post on a feminist blog!1) is pretty obnoxious.

    Which, if it was remotely happening, would be true. But, you know, it’s not. At all.

    Separately,
    I feel I almost owe an apology to some of the men who just can’t seem to wrap their brains around this, though. I just got into an extended facebook discussion with a guy I consider intelligent, empathic, and perfectly decent about a similar issue.

    He posted a video about some guy talking about how people should not be so concerned over how their body looks. He was confused why he seemed to be getting pushback over what he thought was such a good message. Upon watching the video, I couldn’t help but notice that it specifically called women stupid for being upset about their bodies, because lots of men think they are hot.

    Despite numerous women commenting to explain why this might not be helpful, he insists the video is actually about how all people should learn to be less obsessed by trivial things. It’s kind of blowing my mind, because while I can see someone missing it (privilege is great for slapping on the blinders), I’m having lots of trouble understanding how he can’t seem to get it despite numerous women he likes and respects explaining it to him. (This is really not someone I would have anticipated this from.)

    It’s… frustrating.

  462. EG
    EG April 12, 2012 at 10:09 am |

    Now, now. Think about how often men are trying to have a serious discussion of how the female-dominated society in which they must make their way apportions life opportunities and worth based on the size of their dicks or the types of cars they drive, and some privileged woman barges in to tell them that she likes small penises and broken-down old beaters, so what’s the problem? Can’t you feel their pain?

  463. gratuitous_violet
    gratuitous_violet April 12, 2012 at 10:16 am |

    Whatever, sauron, I should have been more specific in my dismissiveness but you’re boring me to death with this whole whiny, willfully-misinterpreting shtick so I don’t really care.

    Anybody remember the troll who insisted that deep breathing exercises would solve systematic oppression (possibly the same one referred to above who claimed that birth trauma causes domestic violence)? Now that was interesting.

    Guys like Sauron, though, are why I’m glad I bolted from academia. He mentioned his English seminar and I for one would like to know what program he’s in. Their reading comprehension instruction is obviously a smashing success.

  464. EG
    EG April 12, 2012 at 10:23 am |

    Guys like Sauron, though, are why I’m glad I bolted from academia. He mentioned his English seminar and I for one would like to know what program he’s in. Their reading comprehension instruction is obviously a smashing success.

    Oh, I call undergrad on him, maybe even freshman–he also mentioned some girl on his “floor.” It’s not that the guys I knew in grad school weren’t ever sexist tools; it’s that they expressed sexism in a more sophisticated way.

  465. gratuitous_violet
    gratuitous_violet April 12, 2012 at 10:34 am |

    That must be why he brings me back to grading bad papers about The Canterbury Tales (although not as bad as the guy who appears to have used the Postmodern Essay Generator to write his comment, waaay up in the 100’s comments). I’m looking forward to some irrelevant quotes from Nietzsche any time now!

  466. DouglasG
    DouglasG April 12, 2012 at 10:37 am |

    Ms Donna/Ms Jen/Mr Li – Re: “Secret Club”:

    In my parts, gay misogyny was in definite decline when I still had a social life. Such an attitude was generally called middle-school when it appeared, and seemed to be right there with Armistead Maupin’s A-Gays on the Dying Species List. What a shame if it’s still going strong.

    I occasionally am taken for female, most often on the telephone. It can be amusing or irritating in person, especially when rest rooms are involved. Once a straight friend in a similar situation and I compared notes, and it turned out that people were much more apologetic to him, though that might have been because he’s usually misread because of his first name.

    But by far the worst SC misogynists I encounter tend to be the straight men who think on no conceivable foundation that I’m One of Them. I suppose this makes sense, as they tend to have the mind set of never being able to believe anything so upsetting as somebody’s being non-straight until the point is incontrovertibly proven.

  467. EG
    EG April 12, 2012 at 11:07 am |

    Caperton, I just guffawed very loudly.

  468. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune April 12, 2012 at 11:13 am |

    @ 484

    Caperton, that was bloody brilliant and I laughed with embarrassing snortgiggles and everything <3

  469. gratuitous_violet
    gratuitous_violet April 12, 2012 at 11:22 am |

    Bravissima, Caperton.

  470. librarygoose
    librarygoose April 12, 2012 at 12:04 pm |

    Won’t some one think about Y?!

  471. pheenobarbidoll
    pheenobarbidoll April 12, 2012 at 12:08 pm |

    M1. You might as well shoot men in the face.

    Would be easier, that's for sure.

  472. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. April 12, 2012 at 12:51 pm |

    I’m still a little surprised, though… are there really men who insert themselves into a critical feminist discussion to discuss body parts they like? That’s kinda weird. Do you have a link to one conversation like that?

    To continue a previous comment…Also not a good ally response? Denial and demands for proof.

    Are you sure someone hit you in the nose? I know you say it hurts, but I don’t acknowledge your ability to understand your own experience. Do you have proof that someone actually hit you? No witnesses…thy have the same inability to assess reality. Perhaps video? No, not that video, some other video. Go find it for me. And bring a cookie. And a sandwich.

  473. LC
    LC April 12, 2012 at 12:58 pm |

    *round of applause for 484*

  474. Xtina
    Xtina April 12, 2012 at 1:24 pm |

    For some reason, I see a bunch of Muppets re-enacting Caperton @484.

  475. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil April 12, 2012 at 1:46 pm |

    For some reason, I see a bunch of Muppets re-enacting Caperton @484.

    With Statler and Waldorf as M1 and M2?

  476. Sauron's Contact Lens
    Sauron's Contact Lens April 12, 2012 at 2:26 pm |

    I was going to write a big long post about how you’re basically all wrong, and if you look back over my posts I really haven’t been all that unsupportive, and so it’s really just my tone you all object to, thus making you an example of those evil tone trolls that the femosphere complains about constantly, plus also that the “welcomed male voices” are really just “men who agree sycophantically”, without challenging anyone ever and so what’s the point of that, I ask, seems a waste of time, which is why I suggested going women-only, and anyway “going women-only” in internet-feminist-speak basically just means banning any real substantial disagreement, so these “desirable” men could still post their stuff since they agree with the masses, only thing is, they’d just have to avoid mentioning their gender, seems easy enough.

    But I decided not to.

  477. Sauron's Contact Lens
    Sauron's Contact Lens April 12, 2012 at 2:34 pm |

    Man, I was just leaving the library and I realized, I should have said “vagosphere” instead of “femosphere”. God damn, I’m so funny.

  478. Mxe354
    Mxe354 April 12, 2012 at 2:44 pm |

    @Sauron

    …that the “welcomed male voices” are really just “men who agree sycophantically”, without challenging anyone ever…

    Do you even care about reading comprehension?

  479. Li
    Li April 12, 2012 at 2:48 pm |

    It’s true. Without you, SCL, and your fellow paragons of critical thought, the comment threads on Feministe are entirely uncontroversial and never involve any disagreement. Boy, I’m glad you cleared that one up for us.

  480. HelpMeBeaBetterMan
    HelpMeBeaBetterMan April 12, 2012 at 2:50 pm |

    Sauron @ 495,

    I don’t think it’s fair to characterize me as a sycophant, but that’s your perogative. You suggest that the men who “challenge” are shouted down, and the ones that don’t are elevated.

    The problem is, this thread is exactly the worse case example of the scenario you paint, because there is no challenge or controversy here (men trying to help shouldn’t introduce “compliments” about women’s bodies when the subject is oppression re: their bodies). The post topic is very narrow and to the extent there is any confusion about the boundaries of discussion, they have been developed repeatedly.

    Men who are being “shouted down” aren’t actually challenging the post topic but are in fact arguing different issues altogether as accurately characterized by Post # 484.

    Bringing up some other topic isn’t raising opposition or challenging or any other description of advancing discourse.

    In sum, this isn’t an issue where there is room for actual controversy, unlike say, whether Planned Parenthood should accept $500,000 from Tucker Max. If you fundamentally accept that objectification or oppression has no place in say, the workplace, and that compliments about a woman’s body is in fact objectification and thus is not appropriate as a response to objectification in the workplace, then there is little room for debate here.

  481. PDA
    PDA April 12, 2012 at 3:22 pm |

    Bringing up some other topic isn’t raising opposition or challenging or any other description of advancing discourse.

    Thank you.

    phylum troll, subclass derailicus

  482. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune April 12, 2012 at 3:25 pm |

    @499

    RIGHT?! I mean, I read the article really soon after it was published, thought “ho-hum, fairly simple statement, stated nice and clearly, seems like something nobody would disagree about unless they’re a spectacularly ignorant fuck, though I imagine there’s finer-tuned debates happening, probably”, gave it a mental thumbs up and closed the tab.

    Coming back a few hours later and THREADASPLODE. D: D: D:

    @495,

    “I had the perfect rebuttal! But you wouldn’t care anyway, so it doesn’t matter, I’ll just call you all poopyheads instead!”

    LOLOL okay player.

  483. pheenobarbidoll
    pheenobarbidoll April 12, 2012 at 3:30 pm |

    or any other description of advancing discourse.

    I charge $200 per word to advance discourse.

    Yanno, since it’s now my JOB.

  484. hellkell
    hellkell April 12, 2012 at 3:40 pm |

    No, MRAL, you’re not oh-so-funny. You’re a pathetic child. Get a different hobby and find something more in line with your interests other than trolling feminist blogs.

  485. gratuitous_violet
    gratuitous_violet April 12, 2012 at 3:49 pm |

    Yep, I call undergraduate.

    Pointing out that one’s thoughts on a topic might be both irrelevant and unwelcome, however amazing and important you think they may be, does not constitute a personal attack on you. Maybe you’ll be over it by the time you reach upper division coursework.

  486. LotusBecca
    LotusBecca April 12, 2012 at 4:44 pm |

    If you’re not going to engage us or entertain us, just go away.

    Seconded. Sauron: please include more General Hospital jokes and fewer paranoid, misogynistic conspiracy theories and asinine MRA jargon.

  487. maggiemay
    maggiemay April 12, 2012 at 4:45 pm |

    male employers evaluate women’s bodies during the hiring process because many male employers either subconsciously or consciously think of their female employees as a personal harem as well as a work force—historically they have always done this

    btw, i find the whole concept of a person being “unfuckable” because they dont meet some kind of ridiculous beauty test frankly laughable—many times very good-looking ppl R way 2 narcissistic 2B any fun in bed, while many “unattractive” ppl can B great sex partners
    just my 2 cnts worth—good day everybody

  488. Donna L
    Donna L April 12, 2012 at 4:46 pm |

    Getting back for a moment to Discretion’s contention that “women are every bit as guilty of this kind of behavior as men. Whether based on looks, the car one drives, muscle tone or lack therof, and of course that all encompassing genitalia size,” etc., is he suggesting that strange women have been regularly making inappropriate comments to him about these subjects on the street or on public transportation, ever since he reached puberty and even before? That women he knows but is not in a relationship with are in the habit of either disparaging or complimenting the size of his genitalia or his biceps, either when he’s bemoaning all the comments he gets on those subjects, or ever?

    I guess I’ve just never noticed all the groups of women of all ages who hang out on street corners and hoot and whistle at men, and even 14-year old boys, about their packages. (And, yes, I get that a lot of straight guys would claim that they’d welcome such attention. Others have addressed why that claim is not only dubious but irrelevant. Besides, I know a number of younger trans women who had not been used to receiving attention and comments from strangers who told me that they were flattered and appreciative and felt validated by such attention — for approximately the first day. One gets very tired of that, very quickly.)

    All I can say is that I presented myself to the world as a straight man for a long time — more than 20 years as an adult. As far as I can remember, the total number of inappropriate comments on any such subjects that I ever received from women with whom I wasn’t involved, whether they were strangers or friends or acquaintances, was one: my office-mate in my first job after law school, when I was 24, who was probably a few inches taller than my 5′ 2″ and managed to mention to me within a short time after I started, apropos of nothing much at all, that she “didn’t date short men.” I felt like telling her that I hadn’t been planning to ask (since it was, in fact, the furthest thing from my mind), but didn’t bother. And that’s the sum total of my experiences like that.

    Inappropriate comments (negative, obviously) from men about my height and my voice (which was almost always taken on the phone as being a woman’s voice) during the years I was presenting as a guy? Lots. All the time. (Not even counting when I was a child. from other kids.)

    So pardon my skepticism that poor Discretion’s suffering at the hands of women is in any way comparable to what women, and, in somewhat different fashion, men perceived as gender-variant, are generally subjected to by men.

  489. shfree
    shfree April 12, 2012 at 4:56 pm |

    Ya know, speaking of undergrads, SCL also reminds me of these two dudes in my Analysis of Argument class that I took one semester, where they were determined to Prove the Teacher Wrong!, so they kept throwing logical fallacies at her to see what would stick during one of her lectures. It was hilarious when she calmly shot down each and every one of them as being not at all applicable to what she was saying.

  490. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune April 12, 2012 at 4:57 pm |

    @508

    I know, right? I looked VERY male as a child, mostly because I wore boys’ clothing and kept my hair military-short in rural India in the 90s, and nobody was getting on my case about it, while my more obviously female friends were being shamed and ogled and catcalled. Ten years old, the breasts pop out at high speed and suddenly harassment! Welcome to the grope club! Because, you know, puberty isn’t rough enough on girls by itself, even the ones that aren’t mildly genderqueer. (I can only imagine how rough it must have been for you.) Aside from our friendly neighbourhood molester, who pretty much just kept going, there was no equivalent escalation of sexual attention for my male friends, and certainly not from strangers on the streets or co-workers. None.

  491. Radiant Sophia
    Radiant Sophia April 12, 2012 at 5:32 pm |

    Responding to #439

    I’m sorry for my first post. I realize that my opinion is informed by experience which does not necessarily apply to the majority, I was wrong.

    I have no idea where racism comes from. I was raised in a racist household, and don’t know exactly how I escaped.

    I’m beginning to see that my experiences do not represent the average, nor are they likely to provide helpful insight to most.

  492. Off White
    Off White April 12, 2012 at 6:31 pm |

    How do I volunteer for the Caperton for President campaign committee? A fine mind and an excellent sense of humor. I’ve really enjoyed her columns on each of my last two visits here, thanks.

    I wish I had time to read all 511 responses too, I’m sure there’s both entertainment and information to be found in there.

  493. BBBShrewHarpy
    BBBShrewHarpy April 12, 2012 at 7:32 pm |

    @Radiant Sophia,

    we’re all experiments of one. I don’t see why your insights wouldn’t be respected & valued, even if your experience leads you to different conclusions.

    For all the derailers who want to jump in here… I’m saying a relevant argument is welcome, even when unpopular. The Notes from my Boner are not relevant, nor is anything that smacks of What about Teh Menz. That’s why you were shot down, not because you’re incisive but controversial.

  494. pecunium
    pecunium April 12, 2012 at 8:18 pm |

    Oh, MRAL, so much the same.

    For those who care, he has consistently claimed to be at Boston College, and majoring in something related to mathematics.

    He’s not stupid, just boneheadedly stubborn, and convinced that women are getting over. On his good days, he seems to make progress. Those are few, and far between. I’m not sure what his intent is. If it’s just to rile someplace up, he does poorly. If it’s to score points, he does worse.

    There is some validation he gets from attacking feminists, and when that fails directly he goes to passive aggressive.

    After that, he gets personal.

    Then he goes apologetic.

    Lather, rinse, repeat.

    I’m sure you recognise the pattern.

  495. Nick Nergüi
    Nick Nergüi April 12, 2012 at 8:18 pm |

    I am a dude and I could not help but notice that your article does not answer all the very important questions about how dudes should approach life and all its mysteries and therefore I have to say that this article is a little sexist. And since the feminists here are so hostile to explaining everything to anyone (reads: dudes) I am going to be left here alone wondering how to fix this salad without talking about my love for small breasts to any nearby ladies because apparently that’s offensive or something (I didn’t actually read the article or the 500 comments thereafter but the title was enough to draw any important conclusions from). What I’m saying basically is that you guys are the thought police but real and its tearing this community apart. Also my salad making days are now over. Thanks a lot.

  496. jennygadget
    jennygadget April 12, 2012 at 10:35 pm |

    @Radiant Sophia,

    we’re all experiments of one. I don’t see why your insights wouldn’t be respected & valued, even if your experience leads you to different conclusions.

    Seconded. I pulled yours out from the others for a reason. It struck me as clueless, but not a willful sort of clueless. And making a clueless statement about one thing does not preclude being insightful about other things. (or even the same thing!)

    I didn’t mean to make you second guess your value, but to stop and consider how sexism is related to other things. Perhaps I got a bit carried away with my own snark. My apologies.

  497. LotusBecca
    LotusBecca April 12, 2012 at 10:47 pm |

    I am a dude and I could not help but notice that your article does not answer all the very important questions about how dudes should approach life and all its mysteries and therefore I have to say that this article is a little sexist. And since the feminists here are so hostile to explaining everything to anyone (reads: dudes) I am going to be left here alone wondering how to fix this salad without talking about my love for small breasts to any nearby ladies because apparently that’s offensive or something (I didn’t actually read the article or the 500 comments thereafter but the title was enough to draw any important conclusions from). What I’m saying basically is that you guys are the thought police but real and its tearing this community apart. Also my salad making days are now over. Thanks a lot.

    LOL. Beautiful.

  498. Alex
    Alex April 12, 2012 at 11:13 pm |

    @Kristin J,

    Are you sure someone hit you in the nose? I know you say it hurts, but I don’t acknowledge your ability to understand your own experience. Do you have proof that someone actually hit you? No witnesses…thy have the same inability to assess reality. Perhaps video? No, not that video, some other video. Go find it for me. And bring a cookie. And a sandwich.

    This wins an internet.

    @PDA,

    phylum troll, subclass derailicus

    This does too.

    You know? As frustrating as the trolls get, I am always amazed at, entertained by, and feel better because of the wit of my fellow feminists. Anyone who thinks of feminists as humourless really hasn’t met the crowd I’m happy to be acquainted with. Or just has no taste in humour and is projecting.

  499. Mxe354
    Mxe354 April 13, 2012 at 12:06 am |

    Anyone who thinks of feminists as humourless really hasn’t met the crowd I’m happy to be acquainted with. Or just has no taste in humour and is projecting.

    People who defend sexism and patriarchy are never going to find us feminists humorous. Oh well.

  500. jennygadget
    jennygadget April 13, 2012 at 1:50 am |

    Anyone who thinks of feminists as humourless really hasn’t met the crowd I’m happy to be acquainted with. Or just has no taste in humour and is projecting.

    People who defend sexism and patriarchy are never going to find us feminists humorous. Oh well.

    heh. I’ve noticed that the snarkier I get with such idiots the more they are convinced that I HATE THEM AND ALL MEN EVER!!!!!

  501. Radiant Sophia
    Radiant Sophia April 13, 2012 at 2:49 am |

    @ jennygadget
    No need to apologize.
    Clueless is not inaccurate.

  502. outrageandsprinkles
    outrageandsprinkles April 13, 2012 at 4:35 am |

    I have two things I want to say before this glorious thread dies down completely;

    1. Any time a thread gets big like this and more and more commenters get shut down, at least one will inevitably say it’s an echo chamber or a hive mind or some other such nonsense. To those people, I ask you, if this were an echo chamber, how would this thread have exceeded 500 comments? Were multitudes of dissenting opinions not only allowed through but allowed repeatedly? Sure, people were mocked, but what do you expect when someone refuses to read the post, or the comments, or stay on topic? This is not an echo chamber. Contrary opinions are frequently allowed and the commenters are free to respond to those however they wish. Do you know what it takes to get banned here? Not disagreeing, not disagreeing multiple times, not being a general ass. You have to piss people off long and hard and be astoundingly obtuse in order to get banned here. Trust me, if you think Feministe is an echo chamber, you are doing something very wrong.

    2. Are some of you actually surprised that by coming into a feminist website and telling women that we don’t know enough about our own experiences, or we aren’t allowed to claim ownership over our discussions or spaces, you are going to get fiercely shut down? I don’t know much about model planes. I’ve never built a model, I don’t particularly want to as I don’t have the attention span for it. I’m just not interested. I don’t go into forums that are written by, and for, model plane enthusiasts, and tell them how I think model planes are stupid and we should really talk about flying kites instead and hey what are you all being so rude for? Why aren’t you allowing contrary opinions? I know this blog is called Model Planes R Us but I don’t really like model planes or want to listen to what you have to say about model planes and I don’t understand why you are getting so MAD.

  503. EG
    EG April 13, 2012 at 8:46 am |

    I was going to write a big long post about how you’re basically all wrong….But I decided not to.

    Alas. I’m sure that your comment would have been a masterpiece of logical argumentation before which we all would have had to kneel. I weep for the lost brilliance.

    It really is hard for you to accept that your thoughts aren’t that important, isn’t it?

  504. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve April 13, 2012 at 9:00 am |

    Trying my best to follow the numerous comments here…one thing that keeps coming up has me perplexed. Who/what is MRAL?

  505. Sauron's Contact Lens
    Sauron's Contact Lens April 13, 2012 at 9:22 am |

    No, because like I said, I didn’t post them.

    Pawned.

  506. charlie
    charlie April 13, 2012 at 9:23 am |

    1) If the problem is that guys make it about body types when it’s really should be about women’s minds and ideas, then why did the author say comments approving certain body types that challenge the paradigm forced down our throats by the media are not welcome in discussions discussing women’s bodies. Again, we didn’t make it a discussion of women’s body types, you did. You want to discuss why it’s fucked up that we even have to discuss women’s body types when we should be discussing their minds? Great, let’s do it, because I’m right there with you.

    But, as someone who likes women, I have two goals, to remind them that I do care about their ideas and minds and to remind them that there’s at least one of us out there who appreciates a ton of body types besides those in beer commercials. So, with respect to the latter, please don’t carve up your face, stick bags under your boobs, or starve yourself. You don’t need to fix or apologize for your body. Both need to be said, so don’t jump down my throat when it seems like you’re talking about one but, deep down, really want to be talking about the other.

    You don’t want us guys making this thread all about us? Great, neither do I. Own your freaking words.

    2) You want the right answer? Then ask the right question. In the very first comment of this thread, someone linked a comic where a woman asks why men judge her for her small breasts. The inclusion of “small” means everything there and now the guy is screwed. No-win. She said small, so maybe she’s feeling self conscious about the size of her breasts having seen her one millionth beer commercial parade of D-cups. After all, we all have moments of self-doubt. Are we smart enough, strong enough, and yes, beautiful/handsome enough? She’s making the guy guess which one it is. So, if the guy goes with “they should value your mind” then maybe she’ll think he’s changing the subject because, he too, thinks her breast are unappealing. Lose. Of course, as has been so eloquently stated here, if he reassures her that he loves her breasts just the way they are, he’s a misogynist prick who doesn’t give two shits about what she has to say. Lose again.

    3) Given the above, maybe you shouldn’t pretend that it’s so obvious, any guy with half a brain should know how to handle the situation. That, if your goal here is to do more than just bitch about what assholes guys are. If you goal is to actually get guys to see things more your way, perhaps you shouldn’t shout down each and every one of them who wades into this discussion and illustrates that it’s not as cut and dry as you’re making it seem.

  507. Crys T
    Crys T April 13, 2012 at 9:35 am |

    I think he means “pwned.”

  508. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune April 13, 2012 at 9:51 am |

    @ Crys T,

    No, he pawned the post, didn’t you hear the man? Be nice, he seems to be hard up if he’s pawning the only original thought he claimed to have.

  509. EG
    EG April 13, 2012 at 10:20 am |

    No, because like I said, I didn’t post them.

    No, you engaged in an amateurish version of a rhetorical technique called “praeteritio” in Ancient Rome and “occupatio” in the Middle Ages. I prefer the term “praeteritio,” which means, more or less, “I will pass over,” and it refers to the practice of talking about something by claiming that you will not talk about it, as when Cicero, in one of his many orations against Catiline and his conspiracy, said that he would not even discuss the foul way in which Cicero seduced the youth of the citizenry with disgusting practices.

    Cicero was both better at it and more amusing than you. Go away and practice. If you get good enough, you might be able to get your thoughts, such as they are, back from the pawn shop.

  510. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig April 13, 2012 at 10:40 am |

    I’d just like to add that I doubt SCL is an English major. I knew that Lord of the Rings was a trilogy (quadrology, if you count the Hobbit) long before I went to college. And I hope that 16 year old he’s dating dumps him soon.

  511. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays April 13, 2012 at 11:14 am |

    One behalf of everyone at manboobz who drove MRAL off – we’re sorry that he’s now inflicting himself upon you instead. And he’s not even making himself into an entertaining chew toy this time.

    Where did all the rest of the trolls come from? Between the guy who’s abandoning feminism because everyone wasn’t nice enough to him and the guy who doesn’t understand how feminist conversations about body image and sexism is not the same thing as his wife fishing for reassurance about her sex appeal it seems like this post yielded a bumper crop of stupidity.

  512. charlie
    charlie April 13, 2012 at 12:22 pm |

    Cassandra, while we’re handing out stupid awards, let’s not leave anyone out.

    How ’bout one for all here who insured that this article would be nothing more than pissing in the wind by acting like a bunch of a-holes, whom some of us, now, couldn’t give a fuck about.

    How ’bout one for everyone who fails to see the difference between being annoyed that every point brought up to the contrary of the article is met with a barrage of personal attacks and vitriol and “wanting our hand held”.

    There’s more, but I’m doubting you give a shit any more than I do.

  513. librarygoose
    librarygoose April 13, 2012 at 12:43 pm |

    while we’re handing out stupid awards

    I thought someone already mentioned there are no cookies for being a dumbass? Maybe it was about intent? Hmmm…I’ll go look.

  514. Donna L
    Donna L April 13, 2012 at 12:59 pm |

    No, you engaged in an amateurish version of a rhetorical technique called “praeteritio” in Ancient Rome and “occupatio” in the Middle Ages.

    Fascinating. I’m familiar with that rhetorical device, because I use it myself sometimes, even professionally, but I’ve always heard it referred to by the Greek term paraleipsis — sometimes with the very same Ciceronian example.

  515. LotusBecca
    LotusBecca April 13, 2012 at 1:01 pm |

    charlie, are you the person who used to capitalize his name in this thread before the evil feminazis apparently castrated him and reduced him to lower case status? Is so, what are you doing there? I thought you had flounced from feminism.

  516. Combray
    Combray April 13, 2012 at 1:06 pm |

    #528:

    How ’bout one for everyone who fails to see the difference between being annoyed that every point brought up to the contrary of the article is met with a barrage of personal attacks and vitriol and “wanting our hand held”.

    This was addressed by jennygadget (#439):

    One cannot have a “genuine, contrary opinion” to another person saying “stop doing that to me.”

    And you say you don’t give a shit, but you’re still here whining. It’s pretty obvious that you engage in the behaviour detailed in the article, but you can’t handle people pointing out that it’s offensive, because you don’t want to stop doing it. In other words, you want to be able to objectify women, but you don’t want women to think you’re creepy when you do. That’s not likely to happen.

  517. Combray
    Combray April 13, 2012 at 1:09 pm |

    Aw, crud. My comments were directed at charlie, whose post I thought was at #528.

  518. LC
    LC April 13, 2012 at 1:17 pm |

    DonnaL, I think I learned both terms (although I had never heard “occupatio” as forms of apophasis. (I’m kind of amazed I remember that.)

    A quick search seems to indicate either they are all referring to the same thing or there were some very subtle differences once upon a time which have mostly been lost.

  519. Sauron's Contact Lens
    Sauron's Contact Lens April 13, 2012 at 1:17 pm |

    Um, I’m not dating anyone atm, although I think there might be someone who like likes me. I’ll report back.

    Also, thanx for the Greek history lesson. I must confess, I don’t know anything about that stuff. I modeled my post off the short story “The Devil is a Busy Man”.

    Also also, Lord of the Rings was one book published in three volumes because it was too big. The more you know (from Wikipedia).

  520. Nick Nergüi
    Nick Nergüi April 13, 2012 at 1:19 pm |

    In the very first comment of this thread, someone linked a comic where a woman asks why men judge her for her small breasts.

    I’m sorry for contributing to this derail, but holy smokes, READ THE COMIC. ACTUALLY READ IT. Do you see the part where it says “DESIRED RESPONSE”? What do you think that could mean? I’ll give you three guesses because I really want you to get it right. There’s actually a third panel as well, that says above it: “TYPICAL RESPONSE”. Could that mean that the “TYPICAL RESPONSE” is not the “DESIRED RESPONSE”? Maybe we’ll just never know because all we can possibly do without having someone explain EVERYTHING to us is guess.

  521. Mxe354
    Mxe354 April 13, 2012 at 1:23 pm |

    @LotusBecca

    charlie, are you the person who used to capitalize his name in this thread before the evil feminazis apparently castrated him and reduced him to lower case status?

    ROFL this is gold

    @Charlie

    How ’bout one for everyone who fails to see the difference between being annoyed that every point brought up to the contrary of the article is met with a barrage of personal attacks and vitriol and “wanting our hand held”.

    I’m sorry sir. There are no contrary points being brought up; they are all red herrings and arise from a severe lack of reading comprehension. And the angry reactions are directed at the people who regurgitate the same red herrings ad nauseum and ignore the actual point of the goddamn article.

  522. roymacIII
    roymacIII April 13, 2012 at 1:30 pm |

    1) If the problem is that guys make it about body types when it’s really should be about women’s minds and ideas, then why did the author say comments approving certain body types that challenge the paradigm forced down our throats by the media are not welcome in discussions discussing women’s bodies.

    Because the point is that making comments about why you approve of X body type doesn’t actually help the situation? In a thread about how women’s body’s are objectified or how the media promotes certain body types over others, the proper response isn’t “But I like Y.” That any particular guy likes Y isn’t the point, and, in fact, misses the point.

    If someone tells you they think they didn’t get hired because of their weight or that they were discriminated against because they have large/small breasts, etc, the proper response isn’t to say “but fat/thin women are hot!” or “I prefer small/large breasts.”

    When you do that, you’re not helping, you’re just engaging in the same behavior that was being criticized. That you happen to come to the opposite conclusion is irrelevent, you’re still engaging in exactly the same behavior that they’re upset about.

  523. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays April 13, 2012 at 1:50 pm |

    How does one insure an article (blog post), exactly?

    Also, if someone being (what you see as) mean to you results in you not caring about a cause, you never cared about that cause in the first place.

  524. LotusBecca
    LotusBecca April 13, 2012 at 2:21 pm |

    Goddamn it Charlie. You really are an insufferably condescending asshole.

  525. shfree
    shfree April 13, 2012 at 2:43 pm |

    You know, it is all very, very simple, and I can’t understand why you, charlie and others of your ilk, just don’t get it. Women who want to know what others think about their boobs, ASK THEM. If I wanted to know what the world at large thought about my body I would walk around with a sandwich board with “Tell me what you think of my body” written on it. But I don’t, because I don’t care what the world at large thinks of my body, I don’t want to know what the world thinks of my body, nor do I want to have my worth assessed by the attractiveness of my body.

    For fuck’s sake, it isn’t rocket science.

  526. Lovely Links: 4/13/12
    Lovely Links: 4/13/12 April 13, 2012 at 3:15 pm |

    [...] “‘Don’t worry, insecure girl, there are people out there who think you’re hot’ isn’…, and thinking it’s a necessary contribution to a thread about female objectification and body image demonstrates a lack of understanding of the subject.” [...]

  527. EG
    EG April 13, 2012 at 4:25 pm |

    Also, thanx for the Greek history lesson.

    Roman. You can tell because of the way I said “Ancient Rome.” Reading comprehension is not your forte, is it?

    I must confess, I don’t know anything about that stuff.

    As with so many other things.

  528. Sauron's Contact Lens
    Sauron's Contact Lens April 13, 2012 at 4:55 pm |

    Yeah, you got me. I really don’t read your posts very carefully.

  529. Donna L
    Donna L April 13, 2012 at 4:56 pm |

    Roman. You can tell because of the way I said “Ancient Rome.” Reading comprehension is not your forte, is it?

    Do you ever wish you could say things like that to any of your students? (Not that I’d ever wish a student like Sauron’s Contact Lens on you. Heaven forfend! )

  530. Matt
    Matt April 13, 2012 at 6:44 pm |

    Do you ever wish you could say things like that to any of your students? (Not that I’d ever wish a student like Sauron’s Contact Lens on you. Heaven forfend! )

    You can’t? I’ve had teachers say a lot worse to people in classes I’ve been in.

  531. librarygoose
    librarygoose April 13, 2012 at 6:53 pm |

    I had one professor who made some guy stand in front of the class as she explained the difference between “whales” and “Wales” and she left me a note that excused my lapse in using the wrong “your” (I meant you’re) because it was the at the very end of a timed exam.

  532. EG
    EG April 13, 2012 at 6:54 pm |

    Well, I try not to, because there’s a power differential in the classroom that does not exist, thank goodness, on Feministe. But I won’t say I’m not tempted. There was, for instance, the time last semester when a student emailed me to say that the reason I had given his paper a D was that I just hadn’t understood it and his sophisticated writing style, but next time he would, and I quote, “dumb it down” for me.

    What I wanted to say: “Look, kid, I am a professional reader. I have been a professional reader for 11 years. If I didn’t understand your paper, the problem is not with my reading. So go fuck yourself.”

    However, I took a deep breath, waited 24 hours, considered what kind of response would elicit the best possible work from the student, and wrote: “X, I understand your desire to leave your topic vague so as to allow your readers to draw their own conclusions, but the genre conventions of scholarly essays demand specificity and clarity, as I emphasize in class. Similarly, your skill in landscape description would not be appropriate to use when writing a witty script for a play. In this class, you are writing the genre of scholarly essay, and in order to create a good example of this genre, you must be able to work with its rules and conventions.”

    This actually worked.

    To the surprise of absolutely nobody, I’m sure, my associate chair told me male students routinely say things like this to young female professors, but almost never to male professors.

  533. EG
    EG April 13, 2012 at 6:57 pm |

    Longer comment in moderation. Shorter version: yes, I do wish I could say things like that, but I try usually to respond in a way that I think will be helpful to the student.

    SCL is a treat though: “I haven’t read the comments! I don’t read your comments! What I would’ve said is so smart and important, it would’ve totally destroyed your points, which I can’t really read well, but I decided not to, so nanny nanny boo boo!”

    I have definitely had students like that, who interrupt without even raising their hands and say things like “Well, I haven’t read the book, but it sounds like what’s going on is blah blah blah…” and then seem surprised and personally offended when I curtly tell them that blah blah blah is not at all what’s going on.

  534. Brandon
    Brandon April 13, 2012 at 7:15 pm |

    @RJK: Yes, my feelings are my own responsibility and not yours or anyone elses. People have the right to say whatever they want (in whatever context they want as well). Instead of making a blanket statement that ‘XYZ” is inappropriate in X context. One should express themselves and state they are uncomfortable talking about the subject when it comes up. If the person is respectful, then they will respect that boundary and not mention it. But to create a “rule” about this is pointless because most people won’t follow it.

    @Politicalguineapig: There is a difference between your right elbow and two guys talking about what characteristics they like in women. The former is assault, the later is annoying to entertaining (depending on the person).

    If you want to avoid men, go right ahead. But I think it is pretty foolish to demand that men change their behavior because it upsets you. Sorry, the world doesn’t work that way. Everyone overhears and participates in conversations that they think are stupid, pointless or counterproductive in their eyes. I overhear conversations by women about what I think are the most vapid topics (shoes, every vampire tv show/movie, etc…). I don’t go around demanding women to stop talking about that stuff in front of men. Sure, I wouldn’t actively participate in those conversations, but I think it would be rather arrogant to say “you need to stop talking about this since it isn’t in my approved context”.

    I don’t want or need to hear vapid conversations about what shoes are better, sexier, etc… But I don’t go around telling those people to shut up because you don’t want to hear it.

    @Kristen J: Really? So if I say I find petite hispanic women with C cups attractive…does that harm you? Do those words come out of my mouth and try and stab you? I think not! If someone stating their sexual preferences causes you actual harm, maybe you should work on yourself before you demand others to comply with your wishes.

    @Lauralot: Yes it was fun trying to say offensive things to you guys. But everything ends at some point.

    @Tulgey Logger: Ya, I won’t deny I was being trollish. I used Futrelle as inspiration and I tried to “out-troll” the troll of feminism.

    I don’t really see men jumping on the “feminism train”.

    @pecunium: Hey old friend! It’s called saying crazy and wacky shit to see what your reactions would be. It was pretty entertaining.

    I would come back to say Hi…but I guess my trolling really did go to far. Oh well.

    @Hellkell: I really isn’t that hard to get banned from Manboobz. All you have to to is not agree wholeheartedly with feminist dogma about rape. I made a poor, off color troll joke about it…and voila!

  535. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig April 13, 2012 at 7:34 pm |

    SCL: Still a trilogy. And I hope she runs away screaming.

    I’m really glad that white American men are no longer attracted to American women. If they’re all like the hairy man-children of Reddit and Manboobz, good riddance.

  536. QLH
    QLH April 13, 2012 at 9:54 pm |

    Who/what is MRAL?

    Sauron’s Contact Lens (SCL), judging from earlier comments.

  537. Jadey
    Jadey April 13, 2012 at 10:25 pm |

    Do you ever wish you could say things like that to any of your students?

    Oh, don’t tempt me – I’m grading. And keeping myself calm by reminding myself it could be worse. (And if gets worse, it’s fucking hilarious.)

  538. DonnaL
    DonnaL April 13, 2012 at 10:26 pm |

    You have an admirable degree of patience, EG!

    From politicalguineapig:

    white American men are no longer attracted to American women.

    What? Where does that come from?

  539. DonnaL
    DonnaL April 13, 2012 at 10:30 pm |

    Jadey, most of those can’t possibly be real, right? right?

    If they are, there’s no hope.

  540. Mr. Kristen J.
    Mr. Kristen J. April 14, 2012 at 12:05 am |

    To the surprise of absolutely nobody, I’m sure, my associate chair told me male students routinely say things like this to young female professors, but almost never to male professors.

    I was thinking the same thing as I was reading your comment. I’ve never had a student disagree in that fashion. Thinking back now I don’t believe I had many students that challenged my arguments personally and directly. For the most part any arguments took the form of a question. As in, “But what about ___” or “But didn’t ___ say ___.” I never considered that there was a gendered component. Thank you for pointing that out.

    Oh, don’t tempt me – I’m grading.

    My condolences. This is my first year not teaching and grading is one of the things I do not miss about academia.

  541. cherrybomb
    cherrybomb April 14, 2012 at 3:56 am |

    I work in a lingerie store and have seen, and discussed, more breasts than I can count. Of all the breast-related issues I talked about with customers (and those conversations have covered nearly every conceivable breast-related issue), my personal opinion/preference of any customer’s breasts never came up, nor did my over-all assessment of any customer’s overall bang-ability.

    I get the feeling some of the commenters here would think I was dis-servicing my customers by not assuring them that, in spite of their concerns or frustrations over their bodies, I would totally hit that. Because knowing that they’re still bang-able puts to rest all their other issues, like not having a properly fitting bra. Or maybe brandon, gullvyuhr, scl, & co. might that a fitting room is a completely inappropriate setting for someone (such as a sales woman) to try to “cheer up” women (customers) by assessing their hotness? Just like it’d be inappropriate for their tailor to comment on their, uh, inseam length.

    Time & a place for everything, right? Including our opinions on someone else’s body. (Or not, according to some of these guys)

  542. Michael
    Michael April 14, 2012 at 6:16 am |

    Cis male just wanting to show appreciation for this post and for the many insightful comments. Though I consider myself a feminist, I have to admit that there have been times I’ve interpreted my female friends’ body-image issues as a request for validation of their personal attractiveness. Sometimes that does seem to be what they want. But it chiefly serves to validate patriarchal assumptions about the value of women. I’m chagrined to realize how out of touch I’ve been in this area, thanks for setting me straight!

  543. EG
    EG April 14, 2012 at 7:41 am |

    I think that gendered–and I assume racial as well–differences in teaching experiences are what’s missing from a lot of how we are taught to teach as graduate students. My pedagogy seminar was run by a tall WASP man, who presented us with a lot of readings about the student-centered classroom and how to empty oneself of authority in order to subvert the hierarchy etc., without once, I think, considering that the issues in teaching for a group of young women, mostly ethnic, some of working-class background, are wildly different. Students did not automatically defer to us, and did not automatically respect us, did not accept our expertise, and we did not need to empty ourselves of authority but to learn how to use the student-teacher hierarchy to give ourselves the kind of authority that our professor could take for granted would remain even if he tried to create a student-centered classroom.

    A friend of mine, who is not white, was teaching a class in her specialty, which is a very canonical specialty (I’m deliberately keeping this vague), and had a student tell her that she must be wrong, because the student’s community-college professor had said something different, and he was an expert. Of course, my friend is an expert on this material, but she doesn’t look like this student’s idea of an expert, so her easily-found publication record and her status as a professor couldn’t possibly mean anything. My friend responded with a degree of kindness and patience that I don’t think I would be capable of.

  544. Julia
    Julia April 14, 2012 at 7:45 am |

    So, I haven’t really understood the OP or read any of the comments, but…. what about X?

  545. debbie
    debbie April 14, 2012 at 8:48 am |

    I think the most depressing teaching moment I experienced was when a bunch of women’s studies saw me (a white MA student, teaching assistant) as having more expertise as a professor, who was a woman of colour, because I looked more like an academic to them. The dynamic was very obvious to both of us, and we were able to talk about it afterward, but it was awful.

    I see this dynamic operating in law school, in terms of students challenging women professors in ways that feel more personal. I’ve also seen and heard of this happening to judges who are women (most famously, a really nasty article written about Justice L’Heureux Dubé of Canada’s Supreme Court).

    It’s awful when this happens, even more so when it goes totally unrecognized by one’s peers.

  546. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve April 14, 2012 at 10:56 am |

    I think the most depressing teaching moment I experienced was when a bunch of women’s studies saw me (a white MA student, teaching assistant) as having more expertise as a professor, who was a woman of colour, because I looked more like an academic to them. The dynamic was very obvious to both of us, and we were able to talk about it afterward, but it was awful.

    They really thought you had more expertise as a professor who was a woman of color? Was the other woman white too? This seems bizarre.

  547. DonnaL
    DonnaL April 14, 2012 at 11:33 am |

    They really thought you had more expertise as a professor who was a woman of color? Was the other woman white too? This seems bizarre.

    If you read what debbie said again, it’s clear from context that what she meant was that they thought she had more expertise THAN a professor who was a woman of color.

  548. Padraigh
    Padraigh April 14, 2012 at 11:34 am |

    Man you opened a major can o’ worms here.

    First, I think it is natural that men “objectify” women. That doesn’t make it good OR bad, but that is how most men are.

    What is BAD is that this objectification affects more than just the mate selection process. It is NOT fair, as you state, that for example how a woman looks affects her career or her ability to get onto an airplane. In fact, forget fair, it is plain stupid in this day and age that a business would hire anyone for any other reason than his/her ability to do the job considering how many fidiots there are out there.

    So when it comes to dating, let people be as they are. In the end you have to be attracted to who you are with or it’s just pointless. Women have selection criteria that are just as shallow, though different, as what men have.

    But, when it comes to job, school, soccer team, or anything else it is not smart to be figuring the cleavage or booty into the equation.

    And yes, I like big butts (and I cannot lie). That is not to make anyone feel better, it is just the plain truth of it. Would I hire a narrow-ass woman ? Depends on if she can handle the job. In fact generally speaking I would say that I’ve made up my mind long before I’ve met someone in person whether they are a real candidate or not. The meeting, for me, is only to make sure the person can communicate well and does not have any obvious issues that would get in the way of working on a team.

  549. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve April 14, 2012 at 11:41 am |

    If you read what debbie said again, it’s clear from context that what she meant was that they thought she had more expertise THAN a professor who was a woman of color.

    Oh, duh! Sorry…Saturday morning hazy dumbassery on my part. Caperton, feel free to remove that comment, esp. as there are enough dumbass ones here already.

  550. the not so-validating male gaze? « Feminist Phys Ed

    [...] read this feministe blog post, as the style/body-image blog Already Pretty linked to it, and this quotation rang in very true for [...]

  551. Mr. Kristen J.
    Mr. Kristen J. April 14, 2012 at 3:41 pm |

    I think that gendered–and I assume racial as well–differences in teaching experiences are what’s missing from a lot of how we are taught to teach as graduate students. My pedagogy seminar was run by a tall WASP man, who presented us with a lot of readings about the student-centered classroom and how to empty oneself of authority in order to subvert the hierarchy etc., without once, I think, considering that the issues in teaching for a group of young women, mostly ethnic, some of working-class background, are wildly different.

    My program was less interested in effective teaching and more interested in effective publishing. I found our education segment as a waste of time at best. It would have been useful to have the thoughtful discussion you suggest of the power dynamics involved. I’ve certainly had students call into question my objectivity because of my race, but even then it was not done so rudely.

    Perhaps the area of study impacts the analysis as well? I often saw students who were intimidated by the subject matter. I typically spent the first few classes setting up the guided group dialectic that I prefered so that students would even voice an opinion.

  552. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig April 14, 2012 at 4:09 pm |

    DonnaL: Well, first of all, most young white men start from a worldview that’s pretty close to the average MRA. MRAs *hate* American women, and strongly advocate that men, if they feel the need to marry, marry women from countries with no tradition of feminism. Thus, my conclusion is that most men agree with the MRA movement, and most men have very little interest in American women- or at least American women who haven’t gotten the message that God only loves them if they’re doormats.

  553. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays April 14, 2012 at 6:48 pm |

    Does Feministe actually bad people? Because if so, please note that the last comment you saw from Brandon is a perfect example of how he will continue to engage as time goes on. This is his schtick, going around trying to annoy feminists and then patting himself on the back for it. He’s not nearly as offensive as a lot of sexist trolls, but he’s by far the most tedious and mind-numbingly boring one I’ve ever encountered.

    The side conversation about teaching is interesting. For those of you who teach, have you found that the tendency for students to challenge your authority in that specific way decreases as you get older? Is it specific to young female professors, or do even female professors who’re middle aged deal with the same thing?

  554. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve April 14, 2012 at 7:54 pm |

    First, I think it is natural that men “objectify” women. That doesn’t make it good OR bad, but that is how most men are.

    What is BAD is that this objectification affects more than just the mate selection process. It is NOT fair, as you state, that for example how a woman looks affects her career or her ability to get onto an airplane. In fact, forget fair, it is plain stupid in this day and age that a business would hire anyone for any other reason than his/her ability to do the job considering how many fidiots there are out there.

    So when it comes to dating, let people be as they are. In the end you have to be attracted to who you are with or it’s just pointless. Women have selection criteria that are just as shallow, though different, as what men have.

    But, when it comes to job, school, soccer team, or anything else it is not smart to be figuring the cleavage or booty into the equation.

    And yes, I like big butts (and I cannot lie). That is not to make anyone feel better, it is just the plain truth of it. Would I hire a narrow-ass woman ? Depends on if she can handle the job. In fact generally speaking I would say that I’ve made up my mind long before I’ve met someone in person whether they are a real candidate or not. The meeting, for me, is only to make sure the person can communicate well and does not have any obvious issues that would get in the way of working on a team.

    @Padraigh

    Which article did you read????

  555. cherrybomb
    cherrybomb April 14, 2012 at