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Objectification of women...

Women Objectification Culture

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#21 sierraleone

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Posted 23 July 2003 - 06:27 AM

schoolpsycho, on Jul 22 2003, 10:41 AM, said:

***My question is a social one. WHY are women seemingly more prone to seek this kind of attention?***

To be accepted. To be "in". And, there's always that part of us that wants to fit in, to please, and to be wanted, and appreciated.

sp
Men are as prone to doing things to be "in" as women. Their "in" just happens to be more related to looking "cool" than looking "sexy". "Cool" or "rugged" or "professional" is sexy in men in the eyes of the media. Sexy for women is limited to skin tight revealing clothes :p Though "attractiveness" is more broad in the Media, for men and women. Even then, its still usually form fitting clothes.

If I ever do something to be "in", I usually feel not only debased (especially if its current fashion :p ) I feel like I am just following a fad, something inherently here today and gone tomarrow, and not being true to myself, which is always :)
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#22 Rhea

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Posted 23 July 2003 - 06:35 AM

Quote

My concern is women's contribution to this.

Its one thing to say that there is a double standard.  But the double standard exists because people allow it to.  Women buy the clothes they wear, and wear them.  Men COULD wear different clothes - but they don't.  Nor do they design them for themselves.  They show up naked less often in magazines.  This is not a double standard - this is human behavior.  What's the cause?
Hmmm..let me try this from another viewpoint. I think it's some kind of herd instinct at work. No, seriously. :p

Humans are very social animals, and the desire to fit in has probably been there since the first cave men (and women) wore skins.

There's always some form of fashion to which the thundering herd conforms.

How about those sexy empire dresses worn in Napoleon's court (with very little underneath). They used to wet them to make them look more sexy.  :eek:

Why the hell would any woman in her right mind wear bustles or corsets? Corsets are unhealthy physically, and we won't even go into the psychological ramification of the bustle.  :eek2:  Go take a gander at a Godey's Lady's Book from, say, 1850.

http://www.costumes....odeart1900b.jpg

Or these (and I can tell from from seeing the real thing that you can't take a decent step in one):

http://www.costumes....delineator2.jpg

Women were so prone to rip hobble skirts that they took to binding their legs together with cord so as not to take steps so big that they might rip their outfits!   :suspect:  :wacko:

Women are, for some reason, much more slavish about fashion than men. Doesn't matter what kind. If you pick up a LIFE magazine from the 30's or 40's you see what was "in" when my mother was a young woman.

What I'm trying to say is that fasihion stupidity knows no bounds. Women always wear whatever they think is "in" at the moment. Some give thought to modesty, many others could care less.

<shrug> I don't think objectification has a thing to do with it for most women. It's not necessarily how men look at them, it's how they stack up compared to whatever's fasionable at them moment.

Men are also slaves to fashion - luckily, fashions for men are more practical than those for women.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't believe for a minute most women think twice about objectification (assuming they know the term and understand it :p).

Edited by Rhea, 23 July 2003 - 06:37 AM.

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#23 sierraleone

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Posted 23 July 2003 - 06:45 AM

Rhea, on Jul 22 2003, 11:28 AM, said:

Men are also slaves to fashion - luckily, fashions for men are more practical than those for women.
Yes, I wonder why is that? The only "unpractical" clothes I have seen for men is things from the 16th or 17th century IIRC. and I think they used to wear highheels at some point too. Is it men won't stand for it, or gets in the way too much when working (like dresses and highheels are productive to any kind of work :p :D ), or something else?  :suspect:
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Rule#6: Remember the future.
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#24 the 'Hawk

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Posted 23 July 2003 - 08:05 AM

Quick anecdote.

The other night, went out to a bar with some folks-- two other guys and a woman. The woman is, admittedly, attractive. But all three of them are happily married with kids. We just had nothing better to do on a Saturday night than go out and boogie. (For the record, when I have a groove thing in need of shaking, there is no alternative.) :cool:

Anyway. The bar we went to was literally so caked with women that it was impossible to do anything but study their dress. As many of you surely know, I am a longtime admirer of the CSI/Sherlock Holmes method of using critical thinking of inductive reasoning about presented situations, usually pertaining to a specific person.

There were these certain women at this bar who were paid to (I am not even making this up) wear t-shirts about eight sizes too small that revealed their twenty-inch waists and forty-inch hips in all their unnatural glory. My first impulse, of course, was to ask each of them out to dinner. It appeared as though they hadn't eaten in several months. But I resisted my sardonic side and just shook my head.

By good fortune, I am fully capable of being in the most provocative situations while having absolutely no sexual reaction. In stark contrast to this, sitting across from any female and arguing Nietzsche or Shakespeare or Rousseau, or something equally higher-reasoning, is a *total* turn-on. It only works in person, however. I had a similar argument in a class yesterday with a lovely young woman.

Fortunate, indeed, as well, that she had a boyfriend, else I would've lost. ;) I can disengage my sex drive at will through what I call my "override". Whenever my personal feelings about someone reach the point of interfering with any other function of mine, in this case due to my personal belief in the dignity and sovereignty of other peoples' social contracts of a romantic nature, I can simply ignore it. Not many people can do this, and since I've made a point of never allowing my personal feelings to interfere with a perfectly good thought-experiment, not to mention that my sexual feelings are completely irrelevant 95% of the time, they rarely ever take precedence over anything. Ever. I digress, however.

Anyway. In this situation, I was rather starkly contrasted by the two (married) fellows I had come with. While I sat with my female companion without a word said between us, occasionally broken by a good song that made dancing a requirement of the situation, the two other guys were, for lack of a better term, rubbernecking it up at the bar.

What I found most fascinating wasn't so much a "how can they do that to themselves?" argument-- such an argument is moralistic and usually nebulous on my part, since not only have I never been a woman, I've never been an attractive woman pressured by society etc. to look the part. So while I can judge and re-judge all I want, the entire concept of appropriate attire for females is ultra my vires.

What I could judge, however, was not right but cost. Each of the outfits I saw one of these women sporting (save those who were on the job, since I presume the t-shirts would have been free of charge) were the same (for the most part) that I noted on the racks at various too-expensive stores into which I have accompanied various female companions of mine (somehow, they *all* have boyfriends, fiances and husbands-- do I mention this intentionally to simply avoid having to deal with the fact that they're also attractive women who I also don't objectify and respect greatly for who they are, or do I mention this because of the fact that the reason they respect me is because 'you're nothing like my boyfriend, he watches porn all day' and other such rationale? --a thought experiment for later). And somehow said outfits --at least the parts I could readily identify without blushing, like "pants" and "shirt", often cost well over $75 US (at the bare minimum, shoes and makeup and booze extra). I couldn't see the appeal, partly because I'm a cheap bastard, and partly because most of them really didn't look so hot anyway. If anything, I found it harder to accept that they would be willing to go to such extraordinary lengths just to make themselves uncomfortable. It doesn't follow.

By contrast, I went to Target on Sunday and bought a shirt and top, and wore that out, and my whole outfit (I'm even including the shoes) cost $50 US. I thought I looked rather smashing in it as well. I maintain high standards of physical appearance: while I've accepted that I'm not physically attractive, and that everyone apparently finds a boyfriend other than me, fictitious or otherwise, to keep me from being like those other guys-- like I'd suddenly turn into some non-gentlemanly, dishonourable defiler of maidens just because I came across a single girl-- I also accept that it doesn't hurt to look professional, dignified and decent in personal hygiene and dress. Sure, I don't drink and don't wear makeup, nor is it expected. But I figure it can't hurt to look nice.

The contrast here, however, is that I don't understand *why* a woman would go to such lengths to be uncomfortable. Why spend $45 on a pair of pants that don't fit right and ride up your crotch, when you could buy a pair of cargo pants for $20 at the discount place? Furthermore, why introduce yourself to a situation in which you're not only going to be ogled by drunken males, but do so in an outfit that would be so "flattering" (loose and pejorative use of term indicated by quotes there) that further magnifies your footprint? I can't get my head around it. To me, the basic requirements of personal dignity prevent me from being anyone else's source of amusement, *especially* on a sexual level. Nor do I equate "sex" with "entertainment" --to me, there are more important things than being turned on. So perhaps I'm ill-equipped (no pun intended) to comment on this whole subject. All I can tell you is that what I observed in the bar in question had me both wondering what I was missing, and shaking my head.

I'm using this as a less extreme example than Playboy or prostitution or some of the other points QT raised in her initial post simply because apparently what I saw on Saturday night is not only encouraged and expected of women, but the attainment of it is no less comfortable than the absence thereof. I don't understand precisely what about this whole "bar scene" is so appealing. But then, nobody was checking out my ass or my chest. (At least, I don't think they were. We left at midnight so I missed the wet t-shirt and bikini competition. Otherwise I would've commented on those aspects of this discussion as well. Not to mention that I didn't exactly get picked up.)

It intrigues me that this thread so directly anticipated my need to rant about this to someone. Thanks, your majesty! ;)

I invite comment, of course, as always. Because I'm totally puzzled.

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#25 QueenTiye

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Posted 23 July 2003 - 08:36 AM

I want to comment at length on your post 'Hawk... but for now, may I ask about one part?  You said that the women were PAID to wear these ridiculous clothes?  How did you come to know that?  And - are you absolutely certain that was the extent of their job responsibilities? :suspect:

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#26 the 'Hawk

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Posted 23 July 2003 - 08:54 AM

Yeah. It was Beer X night. Three of the female bartenders all had these tops on as a promotion for Beer X, which I refuse to name on the grounds that I don't want to advertise indirectly. You know you want a Beer X. So go up to the silly girl with the tiny shirt and ask for one. That was the point. But they clearly weren't from the local bar (they kept getting lost if asked for anything but Beer X, for instance, leaving the non-dressed, well-fed other female bartenders to retrieve it, etc). Which didn't help their total absence of things I would find attractive --competence at one's job is important to me, what can I say.

Sorry, I didn't make that clear. (I didn't make it clear, so I edited for clarity.)

:cool:

Edited by the 'Hawk, 23 July 2003 - 09:08 AM.

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#27 Ilphi

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Posted 23 July 2003 - 08:56 AM

I can’t delve into the Woman psychology aspect because, surprisingly, I am not a woman. However, perhaps (and I add this with the greatest intent not to sound sexist) part of a woman’s background desire is to be simply wanted? In a stable relationship such as a productive marriage, this want on behalf of the gentleman involved is surely clear. In our crazy modern-hectic world, perhaps a more obvious want is desired? This statement is said by a male, so I don’t actually know what I’m talking about. To our side of the sex barrier, the mind of a women will forever remain a state secret on par with nuclear launch codes.

The media tells most of us what is attractive. Look at the old Kings of Europe, at the time the media (paintings and so forth) told Women that attractiveness in a King came from trying to achieve a “rounded” appearance. Check out the portraits of Henry VIII, well known in England for having 9 wives, and you will see that his image is that of an extremely rounded and portly man which at the time was told to be attractive. Today; not so much. How will the media change in the next 50 years?

Getting from Woman psychology, I can at least talk about my psychology. My first instinct when I see most girls in their provocative outfits tends to be roll eyes mode. Quite a lot of them look very nice, I won’t deny it. I’m a shameless fan of Lexa Doig, after all. But a lot of the time very scantily clad women with no cause for occasion tends to make me think they aren’t really worth it. When I’m walking through my normal town centre, a lot of the time I’m thinking: “Okay, you’re good looking, now get over yourself!”

On special occasions such as parties I don’t nearly mind so much the wearing of gear. My standard outfit of cargo trousers and tee-shirt disappears in party mode as well, I’ll wear something a lot smarter. Sorry, I seem to be rambling. In summary: When I see a girl deliberately dressed like *that* with no occasion, I usually think it wouldn’t be worth the effort to talk to her. Defiantly chalk me up to the column that tends to find the quiet ones hiding around in the shadows of parties the most interesting ones to talk to.
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#28 Delvo

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Posted 23 July 2003 - 10:04 AM

Seeing people as sex objects happens because it's good, natural, and healthy, and people like it. The problem is not the presence of sexualization, but the absence, in some circumstances, of anything else. Pornography and the weird paintball "game" are examples of this, and they can only possibly happen because the participants are not wholly sane. Those men don't like women, and the women participating don't like men, or don't like themselves. But that's a separate issue from the popularity of revealing clothing. Normal, healthy people do that all the time, because people LIKE being sexual objects in casual normal everyday (not like the above) contexts. Guys would do it too, but just haven't got any idea how, because, in looks as in everything else, trying to make any sense out of what girls think/want is like trying to wrestle a buffalo to the ground; you know going in that it's impossible, but you'll still try to take credit if the animal decides to lie down to relax while watching this goofy little creature doing these antics around it. Guys not going so far out of their way to look good isn't an "I don't care, so I won't put up with it" attitude; it's an "I give up" one. (And, BTW, if guys can draw any conclusion at all from female behavior about what they really want in a guy, it's that all girls want the same half-dozen guys, like the band "New Kids On The Block" when I was in middle school, and the rest might as well not exist... which just leads guys who see that to a different kind of "I give up".)

The source of the difference is girls' strange idea that they shouldn't ever ask a guy out or approach him as the "aggressor", even to the point of convincing each other of a bizarre myth that guys don't want or like it. This results in girls who would want to do so thinking they have no option but to put that energy into working extra hard at getting guys to come to them, and guys pushed to feeling obligated to go after them while starved for any female attention at all and thus too strongly induced to be "aggressors", since they have to take up the slack for the work the other half of the population should be doing.

To answer the question about what guys think upon seeing girls wearing relatively little: Since I have always known it's to get guys' attention but also been equally certain that I wasn't one of those guys whose attention it was meant to get, I guess the best description of my gut reaction might be frustration that such behavior would always be "not for me". In fact, I suspect that a similar reaction in other guys (since almost all of us are not in that "not one of the few worth having" category) is responsible for making some men want to suppress it...

Edited by Delvo, 23 July 2003 - 12:28 PM.


#29 ArmourMe

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Posted 23 July 2003 - 04:09 PM

Thought A:  People who are oppressed use whatever power they can grasp in order to get their aims met.  

Thought B:  At the same time a whole gender that just a few generations ago was told it was never allowed to have a sexuality is going to swing the OTHER way on the pendulum for a few generations & overdo the sexual joy of life.

That's at the bottom of it.  There's obviously a WHOLE lot more detail but IMO those are the basic dynamics at play.

Sierra touched on it - in older times much of what women had to offer to the men who had the power to feed & house them....or not....was their womanly charms - sex or chastity, childbearing, housekeeping, whatever specifics were involved for the particular parties.  (no implications on the shallowness of men or women specifically - speaking in the broad strokes of gender roles)

On an entirely different tack, we must realize that our culture is terribly prudish.  THere isn't anything INHERANTLY nasty or dirty or wrong about the human body.  Men don't INHERANTLY have the overwhelming urge to rape & pillage when they see breasts or legs or butts.  Many european countries have topless beaches - are all the topless women sluts?  Are all the native African tribes who's women wear no shirts comprised of people with low morals?   Of course not.  Less than 100 years ago it was a scandal (and often a crime!) for a woman to show her legs in public!  All you sluts out there in your shorts - shame!!  :D  What changed that?  People willing to push the envelope - some with appropriate sense of power, some with no boundries whatsoever.  In 50 more years I sure hope this country doensn't have people who try to prosecute women for an exposed nipple - how immature.

There's nothing wrong with the human body.  There are, however, a million different ways to USE it to try to weild power over others - and that's damaging.  Men who hit, women who exaggerate their bodies till they appear to be ONLY a sexual object - both are trying to grasp at a sense of power they don't really konw how to get & can't get the way they are trying!

I don't like clothes much - in the summer I really don't like them :p  I happen to live in the very liberal northwest, and no one her looks twice at a woman living in a sports bra & biking shorts the whole summer (my usual attire from June to October).  There's nothing about my body language in these clothes that suggests I'm trying to have power over men by sending their brains down to their pelvises, and no one responds to me as though that were my intention.  I'm also a nursing mother - I nurse in public all the time.  I'm not waving my breasts in people's faces or fondling them, so no one interprets what I'm doing as trying to get a sexual edge on the situation - I'm just nurturing my baby.

People get plenty angry on behalf of women when a woman is raped and the man's excuse is, "she was dressed like X - she asked for it."    Of course most people don't understand that rape isn't usually about sex - its about DOMINANCE - and sex is the weapon, just as fists are the weapon in a fight.  BUT haven't people noticed that the implication that men are so venal, so horrible, so awful that the mere sight of a woman's body might make them lose control.....is an AWFUL concept about MEN???

There's been a lot of talk in this community discussing & often frowning on the strictures of certian religious creeds that ask women to cover themselves from head to toe.  Saying that a woman's body is so powerful or evil that no man can even see it & be expected to behave in a mature way is such an awful sight against MEN, that I'm amazed people don't get more worked up about it.

What is being said in this thread about X level of exposure  (and its different depending on your generation or your location, notice - this is not some universal golden standard that makes sense here!) is EXACTLY THE SAME THING.  I'm not saying that women who use their sexuality as a weapon are acceptable - any more than men who abuse are acceptable.  Exerting power over other people is not acceptable!  BUT ITS IN NO WAY RELEVANT TO THE HOLYNESS OR NASTYNESS OF THE HUMAN FORM.

Do those of you who find an exposed belly offensive think that women in full veils are the MOST moral??  Why?  Do you think that the topless women on beaches in europe are less moral than the women with the exposed belly?

If a woman is pretty and accents that prettyness, is she a slut?  Is an ugly woman more moral?  If someone enjoys their body & feels it isn't dirty & therefore doesn't need to be hidden, is that person less worth of respect than someone who hides her body?

Is a woman LESS WORTH OF DIGNITY AND RESPECT based on what she is wearing, alone??  I would lose respect for anyone who was trying to exert power over other people - I reject that utterly.  But to say that certian kinds of clothes make a person less respectable - that's incredibly shallow.

The human body all on its own is not an abomination.  Its how one uses it.  There is a HUGE difference between using sexuality as a weapon and wearing or not wearing any kind of clothes.

Edited by ArmourMe, 23 July 2003 - 04:15 PM.


#30 Delvo

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Posted 24 July 2003 - 01:39 AM

It's interesting how often you mentioned "power". Obviously nobody really has any power over others unless force or fraud is used. But they can have "influence". And that can be misrepresented as power by someone who does somethign as a result of it that (s)he shouldn't have done... or confused with power by the influenced if they're too immature to consider the possibility of not going with the flow of that one particular influence on its own. And if someone manages to influence others into doing what one wants a sometimes, then one might think that's power. I can remember making a point of NOT responding to some self-sexualizing females just to keep them from THINKING they had any power over me.

As for why it's OK to say such awful things about men... well, saying awful stuff about men is trendy these days. And back when such woman-oppressing traditions began, I have already said above that I think it began with men negatively reacting to women's sexuality (falsely ascribing evil powers to it) because it was directed at other men and their frustration was misdirected.

#31 QueenTiye

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Posted 24 July 2003 - 01:43 AM

O.k. I'm back.

First of all... thanks for everyone contributing.

I tend to agree with those who say that the reason women do this more than men is because our socialization skills are just now beginning to exit the times when a woman's primary goal in life was to snare a man to provide for her.  Add to this the push against rigid social mores that come down harder on women than on men, and I think we have a combined effect of someone who is pushing heavily against a door that won't budge, and then finding that the door is suddenly thrown open... a complete overreaction that will eventually find balance.

I want to thank Delvo for his dissenting viewpoint.  While I agree that the general populace is not represented by playboy bunnies and prostitutes, I also have to dissent from his position that we should totally discount that behavior.  As he mentions - the people who engage in that activity (both men and women) neither like themselves or the opposite gender - however they are a part of the whole - in the continuum, they are on the extreme end.

On the other extreme end, (thank you, Armour All) are societies that suppress sexual expression to such an extreme that celibacy and full veiling of women (and in some cultures men) are the ideals.  Again - I see this as a reactionary response (and at least in this extreme, you can readily see the reactionary nature of it).  So I guess I come down somewhere in the middle - that a standard of behavior that permits sexual attractiveness without promoting it above every other aspect of a person is best... and I think in conclusion, that women have been the target of both repression and over-expression of sexuality.

Once again - I don't think I said that well, but I did the best I could.

QT

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#32 sierraleone

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Posted 24 July 2003 - 04:42 AM

Your right ArmourMe, there is nothing inherently wrong with the human body. I suppose part of it is I do not care to have a pair of breasts (male or female) seemingly in my face, and the fact that these women are just trying to get attention, and are using that attention to influence people. Most of these people seem to be trying to flaunt their body. If it was considered socially acceptable to show a lot of skin, that had nothing to do with sexuality, then the only people showing skin would not just be attractive people.
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Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.
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Source: http://www2.nybooks....r-survival.html

#33 Godeskian

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Posted 24 July 2003 - 04:47 AM

in holland, because of the lamentable weather, when the sun does come out, a lot of skin does as well. Not just buff guys with six pack stomachs either.

big guys and gals, little ones, ugly ones, pretty ones, all head for the party spots and the beaches.

just a side thought

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#34 sierraleone

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Posted 24 July 2003 - 04:55 AM

^ europe seems to be more accepting about that. In some ways I wish North America was too. Then those trying to get attention and influence with their bodies wouldn't stand out as much :p :D  ;)  :D
Rules for surviving an Autocracy:

Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.
- Masha Gessen
Source: http://www2.nybooks....r-survival.html

#35 Anakam

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Posted 24 July 2003 - 05:47 AM

*applauds AM*  I didn't agree with all of it, but it was an excellent post! :D

As to what I think about it.... I dunno.  I think that some women do dress in an 'objectified' fashion deliberately.... however I also think that if a man wants to see a woman as an object, then he's going to do so regardless of how she is dressed.  I dress very modestly--no low necklines, no midriff, no short shorts--and occasionally I will *still* catch a guy looking a lot more at my breasts or hips.... if not objectification then the first stages of it, IMO.  Of course I do encounter a number of people at work and they'd like to think about anything besides their test, but that's no excuse. :p
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#36 ArmourMe

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Posted 24 July 2003 - 11:27 AM

sierraleone, on Jul 23 2003, 05:48 PM, said:

^ europe seems to be more accepting about that. In some ways I wish North America was too. Then those trying to get attention and influence with their bodies wouldn't stand out as much :p :D  ;)  :D
The only way it will happen is if the NORMAL looking people - you know, the ones with bulges & birthmarks :D - come out to play :)

AM

#37 Uncle Sid

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Posted 24 July 2003 - 05:13 PM

The issue with clothing is fairly cut and dry as to why it causes issues.  In Africa, less clothing is necessary, or even desirable for people who live there, at least in the areas where you find the most unclothed people.  In other places, like Europe, clothing isn't just an affectation, it's a necessity.  

Now, clothed or not, certain parts of a person are going to be sexual.  Even mostly naked African tribespeople are going to be"turned on" by those parts, even if they see them every day.  The difference is that in seeing them everyday, from childhood, they have developed behaviors to deal with that.  Further, I think that such people would be more frank about a woman's so-called "assets", then we might consider to be acceptable as well.  In Europe or in other places, it will be seen less frequently since clothing needs to be worn over a significant period.  This leads to the hidden parts being fetishized.  From there, any deviation from a certain clothing level is going to have an effect.  If just about every woman covers herself up all year long, then the woman who walks out with visibly more skin showing is going to get noticed.  

Obviously, as time went on, the idea that since less clothing makes people think about sex and "bad things" then more clothing will make things go the other way.  Of course, that's not really the case.  You might be less distracted by that, but at the same time, it just fetisizes another bit of skin.  Cover the knees, they becoem fetishized, cover the ankles, then they become seductive.  On and on until you have that silly garment where the Muslim women are looking through a little screen so you can't even see their eyes.  

So why women and not men?  Well, of course male physical dominance had an effect, men might be out doing work that required their shirts to be off more, for instance, so it makes no sense to bundle them up in black head to toe garments if they need to go plant the fields or fight a war.  Certainly, men would have the physical power to enforce their will, although I doubt that such a direct application of power was a significant cause.  Women are hardly powerless, even in the face of a physically stronger man, especially over long periods of time.  

For their part, it no doubt struck some women that clothing offers a significant increase in the ability to adorn oneself, either to be able to wear pretty colors and designs, to enhance physical attributes or even to cover over percieved failings.  Even today, men tend to care a lot less about the style and selection of the clothes that they wear.  Thus, a clothing based prohibition would have significant female input, perhaps unconsciously, but certainly there..  After all, many clothing styles, no matter what their origins, are generally made up by women for women.  

Now as to the matter of objectification and assault, the problem, as I see it, with people dressing rather skimpily is not that they actually do it, but that the ramping up (or down) to that level of clothing is far too fast for society's expectations to catch up.  You take a fetish that was built up over centuries, possibly even millenia and you want to just reverse it in a few decades?  That's a recipie for serious trouble.  Some people handle it better than others, but there's a lot of variables in the mix.  For the most part, this is not something you can just pull off in even 20-30 years.  Like it or not, too many people have been bred with a certain notion of how to dress appropriately for you to just tell them to get over it.  

As far as objectification goes, I think men who rape women deserve to be put in jail and have no excuse, since they are responsible for themselves, but the women who dress in a certain way are not doing themselves any favors.  It's almost criminally irresponsible for any woman to dress in apparel that is going to attract an extremely high level of sexual attention in a sexually charged society.  And certainly, few women are likely to be ignorant of just the level of attention that they are attracting.  If they are, a night or two clubbing in such apparel would probably educate even the most unobservant of these.  

Say what you like about respect and right, but keep in mind that there are criminally insane people out there who truly are not responsible for their own actions.  You can say that men should not rape women for their style of clothing, but that is only going to cover the rational ones.  When you start moving too fast with discarding "outdated" notions, you are actually creating a lot of friction in society that stirs up the lunatic fringe.  Things start to get a lot less simple, and when things start getting to complex too fast, you get more and more otherwise inactive borderline people who will crack because of it.  

Sex is a very powerful motive force and people fail to understand just how dangerous it can be when we feel that we can changes attitudes about it, seemingly at will.  You can say that such and such a person should accept your body for what it is, but that doesn't change reality.  Saying that the world should ideally be such and such a way and not trying to work out the problems deliberately is irresponsible.  If you encourage attitudes that fail to mesh with reality, it's leading people, through negligence, into situations where they not only become targets for predators but also cause more people to hit the critical mass required for them to become deviant.  It is leading an unwary woman into trusting that a certain mode of dress or behavior is universally acceptable and safe, when it is really not.  Decry the old mores all you want, but you can't just demand that they come down in a short period of time without a price being paid.  Sure, it's just excuses coming out of the mouth of a rapist, but we've allowed for there to be an opening for fools and bullies to make that mistake by creating a world where a significant portion of the population is so bewildered or upset about what is going on that the rapist feels that he can get, and maybe *does* get sympathy for his actions.  

Individual women need to know what they need to do to keep themselves safe, and as a society we should not be turning women loose in the middle of the woods and telling them that it's OK for them to be dressed like Bambi in the middle of deer hunting season simply because its against the rules for the hunters to shoot at them.

Edited by Uncle Sid, 24 July 2003 - 05:14 PM.

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#38 GiGi

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Posted 25 July 2003 - 04:33 AM

I performed Bellydance for many years.  Cleavage is a costume requirement!  But for those of us with an "A" cup size, this is a difficult task.  The modern Bellydance costume is very revealing and the dance provocative.  This was not always so.  In fact it is illegal in the Middle East to show the belly, it is considering the most sacred and therefore taboo part of a woman's body as it is where life begins.

I have seen all variations of what goes on with dressing sexy within a group of Bellydancers.  Women dress up for other women as much as they do for men.  Yes, that is right, if a woman can get all of the male attention in the room she can "rule" over the other women in the room.  Think of it, isn't the whole legend around Queen Cleopatra because she could seduce the most powerful men?  Women will trade sex for power, for love, for selfworth.

I wore the costumes because it was expected.  I love the dance, it is ancient, beautiful and celebrates a woman's power of procreation.  Now days I do more Flamenco dance and if I do Bellydance it is a more gypsy style.  The gypsies too consider the belly sacred and it is not exposed.  I feel better more covered because I want people to watch my dancing.

So bottomline, I think the reasons a woman dresses sexy is unique to each woman.  There are of course women who use it to have power over men.  Those women disqust me as much as men who rape women to have power over them.  Because each version is a rape.  The women emotionally rape men, and the men physically rape the women.  Weirdly enough the kinds a men and women who do this don't do it to each other, they need a victim to pounch on.

So, it isn't just the sexy dressing, or the person's sexuality, like anything it is how it is used.
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#39 sierraleone

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Posted 26 July 2003 - 04:14 AM

Uncle Sid, on Jul 23 2003, 10:03 PM, said:

So why women and not men?  Well, of course male physical dominance had an effect, men might be out doing work that required their shirts to be off more, for instance, so it makes no sense to bundle them up in black head to toe garments if they need to go plant the fields or fight a war.  Certainly, men would have the physical power to enforce their will, although I doubt that such a direct application of power was a significant cause.  Women are hardly powerless, even in the face of a physically stronger man, especially over long periods of time.
Don't women in most countries work in the field as well? And often still have to wear obtrusive clothes :p :D Western Ideas of "women's work" doesn't nearly covered what most of the world also has women doing. In parts of Africa I know they have to carry heavy pails of water on their head, sometimes for miles. I don't know if that/those particular places require women to wear skirts, but I could imagine if they do, its not exactly helpfull... probably part of the reason it takes them so long :p :D (though they have got to be carefull anyways with that much water above their heads)

I see the women's clothes in the middle east actually starting out just as protection against the sun and desert, but eventually going way beyound that, but thats besides the point ;) :)

Now, where was I?   :suspect: *sigh*  :blush:
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Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.
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#40 Delvo

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Posted 26 July 2003 - 05:57 AM

Women in those places don't wear the restrictive clothes, though.



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