This post is going to be a bit more straight up feminism and a little less on the topic of female sexuality or sexual functioning. Yes, my friends, this post will be about language - and specifically the all too common practice of casually casting femininity as weak, wimpy, silly and inferior. Pussy...scream like a girl..."girly" girl...don't be such a girl...you forgot your tampon/purse/etc....Don't be such a bitch, just do it you wuss....
Before you roll your eyes and tell me to stop getting so worked up - that it's just a phrase, that you didn't mean it that way, that people don't actually think of it that way, that you meant it as pussy cat, or that you're using it ironically/as a joke/with a different context; let me just say - bullshit. I'm gonna get worked up. It's not just a phrase, and although you fully understand that all females aren't wimps, your words just said they were, and your words affect those who hear them - and I don't think I'm being too sensitive.
As opposed to being too sensitive to this issue I think the real problem is that people are too dismissive of these subtle, impactful, and marginalizing aspects of our language and media. I think this issue deserves much more attention and respect as a feminist issue. However, I also think we should acknowledge the nuance of this issue, because people (and it is absolutely males and females who speak this way) don't usually feel as though women are, across the board, wimpy, weak, silly or inferior. They are not (usually) misogynist assholes. They are, well, they are pretty much everyone. So, although I take this issue seriously, I don't take actual comments too seriously if that makes any sense. People's intentions with these phrases are often different from the comment's impact.
I see this problem as a pervasive cultural issue rather than a personal one, but I feel the solution involves calling attention to comments on an individual basis. I think people are just not aware that these little comments, the ones everyone says, the ones that feel innocent and jokey - that when we hear them all the time that they become part of our self-understanding. I mean we ladies are bombarded our whole life with little comments like this. Even as we are told that we can do and be anything, the subtext is a little more confusing. We kind of get the idea that of course we can be great...if we don't act female. Problem is we are female. We might feel we can do and be anything but somehow we also get the feeling we acquired those qualities of strength and risk-taking and assertiveness despite our femininity - that we rose to masculinity instead of feeling that feminine qualities themselves are capable of such things. It's a little self hating don't you think?
These "jokey" phrases through our whole life work to restrict the expectations we have of ourselves and others and divides them clearly by gender. We take words to heart. I think more than we realize, we are what people tell us we are and expect us to be. We should never take our words lightly – especially the words we say to our young people. Just start paying attention. I promise, once you start listening for these comments in movies, TV, books, cartoons, your friends and family, you'll be amazed at how ubiquitous they are.
Let me finish by saying this. When you mean to say that someone is being a wuss, don’t call them female genitals. Okay, you may say, “Trisha, I use the word pussy sometimes, but I don’t really think of it in a feminine vs. masculine way. Plus, if you really think about it, a pussy is actually a soft and gentle kind of thing. It does make a little sense to use it in that way.” K. So it makes sense that an area capable of considerable flexibility, one that get’s torn in childbirth, poked, bleeds for 7 days and still doesn't die (as the joke goes), and still comes out fine – so that is what we use as an alternative word for wimp. However, a wrinkly hanging double sack that is notoriously sensitive – a flick to them could bring down the toughest of men – this is what we associate with strength and courage. You “have balls” so you’re a steely, tough, crusader but you “show your pussy” and you might as well curl up into the fetal position and cry. Don’t tell me that these phrases are innocent. They have everything to do with our associations between gender and capability.
How about instead of complimenting a person by saying they "have balls," we say a person has "let their lips flap" - as if they have majestic, impressive vulva lips which they let them out to wave in the wind like a majestic flag of strength and courage - a big fuck you to anyone who dares go against her - or him. (Yes, men too. If we can say women have balls, we can say men are letting their lips flap). Come on try it out next time. It'll be fun.
So, here's the bottom line. When I hear you, my dear sweet friends, use a word or phrase that brings to mind femininity, and it is obvious you could have used a word or phrase that means weak, wimpy, silly or inferior in its place without changing your meaning - then I will call you out for that every time. That is a promise, and I have the lips to do it.
Okay, here is the second installment of my Filament review, and this time it ain't about the articles...it's about the nudey pics (in case you didn't quite get what I was gettin at). I'd like to talk a little about the general state of male nudes in our culture and how torn I am about craving bodily perfection in them while advocating a wider definition of beauty in female nudes, but we'll get to that later. Let me first tell you about what we got in this magazine here.
The one article I didn't discuss in the first blog is an interview with Vivienne Maricevic, who is one of very few women artists that work in male nudes. She began in 1975, and the interview was a good discussion of her method and her motives. The article was also surrounded by several of her images, and I thought some were among the best in the magazine. I think part of this is that I found the men - their faces, bodies, hair - attractive. Check some here and here. These happen to be two I liked, but of course, you are only seeing from the waist up on these pics.... A couple of her pics seemed a little cheesy to me like the dude with a huge bush (the penis kind of bush) standing kind of in a giant bush (the leafy kind of bush), holding onto some limbs. However, I did happen to find that bushy guy fairly hot regardless.
So as for the actual Filament pictorials, I really liked "The Beautiful and Damned" with model Joe. They were soft, low-contrast, (forgive me for using this description) artsy, B&W picks of a thin youngish looking man with no tattoos and a bit of muscle definition. You can check him out here, although you will not be able to see his nice sized, partially erect and hairless penis without getting the magazine. I also liked the slightly sepia photos of Tristram Woolf (relative to Virginia Woolf). Check one out here, although the one they have on the site is my least favorite because he looks so incredibly skinny in it. His waist looks so tiny. His pics (in the magazine, not on the site) also give us a nice peek at his erect but not shaven man junk (I'm sorry, but I just love calling genitals junk: man junk, lady junk - I don't know, but I can't get enough of it, so please forgive me). I like his face and although a bit skinny, his body has some tone, and his poses are relaxed - kind of like we are watching a slow, sensual masturbation session. The background for these pics was fine, but there was something about them that seemed kinda cheap to me. It was like someone just threw a white sheet on a tan bed and took some pics, which is probably what happened, but it just brought to mind student photography to me. I saw a shitload of student photography while Charlie was in school for none other than Fine Arts Photography, so I'm not just pulling that out of nowhere, but I'm sure plenty of other people wouldn't have the same reaction to it. All in all, though, I think it's a pretty nice sexy package.
The more burlesque-ish pictorial of Alex Longmore just beginning to undress