Could Do Better

01Nov10

I’ve been a bad blogger of late due to various life crap getting in the way – but also because every time I find something I want to write about, the issue expands exponentially to the point that there’s so much I want to say about the responses, never mind the issues, that my head can’t fit it all. I’m dismayed. I want to go around with a big rubber stamp that says “Must Do Better” and mark the parts of the world that are disappointing me. Number one on my list, Marie Claire magazine. Or perhaps not – I wouldn’t have expected much more from a glossy than “fat people, eww”.

Maura Kelly’s opinion is a very, very common one in society these days. So although the article in question was abhorrent, it did generate some very much needed debate and the response to the piece was heartening. The comments were overwhelmingly body-acceptance positive, and the response of the mag itself was good.

No, I think the stamps need to be slapped on the foreheads of the bandwagon-jumpers who were “outraged” and “disgusted” at the piece – the very same people who, week after week on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere, constantly participate in ‘jokey’ fat-bashing. The same people who make “when the fat lady sings” jibes at Mary Byrne on X-Factor, or complain about “mingers” coming to their club nights, or ask if attention should be drawn to the fact that an old friend has put on weight. To these people I say, cop the fuck on. Put your money where your moan is.

Second victim of the stamp of doom — “Slutoween”. Not the actual wearing of scant costumes by women, oh no. Though the Sexy Elmo costume is possibly the most pathetic thing I’ve seen this year, what irks me more is the smug crowing from the sidelines. Feminists wailing about how we’re pandering to male fantasies (one night a year, god forbid) and men contentedly purring that we’ve brought this on ourselves. Sigh.

Feminism, I thought, was about choice. And while I admit that the phenomenon doesn’t offer women much choice when they’re standing in a costume shop confronted by an array of sexy nuns, air hostesses, superheroes and Muppets – Halloween is about creativity. Can’t find a costume you like? Make one. That’s the whole point.

Aside from that – ain’t nobody forcing women to buy or wear these things. The reason they exist is because there’s demand for them. Simple as. Don’t like them? Don’t buy them, or wear them. There are plenty of women out there who enjoy dressing up sexily one night a year. This is a crime why? Because men might enjoy it? OHNOES. WE MUST NOT DO ANYTHING THAT MEN MIGHT LIKE. That’s like, the rules of feminism!

The way to counter the phenomenon is not to bitch and moan about the costumes and their objectifying properties. The reason the costumes are decried is because they send signals to men – that we’re easy, objects for them to lust after, touch, take, yadda yadda. While it seems easy to question the logic of someone who wears a skimpy costume and doesn’t want to be lusted after, the solution is not to stop wearing them. The solution is to assert ownership of our bodies.

Covering your body because men keep looking at it is the equivalent of putting sweets out of reach of a naughty child because they won’t stop stealing them even though you’ve told them they can’t have any. It doesn’t teach them anything. It doesn’t punish them. It just postpones the lesson. Let’s start re-educating people. My body is mine, whatever I have it dressed in.

Pandering to male fantasy? Maybe these women are. But… I consider it more of a disservice to feminism to pander to the bad behaviour of men by changing *our* behaviour to fit their actions. Men are not animals, incapable of self-control when confronted with a woman wearing not very much. Their objectifying responses exist because they are tolerated. Let’s stop that.

It wouldn’t be ok for the lifeguard to ogle and drool over women in their bikinis at the swimming pool, or another member. They’d be cautioned and possibly kicked out. Why is it ok in a pub or on the street? On Halloween or any other night? It’s not. Stop tolerating it. Then we can wear whatever the fuck we want, and be supportive of eachother while doing it. THAT is, like, the rules of feminism.

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One Response to “Could Do Better”

  1. 1 demurelemur

    Damn Skippy. I might not like what someone’s wearing, but I’ll defend to the death his/her right to wear it. That goes for a burqa or a candy bikini.


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