Thursday, January 15, 2009

Women's mags

This was a question on a mailing list I'm on:

19.What are your feelings on "semi-nude" pictures of women, specifically in public areas? Do you think it objectifies women? why?

One person responded that women objectify women, citing the fact that women's mags, like men's mags, have women on the cover and that women are always checking out each other's hair, clothing etc.

My response was as follows. It was quickly dashed off, but more or less got my point across:

"In the 18th and 19th centuries women of “gentle” birth were not allowed to work, except maybe as a governess (which was a k*k job), and therefore the sole object of a girl’s education was to render her “marriageworthy” for lack of a better word. This basically meant squeezing every bit of self-reliance and natural curiosity out of her and interesting her only in her own appearance and “accomplishments”, such as embroidery or, if the parents were daring, playing the piano. Ms Wollstonecraft said this better than I but you get the gist. In order therefore, for a girl to have a semi-decent life she had to marry well, and in order to marry well she needed to be pretty, meek and generally “feminine” i.e. interested only in girly stuff. That hasn’t gone away, especially considering that women are still paid less than men and are still almost discouraged (by their socialisation and education) to do “masculine” work like being a pilot or an engineer. Hence looking at what other women are dressing like etc., is almost to make sure you are able to compete for resources. In a similar vein to men reading up on investment, flashy cars or how to last longer in bed ;)"

I will expand upon this post later, but it gets the point across. In fact this poem does, too

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