The reasons for writing this blog – (1) The subject came up; and (b) My bossy friend (who will live a long life) suggested I may be good at deconstructing sexuality. Also, the title may be misleading you pervs.
Last night was one of the good nights with friends. It was one of those nights where you sit around and talk and joke and everybody’s in sync with everybody. Punchline follows punchline at the speed of sound and by the end you’re falling off beds laughing and getting yelled at by neighbors. And you didn’t even need alcohol before you laughed so much you nearly peed. So of course in the midst of this discussion, the subject of boobs (brreasts! – Jeff) came up, as they do in all girls hostel conversations. I am not making this up – they do come up every now and then.
Which got M and S and everyone else talking about the possible pornographic implications of me talking about bra shopping on the web, where men presumably read about it. I personally did not think of it as something gratuitous and don’t really care if others do. We did however end up taking a picture of me right after I got a champi so my already shabby, in-between hair looks like a chipmunk on my head. We believe that if I were to post said picture on this blog, it would be a boner killer bar none. Coming back on point, it got me wondering about the lines between storytelling/ word-vomiting-about-your-personal-life and pornography; and how much responsibility an author (Yours truly. That’s right, I’m an ‘author’ for the purposes of this post, bitchas) would have. And as you whores already know, I have a slip of paper from all of my gay/bi and/or promiscuous friends that qualifies me, in an academic capacity, to talk about sexuality and expressions of sexuality. I keep it in my cupboard next to the thing that qualifies me to say “You can suck my dick, asshole!”
And as usual here’s the disclaimer before I approach a potentially dicey subject – I consider myself a feminist (The way I define feminist is none of your business. Ok maybe, but that’s for another post, about two years after I run out of other things to talk about), and therefore will probably be coming at this topic with prior knowledge and literature that is largely from a feminist perspective. I have tried to get myself acquainted with opposing viewpoints as well, but clearly not as enthusiastically. I will try to be reasonable/ fair. If I’m not its too bad, and you can go fuck yourself because its my blog, comprende?
I begin with a few situations.
I write about bra shopping. It’s a rather fluffy piece of writing that has more to do with the difficulties of engaging in conversations with the shop girls and the problems of trying out the bras when you have four layers of clothing on. Very little mention is made of breasts themselves and only where it qualifies and explains the irritating banality that is bra shopping for a minimalist shopper. I have no idea if this is the sort of thing that gets men off. I personally doubt it, if for no other reason than the fact that with most men, actual images of breasts are a few clicks of the mouse away. If you need my blog about comfortable underwear to get you off you clearly haven’t explored the internet properly.
On the other hand, if for some twisted reason said post does give you a boner (or get you wet – I didn’t get that nod from my LGBT and horny off their minds friends by ignoring the possibility of lesbots liking my blogs) how much of that boner am I responsible for? Am I responsible for it at all considering the fact that the sight of a bra strap can set some men off? And more importantly, am I expected to censor myself in order to avoid being labeled a pornographer/ writer of erotic realities? And am I expected to stop writing about stuff like that because it may give someone a boner and that’s not considered acceptable behavior/ writing on my part?
God knows the internet/ wordpress seems to think I will be only too interested in pornography – most of the computer generated spam comments I get are from sites called gratis-sex or something like that. Not that there’s anything wrong with pornography – there’s just something a bit wrong with labeling something to be nearly pornography when its not, because the leeway and qualifiers for both are different. Its like how one shouldn’t call a science fiction novel a religious text, because it just doesn’t make sense, and nobody would ever do that, right?
Here’s another nail biter. If a friend of mine wears something that shows a certain amount of mammaries (I’m not being pornographic – I’m using the term Howard Hughes did in The Aviator), disregarding any opinions one might have on the aesthetics thereof, what – if any – amount of concern is appropriate for other people to express when it comes to ogling? Does she (or he – I didn’t get that nod from aforementioned friends by ignoring body types either) have to necessarily be held responsible for any and all boners/ wetness this may cause? If so, is she expected to be ashamed of it or embarrassed by it? Nothing wrong if she is, but if she isn’t, is it expected of her to act and adjust herself accordingly? And taking that one step further, how much care should be given to the concerns of her significant other with regard to said boners/ wetness?
What I’m going to do is try to look at this from the perspective of someone who does get a boner/ wet because of something presumably unintentional done or said by someone else. It makes this more coherent and clarifies my train of thought.
What I find to be arousing on the internet would have to be straight up erotica or erotic fanfiction about Rochester and Jane, Jayne and River (see what I did there?) and others. Also, please don’t judge – I can’t help the Jayne and River thing. But this is porn. The people who write this intend it to be pornographic. So I guess I can’t do the reader’s perspective well. Whatte fail. I should just explain myself – I don’t think writing about changing rooms and underwear shopping is tantamount to pornography. And I don’t feel embarrassed by it. If people do get horny about it, well good for them, but its none of my concern or business. For the record I want to say I don’t intend it to be pornographic and that I will be very surprised indeed if it actually does get people horny. This may just be something my friends tease me with. But it makes a good, personal-story style intro into the subject and I’m just a whore for that shit.
I can talk about the viewer/ reader’s perspective when it comes to the whole checking out/ ogling problem. When I check out a man, my internal monologue is as follows – “Fuck, that guy is working it! He should wear that shit more often. No intense staring Billy, just watch by flitting your eyes in that direction every ten seconds or so. Damn! That boy should know better.”
Admittedly, my monologue does ascribe some responsibility on the guy by its very language. On the other hand, I have never been caught staring or even looking. Also on the other hand, I don’t think that the guy is somehow to blame for my thoughts. I don’t see the logic behind finding someone hot and then expecting them to do something to avoid being found hot. To begin with, I don’t consider the fact that I found someone hot a shameful one. I don’t have to ascribe any responsibility to them. I’m quite comfortable with and a wee proud of the fact that I am a green blooded female and I know where my sexual tastes lie. As far as I’m concerned nobody else is bothered by it and frankly, its nobody else’s business unless I choose to tell them over a few beers. And I definitely don’t think that the guy should feel uncomfortable with his expression of himself through clothes or the lack thereof simply because I find it appealing. If on the other hand, he does feel uncomfortable, I am subtle for a reason. I may take a booty-break in the library but I don’t ogle at real live men.
I guess it will be too ‘feminist’ for you motherfuckers if I say that you can’t define what this guy or my friend (who in this situation is a female, really) should feel about other people sexualizing them, but more often than not, my friend will be expected to feel bad about it, and consequently feel responsible for whatever ogling or more she has to deal with, and the guy will be expected to feel proud of it. Neither expectation is a reasonable one to place. One’s own expression of self image and sexuality should ideally not be subject to that of others. Responsibility for boners/ wetness should ideally and logically lie with the getters of the boners/ wetness; not with the objects of sexual attraction and definitely not with anyone else.
And this brings me to the diceyness of the issue. A batch-mate of mine who likes picking arguments mentioned that while he doesn’t want to dictate what girls wear, he still thinks it’s a ridiculous idea to wear short clothes in areas where you may get ogled at, eve-teased or worse. This was in the context of a conversation about the rape. Our response – “We know you just want to pick an argument, but really, none of us are going to take the bait. And you should seriously shut the fuck up before we are inclined to.”
My batch-mate (who I sincerely believe/ know was playing Devil’s Advocate just to get a response) let the subject go with “You wouldn’t go into a battlefield without a helmet.” Our response was “It’s not supposed to be a battlefield! Our problem is with the fact that such an analogy can even be drawn. You walk into a battle voluntarily. We don’t want to walk into the street thinking of it as a battlefield just because our genitals don’t hang.”
After a few beers I explained to the guy that the problem was not so much the fact that he thought it wasn’t safe. We all agree its not the safest decision we can make to walk around in Shameerpet (that’s the hamlet where our campus is nestled) in short shorts.
The problem with saying that it’s idiotic is simply that half a millimeter past that concern is the idea that a bad decision to wear said clothes makes one responsible for any unwelcome sexual accosting. And a little further down that line of argument is the idea that men are driven by their hanging genitals and therefore cannot be held responsible once a certain amount of skin is exposed. And thus begins the argument of contributory negligence in rape, which is as unreasonable and logically ill-founded as any of the threads of argument leading up to it. I hope that was made clear with this…
Is this too feminist? I don’t think you have to consider yourself a feminist before you disagree with people about whether a girl was “asking for it.”
In other news, I have found people with whom to fangirl over the Lizzie Bennett Diaries with. This is good for me because I really need a buddy for this or I’m very likely going to bite my knuckles till they bleed.
Also in other news, I will be going to Vizag and all warnings are welcome because whenever someone warns us about where we’re going we invariably have a good time.
Oh, and this is a bootybreak, for those who don’t know – http://www.bootybreak.com/ Earphones are reccommended in the library and other public places. I like the guy in the formal clothes. He is surprisingly enthusiastic.