Medium Article I Posted a lot of stuff on
This is probably the most (or even only) relevant point you've raised. Pity you did not elaborate on it. As recently as the early 70s women's pregnancy was not an acceptable image. Women walking around with a pregnant tummy was "upsetting." We still, in my view, have an inadequate memetic inventory around pregnancy (and nursing/breastfeeding). This needs to change, and doing so would probably go a long way to address what you seem to be trying to get at in this piece.
It's all about how people are allowed to react. I think it's safe to say that there are not enough images in the media of women nursing their babies. The end of the Japanese movie Tampopo shows a woman feeding her baby right at the very end, the movie is about food, and the non-verbal message is "this is where it begins." Another is Bitter Harvest (1981), starring Ron Howard where a farming area is contaminated and a visiting scientist stops a wife who's about to feed her baby, saying "oh, no, didn't you understand what I said--YOUR milk is contaminated, too," whereupon she begins weeping and rushes out of the house to smash open a huge tank of milk to run all over the ground. It's very powerful and it puts breastfeeding and the mommy-baby relationship at the center of the narrative (I'm tearing up a bit as I write this), as something that MOVES the narrative, and not as something "dirty" or "upsetting" or "gratuitous."
That's what I feel most of what you're talking about, and what you're saying about is doing--arguing that it okay to do something that shocks others, and not being "allowed" to do that is what the problem is.
Women get pregnant, have breasts, have babies, menstruate, feed their babies with their breasts, are on average shorter and store their body fat differently, grow hair in different (and some same) places, all of which is fascinating to men (and other women and girls, to be honest), and men are uncontrollably drawn to women, like a kind of magical force (women may feel the same toward men, I can't say for sure). Being compelled by something without understanding it causes fear, which in turn causes anger and resentment.
You're not helping these "men/Patriarchy" you're continually blaming understand anything, you're not identifying what women really need to deal with their real problems (being able to wear yoga pants and halter tops on the street so that only the men they like react to them and the others don't--really? REALLY?) which is something like having real childcare options, baby seats BUILT INTO all cars, menstruation products available for free anywhere you might find toilet/tissue paper (and also in the pockets, backpacks, car glove compartments, etc., of all the men around them), being able to chat about their pregnancy with anybody, and being able to whip the twins out (both if so desired) in a crowded restaurant and chat about that, too, or be ignored.
Wild guess--if you actually focus on that REAL stuff, all this "wear crazy outfits" thing may fall into place and stop being an "issue."
You have not made your case on this cause and effect. "Women can't wear bikinis (whatever THAT means) is because of marriage," does not follow. They are probably two distinct things. Marriage is men "owning" women, and YES we should probably take a hard look at why we have that and what it looks like now. If you're asserting that everything bad that happens to women is the result of deliberate considered decisions on the part of individual men who are following the directives of some massive male conspiracy, then yes, I guess you can relate everything bad that happens to women, anything they fail at, feel bad about, feel frustrated about, to all other bad things through that single central unifying thread.I would say that, obviously, that's overkill, but also intellectual laziness and it doesn't cast any light on the problem, or any problem."Bad stuff is bad" is a tautology, and like most tautologies, while they may seem profound, they do not illuminate, and they cannot be built on.Keep digging.I'm not trying to be mean -- my impatience stems from the fact that I love women and am moved by their predicament (and even more moved, often to tears, by stories depicting women's liberation and self-determination, as opposed to complaining about the perceived status quo), but I also take as axiomatic (perhaps wrongly) that men's liberation may only be attempted AFTER women's liberation has been (mostly?) accomplished. I worry that much of what you're saying goes in circles, fails to make progress, or just muddies the waters even further.Who were these men? "Victorian" comes from Queen Victoria, who was, as most queens are, a woman. This seems like a really sloppy statement--it's unclear who's concluding what about what. Give this whole "The Patriarchy made me do it" thing a rest, please!I feel like you're forgetting that showing a member of one's gender who is super-sexy, in sexy clothing objectifies the same-gender person looking at it by making them feel inadequate. If I see a depiction of an attractive man dressed in sexy clothes, which reveal him to be better-looking than me, in better shape than me, looking "richer" than me, "happier" than me, I feel bad about myself, independent of whether some hypothetical woman looks at him and "objectifies" him (whatever THAT means). As a same-gender viewer of such media, I can't KNOW that women are now comparing me to this fictional poster-boy man who is better than me in all respects, or whether she talks about him (or all men) in objectifying dehumanizing with other women. They probably do. I probably get to hear objectifying comments and attitudes from women as a result of this kind of media, but that's hard/impossible to measure and it's not the point. The real, subjective experience is that I feel worse about myself, thanks to the action of the advertising and entertainment industries, they use their ability to make me feel bad about myself to sell stuff, and, as you say, nobody seems to be trying to stop them.This kind of statement makes me think of apples and oranges. What is the basis for this comparison? It might be safe to say that men are compared much more cruelly based on their "usefulness", that is, how much money they have, their possessions, how impressive their job is, how well they can put down other men, etc., etc. Just to take one of many examples. Men are also rated on how well they "perform" sexually, perhaps much more than women--one might say that women just "show up and they win" which may be true in many, many other areas, i.e., women are "human beings" while men are very much "human doings." Statements like this trouble me because they tacitly discount men's suffering, which makes them wrong and therefore not helpful. Behind it all, men's suffering and lives and just less important, less "compelling" than that of women (just count how often it comes up in media, etc.). Men ARE judged on their looks, their weight, baldness (not as much of a problem for women), the size and attractiveness of their genitalia, their height, their faces, their physical strength, their fear of spiders (women seem to get a pass on this one). It shouldn't be a contest.But in spite of all of this, my problem with this kind of statement is not so much that it's vague and probably mostly wrong, but that it misses the point. Are all women's (and men's) problems and need for liberation going to be solved if men (or "society" or "the Patriarchy") start "letting women be sexy" without "objectifying" them?More importantly, it's a physiological reaction. Intimidation and fear are another example. We don't take the position that people have the "right" to do that to others. Disgust, laughter, sadness, and joy are other reactions that one person may cause in another through their actions (people like comedians do it deliberately and are often paid for it). Trying to take someone seriously when they are deliberately trying to provoke a physiological response (sometimes ridiculously and ineptly so) is a hardship. It cuts both ways, all ways. The media are full of images of women mocking men who are trying to impress in a pathetic way...and also "falling for" men who succeed.Yes, because men can't do it, can't "cheat" (as Simone de Beauvoir termed it, use the "escape hatch") and marry into power and money, or (excuse the term) screw their way to the top. Men have to go to war as well--women don't. Men have to work their whole lives away--they have a lot fewer options, certainly not ones which are sanctioned by society. Women should not be mocked for the pain of childbirth or their menstruations--that's cruel and mean. Making fun of people who are drowning if you're able to breathe underwater is also cruel. Women flaunting the fact that they can screw their way (sorry to be so blunt) out of responsibilities and obligations which men simply cannot is ugly, cruel, and mean. Men have to fight their way up the patriarchy, and deal with all the 360-degree bullying 24/7. Women are oppressed by the patriarchy, too, but they don't have to live in it for their whole lives. The Patriarchy is something that primarily oppresses men, it is the hierarchy we have to squeeze into and cannot escape, unlike women (c.f. de Beauvoir), who can use their God-given sexual powers to effortlessly glide in and out of it as they please (and if you don't know the truth of this, you need to do more research). Flaunting this and mocking men for how trapped they are is just cruel and mean. Hilary Clinton talked about applying for law school and the boys who were also applying were begging her to drop out since if she took one of their spots, they would be sent to Vietnam and die. Think about it. There is so much messed up about that anecdote that it's hard to know where to start. Unless you're so wrapped up in your own one-sided political agenda as to be blinded by it, it's obvious that there's a lot of oppression of both genders going on there. "You don't get to go to school, not because you're not smart enough (you are), but that if you get in and not me, then I get taken off to be killed." Where do you start at not being selfish and making the system better? Where do you start?This is absolutely true. One subtlety, rather like free speech, is that you have the right to say what you want, but if your only purpose is to hurt others, rather than communicate, it loses its value and may become hate speech. Likewise, if one dresses, presents oneself publicly, in a way such that the primary objective is to upset others or make them uncomfortable (for example, one's clothes aren't even comfortable for oneself, as often happens, i.e., wearing things one would not wear in a million years--high heels? yikes!--if the objective were anything other than "making a splash" of some kind) then that, I would say, undermines the otherwise valid notion that we should be able to wear whatever we want (including nothing). Yes, it's a big grey area, but we all must acknowledge the legal ramifications of yelling "MOVIE!" in a crowded firehouse or if I walk down a crowded street yelling obscenities at the top of my voice that I can't hold that I'm NOT deliberately trying to offend and upset people.This starts to allude to a major problem, which seems to be internalized (self-)oppression of women of themselves and of other women. Even women are "allowed" (by whom?) to be there own agents, they seem to get into trouble. It seems to me that liberation needs to go further, or got off the track along the way somewhere.So at this point it's not "The Patriarchy" that's forcing women to, or deciding that women will do whatever (who are these Patriarchs? I don't think I'm on the mailing list....). Now "society" is "persuading" woman to do something. This is rather hard to keep track of, certainly to place blame or formulate a remedy...and what exactly IS the problem here?Creepy AF..Sorry you went through this. I'm sympathetic but sadly can't be fully empathetic. As a cis male, I and others like me can never fully know what that was like.Thus, It's the responsibility of all cis males to develop our emotional intelligence and do our best to listen to, learn from, respect, and understand not only women, but also all people of non-binary and fluid genders.