The radical idea that women are people

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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Elvish Pillager » Tue May 29, 2012 7:17 pm UTC

doogly wrote:Moral distinctions between "active" vs "passive" don't really hold up under scrutiny.

Yeah, check the edit I made while you were posting :P

I'm currently trying to hash out exactly what I want the distinction I use here to be. I'm thinking about the question "Is it more difficult for the person to use the space if they do <X> than if they don't"; a person finding it difficult to not wear perfume seems difficult for me to believe, although on the other hand, it's probably true for some people, and just another thing that I need to get over the difficulty of believing.

EDIT: Now introspectively approaching the notion of "I judge" from a behavior perspective ("what do I generally do?") rather than a moral perspective ("what do I believe is right?"): When someone is polluting a public space I use with perfume, I usually can't tell who it is and just leave the space. Then sometimes I complain to other people in a way that doesn't show respect for the person's decision to use it. So I'm still judgingly promoting a social order in which perfume is unacceptable. Maybe I shouldn't do that. I haven't been convinced, yet, that I shouldn't, but I could imagine being convinced of that.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Jessica » Tue May 29, 2012 7:42 pm UTC

I don't think it's unreasonable to ask friends to not wear strong scents, nor is it wrong to have scent free zones (where artificial smells are specifically disallowed). But, to expect others to always do it is a bit much.

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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Enuja » Tue May 29, 2012 7:42 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:Good for you! But you're expecting people not to make a judgement about you based on your personal habits, which is unrealistic. In the blue corner, we have the rest of the world, who do make this effort you currently don't feel like doing, and in the red, we have Enuja, who has decided not to. Enuja has good, solid reasons not to do it, but has still broken a social norm, and this can be interpreted in a whole lot of different ways by different people.

It's not unreasonable for a boss to make a snap judgement about you for not shaving your legs, when all the other women have taken the time to. It's not unreasonable for other joggers to find it odd either. It wouldn't be unreasonable for people to make snap judgements about me based on a beard either.

You sound like you want to have your cake and eat it. You want to opt out of a process most other people do, but don't want this to be seen as strange. By definition, this isn't going to happen.
Directly after your post, Belial did a good job of explaining where you're going wrong here: I think it is both likely and wrong that I will be judged negatively for not shaving my leg hair. Did you see my post from earlier today, but two pages ago? I think it usefully addresses some of your earlier comments, and that post included these two sentences, which are extremely relevant to the conversation on this page.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby setzer777 » Tue May 29, 2012 8:24 pm UTC

Even if you only apply a preference to your own dating life, it seems like you can still be contributing to the overall problem. I'm not familiar enough with shaving to know how often that's a complaint, so I'll use an example I am familiar with.

I've had heterosexual female friends complain about men expecting sex very early in the dating process, and about how this makes them feel pressured to do things they aren't comfortable with*. There's a larger message in the culture that a woman's only worth is sexual. Personally, I do prefer sex early in a relationship, and probably wouldn't stay in one that didn't include sex fairly early on.

Now I didn't create the larger social pressures. But even if I condemn them and talk about how my preference is purely personal, and that no woman should ever feel pressured to do anything she doesn't want to do, am I not still contributing to the problem?

Doesn't my personal dating preference (in combination with other people's) still add to the pressure present in the culture as a whole, and perhaps even perpetuate it ("See? If you don't put out you can't find a man").

*Though in practice they usually blame other women in the dating scene for "giving it away" too soon. I think blaming other women in that situation is fucked up and wrong.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby doogly » Tue May 29, 2012 8:26 pm UTC

I actually prefer to use this helpful rule of thumb:
if it turns Doug on, it is bad for society.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby pseudoidiot » Tue May 29, 2012 8:44 pm UTC

Is the reverse also true?
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby doogly » Tue May 29, 2012 8:46 pm UTC

Nope! For example, I never engage in any classist fantasies during sex.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Ixtellor » Tue May 29, 2012 8:47 pm UTC

setzer777 wrote:Even if you only apply a preference to your own dating life, it seems like you can still be contributing to the overall problem. I'm not familiar enough with shaving to know how often that's a complaint, so I'll use an example I am familiar with.

I've had heterosexual female friends complain about men expecting sex very early in the dating process, and about how this makes them feel pressured to do things they aren't comfortable with*. There's a larger message in the culture that a woman's only worth is sexual. Personally, I do prefer sex early in a relationship, and probably wouldn't stay in one that didn't include sex fairly early on.

Now I didn't create the larger social pressures. But even if I condemn them and talk about how my preference is purely personal, and that no woman should ever feel pressured to do anything she doesn't want to do, am I not still contributing to the problem?

Doesn't my personal dating preference (in combination with other people's) still add to the pressure present in the culture as a whole, and perhaps even perpetuate it ("See? If you don't put out you can't find a man").

*Though in practice they usually blame other women in the dating scene for "giving it away" too soon. I think blaming other women in that situation is fucked up and wrong.


Yes we all contribute to social norms and thats probably due in large part to the fact we like them. Sex early in a relationship & shaved legs.

What I tried to say many pages ago... this doesn't make you the bad guy.
Social norms are a fact of life, and while people might have very good reasons for not liking the ones we actually have, in reality, they would just replace them with new ones that would cause just as many, if not more, people to be upset or be harmed.

(Replacing "early sex pressure", with "its uncouth to want sex early in a relationship"... and where does that get us? Puritanville? There will always be someone that wants to have sex before the other one does, hence someone will always be pressured.)

(There are probably people you want to have sex with and they dont' even know you exist)
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby gmalivuk » Tue May 29, 2012 9:01 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:There will always be someone that wants to have sex before the other one does, hence someone will always be pressured.
This implication doesn't actually exist, and I'm honestly kind of creeped out that you think it does. Person A can want sex with person B at a time when person B doesn't want sex with person A, without person B feeling or being the least bit pressured.
Last edited by gmalivuk on Tue May 29, 2012 9:03 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ » Tue May 29, 2012 9:03 pm UTC

No way dude, people always act in the same manner what are you some kind of liberal
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby setzer777 » Tue May 29, 2012 9:16 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Ixtellor wrote:There will always be someone that wants to have sex before the other one does, hence someone will always be pressured.
This implication doesn't actually exist, and I'm honestly kind of creeped out that you think it does. Person A can want sex with person B at a time when person B doesn't want sex with person A, without person B feeling or being the least bit pressured.


I hope it's apparent that that's not the argument I'm making in the post he's responding to.

Edit: To clarify, I'm saying that in a certain cultural context your personal dating preferences can contribute to the problem, even if you don't try to directly enforce them on other people. Suppose I live in a community with a ton of slut-shaming. I say that I oppose that - women should not be judged for their number of sexual partners. But it just so happens that my personal dating preference is to only date women whose number of previous sex partners is either very low or zero. That seems like a problem when paired with lots of other men holding the same standard, as well as the larger trend of slut-shaming.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Panonadin » Tue May 29, 2012 9:49 pm UTC

I can't understand how your personal preference can contribute to the problem unless you apply that preference in places that it affects more than you.

If I only want to "be" with women who shave, then I only want to be with women who shave. If I in turn only HIRE women who shave at my company than I am a problem.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Malconstant » Tue May 29, 2012 10:38 pm UTC

Wait now, is there a fundamental problem with negative judgement?
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby gmalivuk » Tue May 29, 2012 10:48 pm UTC

Panonadin wrote:I can't understand how your personal preference can contribute to the problem unless you apply that preference in places that it affects more than you.
Exactly. Like when you apply your preference to the people you date, who are presumably not yourself.

Note, however, that "my personal preference can contribute to the problem" and "it is a problem that I have this preference" are not equivalent.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Panonadin » Tue May 29, 2012 11:07 pm UTC

I really cannot parse the two differently. I'm not affecting the people I have no preference for by NOT dating them? Am I? I mean I am depriving them of my affection, but thats like saying if I don't date EVERYONE I'm contributing to someones problem. If I don't give money to every homeless person I'm contributing to homelessness. (If you could solve homelessness by throwing money at it)

I'm not being purposely dense, but every time I try and agree with the statement my head runs me around in circles.

If my having preference is not a problem, then my having preference cannot contribute to the problem. Can you elaborate so maybe I can see it a different way? I really feel like I'm missing something.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Zarq » Tue May 29, 2012 11:18 pm UTC

Panonadin wrote:If my having preference is not a problem, then my having preference cannot contribute to the problem.


Yes it can. Your right to have preferences just morally trumps the contribution to the problem. To give a completely exaggerated analogy, suppose there are 51 people and only adequate food for 50. Then you being alive contributes to the problem of scarcity. That doesn't mean you being alive is a problem (in the sense that you shouldn't be alive).

edit: I'm gonna split these two because they're actually two separate arguments that just use the same analogy as basis. The previous part talks about the general situation. The next part is only applicable to situations where the problems isn't that some subset of some population does something, but that that subset is too large.

Why should you be the one that has to die? Why not someone else? But then why should that one die? Why not someone else? Etc. It's an alteration of the sorites paradox. 1 grain of sand is not a heap. Neither is two. But keep adding enough grains and eventually you get a heap. But which grain of sand made it a heap?
Last edited by Zarq on Tue May 29, 2012 11:28 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Panonadin » Tue May 29, 2012 11:21 pm UTC

Thank you Zarq.

That example, however "out there" it was solved it right up for me.

In utopia I wouldn't have a preference, and neither would anyone else, then the problem (at least this one) would cease to exist. Gotcha.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Kewangji » Tue May 29, 2012 11:44 pm UTC

Panonadin wrote:Thank you Zarq.

That example, however "out there" it was solved it right up for me.

In utopia I wouldn't have a preference, and neither would anyone else, then the problem (at least this one) would cease to exist. Gotcha.

Rather, and this is simply my opinion, everyone would have preferences and they would vary enough that everyone could find what they want.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Panonadin » Tue May 29, 2012 11:46 pm UTC

Kewangji wrote:Rather, and this is simply my opinion, everyone would have preferences and they would vary enough that everyone could find what they want.


That seems like the current state of things, though.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Kewangji » Wed May 30, 2012 12:43 am UTC

Panonadin wrote:
Kewangji wrote:Rather, and this is simply my opinion, everyone would have preferences and they would vary enough that everyone could find what they want.


That seems like the current state of things, though.

They don't vary enough currently!
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Ixtellor » Wed May 30, 2012 2:04 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Ixtellor wrote:There will always be someone that wants to have sex before the other one does, hence someone will always be pressured.
This implication doesn't actually exist, and I'm honestly kind of creeped out that you think it does. Person A can want sex with person B at a time when person B doesn't want sex with person A, without person B feeling or being the least bit pressured.



Let me amend:
There will always be someone that wants to have sex before the other one does, hence someone there will always be the potential for one to feel pressured.

I wasn't trying to make a black and white statement about pressure just the fact the desire for X will have different time tables anytime you involve 2 humans. I should not have used the word "always" where I did.


I then wrote a few thousand words... but erased it and will just say this:

Human communication is imperfect and people will always feel pressured/offended/like your establishing dominance/ and most importantly 100% misreading your intent.
So while I strongly believe you should treat all humans with the upmost respect and not be a dick, you can not realistically police your communciation so that your are not contributing to someone feeling a negative reaction. Be strong, toughen up, because you can't live your life according to things you can't control (what other people think).

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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Panonadin » Wed May 30, 2012 7:22 pm UTC

Everyday?

Ugh.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Thu May 31, 2012 6:36 am UTC

Malconstant wrote:Wait now, is there a fundamental problem with negative judgement?

Just your negative judgements.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Menacing Spike » Tue Jun 05, 2012 6:11 am UTC

I stumbled along a 4chan thread along the lines of "when I'm pretending to be a woman online, people are really nice to me, but assume I'm utterly incompetent and try to do everything for me, why?". Really surprising to see a break from their "BITCHES AND WHORES" semiserious ciclejerk.

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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby The Scyphozoa » Tue Jun 05, 2012 7:27 am UTC

Well, I'm sure that depends what sites he was on.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby McGrupp » Tue Jun 05, 2012 7:45 am UTC

I'd just like to contribute to this thread by saying that I used to say "I'm all for equal rights but I'm not a feminist" because I thought "feminist" referred to the handful of crazies. Then I realized that was stupid, because "equal rights for women" is feminism. So now I have no problem being called a feminist. I'm male, btw.

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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby The Scyphozoa » Tue Jun 05, 2012 8:09 am UTC

I wrote this, in response to McGrupp, fully aware that I may be talking out my ass. Spoilered for possible extreme stupidity.

Don't worry, it's not about feminism specifically. It's just about labels in general, so it's probably unlikely to offend.

Spoiler:
That type of thing comes up with "labels" (such as feminist) probably all the time. You have to decide if you're going to avoid the word because of negative connotations, or use it despite the connotations since it's actual definition applies to you.

What happens, I think, is that there are people who support equal rights for women but don't want to be lumped in with the crazies. So they run away from the word "feminist" because of its negative connotations. But then, by leaving the group "feminists", they're perpetuating those connotations because the group of people who use that word includes one less sane person. So it's possible that more people should be doing what McGrupp is doing in the hopes that the world's view of feminists can be saved?


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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby PAstrychef » Tue Jun 05, 2012 11:39 am UTC

An excellent point. I can often take people down the garden path one question at a time about how society treats men and women differently, and how they feel about that, and in the end spring upon them the surprise that they believe in feminism. "but I don't hate men, and I shave my armpits and wear lipstick!" is a common response to the information.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby setzer777 » Tue Jun 05, 2012 2:44 pm UTC

I don't know whether I still feel comfortable calling myself a feminist. Some of it has to do with belief vs behavior. For example, I understand all the issues porn has, but I'm unwilling to stop watching it. On a personal level I also enjoy the mountain of objectifying images of women present in all forms of visual media, even though intellectually I agree that there are problems with it.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Jun 05, 2012 2:51 pm UTC

Porn is not inherently anti-feminist, despite what some anti-porn feminists will tell you.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Malconstant » Tue Jun 05, 2012 3:00 pm UTC

I've always interpreted this as a clash of waves of feminism. The second wave importantly had more to do with raging against the establishment gender culture, super-emphasizing woman strength and independence, and as unavoidable collateral a good deal more vitriol towards the patriarchy which gets mushed into men in general.

Nowadays, when you see people talking with that sort of rhetoric, it feels distinctly unproductive and out of place, and this carries with it the negative connotations of feminism, but it's important to be able to recognize that such sentiments were so important a few years back in order to get us where we are today. I'd (somewhat offensively I'm sure) in some ways liken it to when I hear old people being positive-racist, saying things like "I love the Jews, they're such a sweet people, and smart too." Although I tend to find that kind of elderly liberal-racism to be highly charming. I think that kind of attitude was good to have 60 years ago, so I'm glad it was a thing, but nowadays it just comes off as a little silly.

Also, in so far as labels are powerful (which they of course are), it's useful to be able to say "yeah, forget about second wave, it served its purpose historically but that's not what feminism is about today. Third wave is all about genuine equality of the human condition, acceptance of differing attitudes/approaches, and sustainable progress in thought."

This is to say that I feel it can be easier to sell someone on "you didn't fabricate your initial negative feelings towards feminism, the negative sentiment exists today largely as a relic of a societal reaction to second wave feminism, which embodied something closer to the stereotype that is today most strongly associated with the negative feminist attitude. But modern third wave feminism doesn't like second wave feminism either, we consider that thought to be unproductive. So nobody thinks that you're a bad person for not wanting to associate with man-hating cartoons, it's just that modern feminism has evolved beyond that, and so deserves a fresh reaction."

Edit: Also, what Gmal said. Also also, my post isn't to suggest that the modern feminist movement isn't itself confused on this clashing of waves thing. Part of the point is that, especially among the older generations, the second wave outlook is still alive and well in pockets, and this can terribly confuse a dialogue of feminism when different people are using the same blanket label without differentiating waves and such.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Elvish Pillager » Tue Jun 05, 2012 3:04 pm UTC

setzer777: Being a feminist doesn't mean you have to only consume Feminist Approved® works of entertainment. If it did, you could never watch anything, because every work has problems of one type or other in it. Be aware of the problems, make other people aware, try not to let the *ist attitudes of the work influence you, and if you ever end up in a position to make works of entertainment yourself, apply what you've learned and make something better.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Tue Jun 05, 2012 3:18 pm UTC

I refuse to call myself a feminist because my religion forbids synecdoche.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Shro » Tue Jun 05, 2012 3:20 pm UTC

Re: Hairy women

There is nothing wrong with having a personal preference towards women who shave. But it's become such that it's assumed that every heterosexual man ever also has the same preferences and there's a pressure for women to follow those preferences, regardless of whether or not they want to because of this default assumption.

It is a privilege for your sexual partner to change their appearance to make sexual pleasure more pleasurable for you. When you stop thinking of it as a privilege and start expecting it as something that people are supposed to do, it becomes a problem because this being hairless aspect (and so many others) of "feminine identity" has come from being sexually pleasing to heterosexual males. Now what's wrong with a heterosexual female wanting to be sexually desirable to a heterosexual male who prefers she shaves? But should it be a decision she makes to want to get some nookie or because she's looked on with disdain if she doesn't? What's the source of this disdain and judgement? Why do some people think it's just so gross? Why are you considered as "unfeminine" if you don't adhere to these assumptions of what women should be?
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby setzer777 » Tue Jun 05, 2012 4:35 pm UTC

Elvish Pillager wrote:setzer777: Being a feminist doesn't mean you have to only consume Feminist Approved® works of entertainment. If it did, you could never watch anything, because every work has problems of one type or other in it. Be aware of the problems, make other people aware, try not to let the *ist attitudes of the work influence you, and if you ever end up in a position to make works of entertainment yourself, apply what you've learned and make something better.


It's not just a matter of nothing else being available. I get a lot of enjoyment out of the endless barrage of eye candy and titillation the media throws at me.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Ulc » Tue Jun 05, 2012 5:13 pm UTC

Malconstant wrote:This is to say that I feel it can be easier to sell someone on "you didn't fabricate your initial negative feelings towards feminism, the negative sentiment exists today largely as a relic of a societal reaction to second wave feminism, which embodied something closer to the stereotype that is today most strongly associated with the negative feminist attitude. But modern third wave feminism doesn't like second wave feminism either, we consider that thought to be unproductive. So nobody thinks that you're a bad person for not wanting to associate with man-hating cartoons, it's just that modern feminism has evolved beyond that, and so deserves a fresh reaction."


And to be entirely honest, even talking about the third wave as a singular opinion is a bad idea, there's a large cleft between the sex-positive parts of the movement and the less-sex-positive parts, and the difference is often fairly vitriolic. Even within the term "third wave feminism" if you find a lot of people willing to deny that others that calls themselves feminist, actually are feminists.

Mention prostitution or porn and you'll find that people have the shovels out for trench digging faster than you can say anything about waves. For a long time that made me reluctant to refer to myself as a feminist, but these days that have changed a bit, mostly because I realized that not calling myself that, only lend power to those that I disagree with.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Enuja » Tue Jun 05, 2012 10:31 pm UTC

I know that a lot of feminists think that the lesson about objectification is that no-one should be objectified, but I am a feminist who strongly disagrees. Instead, we should respect the agency of the people we objectify, and never allow the social category a person is in to prevent them from doing things we'd be okay with other people doing. In other words, we need to get rid of the madonna/whore dichotomy, and treat the same person as an intellectual, a saint, and a sexual object, depending on circumstances and relationships. As a bisexual woman, instead of not objectifying the women around me, I also objectify the men. It very, very much bothers me that women are still more objectified, more expected to be "nice looking" for other people than men are. But I don't respond by trying to get rid of human beauty and fashion: instead I embrace different people's individual choices as to how to present themselves. I think that one lesson from gay male culture is very important: if you're part of the class you sexually objectify, you can both objectify and respect that class. And I think we can and should all learn to treat ourselves as if we were in the class we find sexually attractive, and treat the class we find sexually attractive as if we were in it.

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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby sophyturtle » Wed Jun 06, 2012 12:50 am UTC

Shro wrote:Re: Hairy women

There is nothing wrong with having a personal preference towards women who shave. But it's become such that it's assumed that every heterosexual man ever also has the same preferences and there's a pressure for women to follow those preferences, regardless of whether or not they want to because of this default assumption.

It is a privilege for your sexual partner to change their appearance to make sexual pleasure more pleasurable for you. When you stop thinking of it as a privilege and start expecting it as something that people are supposed to do, it becomes a problem because this being hairless aspect (and so many others) of "feminine identity" has come from being sexually pleasing to heterosexual males. Now what's wrong with a heterosexual female wanting to be sexually desirable to a heterosexual male who prefers she shaves? But should it be a decision she makes to want to get some nookie or because she's looked on with disdain if she doesn't? What's the source of this disdain and judgement? Why do some people think it's just so gross? Why are you considered as "unfeminine" if you don't adhere to these assumptions of what women should be?

Quoted for truth.
I stopped shaving a couple months after my SO and I got together. Sometimes I remove my leg hair now, and I shave when my pits get real smelly, but he in no way expects me to. Which is awesome. It is nice to be able to be seen as sexy without having to spend time changing the way I naturally look.
It is still hard. His mom has a pool that we go to multiple times a summer. I moved down here from a place where the only one in the house where no one shaved, my mother has not shaved since before I was born, and my friends don't bat an eye about it. Now I am incredibly unusual. His family knows I don't really remove my hair but at the same time expects me to. It is hard to know in many eyes you cannot be beautiful without tons of effort. It is not always bad, but it can be hard.When I told his younger sister I shaved for her wedding she thanked me with that warm smile she has.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby poxic » Wed Jun 06, 2012 1:02 am UTC

Yeah, I did the whole ball of nine-yard wax for my parents' 50th anniversary: shave, new dress, nylons, heels, jewelry, makeup, curling iron. It was intended to be a gift to my mother who always wished I'd turned out to be a cheerleader rather than a geek. The large volume of compliments (example from my brother's newish girlfriend: "Wow, you look nice! Like, really nice!") felt awful.

In unrelated news: oh hey, I finally figured out the key combo that brings up the ZoneAlarm error report window! Argh.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Panonadin » Wed Jun 06, 2012 1:16 am UTC

Are there undertones to these compliments?

Do they ignore you when you aren't dressed up?

I only ask because I know that if I show up to an event in a nice shirt and designer jeans and some cool shoes I'll get "Hi" maybe a bit more but not much. Now If I show up in a suit I'll get a much different response (some of them may be "why the shit are you in a suit?")

I guess my point is, the difference in reaction isn't b/c they look down on me or don't appreciate my jeans and nice shirt. There are plenty of people, women and men at my job that dress nicely every day, but when corporate comes they dress NICE and people notice and mention it to them.

I've even heard friends joke "What I don't look good every day?" when it's obvious they are dressed up more than regular days and someone notices.
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