SEPTEMBER 14, 2010 9:37PM

Love Your Suit!

Rate: 5 Flag

A friend and I were arguing about whether prostitution should be legal and whether it would help or hinder gender equality:  control over your body includes the right to sell it on one side and the objectification and endangerment of minors on the other.
It digressed into a discussion of social mores and how men are so simple minded that they cannot look upon women without going sexual in their thoughts.  And a sarcastic comment was made about how men might feel if they were objectified in the same manner.
And I was just a drive by observer in this conversation, rubber necking at the stupid remarks of one dinosaur thinker and one extreme feminist, both of whom were not making good points.
But I got to thinking about why men don't get observed, because men are hot and sexually stimulating.  Looking at them all day at work should make you hot....but it doesn't.
Over the course of the time they have controlled civilization, they have developed a dress code that evens them all out, that makes the advantage of youth disappear.  The older ones hide their flab and lack of abs.  They have created a neutered power uniform. 
The reason you don't see men sexually competing with each other in a normal business environment is that men in business generally obscure their sexual traits with the man's burqua, the business suit. No one is sexy in one, thus you all become equally unsexy and are able to compete in more lucrative arenas.
Take note, Women, it is good for this to happen! 

In America, women in business are required to "dress" according to a norm that includes high heels which make us walk funny, skirts which reveal our legs, and form fitting jackets that emphasize our busts. It is just what you wear as normal business attire.  No box suit designed to hide and normalize our appearance for us!  We take sexy to work!

Women I know who wear actual burqua like the fact that people are only able to see their faces, sometimes only their eyes, as it stops men from evaluating them as sex objects first and business people second.  It also assures that you will only be doing business with other women, and sometimes this in itself is a good thing.  There are a lot of women who like it, rather than do it because they must.  Hard for Americans to deal with conceptually, but I have asked directly of women that cover and I believe them.
It also limits your mobility, targets you as a woman, and is an insidious means of keeping us in the "other" category of consciousness.   For identification, public safety, security, and many other reasons is bad solution to a real problem, the natural objectification of women by men unable to view females without sexual tics.

Sexual objectification is an ongoing problem that has to be solved first. Men of the Madonna/Whore generation will die off and more clear headed people, raised by this generation, will have a chance to make this less horrible.  In the mean time, we all deal with it, like it or not.  Mostly not.

The liberation of blacks in America has taken over 140 years to begin to take hold in meaningful social and economic ways.
Women got the right to vote after black men and less than 100 years ago.
Think about that for a minute.  Black men were considered 3/5th human and women were considered 0/5ths human.  We were also denied rights, beaten at the will of our husbands (although usually not with bull-whips or in public), could not vote, largely uneducated, unable to hold public office.  The ownership of us was more "polite" but similarly restrictive to our freedom and opportunity.  And for about 50 years longer.  Black men got the right to vote after the civil war, but black women did not.  None of us did.
Being enslaved was dramatically worse than being a wealthy woman in America, surely.  But most women in America were not wealthy and prostitution, destitution, and brutalization and poverty were the fate of any woman unable to sell herself into a proper marriage.  And even then, she was at the mercy of her husband.  Jane Eyre was England but Slaughterhouse 5 was America.  The middle class in America didn't happen until the mid 19th century.  And June Cleaver never really happened except on tv.  Women getting control over our bodies and the subsequent ability to decide to work was a major game changer.
This is running its course. The real timeline on women's suffrage starts when we got free access to the pill and abortion, the early 1960's on the pill and 1972 for the abortion.   About 60 years or so,  so far.  Until then, keeping women down was just a cruel game of how long can you keep her knocked up or breastfeeding either through "normal" expectations of marriage, or marital rape. And knocking up an unmarried woman was an immediate win in terms of ruining her as an economic competitor to men in power. 
The subjugation of women worldwide has been an economic tool in the hands of men to keep the wealth and power for themselves.  That era is coming to an end, but it ain't going quietly into that sweet goodnight. 
Even in the west, we still socially require women to wear shoes that are fetishistic symbols of foot binding.  We still require her to wear restrictive undergarments in hot weather so the men won't go crazy at the idea of a nipple showing under a blouse.  We still have ass ads on tv all the time on every channel.
At some point in my feminist meanderings over the years, I realized that I have been wearing the American burqua, a loose t-shirt and loose jeans.  No one notices you in Levi's, Hanes and Keds.  Now we need to make every day casual Friday for women and make some real progress on the issue.  Mao's uniform, designed to work equally well on women and men and required uniform of the People..... is looking good to me.
Men look good in jeans, t-shirt, and sneakers, too.  Equally as well as women with all of their sexual appearance on display in a similar manner as women wearing the same outfit.  The only power you could confer through this dress code would be in the quality of their ideas rather than the color of their Armani suit, though.  It would be a hard sell, as  guts and flab would be "out there" and men would become strangely equal, ready for objectification by women who could go ahead and see all of the goods instead of being tricked by a clever tailor.  
Men would have to work out and groom to make themselves desirable. They would have to spend resources and time doing so.  We might all let up a little and finally become more equal.  This is why in Utopian sci-fi fantasy, all the aliens wear the same simple jumpsuit.
In lieu of a universally unattractive little Red suit,  or the alien leotard which would surely bind, I will suggest the more American burqua for ALL of us, men and women alike: the Levi-Hanes-Ked, the uniform of my people.

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OK, getting hit by a spambot for your first comment is just WRONG.

I'll repeat what I've said elsewhere. We could always go back and try John & Yoko's bagism idea.

(But I will argue with you on the point that men don't look sexy in business suits. I have at least one male friend who ROCKS a well cut,well tailored business suit. It can't be a J...C Penney suit, but a nice Perry Ellis? Rowr.
I am debating whether to leave it there or take it down. If I take it down, the PTB can see how annoying and wrong it is and come to the defense of us making content all day

I will take it down so that you can be the first of I hope many!
It must have been the word "suit" that called the bot. *shiver*
I never thought of business suits as neutery OR hubby has said things like, "Well, at least you don't have to wear a noose around your neck and a jacket with long sleeves..." whenever I've whined about dressing up.

I think the idea that men are going to go nuts at the sight of a braless woman is pretty sexist, but there is no denying they'll probably look. There's been a lot of chat on OS past few days about clothes, from burqas to teenaged girls dressed like prostitutes and it's brought up some fascinating perspectives. Fact is, I usually look too--at men AND women. Which makes me an equal-opportunity perv, I suppose.

Reminds me of that line from the fantastic Van Morrison song: "All the girls walk by, dressed up for each other."

I'm with you regarding a uniform of the people, in part because office attire seems so gruesomely uncomfortable and designed for nothing else other than to find out who's the most masochistic in the bunch. I'm one of *those* parents who's totally down with the idea of school uniforms (as long as the girls aren't required to wear a skirt) and it never ceases to amaze me how many parents come completely unglued at the prospect. I told someone I was arguing with once, "Hey, I have three boys--they were jeans and a t-shirt or polo every single day. They already have a uniform." (So this is why I'm nodding over your jeans/t-shirt/Keds remark here.)

I've been trying to put together a wardrobe for casual office/teaching and I just will NOT wear heels or any other shoe that hurts my feet, which means I've made some pretty unofficelike choices. And I had to remember that line (I think it was Robin Williams in Good Morning Vietnam) "You can't say 'lesbian' on the radio...we have to say 'women in comfortable shoes.'" (Which makes me laugh every time I think of it.)

And I also think you're right on the timeline. I hated that old cigarette ad: "You've Come A Long Way, Baby!" But the truth is that we have. We also have a ways to go.
Coming at it from a woman in a career where the top10% earners were ALL men for the first decade of my work lifee.. it sucks to be female in America for the first 2/3 of my life.

In 25 years since high school graduation, I have seen one generation die off or be otherwise removed from the workplace decision making org chart. It has improved as this occurred. I hate that this is what it takes, but it seems to be the case.

The Madonna/whore men's generation is still in play in America, but they only have about another 15 years before they will be retired. And the next wave of feminists are growing up seeing women in power, in commerce, in authority, as unstigmatized single parents, and whose sexuality is something they control and use to control others. It is a whole new world order that has surprised and confused a LOT of men who basically thought it was always going to be top down for them.

It will take two more generations for the fall out to relax a little by my estimation. I stay home with my son. He is going to learn that that was my choice because of economics. He will also learn that I chose a career path with built in flexibility because I knew that my career would not be a straight path with steady rise in position. My biology dictated that. And his will dictate that he will need a steady source of income to support a mate when it is time for him to procreate. I will help him understand that we all make choices and that some of them are biological, like who he is attracted to, whether he can bear children, whether he can rear them.

The only thing he can't do that his wife, making a standard statistical assumption here, can do is bear a child and feed it for the first year. It is easier for the family unit if she is not burdened with outside work during this time. That means that she needs to be able to be insured and work from home while doing this, assuming they go the traditional route. As a woman that did it and having heard how most of my women friends feel about it, the woman staying home during this time is preferable. Breasts and babies til they don't need each other every 2 hours or so makes a lot of sense. But this requires a career track that can accommodate it on both parts of the partnership in a marriage.

Re clothing: I want to see us wear sexually provocative, suggestive clothing ONLY in situations where you WANT to broadcast it, like in dating situations like bars, clubs events. But in a work place, keep it neutral BECAUSE we are biologically motivated organisms.

I don't want to deny what we are, just stop it from impeding our progress and my gender's freedom.
My personal uniform is a little black something. Occasionally it's a dress, more often, it's leggings or cigarette pants and a white shirt. Dress it up, dress it down. Either way, you look put together, not too much hanging out, not too tight, you get my point. I will say John Hamm filled out his suit pretty well on Mad Men Sunday night, and even though it probably was the angle of the camera, the guy was on fiya... I also have to say I completely agree with the fact that the standard male dress-up clothes, when cut well, can definitely hide a whole world of indulgence under a jacket and give the appearance of well fed power, instead of gluttony.
I'm afraid I agree w/ you that it will take the next generation, but what I'm SCARED about is they all will be deaf and tattooed with the Social skills of a lemming and wearing FLIP FLOPS! Its all about ME you know. Have you been on the train lately?
Oh yea, I do love the suit, school uniforms, and thongs!:D Hahaha