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.