Foolish Monkey

Foolish Monkey
MAGIC TOWN where the old never die, Connecticut,
January 31
*************************** "I find that I am so excited I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it's the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain" -Red in The Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King *************************** WARNING: I like to noodle. can't resist. and once is never enough either. ***************************

Foolish Monkey's Links

MAY 6, 2012 7:22PM

for V CORSO:Do clothes make the woman? Women in America PT 2

Rate: 8 Flag

This is a continuation of a discusson inspired by a terrific piece by Jeanette Demain entitled:  Breasturants, Hypocrisy and Sexual Kitsch
In response I wrote (retitled as): OPEN CALL: gettin' back to tits and ass American Style 

Phyllis Is What suggested this OPEN and contributed: Female objectification and fashion - Foolish Monkey's OC 

Keri H wrote: Blog comment in support of Foolish Monkey's post 

From V Corso: 

Phyllis/Foolish Monkey's OC: A modest proposal---The Burqua

From Poor Woman: Foolish Monkeys OC: Women Must Fight a New Way 

If you let me know you've written something that adds to this discussion, it would be my pleasure to link it here and on the original OPEN.  Thanks. 

As I see this, it's not about skin per se, but about the message women are getting day in day out - to sell our skin, to sell our selves short.  It reminds me of what it's like to watch the dynamics of a two child family where one is the favorite.
Girls are told in every conceivable way:  you are here for boys to look at and maybe even to like if you're REALLY REALLY sexy and fun!   And boys get the message that they are here to take their place in the world.  Go get em, tiger!

Oppression plays one against the other.  And pays mightily for someone off the graph.  

The cultural message is right there in a continuous loop.  Watch the commercials, tv shows, ads in magazines, movies.  I mentioned in another blog there's a new movie coming out, an animated movie for kids about Pirates.  Take a look at the female pirate in the commercial:  she's made to look like a stripper with a sword.  
I said in my last blog:
"Today's girls and women are told in a million different creative and even stunningly subliminal ways that in these difficult times the road to prosperity is to sell yourself and your body to the highest bidder."

V CORSO responded in her blog: 
"Foolish Monkey's point about girls and women being told that the road to prosperity is looking beautiful/sexy (paraphrasing here) dovetails nicely into this line of thought. Life has become all about packaging, not content. If you've got other resources and assets to keep yourself afloat in the world, there's  a whole slew of jobs more lucrative, safer and far more pleasant than being a pole dancer or working in a breastaurant."

My problem with the above is while you're correct, the fact is in order to have something substantial to offer, you've got to get an education.  It has to be valued and discussed in the family, and valued by society.  Is anyone fighting for our kid's educations?  Even primary education is underfunded.  Who can afford college any more? 

Is it that we don't have the time or the energy to place focus and value on vision, education or advancement?  Or is it that we're too busy being diverted and preoccupied by the idiots of the world being rubbed in our faces morning noon and night? Elevating supreme symbols of vapid idiocy and even prostitution to cultural heroes of national obsession.   

My point has been that right now, trash and overt sexuality is a constant in our society.  And it's reinforced every day.  Our girls believe being sexy will give them leverage, make boys like them. They think being sexual will give them power, love, an edge, money. 
In this day and age, most families are worried about keeping a roof over their heads so the idea of whether or not their daughters are empowered enough to resist all this garbage being fed into their heads or whether they're given equal opportunity isn't nearly as important as whether or not they as parents can keep their daughters from getting pregnant or quitting school or doing drugs or losing interest in their own futures.  People are struggling to keep body and soul together.  
I have granddaughters and I know that this world is easier for men and in general as it presently stands, life will be easier for my grandsons than my granddaughters. It's that simple and it's wrong. 
It may be this discussion is really about corporate fascist oppression and selling our children a corrupt bill of goods so enormous profits continue to be made PLUS keeping power cards out of our hands.  Dividing and conquering is always a winning strategy and oppression wins the day.  

While I was writing this at one point I tried to think of a symbol for America, some recognizable symbol, like freedom and mom and apple pie and baseball used to be.  I was trying to think of something that makes us feel good today.  

You know I couldn't think of a thing, until this came to mind:



Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
That video is a riot. And this post is excellent. I'm bowing out now, except for this...

There's an 86 year old professor in my department who keeps telling me that I need to lose weight if I want to get a guy in an upper social strata. He thinks I deserve one of those guys and keeps giving my that tip on how to catch one.
There is no reason to think life will be easier for your grandson than your granddaughter- all economic and social indicators show otherwise. For all that girls are told to be sexy for men, they are still being encouraged to be able to care for themselves. Boys are now developing the same low self esteem girls have historically had- and have significantly lower social and economic prospects than in the past- when girls were not allowed to compete with them. Ultimately, there is the image of ourselves we create to attract others- for companionship, sex and reproduction- and the image we desire for ourselves. Both are important, as we are not entirely self sufficient and living on our own islands of self creation. If anything, girls are allowed to enjoy more of their own sexuality than ever before- but there is no longer an expectation for anything in return.
All of this bodes ill for continuing paternalistic marriage and property laws- but bodes really well for individual freedom. Women can do a lot more of what they want, and it has an effect on everyone.
Thanks Phyllis.

Oryoki, as I see it, the emphasis on sexuality is aimed at girls: to be alluring, sexy, to dress provocatively, to act as if they're willing or interested or sexually active. This is far more aggressively projected to girls than to boys. They're just the willing recipients. I can't dispute how you perceive media, but I don't agree.

If women are making more money, I'd like to know where. Women are more employed right now because they earn less, are willing to work longer hours because they're more often single parents. And they're making less than men. (I think the number is less than 80% of men in similar positions.)
The $100 bill will never go out of style.

Men and women are 100% stuck with each other.

Looking at the world as a zero sum game with either the boys or the girls winning is much closer to a cognitive bias than insight.

Can't we do better thinking?
This is the comment that I posted on VC's blog (which garnered me a response about the difficulty of wearing burkas :rolleyes;)

"If a woman wears a burque because she chooses to and it pleases her, I, as a feminist, am WAY cool with that. If, on the other hand, she wears it out of fear that some oppressive asshat will stone her to death if she doesn't, then not so much.

If feel the same way about the chick in the boob flaunting wonder bra, ultra mini flashing her dental floss underwear and 6" CFM heels.

As long as its the woman's CHOICE, it's all good. If its done as a result of social, economic or peer pressure it becomes sexual oppression. Free, informed choice is a pretty clear deciding line, IMO.

(Plus those chicks spinning on the hoot's bar stool are having a freakin ball!)"

I'm reposting it her because... Well mostly cuz I'm lazy.
Nick Carroway wrote: "Men and women are 100% stuck with each other. "

Ummmm, no Nickie... Not by a 15 - 20 percent margin, hon.

But nice try, though! ;)
Nick of course. All humans are linked. But we have to look at what's being sold to our kids. For want of another argument: it's simply not healthy. It encourages behaviors and attitudes that are counter productive to good relationships.

Amy, I'm with you on the burqua or any choice for any one. If a woman wants to wear one, wear it. Men too. You want a burqua, wear a burqua! I'm all for sharing the joy!
Of my two stepkids, both teenagers, I see one using her body to get a lot of attention. She has always craved attention, particularly sexual attention, and shows a lot of skin. She does this of her own accord and actively seeks out boys. There is no reason they wouldn't respond. She's a teenager, and teenagers are not known for good, balanced advice or independent thinking. Her sister is very modest, and does not like to show too much. Both of them believe that they can 1) wear what they want to express their individuality via what they find at the mall, 2) be as sexual as they want to meet their needs and not have to feel ashamed about it, 3) girls can do whatever they want. Their boy friends (male) all are struggling to have any idea of success, as they are all from very low economic circumstances, and have no expectation of handouts because they are boys. They see girls as equal to themselves, but the reality that rich people and good looking people will always be on top is still true for them. It isn't holding the girls back, because they can get boyfriends if they want them. The boys have much more pressure to be thin, muscular, popular, have money to spend on having girls- and less chance to realize that. Media isn't the only thing that drives kids' self image, their relationships with their fathers and families do as well. Both the girls are close to their dad, who is not a sexist, and most of their male friends have grown up without one. That can tell you a lot of where their sense of success and personal value will lie. For some people, sexual relationships/status are their top priority.
Oryoki in this I agree wholeheartedly. Class, privilege are the real gold standard.
'the idiots of the world being rubbed in our faces
morning noon and night....elevating supreme symbols
of vapid idiocy and even prostitution
to cultural heroes of national obsession. "
of course...that is alas the Way of the World..

The culprit here is materialism, the belief, ill-founded,
that the material world is the only reality.

Such posh! nonsense...

The fate of our kids is this: Nihilism.
Nothing created by the Mind or the Spirit (same thing)
is better than anything else created by the Mind.
Morality is relative.
Aesthetics are relative.

Values are relative. You are entitled to yer values, certainly!
What could be holier? YOUR values....

Confusion makes a boy or girl anxious. A boy or girl, i
truly believe
seeks love truth and beauty.
The FEELING of being a body/soul on the right path.
Morality is be good is rewarded..

and the Idiocracy knows this, and defines their
limited safe collective values thusly.
They make a mockery of Value....

what has value is a thing for its own sake,
a perfection of being..
a rising to all potentiality..
you bet part of it is sexual..
we are sexual beings..

perverts rule the world, is what i sometimes think.
perversion:to turn away from the right course.
to lead into mental error or false judgment.

to turn to an improper use; misapply. ...!

to misapply , to waste our being. our be-ing//
Thank You!
I am joining you. Please link my latest post here.
It does seem that any perception of improvement we have on this subject is just that, perception. Bombarded with images of whats acceptable and desirable in terms of appearance, we are a society that condones and supports ("money makes the world go around") reality shows like Toddlers in Tiaras. It aint gettin any better.

Good article...r
The graduating class in our department this spring is 90% women. This is not an unusual year. Higher ed has been trending this way for awhile. NPR recently had an inspiring piece about how American marriage is changing as women become the top wage earners in marriages. Young women will clickety-click across commencement stages in a few weeks, wearing their three inch plus heels, making the sound of power walking out into the world.
Interesting points, Foolish Monkey.

We all seem to be on the same side, approaching the issue of female oppression from different angles. My concerns with this are from a European perspective where the underlying social and economic problems are slightly different.

I work with women who come from places like Kabul, Sarajevo, Kuwait, Syria, Baghdad, Tehran...What frustrates these women in Europe is that the discussion about their personal freedom always deteriorates into a back-and-forth over whether or not Islamic women are oppressed by wearing the hijab. The hijab is an article of clothing one wears or doesn't wear based on personal choice. No argument there. Their real concerns are a growing right-wing nationalism which marginalizes these women and their families (Gert Wilders/Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Magen) ), their children growing up with one leg in the culture of their ancestors and one leg in the "modern" west, FGM, and general survival.

What disturbed me about SBA's (seemingly off the cuff) remark about the burqa possibly being a personal choice is that its not. Not ever. I don't know if any of you have traveled to the Middle East or Near East or live in areas where you meet women on a regular basis who are sheathed in this garment. I have. Whereas I am virulently opposed to trivializing any discussion wrt women's rights/oppression with focusing on articles of dress, the burqa is the exception:

As nilesite said on my blog: Wearing a burqua doesn't make you oppressed. Wearing a burqua makes you disappear.

SBA's remark about the burqa being a choice was a red flag. I reacted and wound up side-tracking the discussion myself. Apologies for that.

What struck me as an interesting juxtaposition is that the Barbie Doll standard/hyper sexualization in the west is just as much a psychological prison/straightjacket to women as the burqa in the Islamic world.
I sat here trying to think of a response, but finding it difficult because I agree so completely with what you have said. There is no question there is a gender bias and sadly, I don't think things will change in the near future.
I support women everywhere V. I know they have to lead their movement and discussion because their culture, religion, sensibilities are so different from ours. We are having a discussion about culture, dress, role models, education and salary disparity and they're in an entirely different situation and have been raised with different values, expectations and laws.

I think in the end it's all the same: women being oppressed (often with violence).

I feel as if we need to tread lightly while wholeheartedly supporting women in foreign countries, standing back to let them direct their show and tell us how to help them. Their movement is not the same as ours, and all too often, their lives are at stake.
Thanks for the add-on!
Keep fighting!
Most women seem half asleep or just barely aware!
We have to wake them up, shake them up, and give them the straight scoop!
I keep telling the powers that be that it will take at least 3 generations for the newcomers to the Netherlands to achieve the level of emancipation Dutch women have won wrt schooling, financial independence and personal development. These women need the chance to do things their own way, not necessarily according to Dutch feminist orthodoxy.

The government has a 5 year fast track plan and it is doomed to failure.
what a shame. BUT...on the other hand, sometimes a kind of radical push will start something...although I am well aware that it's quite dangerous.

I am very sympathetic and concerned for fundamentalist Muslim women new to and living within European laws and ideas and culture, particularly because their religious laws are very specific in terms of women's place, women's roles, how they need to look, behave, etc. And if they deviate, it's PUNISHABLE. Severely.

I think we need to let them determine how they can be helped. But perhaps, like women trying to get out of abused relationships slowly, tactfully, it can still lead to violence and worse. Sometimes fast is best. I don't know. Their situation is so extreme!
Poor Woman, you are quite welcome! Thank you for writing that blog!
Sexy is the old way of gaining power.
That video is brilliant. My mate and I are a little stoned, and we've watched it twice already and are googling related searches. We also have a sudden craving for pizza but that's probably unrelated.
Raising a daughter in this day an age is not easy. What Algis said only I would say this:
Sexy is a cheap way to gain power that is fleeting. It's a dead end. But easy to sell because it's instant--However if a young woman has a strong foundation in emotional/spiritual/intellectual values she can see through all the hype.

That being said, navigating through all the muck is quite a different challenge!
Excellent post. One point though, if all of us women got together and raised our sons differently, would that make a difference, do you think?
Just saying, rated in solidarity.