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What I May Do With My Naked Body: A Reply to Azar Majedi About the #NudePhotoRevolutionaries Calendar

April is the first month of the #NudePhotoRevolutionaries Calendar, created by Maryam Namazie in homage to Egyptian atheist, student and blogger Aliaa Magda Elmahdy who posted a nude photo of herself on her blog. Not surprisingly, the calendar has come under attack — not just from Islamicist theocrats, but from some feminists, including Azar Majedi. Namazie has written her response to Majedi (UPDATE: LINK CORRECTED). Here is mine.

Dear Azar Majedi,

I want to be sure I understand you correctly. It seems that you’re saying that there is no way a woman can choose to display pictures of her naked body, and offer those pictures for money, without it being commodification, and therefore being Bad.

Even if the images are being made available for free as well as for sale, and anyone who’s uncomfortable with the idea of paying to see naked women (or who simply doesn’t want to) has access to them. Even if the tremendous variety of ages and races and body types in the calendar are in direct defiance of the typical expectations for female bodies, and are being displayed and celebrated on their own terms rather than for male pleasure and consumption. Even if the money is being gathered, not for personal profit, but to raise money for feminist causes that all the participants collectively care about. Even if the women being photographed are donating the images of their naked bodies, and are not in any way being economically pressured to do so. Even if the project is being done with the full endorsement and support of the woman it’s honoring.

If there were ever a situation in which selling naked pictures of one’s self should be considered acceptable, I’d think it would be this one. But according to you, even this situation is unacceptable. It’s still commodification, and therefore, it’s still Bad.

Yeah. See, here’s the problem with that. (Some nude images below the jump, including a nude image of me.)

You’re absolutely right about one thing: The fact that this project is being done by women does not, by itself, make it feminist or revolutionary. Women do bad things to one another all the time, sexist and even misogynist things. The example you gave is female genital mutilation; I can certainly think of other, more proportional examples. (Slut-shaming leaps to mind, for some odd reason.)

But if you’re going to argue that something women are freely choosing to do with our bodies is still harmful to other women, and that we ought not to do it, you need to actually make a strong positive case for that position. The default assumption should be that women are free to do with our bodies whatever the hell we choose, and that feminists ought to not only accept and tolerate each other’s right to make those choices, but actively support it. This should be the default assumption… unless you can make a strong positive case for why a particular choice is harmful, and we ought not to make it.

And you haven’t made that case. All you’ve done is re-state your conclusion, again and again, using hyperbolic language that makes it sound as if you’re making a case. All you’ve done is say, again and again, “It’s always bad to offer pictures of naked women for money, in all circumstances, because… it just is. By definition.”

Now. It is certainly the case that my choice to participate in this calendar was made in the context of a sexist culture: a culture that treats women as sexual objects rather than subjects, a culture that treats women’s bodies as commodities, a culture with a strong tendency to value women primarily as ornaments, sexual playthings, and babymakers. My choice to pose naked for this calendar and let the photo of my naked body be (a) disseminated for free on the internet and (b) sold to raise money for feminist causes… yes, that choice was made in the context of this sexist culture. It was in some ways influenced by that culture, and in some ways it contributes to it.

And your choice wasn’t?

Your choice to scold me, and the other women who posed in this calendar, is somehow magically free of this sexist culture? It somehow has not been tainted by the sexist culture that treats women’s bodies as shameful, the culture that reflexively abjures women to cover our nakedness, the culture that demands that women share our bodies only with the men who rightfully own them, the culture that reflexively slut-shames women for enjoying our bodies and our sexualities and making our own decisions about it? My selling photos of my naked body to raise money for a cause I believe in is automatically part of the commodification of women… but your attempt to enforce the standards of modesty has nothing to do with women’s physical and sexual suppression? I am a cog in the machinery of this culture… but you, magically, have freed yourself from it?

And as a result, you have earned the authority to tell me what I should and should not do with my own naked body?

I have heard arguments like yours many times, aimed by women at other women. “You should never sell images of your naked body — we live in a culture where female bodies are commodified, and even the consensual display of female nudity contributes to that.” “You should never have consensual sadomasochistic sex — we live in a culture of violence against women, and even consensual SM contributes to it.” “You should never have sex with men — we live in a culture of deep power differences between men and women, and even a consensual heterosexual relationship can’t escape them and contributes to them.” And yet the women passing these judgments, the women demanding that other women make complicated choices about their bodies based on someone else’s rigid ideology, never seem to say to themselves, “You should never shame other women about their consensual choices with their bodies — we live in a culture of relentless slut-shaming, in which women are not seen as having physical and sexual agency, and these judgments contribute to it.”

Yes, I suppose that in the strictest, most literal, “letter of the concept if not the spirit” interpretation of the word, my participation in the NudePhotoRevolutionary calendar “commodified” my body. It did so in much the same way that selling the strength of my muscles to pack and ship boxes — work I did for many years — “commodified” my body. It did so in much the same way that selling the intelligence and imagination of my brain — another body part — “commodifies” my body. Are you seriously arguing that the context of this “commodification” is irrelevant? That there is no difference between selling the strength of my muscles to a leftist small-press book distributor, and selling it to Exxon? That there is no difference between selling the intelligence of my brains to raise money for an atheist student’s scholarship fund, and selling it to Halliburton? And that there is no difference between selling the image of my naked body to a feminist and anti-theocratic fundraising project, and selling it to Page 6? If you are making that argument… it’s absurd on the face of it. And if you’re not — if you’re arguing that it’s okay to sell my muscles and my brains to promote causes that I care about, but it’s not okay to sell my nudity — then you need to actually make a case for why nudity is different. Something you have conspicuously failed to do.

Here’s the thing. I love my body. That love is complicated, and it is hard-won, but it is deep, and it is passionate, and it is real. And I want to share that love. I want to offer a model of that love to other women, who are also struggling with complicated feelings about their bodies. I want to offer a model of that love to women whose connection to their bodies has been beaten down by patriarchies and theocracies telling them that they don’t own their own bodies, that their bodies are owned by God or by men. As a woman over fifty, I especially want to offer a model of that love to other women being barraged with messages that their bodies are hideous and laughable and they ought to hide them away until they die. I’ve been helped no end by other women who did this before me: other women who talked about orgasms and how to have them, other women who taught us to look at our pussies in the mirror, other women who shamelessly put their sexual fantasies onto paper and pixels and film, other women who paraded their imperfect, beautiful bodies with defiance and joy. These feminists before me gave me more choices, and made it easier for me to make choices. I’m trying to pass that along.

And it pisses me off no end that I’m being scolded for this, not only by theocrats, not only by patriarchs, but by other feminists. It pisses me off that I’ve spent decades being told by other feminists how to be a good girl. It pisses me off that, because I said, “Hey, here’s a photo of my naked body, and here are photos of some other women’s naked bodies, and you can look at these pictures for free, or you can donate to a feminist/ anti-theocratic cause and get a good-quality print of them”… other women are presuming to chide me for being a bad feminist.

Yes, we live in a sexist culture, in which women have no good choices when it comes to our bodies. We live in a sexist culture in which women are valued primarily as sexual objects, and at the same time are shamed for our sexuality. It seems to me that we have two choices as to how to respond to this. We can try to navigate the narrow, essentially impossible shoals of these contradictory expectations, and try to find that perfect, socially acceptable line between slut and prude.

Or we can say, “Fuck it. There is no way I can win — so I’m going to do whatever the fuck I want. I’m going to wear overalls, or I’m going to wear high heels. I’m going to have sex with twenty strangers in a night, or I’m not going to have sex with anyone. I’m going to dress conservatively and professionally in public at all times, or I’m going to sell naked pictures of myself on the Internet if I bloody well feel like it.”

And in saying, “I can’t win, so I’m going to do whatever the fuck I want to do,” we can create the beginnings of a victory. We can create the beginnings of a world where we really can win. We can create the beginnings of a world where we’re a little more free than the women who came before us… and where the women who come after us are a little more free than we are. We probably can’t create a perfect world, where women’s bodies aren’t commodified in the slightest (not in this generation, anyway). But we can create a better world: a world where women’s bodies and minds belong less to the patriarchy, and more to ourselves.

Like I said in the calendar: I own my body. No — strike that. I am my body. And nobody will tell me how to display it. Nobody claiming to speak for a non-existent god will tell me how to display it. And nobody patronizingly presuming to speak for all of feminism will tell me how to display it.

So I am saying “Fuck you” to anyone who tries to slut-shame me. I am saying “Fuck you” to anyone who tells me that I’m a bad woman — or a bad feminist — for displaying my body as I see fit, and doing anything I bloody well want to with the images of it.

And that includes you.

Fuck you.

Comments

  1. Otrame says

    Damn, woman. I’ve rarely seen a more eloquent fuck you.

    And the best part is that you explain in such logically sound detail exactly why the fuck you is so well-deserved.

  2. Timid Atheist says

    Dear Greta,

    You are the best. Thank you so much for putting this so wonderfully. I truly wish I had the finances to purchase this calendar for every woman I know. I think we could all do with a little less slut-shaming in our lives. These pictures are all so gorgeous and amazing. I can’t see how anyone can see this as a bad thing. Well, I can, I just don’t agree with them.

  3. Jasmyn says

    I’ve read my inspiring words for the day. Well said. I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of my calendar.

  4. says

    You said what needed to be said. Human bodies are just human bodies and they are beautiful and a joy to behold. We’ve fallen far from the ancient Greek approach and the approach of natural people like the original Hawaiians who saw nothing shameful in the naked display of the human form, both male and female.

  5. says

    Damn, I wish I could write like you. This post, along with many others, is a case-example for how I’ve learned so much from you through and from your writing. Thank you.

  6. John Horstman says

    Fuck you AND the meaning-essentializing, proscriptive horse on which you rode into town!

    This is the same tired old line about sex work of any sort, and I really thought we were past it. It’s so easy to counter – if commodification of the body or images of the body is intrinsically Bad, then it’s also Bad in cases where someone’s options are to either be starving and homeless or a sex worker. Faced with a situation of survival necessity, are these people REALLY arguing that women should just die miserable deaths instead of doing sex work? (Perhaps people making the argument would answer in the affirmative – I then challenge them to never wear make-up or ‘pretty’ clothing and to do everything possible to not be physically or sexually attractive to anyone, irrespective of the consequences, as doing so at all implicitly commodifies the body and reinforces sexist cultural systems.) How can that be justified as more of a pro-woman, feminist position than manipulating a sexist system to benefit some women? And if sexual commodification isn’t intrinsically Bad, then, as Greta points out, one needs to make the case that any particular act of sexual or bodily commodification is more harmful than it is helpful (and also more harmful than the possible alternatives). And Athena forbid that any women actually ENJOY self-commodification of any sort and experience it as a completely positive act.

    Nice work calling out the logic fails and total lack of self-reflexivity, Greta!

  7. says

    As a man, I feel wholly inadequate to comment (being too much a part of the sexist culture surrounding this) other than to say I wish I had the courage to sell my body like that (knowing full well that most people would choose to pay me NOT to). But I will say that I enjoy the logical progression of your argument, and admire that. Step A leads inexorably to step B, which leads to Step C…which leads to step “Fuck you” in a very rational way. I can’t help but to admire that.

  8. says

    This is, to date, the best piece I have read on this topic. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I will be sharing this and the calendar with everyone I know. Really, this should be required reading for every human.

  9. says

    Greta,

    As a man struggling to learn about my own privilege, you constantly put me in a place of intellectual honesty, and make me want to fight with every breath I breathe against the sexist, small-minded society I was born a part of.

    Thank you for all you do, for inspiring me and eviscerating ignorance with the utmost integrity. Also, great seeing you and your beautiful wife at the Reason Rally!

    -Patrick

  10. Gretchen says

    This is beautiful! Thank you for sharing your healthy relationship with your body, Greta, and for making choices and owning them. Our choices really are our freedom.

  11. Michael Jacobsen says

    Great post Greta! As we watch the political battle develop over women’s rights and women’s choices we should all agree about the default position: women (and men too) ultimately possess the right to make their own decisions regarding their bodies and their lives. We should fight hard to empower women to this end and not try to control them through coercion or shame tactics. We should respect that most personal right, to choose what we want to do with our own bodies, regardless of whether we feel it is acceptable on some subjective moral or religious ground. Personally I find absolutely nothing offensive about this calendar. If others do, they can keep it to themselves. You are all beautiful, confident women. More power to you!

  12. says

    You know, while I’ve been aware of Maryam Namazie for a while, I’ve never really taken the time to get to know her views and stances, or really much about her at all…

    This post has made clear that I’ve been missing out on a startlingly strong and clear voice for, well, everything I believe in.

    Wow.

  13. Diane Holyoak says

    Greta Christina … you rock :)Superb response to the witterings of slut-shamers! Long may the rule of “fuck it” reign.. empowering!!!

  14. Kagehi says

    We probably can’t create a perfect world, where women’s bodies aren’t commodified in the slightest (not in this generation, anyway).

    Personally, I find the idea that it would ever be 100% possible in *any* generation incoherent. How do you do it? I mean, even the Dwarves in Terry Pratchett’s novels, at some point, decide they like each other and then have to bloody figure out if the other one is the opposite sex or not. So, if we had to do that too, would it fix things? Or, do you end up having to “commodify” yourself the moment you figure out that the other person is actually the sex you are looking for, and have to start selling yourself as a prospect, and not just someone passing in the hall, who likes similar jokes? How is thinking that we can, or would want to, stop it entirely, instead of making it a matter of the choice of the one doing it **for themselves** the issue, even make sense?

    I don’t know, maybe its just me being male, but I find the argument that what everyone else thinks about what someone does, or doesn’t do, with their bodies, including maybe selling me pictures of it, is a matter for everyone *except* the person doing it to decide (regardless of if its to trick/force/present no other options, but for them to do so, or because they actually enjoy it). If its the former, I am would be right there with them, only, I have this knife in my back, which kind of showed up, after someone else *chose* to show skin, and I happened to accidentally glance their direction at the time. I have no idea where it came from, but.. you know, its making it hard to get out of my chair, and like, try to help. Strangely enough, I could almost have sworn their was an identical knife, in her back, at the time I acquired mine…

  15. says

    The problem with criticizing any woman’s choices about her body, sexual or nudist or whatever they may be, is that for most of us it *will* feel like slut-shaming in part, and will raise defenses.

    There’s some trade-off no matter what women do–that is, it’s hard to think of feminist actions that can be made without causing *some* patriarchy-reinforcing consequences. I don’t like the attitude that one’s feminist actions must be somehow pure and untainted, it seems to come from a Christian tradition. I think that attitude biases people when talking about sex; still, I haven’t seen a feminist with a brain say “you shouldn’t ever make a nudist calendar” so much as “you should consider the possible consequences when you do these things.”

    So I’m basically on your side; there’s a difference between asserting our freedom as women of all sorts of bodies and sexual actors of all sorts of desires, and (as is the most common accusation) pretending that exploitation of sex workers doesn’t exist. But I think you’re ranting past what is fair, even if you’re responding to one provocative writer.

    To me, this calendar is drawing attention explicitly to the problems of sexism. That is the difference between such an action, versus for example the most privileged sex workers who have the power to make choices, and who (by their words, or media distortions of them) often make it easy for everyone to obscure the dangers of sex work for the majority of people.

    Sorry for going on long.

  16. says

    Well said Greta. As a man, I am often hesitant to comment on issues of this nature. The reality is that sexism exists and is a real problem. In my opinion, women have the right to do as they wish with their own bodies. Once we start legislating in any way what can and cannot be done we sliding down the slippery slope. There is no call for anyone to “slut-shame” you for your appearance in the calendar or really anyone else for that matter. Once that door opens, it tends to open all the way…to things like abortion, birth control etc. A woman has a right to her own body–in any way she sees fit. End of story.

    The people who are criticizing you are no different than the women who preach that staying home and raising kids is the only way to be a “complete woman”—(my working wife hears that one regularly)—those people are doing nothing more than hurting the women’s right’s movement.

    Once again well said.

  17. Nilou Ataie says

    I understand she may not be up for posing naked to raise consciousness, but her faulting others for doing so is scary. I feel gratitude and esteem for the women who exposed their torso-atoms and only wish I had the will to act as they did.

  18. crystalsinger says

    *stands up*
    *applauds*

    Interestingly, I didn’t know about this project before now. Now, I’m buy the calendar. Just as another little “fuck you” to anyone who presumes to tell another person what to do with their body.

    Awesome rant, rock on!

  19. Reverend PJ says

    I’m so sick of folks who try to stomp on the people they claim to represent. fuck em.

  20. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    …this is kind of like the “ATHEISTS” bus ad being rejected, come to think of it.

  21. Eris says

    I have heard arguments like yours many times, aimed by women at other women. “You should never sell images of your naked body — we live in a culture where female bodies are commodified, and even the consensual display of female nudity contributes to that.” “You should never have consensual sadomasochistic sex — we live in a culture of violence against women, and even consensual SM contributes to it.” “You should never have sex with men — we live in a culture of deep power differences between men and women, and even a consensual heterosexual relationship can’t escape them and contributes to them.” And yet the women passing these judgments, the women demanding that other women make complicated choices about their bodies based on someone else’s rigid ideology, never seem to say to themselves, “You should never shame other women about their consensual choices with their bodies — we live in a culture of relentless slut-shaming, in which women are not seen as having physical and sexual agency, and these judgments contribute to it.”

    May I give you the huggles for this paragrah? I’m a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, and I have rape fantasies (which might have popped up even if I hadn’t been sexually abused, but we’ll never know). It’s so incredibly hard for me when people who present themselves as advocates for women’s rights tell me that my sexual desires are disgusting, sick, and a contributing factor to real rape and real sexual abuse. It hurts so much, because I had to work so hard to even tenuously escape from the sexual shame that my father infused in me, and yet these people feel no hesitation in trying to shove that shame right back into me.

    It makes me so, so glad to hear a voice saying that it isn’t fair, right, just, or correct for them to say these things. It helps me to know that they aren’t the only voices.

    So thank you.

  22. Eliott says

    Greta…I think you won this one and in fact I think you epitomize winners…if winners are people that articulately state their opinions regardless of cost…stand by their friends…drive unpopular movements…get respect across gender, race or age…and can be angry, thoughtful, challenging, caring and tell people fuck you for damn good reasons…well shit that makes you more than a winner…that makes you a person that has earned my respect and is my hero.

  23. Cynthia says

    Can you hear the applause from way out here in Georgia? Because I’m trying to deafen the world with it!

    YES! YES! YES!

    My body, my choices, my rights – forever!

    YES! YES! YES!

  24. ik says

    The worst part is that these people never really say “you are harming the greater good”. It’s some kind of wierd ‘contributing’ to the patriarchy. THey don’t speak as if they were actually guessing at the ratio of liberation to normalizing oppression.

  25. Tony says

    Greta,
    I’m left with lots of wow.
    It must be very difficult to effectively debate with you. The way you communicate your thoughts and lay out your arguments (in a very down to earth way that everyone should be able to comprehend) is a wonder to behold.

  26. Tony says

    An audiobook collection of many of Greta’s posts would be awesome. I’d love to hear this post (and so many more) as I’m taking the 6 hour drive to Orlando (or even just going to the mall).

  27. says

    Greta, after that post you will have to apologise to Maryam for me reducing the time I spend reading her blog and increasing the time I spend reading yours.

    I feel like stuffing my face full of low-quality, sugar-laden Easter egg chocolate whilst simultaneously and repeatedly saying “Fuck you” to every bishop, imam and rabbi and anyone else, male or female, who tells people what they should do with their own body.

  28. says

    I own my body.
    No — strike that.
    I *am* my body.
    An no-one claiming to
    speak for a non-existent
    god has the right to tell
    me how to display it.

    Was this a test whether anyone would notice the spelling error? =P

  29. Annabelle says

    It is certainly the case that my choice to participate in this calendar was made in the context of a sexist culture…And your choice wasn’t?

    Thank you so much for this. I have never understood why so many in the feminist community insist on denying women any agency in their decisions. What is feminist about telling women that they are to naive/stupid/brainwashed to make their own choices?

  30. sam says

    I have been making a file of blogs and writing with sex/positive information for thoes who still want to live in either fundy ville or old sex/neg land. This will be one of the blogs. Thanks sam

  31. says

    This was amazing. Brilliant. Eye-opening. It’s gone a long way to dispelling whatever reservations I may have had about the calendar. Thank you.

  32. Kagehi says

    there’s a difference between asserting our freedom as women of all sorts of bodies and sexual actors of all sorts of desires, and (as is the most common accusation) pretending that exploitation of sex workers doesn’t exist.

    I think, the biggest problem with this sort of thing is that it reflects a lot of other stupid ideas.

    Its the mentality of, “If we ignore it, maybe it will go away, and if not, we can just make it harder to do, or illegal to do, and it will go away, and if not… just declare it a ‘moral’ issue, and thus the victims fault, not everyone else’s, for making damn sure that nothing can be actually done to fix it (that requiring the admission that the problem they are trying to fix isn’t the one they crafted the solution for).”

  33. E. Simmons says

    If one woman has body issues and doesn’t like the way she looks naked (cruelly measuring ourselves as we tend to do relative to the endless parade of idealized representations being forced down our throats), how would that person feel when witnessing someone who doesn’t conform to that ideal shamelessly represent–and control the representation of–their own “imperfect” body? Is it surprising a judgmental reaction emerges, akin to “slutshaming”? Not surprising at all, because the same critical judgment she casts on her own body, she will cast on others she sees as representative of it. Because we all in some sense share the same body, the same identification within the social body that is all our bodies. And if one artist shows her body, she is showing MY body too, this body I do not love, this body of mine whose love is my birthright but from which I have become severed, alienated.

    The critic perhaps feels violated by the artist in this case, before she has been able to come to terms with her own loathing of her body, of the Body. These photos are a premature forced “outing” of a kind, for her. But is it better if everyone stays covered until we are all okay with ourselves, until we have all processed everything? I don’t think so, I am sympathetic with the critic but agree with the artist here. It is by representation that we accelerate the painful journey to first admit that we aren’t all O.K. with how we look, and that we can’t just will that away via desire or intellectual fiat.

    We need more understanding of what’s going on here in this dialogue, more appreciation for what’s behind the “fuck you” on both sides. If we’re just telling one other to fuck off, how does that help?

  34. E. Simmons says

    I only want to add that the larger dialogue is really about healing ourselves from the stigma of unjust representations. It must be anticipated that making our own representations is going to rip the scab off some viewer-participants’ psychological wounds prematurely. This is to be expected and is actually a sign that we are doing something right. But it’s not life-denying to be sensitive to the fact of others’ pain in the process. No, it’s actually compassionate and therefore life-affirming to acknowledge it, and seek understanding among all of us as to what is really going on.

  35. E. Simmons says

    There is pain within the heart of every scold. The scolder, themselves scolded so often, echoes it, scolds themselves a thousand times before that scold ever hits your ears.

    The “why” of the scold is lost, the reasons evaporate and the only constant is the primal judgment, that lashing out towards the injustice that separated us, the one from the other.

    What is the way we can effect reunion? Heal together? I want to embrace the scold, I want to kindly love the scold back to herself as I love myself back to myself. To effect an opening between us. A connection. Understanding, compassionate understanding. Acknowledge the bitterness in myself, in her, understanding of the bitterness everywhere. I am not immune, no one of us is immune, no one has transcended it.

    To strive to escape this pain by judging the judger, is to shelter it behind new and more articulate accusations, which only magnifies that pain in one another.

  36. Quinapalus says

    E. Simmons @ 57: The scold herself doesn’t care about her “why”, she cares only about my obedience, so I feel no obligation to handicap myself by shouldering her load. That being said, I will be happy to compassionately consider her “why” once she no longer has, or seeks, power over me.

  37. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    The problem with criticizing any woman’s choices about her body, sexual or nudist or whatever they may be, is that for most of us it *will* feel like slut-shaming in part, and will raise defenses.

    There’s a reason for that: it’s because it IS.

    (Emphasis mine)

  38. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    Thank you so much for this. I have never understood why so many in the feminist community insist on denying women any agency in their decisions. What is feminist about telling women that they are to naive/stupid/brainwashed to make their own choices?

    Well, apparently there are a few people who feel that one should never ascribe a meaning to the word “feminist” and just mindlessly accept anyone’s claim to identify with it, no matter how blatantly inconsistent their positions are with either the “radical notion that women are people” or the “men and women are, generally speaking, mentally and morally equal and should be treated as such” formulation. I’ve never met one that was willing to take MY statements at face value, though.

  39. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    there’s a difference between asserting our freedom as women of all sorts of bodies and sexual actors of all sorts of desires, and (as is the most common accusation) pretending that exploitation of sex workers doesn’t exist.

    Will not posing nude (or, hell, not engaging in sex work non-“exploitatively”) make the “exploitative” sex work go away?

    If not, what’s your fucking point?

  40. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    The scold herself doesn’t care about her “why”, she cares only about my obedience, so I feel no obligation to handicap myself by shouldering her load. That being said, I will be happy to compassionately consider her “why” once she no longer has, or seeks, power over me.

    Plus, I think Simmons is expressing way too much credit. From what I’ve seen, some people fight the patriarchy because they want it gone, and some people just want to usurp its position.

  41. bikergrrl says

    “I love my body. That love is complicated, and it is hard-won, but it is deep, and it is passionate, and it is real. And I want to share that love. I want to offer a model of that love to other women, who are also struggling with complicated feelings about their bodies. I want to offer a model of that love to women whose connection to their bodies has been beaten down by patriarchies and theocracies telling them that they don’t own their own bodies, that their bodies are owned by God or by men.”

    Thank you for this paragraph. In college, my friends and I did a body affirmative painting, and were accused by well meaning male friends of objectifying our bodies further. But this is exactly what we were trying to do – assert the complicated, hard-won, deep and passionate love we have for our bodies in the way that we wanted to.

    I’ll be sharing your post widely, and buying a calendar.

  42. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    In college, my friends and I did a body affirmative painting, and were accused by well meaning male friends of objectifying our bodies further.

    So many things wrong with that… >.>

  43. says

    As a right-wing nudist who likes nude swimming/sunbathing and is unemployed right now, I agree with your train of thought and thank you all for the free calendar! I actually like using it when I’m on the computer to keep track of dates, etc! You free women have been willing to walk the walk in public in your calendar while we can just talk the talk in private and I admit that!
    The leftist prudes and rightist prudes actually have quite a bit in common! They both seek to control the freedoms of others to follow their own conscience and do what makes them happy! I’m always astounded at how active some people can get trying to restrain others from doing their own thing even though they could just ignore them and everybody could just get along in contentment!
    I can care less about the sexual acts people do as I think sex just is and that some level of bisexuality is more normal than strict heterosexuality! It saddens me when really smart women become lesbian and don’t have children! I selfishly view it as a real loss for us men but also for society as the world is full of stupid people breeding all the time! I admit I’m biased and am honest about it as a dominant, hetero-based male.
    Respectfully Your’s w/Best Wishes!

  44. KitKat says

    AWESOME! Thank you for saying what I have been wrestling with! That was so amazingly put.

  45. says

    I look forward, as a heterosexual woman who sells her brain to make Gantt charts, to men queuing up enthusiastically to sell me their bodies in a way that I find acceptable. I am curious to know when it will become a natural reflex for men to need to raise funds, so they get their kit off for a calendar.

  46. Arsepolitico says

    @HallofRage
    I’m glad the heterosexist nature of Kagehi’s comment didn’t go unnoticed. 

    @Kagehi: your statement, and the accompanying use of Pratchett as illustration seems to presume many things:

    First of all, it appears you assume sexual attraction can’t be based on liking the same jokes, or develop from anything other than focusing on others’ genitalia and gender markers. As someone who rarely feels sexual attraction by simply seeing any stranger’s body, and who generally likes entertaining people enough to have sex with them eventually, I’d beg to differ. 

    Your comment also seems to imply a lot about what getting a visual lock on genitalia predicts for the nature of a relationship: that knowing a companion’s genitalia is not a function of relationship, but a pre-requisite for determining whether and how one is to be related to. I’ve never organically made that leap, though heterosexism frequently gets me there whether I want to or not. (The happiest years of my life have always been either separatist or celibate. Color me not surprised. Depressing, but true.)

    While your example (not your concern, though) may make sense for a race who have a disinclination toward gender markers and sex-based divisions of labor, and are usually too busy at work or at war to notice attraction, or are primarily asexual– I’m guessing, since those things don’t usually stand too much in the way for the human race– it doesn’t make sense to apply it to an already primarily sexual race like humans. (Or corn).

    The example you’re using and the accompanying statements imply that human sexual relationships are based on genitalia rather than attraction. Which must be really confusing for non-heterosexuals…for varying amounts of time. I’d like to submit that those who don’t really make that assumption or adhere to it aren’t confused for very long…and that the compulsory cultural imperative for visual gender markers on non-naked bodies is evidence in itself that it doesn’t work that way even in a highly sexual race like humans. 

    You also seem to imply that for sex to happen, knowing someone’s genitalia or sharing one’s genitalia is an act of commodification, rather than information, which implies that engaging in a relationship for the purpose of  making babies or having sex is an act of purchasing or subjugation based on those genitalia, which I believe is in solidarity with OP, not this blog entry.
    Or am I misreading?
    -late as Arse

  47. Kagehi says

    Or good lord. Lets read into the example I used some total bloody nonsense about heterosexuality and anatomy, for ***everyone***. You know, because it couldn’t be referencing any other assumptions, at all..

    How about this, you go back and imagine that I had said “right sex”, not “opposite sex”, would that help? Or did you just need to find someone to make a tirade over gender identity issues, instead of, you know, what the post was about?

  48. Cry4turtles says

    Dear Greta, your words inspire. I just came from a four day party with my husband’s motorcycle club. In this club the girls wear a patch on their backs that reads, “Property of …(insert hubby/boyfriend name)”. There were about 50+ women there, and only 1 with NO property patch–that would be me. Some of the other girls noticed, and I heard they were discussing my blatent dissent. My hubby completely supports my choice, and the funny thing is, all the men treat me with the utmost respect. Never do the men question me. They’re too busy hugging me! Anyway, I can only hope to plant the seed of awareness in the other women. They have a choice. I want more of them to choose with confidence and to know that their sisters and brothers will love them the same if they refuse to wear degrading messages on their backs. I’ll never give up the fight and will continue to role model until my dying day-like you!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] their bodies based on someone else’s rigid ideology, never seem to say to themselves, ‘You should never shame other women about their consensual choices with their bodies — we live in a culture of relentless slut-shaming, in which women are not seen as having physical [...]

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