Sharia Law and Human Rights: Take Two »« We must defend free expression to fight Islamism and sharia

To those that continue to blame the patriarchy, move on

Sonya JF Barnett, the co-founder of SlutWalk and the designer of the Nude Photo Revolutionary Calendar has a brilliant piece on the calendar here.

It starts:

I’ve gotten incredibly tired of people blaming everything I do on my gullible acceptance of “The Patriarchy”.

She goes on to say about the Nude Photo Revolutionary Calendar:

Created in homage and support of Egyptian blogger Aliaa Elmahdy, who posted a nude photo of herself as a ‘scream’ against the misogyny and hypocrisy in today’s society. She didn’t post it so she could titillate; she posted it because she knows that her body is hers and she should be able to do whatever the fuck she wants with it. She’s also not so naive to think that some people will look at it and assume that showing off your nude body is nothing but to titillate, but she didn’t do it for them. She did it for herself.

I’m part of this calendar. Not only am I one of the submissions, but I also designed it. I offered my assistance to the creator, Maryam Namazie, who is an Iranian Human Rights Activist based in the UK. We, along with the other women in the Calendar, are not of the mind that you can only look upon a nude woman with nothing but the male gaze. We created the Calendar for us and people like us who can look upon a woman and appreciate her for more than the sum of her parts. When I look upon the faces of these women, I don’t think that they’ve cheapened themselves and gone the easy route {to all those who say that it’s easy to take your clothes off and post it to the world: you try it}. I see activists, writers, mothers, feminists. If there are any feelings of an empowered sexuality in there, then they are just as legitimate. I can appreciate a nude woman for her mind as much as her sexuality, and I’ll never let anyone tell me that doing so is feeding into the Patriarchy. Yes, the calendar shows breasts and vaginas and bums, but I see them as things of beauty, things to be admired, celebrated, respected. Not things that are pornographic, or to be taken or to be reviled.

If you can’t get past the idea that a woman’s self expression can include her own body and her pride in it, then it’s you that needs to get past the patriarchy, not us who have already tossed it aside and moved on.

And you know who you are.

Comments

  1. Besomyka says

    I thought it was third wave feminism hitting the east. The photos never communicated anything like they were intended for the ‘male eye’, but are clearly political self-expression in protest of a culture that oppresses them.

    But she says as much. I guess I agree, and the intent is incredibly clear. I don’t know how people could seriously take it any other way.

    • Ysanne says

      Do you know the kind of “feminists” who define the opposite of “depending on male approval” not as “being independent of male approval” but “depending on not doing anything that men might happen to like”? Disturbingly popular with women who are unhappy with some aspect of themselves (career, relationships, physical appearance, etc) and need someone to blame for it.
      Now the calendar’s photos
      *) show women who are comfortable enough with their bodies and lives to show themselves naked, and
      *) are not designed to be repulsive to men.

      Of course there are complaints.

      • Azkyroth says

        I’m not convinced that it actually is popular – there certainly a few loud examples, but I think, as I’ve argued elsewhere, that this is the media (because it fits their narrative and sells advertising and most of them have stopped caring about paltry things like facts in the fact of that) and feminism’s critics (because they know they can’t win on the merits of their arguments) focusing on a handful of kooks to a degree vastly disproportionate to their prevalence or influence. And that the problem is exacerbated by the fact that some feminists feel compelled to defend the kooks, at least half-heartedly, out of a sense of tribalistic solidarity.

        IE, feminists are actually in the position that religious “moderates” often claim to be.

        • Ysanne says

          I really should put footnotes on every single quotation mark.
          In no way did I mean to insult feminists. I was actually trying to distinguish them from so-called “feminists” who’d see the nudity in the calendar’s photos as submission the patriarchy.

          It was “feminist”, not feminist (<– note the absence of quotes!) because I precisely meant the kind of person who confuses her own dislike of men with feminism. The kind of woman for whom every picture of a naked woman is automatically pornographic and sexist, and judge other women to be "sluts" and "tools of the patriarchy" on the basis of their amount of body hair.
          These women exist, I know enough of them personally. With most of them, it's really about some specific man they have an issue with, or just unhappiness with her career/body image, which then gets extended into this so-called "feminism" that's just scapegoating. They give feminism a bad name by living up to its distorted and idiotic stereotype.

    • wilsim says

      Beautiful, strong, women.

      It takes a certain kind of bravery to do what they have done.

      I respect them all the more for it.

      • jim says

        The courage of these women is absolutely stunning and their collective actions in the name of advancing women’s rights is beyond reproach. The human tragedy is that men have had to push them to a point to rebel in this fashion, when they should be celebrating women for the beauty that they embody covered with fabric or not! This scream is being heard as a scream by the ignorant, what I am hearing is a symphony and I thank you all!

    • lordshipmayhem says

      Yes, beautiful women – both on the inside, and on the outside, regardless of age or body type. There’s nothing “pornographic” about those pictures, nothing “indecent” or “immoral”. The photos do not portray people who are “naked” – defenceless – they are merely nude. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
      .
      I salute you, every one.

  2. Pieter-Jan van der Veld says

    In countries were you can can buy the playboy and other magazines like this on every street corner, maybe you can say that a woman has cheapened herself by posting naked, although I do not share this opinion. But posting naked in countries were you can have Really Big Problems for this is an act of courage.

    Good work, brave women.

  3. Victoria says

    I will objectify myself! That’ll show ‘em!

    What kind of logic is this? At least in Egypt it’s still kind of a subversive act. Women are objectified to sell things there, too, but the women stripping off there aren’t as safe doing so as women in Canada. Has El Mahdy decided that posing nude means she’s tossed aside the patriarchy? Or does she see the virginity tests and their recent sancning to be an example of that still very much untoppled power structure?

    • says

      You can’t objectify yourself. You can certainly try to objectify yourself, but your subjectivity will stubbornly persist. To objectify means to see a feeling body as a thing without thought or feelings. Having a female body isn’t inherently objectifying; that’s why feminism is the radical idea that women are human.

      I can remove my clothes and allow myself to be photographed, but I cannot by doing so force a viewer to see me as an object. That’s a choice the viewer makes.

      Isn’t the point of feminism to get to the point where the most shameful thing about being a woman is having a female body? Where the fastest way to discredit a woman is to have proof that she has breasts and a vagina?

      To you know, be equal to men, primate bodies and all?

      • says

        obviously, *Isn’t the point of feminism to get to the point where the most shameful thing about being a woman no longer is having a female body*

      • Victoria says

        I disagree that the way to get there is to pander to the male gaze’s definition of beauty. We are not there yet, and until we are there, such attempts to sell things by appearing naked, where the nudity is not nudist type nudity, but the performance of femininitty in a manner that complies with the way the patriarchy defines ‘sexy’ is IMO too loaded with baggage to be constructive.

        Notice that nowhere do I say ban, or shame, or anything of the sort. I don’t expect that to stop the insults but maybe it can stop some of the straw feminist nonsense. (e.g. that I want the patriarchy’s job)

        • says

          I was not born with a vagina and did not grow breasts at puberty because of some misguided obeisance to the male gaze’s definition of beauty. You realize my body looks like this all the time, right? Being unclothed while female is not inherently a problematic performance of femininity.

    • Jeroen Metselaar says

      Dear Victoria,

      Where you go wrong is the point where you think nudity=sex=vulgar.

      As a heterosexual man I do find the female body fascinating and breast are the closest thing to religion I have left.

      BUT

      I can see woman as more than a life support system for her sex organs. They are first and foremost other human beings with all rights and dignity that come with it, whatever the state of her clothing.

      My reptile brain may scan every woman I meet for her mating potentials but that part of me does not rule me, it certainly shouldn’t rule women.

      This calendar is intended as a celebration of female freedom, to do as she wants with her own body. The calendar can also be seen as a celebration of the beauty of the female body, a subject of art through all the ages.

      Even if a person would take the pictures to the bathroom as a masturbatory aid what of it? That would be a celebration of human sexuality. Nothing wrong with that either.

        • ... says

          And some of us think the whole concept of a generic “patriarchy” – as opposed to the specific, concrete regimes in Saudi, Iran etc. – is nothing more than a whine of weak minded fools.

          • ... says

            Azkyroth

            When someone points to the grotesque abuses performed in Saudi Arabia, or Iran, or discusses, to scale down things a bits, the problems arising from lad’s mags and a drink culture in the UK, then they are talking about something real and actual, a problem that can be defined and tackled. When people start wittering on about “the patriarchy”, I have no idea what they are on about, and neither do they. How else can one explain the fact that they are reduced to complaining about mean comments on the web?

          • says

            Right. Because when when we stand up to the people who do their best to keep us from full and equal participation on the internet, we are “reduced”. Because when we say something online about something that happened online (where millions of people engage in active citizenship, transact business, and socialize), our actions anywhere else cease to have meaning–just like yours because you objected to a blog post.

          • ... says

            Right. Because when when we stand up to the people who do their best to keep us from full and equal participation on the internet,

            Which would be who, exactly? You ain’t living in China. Get used to the fact that “internet has assholes” != “having your participation restricted”. And quit pretending that you’re “standing up” to anything in an internet row. You ain’t the kids in Tiananmen square either.

    • Lotharloo says

      Have you actually looked at the pictures? How could you possibly miss the messages the pictures were sending? I really don’t get it. Seriously, some of the pictures were actually screaming at you and the only things that you saw were “boobs, butts, and vaginas”?

  4. ... says

    Look, as someone who has locked horns with people like this before, let me tell you what this is about.

    The first world & America in particular is full of pseudo-wannabe revolutionaries, who love to whine that they’re “oppressed” but lack the guts for a real fight.

    Witness Victoria.

    For that matter, witness a large number of the other FT blogs (Maryam, for all my differences with her, is one of the few with real courage and real principles).

    They don’t have any guts, or ideas. So they bellyache about others who do.

    The hell with them.

  5. Azkyroth says

    If you can’t get past the idea that a woman’s self expression can include her own body and her pride in it, then it’s you that needs to get past the patriarchy, not us who have already tossed it aside and moved on.

    I’d go further: the same is true of a woman’s sexuality – it just (mostly) isn’t relevant in this case because this is not intended to be an expression of sexuality in that sense.

    And still further: automatically blaming every difference of opinion people ever with one, on them being brainwashed by the patriarchy is, at best, lazy thinking. And by at best, I mean at the uttermost end of charity.

    One more reason skepticism is relevant to feminism. >.>

  6. says

    It’s a very complicated issue. First, feminists enjoy sex at the same rate as the population at large. There are lesbians, straights, bisexuals, asexuals, all types. They even use birth control and sometimes even make jokes about how they must be sluts as a result. The fact that women are shamed for liking sex where men are shamed for not liking sex (and apparently all other genders are invisible) is sexism. Feminism is against harmful gender-based double standards like that.

    However, just because someone likes doing something doesn’t mean it’s good for gender equality as a whole. Take for example the issue of posting nude photos of yourself online as a political act. In Egypt, that can be quite a revolutionary statement against the male ownership of women’s bodies. In the USA, if you think you’re being revolutionary, you’re a joke – we have no shortage of nude women and we never will. Context. I mean, knock yourself out, there’s no shame in being proud of your body, but don’t assign political meaning to an act where there is none.

    Which leads me to another thing that many feminists are critical of: the idea of sexual “empowerment”. I have observed that there is a tendency to equate “empowering women” with “getting women to feel like pandering to the male gaze is something women do for each other and not for men”. Protip: it’s called the male gaze for a reason. And the reason it’s so frustrating (infuriating, even) is that there’s a decided lack of balance in society to celebrate other women’s choices to dress in sloppy clothes or swear off makeup or to (gasp!) dress in butch styles as “empowering women”. Apparently it’s only worth celebrating if the hetero man-penis approves.

    I’m sex-positive. But it is so disappointing how many sex-positive blogs I read that embrace the above biases. They claim to be about embracing the whole sexual person, but then they only focus on stories that pander to the male gaze. Queer bodies aren’t represented. Asexual experiences aren’t represented. Monogamous couples barely get any notice except for those who practice extreme forms of BDSM. Again, this isn’t all of them. (I’d like to take the opporunity to encourage everyone to visit sexstl.org as an example of a group I admire.) But when feminists see people take the patriarchy, wrap it in a pretty ribbon, and then try to sell it as sex-positivity, we feel cheated by the continual wasted opportunities for real progress.

    • Lotharloo says

      In the USA, if you think you’re being revolutionary, you’re a joke

      I see that and I read white-male-privilege. Try reading this for a change:

      A lot of women — women atheists, and other women — have been writing lately about misogyny, and what it’s like to be a woman writer on the Internet. They’ve been writing about the fact that, if you’re a woman writer on the Internet, you’re going to be targeted with a huge amount of sexual and gender-based abuse. At best, you’ll be called ugly and fat: criticizing women’s ideas by insulting their appearance is a tradition that goes back for centuries, and it’s alive and well today. You’ll definitely get tons of gender-specific insults, like “cunt” or “bitch.” And at worst, you’ll be threatened with sexual violence and rape — often in very explicit, detailed, gruesome language….

      I strongly suspect that, if I did porn again, it would become the one thing anyone ever remembered about me.

      Forget about the “You ugly bitch, who wants to look at you naked” comments. Forget about the “Now that you’ve done porn, you have no right to ever complain about sexism and the objectification of women” comments. Forget about the barrage of leering and come-ons and inappropriate jokes I’d get at conferences and talks and public appearances. Forget, even, about the rape threats and the threats of sexual violence. If I made a movie for HUMP!, or posted nude pictures of myself on the Internet, I strongly suspect that it would become the one thing anyone ever remembered about me. I strongly suspect that my writing about atheist anger, or diversity in the atheist movement, or Pascal’s Fucking Wager, would get lost in a sea of, “She’s that atheist who did the dirty pictures, right?”

      • ... says

        Lotharloo,

        A lot of women — women atheists, and other women — have been writing lately about misogyny, and what it’s like to be a woman writer on the Internet

        No, there has been a lot of http://www.brouhaha about the ridiculous figure of Rebecca Watson posing in her underwear – or less – and then whining that she’s “sexualised” when, in fact all that happened is that someone who offered a cup of coffee in the most apologetic manner took ‘no’ for an answer.

        You’ll definitely get tons of gender-specific insults, like “cunt” or “bitch.

        Goodness me. People calling you nasty names on the internet. Whatever shall we do?

        Incidentally, if you really have concerns about graphic threats of violence, send them to the police. It’s a perfectly legal recourse. For the record though, I’ve gotten my share of death and rape threats, but it’s just a waste of time thinking about them.

        Seriously. Do you realise what sort of a wannabe pseud you sound like when you type this stuff?

        Of course, the US is the nation of Hillary Clinton who managed to say the following:

        “who are assuming the risks that come with sticking your neck out, whether you are a democracy activist in Burma or a Georgetown law student in the United States.”

        So: not getting $3000 worth of condoms paid for is the equivalent of getting an eleven year jail sentence for writing a letter.

        This is why I agree entirely with The Nerd,

        In the USA, if you think you’re being revolutionary, you’re a joke

        Indeed. And not even a particularly good joke.

        • Lotharloo says

          *faceplam*

          Those things you quoted are from a post by Greta Christina not me. So, really go work on your reading comprehension. Oh and it also helps to read the full post by Greta Christina and not just the excerpts that you misread.

          • ... says

            What-ever. You cite it in agreement. You don’t have a counterargument. So please get real.

          • Lotharloo says

            Let me rephrase: You have no idea what you are talking about because you didn’t even read the damn thing carefully. Jesus. What kind of counterargument do you want me to give when you have no idea what you are criticizing?

        • ... says

          Loth, skip it. You obviously agree with Greta, or you wouldn’t have cited her. Now, are you going to address those points or not?

          • Lotharloo says

            You obviously agree with Greta, or you wouldn’t have cited her.

            Yes, I agree with her. Actually, it’s more than that. I got new insights by reading what she had posted. Insights that you missed by not fucking reading it.

            Now, are you going to address those points or not?

            Well the “points” are unrelated and stupid but sure, if you insist:

            No, there has been a lot of http://www.brouhaha about the ridiculous figure of Rebecca Watson … blah blah blah, bitch deserved what she got.

            What Greta Christina posted had nothing to do with RW and the EG incident.

            Goodness me. People calling you nasty names on the internet. Whatever shall we do?

            It’s not just the internet dumbass. It’s everywhere: Coffee shops, conferences, gym classes, etc. etc.

            Seriously. Do you realise what sort of a wannabe pseud you sound like when you type this stuff?

            That’s a great point. I’m sure you should pay your pocket money to have it displayed on a billboard. Seriously. I marvel at your mental prowess.

            So: not getting $3000 worth of condoms paid for is the equivalent of getting an eleven year jail sentence for writing a letter.

            And with that you the prize money for spewing the most unrelated incoherent OT bullshit.

        • says

          Yes, dear …, with your superior credibility (gained entirely from anonymously typing a claim that you get death threats but are so badass you just ignore them), you are now entitled to reduce the entire #mencallmethings discussion to Rebecca Watson. You’ll understand, I think, why people ignore you from here on out. Or maybe you won’t. I guess that wouldn’t really surprise me either.

          • ... says

            Stephanie,

            (gained entirely from anonymously typing a claim that you get death threats but are so badass you just ignore them

            There’s nothing badass about ignoring nonsense on the web. It’s only common sense. Most people I know can say the same thing. I understand, however, that you cannot answer any point I make and will therefore ignore me.

      • ... says

        Just saw this:

        If I made a movie for HUMP!, or posted nude pictures of myself on the Internet, I strongly suspect that it would become the one thing anyone ever remembered about me. I strongly suspect that my writing about atheist anger, or diversity in the atheist movement, or Pascal’s Fucking Wager, would get lost in a sea of, “She’s that atheist who did the dirty pictures, right?”

        Correct! So, here’s a clue: Don’t make a movie for HUMP!

        Ta-dah! Problem averted.

        • RW Ahrens says

          That loud “whoosh” you just heard wasn’t a nearby iPhone sending email, but the entire point of this whole post going over your head…Congratulations!

        • julian says

          Greta Christina makes a very personal post about dealing with society’s perception of sex work, laments that despite being more confident in herself than she has ever been she could not do sex work because of that same society’s perceptions and is told the solution to her issues is to not do “HUMP!” movies.

          There isn’t enough sigh in my body for this.

          • ... says

            julian,

            Right. We live in a world where almost two hundred million girls have had their genitals mutilated, and the Saudi, Iranian and Taliban regimes persist. But I am supposed to feel sympathy with Greta’s whining that she can’t do porn and then be thought less off.

            I suppose, I could respond that in my case she can rest assured; there’s no way I could think less of her – but that’d be a little flippant, right?

          • julian says

            Apathy is fine. It doesn’t matter if you don’t feel sympathy or remorse so long as you don’t decide to go kill kids or something.

            But this isn’t about sympathizing with someone. It’s about recognizing an issue in our society that requires fixing. We aren’t in an ER or first responders to a massive car wreck. The rationalizations that generally make it acceptable to sacrifice one person or cause for another are not present here. And without them we are free to deal with, to the best of our ability, with as many issues as we identify with.

          • ... says

            t’s about recognizing an issue in our society that requires fixing

            Right. You cannot take part in porn without having people think less of you. Truly, the struggle against this is in the great tradition of Dr. King and Nelson Mandela.

            If it matters, I’ve known, though not biblically, sadly, at least one porn star that I respect tremendously, because he is also a teacher who managed to get one of his students rescued from some ghastly and abusive Pakistan madrassah. When Christina’s done something like that, maybe I’ll listen to her humourless whining. Until then, all I can hear the spoiled brat.

      • says

        Good point about marginalized bodies. I agree (which is why I complained about the lack of them elsewhere in my original comment), but it never hurts to reinforce that. Again, context. Even a male body can be radical when wearing lipstick and heels.

    • says

      You don’t seem to have actually looked at the calendar.
      Because if you had, you would have noticed two things:
      -Most of the women aren’t in the USA
      -Most of the women have the kind of bodies the male gaze deems not worth looking at.
      Yet there they are, telling the world and you that you don’t get to tell them what to do with their bodies
      It isn’t even primarily about sexuality, although, of course, the constant demands how women have to dress is about contrlling their sexuality.
      Actually, the very responses this calendar gets from atheists makes it all the more necessary.

      BTW, is there anywhere a button where I can just donate without getting the paper calendar?
      Unfortunately this house is already full and I’d hate to have energy and resources wated on me getting a paper-version I can’t hang up just so you can get the money I think you should have.

    • Lotharloo says

      I have observed that there is a tendency to equate “empowering women” with “getting women to feel like pandering to the male gaze is something women do for each other and not for men”.

      I dare you to find a playboy picture in which a naked woman is breastfeeding a baby. It might exist but I’m pretty sure it’s damn hard to find. Why? Because “male gaze” is not just about naked woman, it’s about the posture, body-type, and basically sexually objectifying women. Admittedly, I’ve not seen much playboy pictures but a quick search reveals that 99% of playboy pictures are about young, blond, and big-breasted skinny women featuring a mild to heavy tans and in various sexualized positions. That’s what “male gaze” likes that’s how Playboy has been making so much money. You can’t find the pictures in this calendar.

      • says

        A single magazine can’t be used to prove what the male gaze “wants”. There are overwhelming themes in the kind of women represented in the pornography men buy, but that doesn’t mean women outside of those stereotypes are not sexualized or used in pornography. Other kinds of women are just under-represented. There is pornography with breast feeding as a fetish, for example. The problem with the male gaze is that women cannot ever escape it, no matter what a woman looks like she can be humiliated for it. We are judged primarily by our sexual usefulness to men, our personalities an afterthought. That is the problem.

        • ... says

          We are judged primarily by our sexual usefulness to men, our personalities an afterthought. That is the problem.

          Who is this we, exactly? And which men in question?

  7. Lula Fortune says

    Some of these comments are really hateful. Others are quite disturbing.

    That’s all I feel comfortable saying so I’ll leave it at that.

    • ... says

      I’m just generically anti-poseur. There’s a great deal of real oppression out there. The sight of people who are supposed to be on the side of reason and science puffing themselves up over non-issues is.. trying to say the least. I deal with a certain amount of this in real life to; whenever I try to get my Uni’s feminist soc interested in, say, OLFA or similar, I get stonewalled. While they waste an unconscionable amount of ink on other non-issues. I

      Anyway, I know you are one of the people who participated in the calender, so full props and full credit. That took serious guts. Hat off and all that.

      • Lotharloo says

        Shorter “…”:

        “You are all heartless bitches for whining about sexism in Western countries while there are women being stoned in Saudi Arabia. Now if you’ll excuse me, my time needs to be urgently wasted in getting another anonymous pseudonym and starting another flame war somewhere else.”

      • says

        I cant speak for the other women, but the only thing I “posed” for was my own camera. And again I cant speak for other women but I did not participate to equate human rights issues in America with those of other nations. I participated because I saw a beauty in the original image, and a courage that I wished to honor, I saw a means to take steps in the right direction, and a fantastic chance to help.

        I don’t think we disagree, I have not seen you say our bodies should remain hidden, that women ought be perceived as inhuman enough to be owned or ordered about. Even if it is simply in matters of dress. And I haven’t seen you say we it is impossible or wrong for a person to use nudity as an artistic statement, or a political one.

        I have had vicious disagreements with a number of the people who participated in the calendar on other occasions, however I did not disagree with the intention of the calendar, I found the sentiment therein to be extremely powerful, and important.

        Please do not confuse this show of solidarity, and general desire to help with any single aspect of human rights issues that you may take issue with. Because really I still don’t see what you have to be upset about as it pertains to this.
        I really don’t think we disagree.

        And thank you for your kind words.

        • ... says

          Oh goodness me, I’m sorry about the misunderstanding Mallorie Nasrallah! When I said “poseur” I certainly was not referring to you, nor to those involved in the calendar (or at least qua those involved in the calendar…). As I said, that took some real guts.

          I don’t think we disagree, I have not seen you say our bodies should remain hidden, that women ought be perceived as inhuman enough to be owned or ordered about. Even if it is simply in matters of dress. And I haven’t seen you say we it is impossible or wrong for a person to use nudity as an artistic statement, or a political one.

          I haven’t. And I never would. Those statements are ridiculous, apart from anything else. (Anyone who thinks nudity cannot be used artistically has, more or less, slept through the whole of art history, just to take one example)

          I can sympathise with this:

          I have had vicious disagreements with a number of the people who participated in the calendar on other occasions, however I did not disagree with the intention of the calendar, I found the sentiment therein to be extremely powerful, and important.

          I know what you mean; I’ve had immense quarrels and differences with Namazie, but I still respect her tremendously, and would consider it a disgrace not to take her side in this fight.

          You’re quite right that we do not disagree, from what I’ve seen anyway.

  8. julian says

    Disturbingly popular with women who are unhappy with some aspect of themselves (career, relationships, physical appearance, etc) and need someone to blame for it.
    Now the calendar’s photos

    *snort*

    That’s totally what’s driving women who object to the patriarchy. Gotcha. Being unable to accomplish anything they just hate men and pretty women. Real women, right?

    I’d sooner listen to O’Reilly than this bullshit.

    • Ysanne says

      No. That’s what’s driving women who object to other women getting photographed nude to make a political statement, and argue that any nude photo is a bow to the patriarchy.

  9. says

    Seems to me that the main point of the post is that intent is more important than effect. It isn’t. It is difficult to define sexism at all if intent becomes so important; virtually no one admits to sexism. Judging things exclusively by effect is too harsh, but it should be a primary consideration in how to label actions like the nude calender.

    Look, the thing about radical feminist critique of other women is that every single critique is made with the baseline assumption that women are not at fault for sexism, nor is the job of any specific woman to solve sexism. It just irks me a bit to have compliance with sexism called activism; that is the meat of the radical feminist critique I read about feminism-as-a-nude-calendar. I don’t see a problem with that. It is asking for honesty in what these efforts accomplish.

    • ... says

      Well, skeptifem,

      It is asking for honesty in what these efforts accomplish.

      As far as I know, Maryam Namazie’s behind the One Law for All campaign, and this is a staunch show of solidarity with Aliaa Elmahdy and in general has been first rate on this issue. What about you?

      Oh. You’ve got a blog. Well done.

      • julian says

        I think I am past blaming the patriarchy. Obviously the fault is … and hir gawd-awful arguing. Jesus, mate, you realize that ignoring the argument presented by someone and going straight for a personal attack as a way of dismissing them isn’t a valid approach to figuring out which of you is right.

        • ... says

          Oh, julian, it’s easy to make personal attacks, sure – but someone has to do it. And when one’s dealing with riff-raff, it’s always good to go for overkill.

  10. GM says

    I’d like to see Richard Dawkins post pictures of his butt on the internet everytime he’d like to protest against something.
    Let’s have a Famous Atheist Men’s Revolutionary Butt Calendar.
    Now that would be making a statement. Or even better, “Buttquake”! Isn’t the male body beautiful too? Why aren’t men rushing to do this?

    The human body is beautiful, I fully agree that women shouldn’t be ashamed of their bodies or sexuality. But…why does it *always* seem to boil down to the same thing? Please don’t accuse me of “telling women what to do.” I just ask, what is “revolutionary” about a woman stripping down to her birthday suit to express herself or make a statement? I understand it if you were expected to wear a burka everywhere you go, but anywhere else, it’s the same old, same old. There is no shortage of people who want you to get naked if you’re a woman, there is no shortage of nude women in popular culture or on the internet.

    Why does everything “postpatriarchy” look exactly the same as what was expected of us before it was, um, toppled?

    • says

      I would totally buy a Dawkins’ Butt Calendar, for the record.
      If guys want to strip down to protest absurd sex offendeder laws (such as being classified as a sex offender for life for Public Urination) I would full support that. Its a hideous law and I would love to raise awareness. If you need a photographer please call me.
      However lack of you taking the course you want to take, and starting the protests you find important, does not invalidate Maryam’s efforts.

    • julian says

      As was pointed out upthread, there can be something revolutionary about nudity when it goes against norms and what we’re meant to look like. This wasn’t a Hooter’s calender. The bodies were far from air brushed super models. That, in and of itself is a statement of resistance.

      Besides, this was a sign of solidarity with the people living in the repressive societies that will enforce conformity with violence.

      Why does everything “postpatriarchy” look exactly the same as what was expected of us before it was, um, toppled?

      That doesn’t apply here.

    • Ysanne says

      I understand it if you were expected to wear a burka everywhere you go, but anywhere else, …

      This calendar is here to show solidarity with a woman in Egypt (a place that’s moving into the burka-wearing direction) who put up a nude photo of herself on her blog as part of a point about autonomy, and got into serious trouble because of it.

      From what I read about the story, and in particular the comments of men from supposedly modern “anywhere else”-places, my impression is that a woman showing herself naked for a purpose other than entertaining men is revolutionary enough to get a range of comments explaining why it’s wrong… So yeah, obviously the idea that a woman can show as much or as little of her body as she wants is still needs some getting used to for lots of people.
      And that’s exactly why the calendar has nudes.

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