Posts Tagged feminism

Vaginas

In my last post, I spoke about desensitising the privacy of our most private parts so that we might be able to talk more openly about violations of them. You might therefore reason that I would welcome the recent celebrations of all things vag: labia cupcakes, hats and wedding gowns, vaginal earring sets, Naomi Wolf’s new one: Vagina: A New Biography.

So maybe I’ll surprise you when I say I don’t.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate anyone jumping into the fold (ha!) of bringing our sexuality out of the shadows, it’s just that it’s all so effortful, so self-conscious, so overdone. It’s all gone a bit vulgar.

To get biological, what separates us from animals is that we have developed a whole host of functions that make it so that our reproductive aims do not have to be the sole purpose of our existence. This has made the hunt and chase of sexual partners fun. Sexuality is a subtext, a whisper, a suggestion. It starts as an unspoken muddle of signals and body language and uncertainty, until you choose — and that’s the best part, the choosing — to make it explicit.

Because we are no longer apes, we don’t need to flash our engorged red bottoms in order to attract our mate. I feel the same about an over the top flashing of a representation of our labias.

To get ideological, I think we feminists have a lot better things to do with our time than all this labial gazing. I don’t care if you call it your yoni, your pussy, your cunt or your mini. Just call it something that means something to you and be good to it. Protect it: keep it healthy and practice some critical gatekeeping. And by all means, if ever someone is reckless with it, whether forcibly or clumsily, treat it like it were any other organ and say so, as loudly as you need to, until you are understood.

That said, to get sartorial, it is an organ. Like all organs, it’s fleshy and not necessarily ugly but by no means the stuff of stylistic depiction (why do you think that artists like Georgia O’Keefe opted for flowers?). I would no sooner go to a wedding wearing a likeness of my stomach or walk around with a small little nose pendant hanging off a necklace than I would swan about with an externalised fanny.

Further, these labial creations are too often made out of felt. Now, I don’t I have to tell you, but felt as a fabric is a real boner shrinker. It’s heavy, obstructive and the last time you probably used it, you were making a costume that involved Elmer’s glue.

And that readers, sums up my point. In a past post on hosiery, I spoke about the need for us to grow up. I fear that these vaginal creations and conversations are silly and ultimately demeaning. I’d rather pay my vagina some respect by demanding it myself.

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Beach volleyball

On a website dedicated to style that attracts men, I know that beach volleyball belongs under the sartorial category of So Right, but on the social side, I can’t help but to think So Wrong.

Am I a buzz kill? Probably. But first let me say this: I love a bikini; at last count I had 12. I also love athletic bodies and powerful woman. Put the two together and you’d think I’d be in Heaven.

But the feminist in me can’t help but to get irked by the production, the photography and the pervy focus on secret hand signals that cause commentators eyes to linger on women’s asses. Or the water cooler chat about it all.

These Olympic games gave us some of the most inspiring women in recent times, especially in Britain. We had the unfathomable graciousness, talent and six-pack of Jessica Ennis, the history making punch of Nicola Adams, the endurance of Judo player Gemma Gibbons who fought back the pain of a broken thumb to take Silver. Then there’s the combination of speed, power and extreme modesty present in multiple cyclists at the Velodrome and multiple rowers at Eton Dorney. We even saw Sarah Attar, the first female from Saudi Arabia to compete in Olympic athletics, complete her race even though she was 43 seconds behind the competition. She hoped it would ‘spark something amazing.’ That is what the Olympics should be about.

Yet, for the first few days, men were entranced about the camera angles and interactive features of beach volleyball. And women played right into it, cooing about what we’d do to have a body like that (here’s a tip: start with the gym). We didn’t flag that in the realm of all Olympic events, beach volleyball is definitely on the more leisurely end of the spectrum. And those outfits? To pretend for one minute they have anything to do with performance — IN A LANDLOCKED LONDON, MOSTLY AT NIGHT — is laughable. People wear bikinis to play beach volleyball because we are at the beach. You soak up some sun, you go for a swim, you eat a sandwich, you work it off in a playful set. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

I know I’m risking losing some subscribers, but I can’t help to call sexism on this one. (By the way, please don’t leave me, instead just leave mean comments. I love a debate!)

These Olympics have been amazing and I don’t want them to end. London has been a phenomenal host. These athletes have impressed me like none before. I don’t mean to take anything away from the beach volleyball players who have worked so hard to get here, but I do want people to take into account some of the less noble traits that colour society, even within the greater vision of the games.

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Catwomen

If you haven’t seen The Dark Knight Rises yet, I strongly recommend it. I’m no film critic, but what I can tell you is that Christopher Nolan is a god, the special effects are jaw-dropping (and yet not overdone), the story is intricate and reflects a lot of issues germane to our times, the female characters are immensely powerful, and that other than one fleeting moment of bogus acting, which would be a spoiler if I revealed it, I can’t fault a performance.

A stand-out? Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle, who is not overtly referred to but obviously known as the Catwoman.

I cannot imagine that men don’t love her, possibly because my vision is clouded by my own adoration. Other than a sketchy past that she’s trying to escape (who amongst us?), she’s everything you want to be: clever, wry, mechanical, supremely sexy, spandexed, shapely and super-fit. Plus, she has a great collection of little black dresses which are ladylike and vampy at once. And, she can work a string of pearls better than Jackie O on a good day.

But here’s what I love most about the superwoman that is Catwoman. She is literally a super woman. She is resolutely and unapologetically female. She purrs, she works her feminine wiles, she uses her typically female powers of nuanced and critical thinking and in the end, she still opens herself up to love… ultimately coming back to her man (again, I ask: who amongst us?).

And that’s my take on feminism — and the very point of this blog. We win when we do what we do best — and that is precisely what we were genetically programmed to do: Be. Women.

I am a proud feminist and because of that, I embrace what is feminine. What scares me is the notion that we must be bashful about our womanly ways in order to be taken seriously. So what do we get? ‘Professional’ women dressed in genderless suits, acting like poor imitations of their male counterparts and beating themselves up over the notion of having it all (a paradigm that has never, nor will ever, exist for men).

There are some damn good mimics out there, but an imitation is never as good as the real thing. Instead of trying to be something that we’re not — or worse, a new, androgynous category that never existed — why don’t we make the most of what we are? Proudly, strongly feminine.

Ladies, please… don’t neuter your Catwoman.

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