Art is the proper task of life

{January 23, 2007}   Exhibitionists, Exhibitionists everywhere so lets have an Exhibition?

Let me make it clear that women can be as chauvinistic and as bad as men when it comes to gender relations. Regardless of whether one calls it ‘liberation’ of women, being ‘comfortable’ with one’s sexuality or other nonsense, the fact of the matter is that women like Paris Hilton and Britney are not emblems of feminist emancipation. In fact they represent the worst excesses of a compromised feminism i.e., objectification and reduction of women to one dimensional objects, sexual objects to be exact. Consider the following excerpt from an article in the Wall Street Journal.

In fact, Britney was following to its logical end what has become the first rule of contemporary American girlhood: to show that you are liberated, take it off. Liberty means responsibility . . . to disrobe. Paris Hilton, Britney’s BFF (Best Friend Forever), taped her sexual escapades with an ex-boyfriend, though even she was tactful enough to pretend that she hadn’t meant for the video to go public. Courtney Love, Lindsay Lohan and Tara Reid have also staged their own wardrobe malfunctions. But flashing is hardly limited to celebrities. The girls-next-door who migrate to Florida during spring break happily lift their blouses and snap their thongs for the producers of “Girls Gone Wild,” who sell their DVDs to an eager public.

Is it just the men’s fault? Many of them are more than happy in this state of affairs but in this case I think some of us women are to be blamed as well, as Ariel Levy calls them Female Chauvanist pigs. Here is another excerpt from the same article.

Some people believe that it is lingering misogyny rather than naive exhibitionism that leads the public to define women by their sexual anatomy and proclivities. Perhaps there is something to that. But the exhibitionism surely doesn’t help. It seems that men, despite their reputation as braggarts, actually don’t find self-exposure all that appealing. Where are the male counterparts to Britney Spears and “Girls Gone Wild”?

I am not a prude but the media and even people’s (men and women’s) obsession with celebrities like Paris, Lohan and Anderson just makes me sick. I mean aren’t there important things in life. May be all people are shallow and go for looks. So may be there is some shallowness in me as well but there is a limit to shallowness and our contemporary culture is on the verge of crossing that limit.


ruby says:

“In fact they represent the worst excesses of a compromised feminism i.e., objectification and reduction of women to one dimensional objects, sexual objects to be exact”

Agreed! Preach it girlie!

Aliana says:

>> Agreed! Preach it girlie!
Thanks. I am just getting started!

Suroor says:

Oh please don;t even get me started on Paris Hilton! I truly, truly dislike her.

arafat says:

This is how I have always described the Paris Hilston/Britney Spears phenomenon: it is male domination disguised as women’s liberation. But you do a better job in expressing this, and a comment above has already quoted it: “they represent the worst excesses of a compromised feminism i.e., objectification and reduction of women to one dimensional objects, sexual objects to be exact.” What really intrigues me is that at its heart this picture isn’t all that different from an overly segregationist patriarchal society (say for e.g., Saudi Arabia), where the female exists for not much more than the sexual pleasure of men (and of course, to also bear their children). The only difference between the two extremes is that in one the object is bared for mass-consumption, and in the other ‘it’ is shrouded up from the eyes of all but the one who owns ‘it’.

I have to say, however, that I’m becoming curious as to what Camille Paglia may have to say on this, ever since discovering her the other day in the basement of my favorite independent bookstore in Cambridge. I’m pretty sure I will disagree, but I haven’t yet come across many pro-pornography feminists.

Aliana says:

Suroor: May be we should start a club – Women Against PAris Hilton (WAPAH)

Arafat: The way you describe the Hilton/Spears phenomenon is very similar to what Ariel Levy states in her book Female Chauvanist Pigs. The objectification of women exists in both the Saudi and the Western Society. Also the use of “it” to describe women in both cases is very telling. Also the manner in which the rehetoric of female emancipation in the West and the protection of women in Saudi Arabia, has been hijacked is just astonishing.
On Camille Paglia, I think that she is delusional at best and at worst, well lets just not go there. 🙂

monkey says:

I find myself mildly resentful at the whole female chauvinist pig syndrome, only because it seems to filter over to how I am supposed to treat a man in a relationship or I will either be considered “not cool” or “crazy and clingy”. I am not a prude but the idea of strip clubs (not as a concept, but a bf or husband going to one after I’m on the scene) incenses me and yet if I were to say that out loud I’d be called an insecure girlfriend.

Why should I put up with these things? I keep myself fit, take care of my appearance and most of my boyfriends have enjoyed the way I look…why am I obligated to put up with some guy going off to have plastic shoved in his face to the tune of individual dollar bills? That’s laundry money right there.

Don’t even get me started on the “4 date” rule. Apparently I am now “obligated” to have sex with someone after 4 dates. After 4 dates I am still deliberating whether or not I like what shoes he is wearing.

While I do not want to turn the clock back 1000 years, Paris Hilton/Lindsey Lohan and the whole kit and caboodle is just a pop culture representation of how I believe relationships between men and women, and just between human beings in general have sunk to a really shallow level. I don’t know if this is because I live in Los Angeles with the most shallow people on the face of the planet or it’s endemic or what. But it saddens me because I feel like I’m trying to connect with someone but it’s impossible to do so in a hyper-sexualised dating environment where standing up for what I feel are my basic emotional needs constitutes a sign of crazy psychoness or something. I don’t know how my sister managed to find a guy…she just put the smack down and he was like “cool” but most guys move on to the girls who are like “Nooooooo, I am TOTALLY cool with that!”

I can say, as a single woman on the dating scene that at times I feel like I have to ask for more and more “things” that men see as compromises that I feel are signs of basic respect or were tacitly understood in the past. Like not dating someone else or trying to put the mack on some other chick if we’ve been going out for more than a month etc.. And yet, if you bring these things up, you’re labelled “demanding”.

It’s basically why I chucked it all and let my parents introduce me to SANE normal people. And while it hasn’t worked out yet, at least I’m not in a situation where my friends will call me up and be like “umm, do you know your boyfriend put a profile up on”


Aliana says:

Monkey. It does seem that a lot of things are just going down the gutter! Instead of evaluating the worth of a women by the size of her brain, some elements in the culture (both men and women) promote a culture where the worth of a woman is evaluated by the size of her breasts.

I may be a bit old fashioned but I never met anyone with whom one could go out even on a halal date. It just seems that most guys are just perpetually teens. lol I always say, where have all the decent men gone?

monkey says:

I have a favourite line from the movie Grosse Pointe Blank.

“Where are all the good men dead? In the heart or in the head?”

What is a halal date?

Aliana says:

monkey: Halal data, that was meant as a joke. Halal is an Islamic term which means permissible.

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