Sunday, April 30, 2017

Warm Sunshine (#ootd)

When Victoria's Secret sends you a coupon in the mail for a free pair of panties, you know it's a great excuse to go and check out all the hotties at the mall. :-3

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Further Thoughts on ''Sexualization''

The implication of the term "sexualize" is to turn something nonsexual into something sexual by interpretation. It's like anthropomorphism, but for sex. (Perhaps a less politically-charged term, like erotomorphism, would be better). For example, the movie Sausage Party sexualizes supermarket produce, by drawing the produce in a sexually suggestive manner, giving it sexually-charged dialogue, and involving it in sexually explicit activities.

Is sexualization a bad thing? Not necessarily. If you've been taught to consider it a moral imperative to avoid sexuality, because, e.g., it's indecent, or you view it as a sin, then perhaps you might think so. But from a sex-positive perspective, making something nonsexual sexual is like having a cup of tea, and then adding a spoonful of sugar to it. It makes things better!

But can sexualization be problematic? I suppose it could, but only when imposed upon another person against their wishes. Now, with people, it's tricky, because people are sexual beings. The term sexualization, as I have found, is misleading - you can't sexualize a human being because human beings are inherently sexual. But I suspect that this is not how the term is typically intended to be used. It's not necessarily the person who is being sexualized, or even their body - it's the situation. I feel like we'd be better off replacing the misleading term "sexualization" with something more context-specific, like "unwanted sexual attention".

When a girl decides to dress up as a sexy witch for Halloween, she is (most likely) consciously choosing to be sexy. You could argue that she has sexualized herself by choosing what could be described as a sexualized Halloween costume. Yet, the fact that she has consciously chosen to attire herself in a sexualized fashion does not, nevertheless, mean that you are entitled to, e.g., sexually harass or assault her. See: SlutWalk, and "skirts are not consent".

However, we must be careful to distinguish between sexual harassment, and mere acknowledgement of sex appeal. If a girl dresses in a sexy outfit, you are absolutely entitled to appreciate it as such. You just need to know the line between that and harassment (and I acknowledge that, unfortunately, feminism has blurred the line to an unforgivable degree). I think this is where the terminology of "sexualization" falls short, because it doesn't distinguish between positive and negative sexual attention, and you can't fault a person for becoming frustrated when a girl wears, e.g., what amounts to lingerie in public, and then complains about people ogling her body.

Obviously, what constitutes a sexual cue can be subjective, and there is room for misunderstanding. The girl who picked out that costume with the skirt and heels could have simply thought it looked cute, not intending to be the subject of catcalls. And this could be true of any outfit - even everyday clothes. You have eyes - you're allowed to appreciate all the beauty you see in the world. (This is where cries of "don't sexualize me!" fall on deaf ears). But use common sense. Be polite. When giving girls attention, try to read the situation. If they're clearly not interested in fending off flirtatious advances, then leave them alone! You don't want to make them uncomfortable. That only teaches them to dress more conservatively next time.

And by all means, don't tell them to change because you're the one feeling uncomfortable. "Triggering" your sexual desires (oftentimes inadvertently and unintentionally) does not entitle you to anything. I wonder, sometimes, if I'm coming from an unusual place. In my experience, the world is filled with erotic stimuli. And I love it! It's like going through life with a constant buzz (not necessarily in the sense of being physically aroused, but mentally stimulated). I'm not frustrated; I'm delighted! Yet I wonder if it's because my libido is atypical. Do men really have to have satisfaction every time they're stimulated? (And is it not enough for them to remove themselves to a private location and take care of it alone?).

Maybe men have been trained to get what they want, but to me it seems like entitlement. Can the solution truly only be one of these two evils: 1) a world where women must keep their bodies covered at all times, so as not to entice men, or 2) a world where women must submit without resistance to men's desires at any time? Neither one of these is a world I want to live in. And both of them discourage expressions of female sexuality. They're really one and the same. Because what woman wouldn't cover up to avoid the risk of enticing a man who is legally entitled to rape her, and what man would be criticized for punishing a woman who violates his society's imperative for her to cover up? I prefer a more progressive alternative, where women are free to express their sexuality, and men are responsible for their own reactions to it.

Let's end this with an example. It's a hot, summer day. A girl decides to put on shorts. Now, she could wear baggy, knee-length shorts (or longer) like a lot of guys wear. These shorts are not particularly sexy. They're not skin-tight, and they're not designed to expose an excessive proportion of the legs. Or, she could pick out a pair of short shorts that are so popular among girls these days. I'm not going to try to pretend that these shorts are not what you might call sexualized. Yes, they're just shorts. But they're shorts that expose a lot of leg - particularly the thigh, which is in closer proximity to the sex organs. Yes, it's just a body. We all have one. But we're also designed to find them appealing (accounting for taste).

Yet, we're not cavemen here. Laying eyes on a juicy thigh is not a mindless excuse to initiate coitus. At the same time, expecting people to pretend that it's not a desirable stimulus is inhuman. We must be able to reach a middle ground. I'm a nudist, so I've had experience standing before an exquisite specimen of naked glory (and while they may be few and far between, that does not diminish - rather, it may actually enhance - their spectacle). I find no justice in denying the effect it has on me. But at the same time, I am able to comport myself like a civilized gentleman. This is the standard I hold for mankind. Please tell me it's not too high. Because the alternative is a bland world in which women, fearing rape with no repercussions, are compelled (by law and society) to wear only formless, grey jumpsuits. Don't send me to that dystopia. Please!

Friday, April 28, 2017

A New Outlook

Last night I wrote, "we should be teaching young girls about the inherently sexual nature of their bodies (so that they will be prepared for the attention they are inevitably going to receive)". And as much as I'd like to put this issue to rest and move on, I was lying in bed trying not to think about it, when I had an epiphany. (See, there is utility in extended meditation on an issue! I worry, though, that few people ever think about things in enough depth to reach such enlightening conclusions). I realized something. I have personally witnessed examples of the sexual discrimination girls - even very young children - experience at the hands of adults. I have witnessed teachers shaming girls for performing gymnastics in skirts. I have witnessed parents chastising their daughters for showing visible panty lines in public. I have witnessed adults instructing only the girls in a mixed group to cover up, while the boys are permitted to frolic about in their underwear unmolested. These are prepubescent children. They should not be exposed to this kind of body anxiety at such a young age. What in the hell are we teaching them? What kind of message are we trying to send?

This doesn't change my opinion that it's important to teach girls (and boys!) about the sexual nature of their bodies. But I don't think that's really what we're teaching them. We're teaching them to be afraid. That their bodies are powerful, but that this power should be feared. The fact that we're telling little girls they need to be wary of the attention they're "courting" from men is more than a little creepy. Is it really an eight year old's responsibility to police her own behavior so as not to "entice" pedophiles? Am I the only one who is sickened by this thought? If a little girl inadvertently flashes her panties on the playground, it's not her responsibility to be modest. It's not your responsibility to protect her virtue, either. She's just a little girl. Let her play. Your only responsibility is to NOT be a vile pervert, by telling her (albeit not in as many words) she's behaving inappropriately because she's making you think of the sexual nature of her body(!). And you know what? It's no different if we're talking about a sixteen year old wearing shorts in school. If this is what we're teaching our kids, it's no wonder our society has a problem with blaming women for "leading on" the men who sexually assault them.

So, upon further rumination, I could see how a girl could grow up being made to feel as if she's been sexualized from a very young age, and that her body has been objectified by the sexual gaze of our culture. Why can't she - like a boy could - choose to wear shorts on a warm day without it turning into a community-wide (if not worldwide!) discussion of her virtue? I'd say the answer is not because we're always thinking about sex. That's inevitable. It's because our culture suffers from a toxic neuroticism surrounding the topic of human sexuality. "Sexualization" is a bogus term because we're naturally sexual. The problem is not the fact of sexuality, it's the nature of it. To remove the poison, we cannot drain the blood, we must find a way to neutralize it.

Consider this: barring the occasional "pervert" who doesn't understand boundaries (and is really an outlier, despite what our scaremongering culture insists), the people who invariably cause problems are not the ones who think of sex in a positive light, but those who think of it in a negative light. They are the ones shaming others, and trying to police their morality. They're the ones who insist that you cover up, and can't stop reminding you to be wary of the signals you're sending out. A positive, non-toxic view of sexuality embraces the sexual nature of our bodies, while striving to produce positive - not negative - experiences and feelings related to our sexuality, which inextricably relies on a foundation of non-violation of consent.

Stereotypically, it's men getting territorial over their daughter's virginity (as disgustingly outdated as that is), but in my experience (including every example given in the first paragraph), it's women "looking out" for their kind who more often than not are responsible for shaming and trying to control girls over the choices they make with their bodies. This needs to stop. Men and women alike need to learn to own their feelings. To acknowledge the sexual nature of our very existence, but learn to deal with it in ways that do not poison other people's minds. Don't tell people to cover up because you're uncomfortable - ask yourself why that makes you uncomfortable. Don't teach girls that their body is a weapon (albeit one that can only inflict self-harm), and that they must keep it concealed, otherwise they're inviting retaliation. This is contributing to rape culture! Hold people responsible for their actions instead. Teach girls that they can wear whatever they want, and be happy and confident, and that if anyone makes them feel bad for doing so, they are the problem. And then instruct those people on why they are ruining society for the rest of us.

The bottom line is that you, me, and every one of us is a sexual being (although we each approach that fact from different angles, and reach different conclusions about it). We can't help being reminded of it constantly. But we can manipulate the effect it has on us, by encouraging sex-positive attitudes, and discouraging the sex-negative ones. A girl choosing to wear shorts is not a problem. Nor is anyone looking at her legs and being reminded of the reason we all exist (it sounds weird to put it this way, but that's exactly what's going on). What matters is what we do with that thought. Don't shame her. Don't bug her. Just let her be. If it makes you uncomfortable, then look inside yourself and try to figure out why. Because you're the one with the problem - not her. Otherwise, just continue enjoying your life, and let others enjoy theirs, too. Relinquish the need for control, and you'll be much happier.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Bullet Style

I apologize for ranting on at length about this, but I have an exhaustively analytical mind that sometimes has a tendency to attach itself to things like a hungry Metroid, sucking out all the life until there's nothing left but a hollow shell.

And it's just, this note - it seems all over the place. If it weren't so poorly constructed, I'd think it was a deliberate plant to raise awareness. (Hell, it could even have been designed to make feminism look bad). But my belief is that if something is worth doing, it's worth doing right. So I'm going to tear it apart piece by piece.

"I am sixteen."

Establishing a fact (I can only presume) that is relevant to the author's argument - fine.

"The sexualization of my body is not my problem; it's yours."

The issue of "sexualization" is problematic, but the placement of blame here is sound. Any actions that result from another perceiving this girl in a sexual light is their issue to deal with, and not the girl's responsibility to remedy.

"You should not be sexualizing a sixteen-year-old."

Alright, you lost me. This is where the "sexualization" angle falls utterly apart. If the girl were not sixteen but eight, it might hold a little more water. Like it or not, biology ensures that the vast majority of sixteen year old human females are sexually mature. Exploiting the modern hysteria around youthful sexuality is not productive - it's a low blow, and it opens up a whole different can of worms. It's a discussion worth having, but it detracts (and distracts) from the point being made, and is on the wrong side of the issue anyway. But even if the girl in question were only eight years old, making this issue about the appropriateness of sexuality completely destroys its credibility. If eight year old girls are allowed to wear shorts because they're too young for their bodies to be viewed sexually, then what excuse do 24 year old women who wear skirts have? Saying "I can wear what I want because I'm sexless" is not only problematic, it's not even true!

"You should not be teaching young girls their bodies are inherently sexual."

As above, I hate to break it to you, but Homo sapiens is a sexual organism, and, politically correct or not, biology has seen to it (and history bears out) that most females are ready to procreate before age 16 (whether they should in our modern society or not). We should be teaching young girls about the inherently sexual nature of their bodies (and all of our bodies), so that they will be prepared to deal with the attention they are inevitably going to receive once they start puberty (if not before). This is an unavoidable fact of life. But it doesn't have to be unpleasant. We should prepare girls for it (as we simultaneously teach boys how to deal with the feelings they'll be having), not bury our heads in the sand and naively hope that things will work themselves out on their own.

"...or inappropriate."

On this count I agree wholeheartedly, although many might not. There is an argument to be made about what level of decorum is "appropriate" in certain situations - such as school. Very few people would argue that exposing your genitals in a school atmosphere is "appropriate" (although I might be one of them). How, then, does telling a girl that her genitals are inappropriate send a significantly different message than saying the same thing about her legs? If this is a feminist issue, there has been no mention whatsoever about how the rules may or may not differ for girls than they do for boys. That would have been pertinent information.

"We are people, not objects."

This is more feminist rhetoric that suggests the specious concept of "objectification". Yes, girls are people. People have bodies. Bodies are objects. We can talk about people's bodies without forgetting that they belong to people. There is no description given here to lend evidence to the claim that the author is being treated more like an unthinking, unfeeling object than a conscious human being (who must, therefore, follow the rules of society).

"Stop policing my wardrobe."

Although I would agree with this imperative - as I believe in the concept of radical freedom of dress - it rather undermines the author's argument. Although it is not clear from the limited context (I can't find a news source for the image), if the conflict has taken place in school, we come to the issue of whether the school has the right to impose a dress code. The general consensus is that yes, it does. If this were a protest of that right, I'm not sure what all this talk about "sexualization" and "objectification" has to do with it. Furthermore, there is not much of an argument being made about why the school should not have this right. If the conflict had not taken place at school, it either occurred somewhere else where a dress code is in effect (e.g., a church); otherwise, the argument becomes even flimsier, as I am not aware of any situation where a girl is not permitted to wear shorts in public (in this or any free country). In that case, the girl would not be responding to a restriction of her liberties, but merely railing against some actual or perceived criticism against her freely made choices. Although less serious, I would support her in this endeavor, if only she were making a better argument, instead of falling back on feminist buzz words to garner hollow sympathy.

"It's warm out. I'm wearing shorts."

Amen. I find myself a little surprised to be spending so much time refuting a young girl's defense of her decision to wear shorts. I love it when young girls wear shorts. And I think they should not only have the freedom, but be socially encouraged to do so. But that's why I wish she'd made a stronger argument. By equating the controversy surrounding her decision to wear shorts with the shaming of men and the "objectification" of her body, she's associating it with the worst aspects of feminism. How about, "It's a free country, and I'm perfectly capable of making my own decisions. If I want to wear shorts, I'll wear shorts. After all, boys can wear shorts. What you think of my body is your business, not mine. I like my body just fine, and that's all there is to it." Now that is a positive, liberating message I could get behind!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Feminism Strikes Again

I wrote my last post several days ago. I stalled for a while on publishing it, because I felt that it was a bit harsh. I'm not trying to make enemies here. Ultimately, though, I decided to push it through, because I concluded that my frustration was justified, and feminism (for all it might be good for) cannot go uncriticized. Echo chambers produce negative feedback. Treating feminism like it's beyond criticism actually harms feminism. And feminism is desperately in need of a rehauling. Anyway, I published the post this morning, and not twelve hours later I was embraced with yet another example of sex-hating feminist rhetoric (thanks, Facebook...).

Trigger warning: feminist rhetoric

It's becoming a pervasive issue: the sexualization of school dress codes - what could arguably be described as a spoiled teenager using feminist rhetoric to legitimize a tantrum by railing against male sexuality. Schools have a right to impose a dress code. If you disagree, you have the right to protest. If the dress code discriminates against you based on your sex (e.g., girls aren't allowed to wear shorts, but boys are), then that is a legitimate feminist issue. But by riding the wave of erotophobia, couched in misandrist language, this girl is elevating her sense of entitlement to the level of social activism, dragging feminism's reputation through the mud in the process. (And the internet is eating it up in droves).

Of course a girl should be allowed to wear shorts if it's warm. And it's inexcusable for anyone (male or otherwise) to suggest that she should cover up only because the exposure of her bare skin is making somebody uncomfortable. These are the problems - the real issues at play. Not "sexualization". I've got some news for you, honey. You're sixteen. Your body is sexual. I'm sorry that the attention you're receiving is making you uncomfortable (I'm certain your sexual education hasn't prepared you for this). But that's a fact. You can't change biology just because it's politically incorrect. And are you seriously making the argument that because 24 year old women's bodies are sexual, they can't wear shorts if doing so distracts men?

The issue here is that men haven't been prepared to deal with their own sexual feelings (did I mention that sex ed in this country is atrocious?). Whether you're sixteen, or twenty-four, or eight, or eighty, you have the right to wear what you feel comfortable in. Whether that's a burqa, a bikini, or anything in between. And as a nudist, I would argue that that even includes walking around completely naked - the argument doesn't change no matter how much of your body is on display (it'd be pretty disgusting - and nudism would fall utterly apart - if that weren't the case). When a man attempts to impose a dress code because your outfit makes him feel uncomfortable, he's trying to control your behavior in lieu of dealing with his own issues.

That is the problem. And fixing it requires acknowledging and accepting the existence of those feelings (which are not going away), not fabricating an illusive reality where the fact that men have sexual feelings is the problem, and eliminating them is the only or best possible solution. This is feminism's enduring fault, and why I can never fully get on board with it - adopting politically expedient delusions while willfully ignoring the evidence provided by reality. Real, positive change can never occur in opposition to the truth of human nature. I wholeheartedly support women's rights, freedoms, and equality. And men's sexual feelings should never stand in obstruction to these goals. But all this talk about "sexualization" is bullshit. Can we stop ruining feminism's reputation with this crap already? Please?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Definition of Feminism

fem-i-nism (noun)

1. An irrational and extreme revulsion to the idea of a man experiencing sexual pleasure.

2. An inability to conceive of the fantastic possibility of a woman experiencing sexual pleasure.

3. Belief in a sexless utopia where women wield all the power and men are treated like objects. (After all, turnabout is fair play).

4. (archaic) Belief in the fundamental equality of the sexes. (Note: though conceptually sound, there is no evidence of this usage in practice).

Reminder: Behind every cynic is a disappointed idealist. I fully support the doctrine of equality for all sexes and genders (among other things) - no matter what you call it (because the substance is more important than the label). But as a sex-positive, I am disgusted by the terrible crimes that are routinely perpetrated against human sexuality in the name of feminism. I've tried to follow some feminist groups in the past, out of a humanistic concern for the plight of women in modern society (what the culture at large insidiously interprets as "how can you not be a feminist?"), but they are, taken as a whole, infected by such an underlying hatred, usually of the sexual impulse (especially the male sexual impulse); and I can't be a part of that. My life and my mental well-being is better off without that incredibly toxic environment.

On a tangentially-related note, shame failed as a repressive tactic when human beings learned to respond to shame triggers with sexual arousal (in a perfect example of "you can't keep a hard cock down").

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

What if somebody finds out?

Q: What if somebody finds out that I post naked pictures of myself on the internet?

A: What if somebody finds out? Finds out what? That you have a body and you like to be admired? Listen, if somebody finds out that you're a sexual organism, they're only proving their own stupidity, because they should have known that from the start.

We are long past the days when a person's value was measured by their so-called "virtue". You're not sleeping around. You're not getting yourself pregnant. Internet exhibitionism is the safest form of sex beyond masturbating in a locked room to your imagination (which is really not all that different). And it's a lot more exciting!

As long as you utilize basic internet safety measures - e.g., don't give out your full name and address, or tell people what school you go to - nobody's going to track you down or try to ruin your life. And if they do, they are the ones who are breaking the rules. Go to the authorities. And don't let anyone make you feel bad about yourself because of what you do. Because that's like letting the terrorists win.

Above all, know that you are not alone. We may be few and far between, but there are people like myself out there who will fully support you in what you are doing. We may not have the numbers, but we have logic and compassion on our side. And that's gotta count for something, in the long run.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Tuesday, April 4, 2017