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[personal profile] judith_s
I rarely rant on LJ. I mostly use it to keep up with friends and occasionally post notes about my life or invites to various events. But the current BoobGate mess that has taken over my friendslist has triggered me to rant. I've been ranting in responses to the original post now locked, and in various friends' LJs (sorry [livejournal.com profile] cynthia1960).

Because this is one of those issues that somehow men don't seem to understand. Not even men who are otherwise feminist.

I'm going to speak only for myself, and from my experience. Feel free to chime in in agreement, or disagreement.

When you get boobs, it's one of those defining moments for a lot of girls. You change from being "just one of the guys" and looking quite like your male friends, to being a "girl" and an object of... well, objectification. Almost every woman I've talked to remembers when she got boobs. I got them relatively late, but they kept going. Even when I was wearing a 34" band, my cupsize was in the multiple letters. Yeah, as a 15-year old this meant I got a lot of comments, a lot of attempts at groping, and general obnoxiousness. I'm still disproportionate, but now that I'm this heavy it's not as obvious. When I was 15 I was quite athletic and did competitive swimming as well as martial arts.

Now I'm fairly intimidating, 5'9" with broad shoulders, and heavy to boot. And I still occasionally encounter inappropriate comments and touching. I still have quite a few men talk directly to the boobs. And I am still evaluated by my body and looks. Ok, so that's the baseline where I'm coming from.

The experiment itself crossed the line for me twice. First, I was pretty bothered by this part in the original post: Because a beautiful girl in an incredibly skimpy blue Princess outfit strode down the hallway, obviously putting her assets on display (the thin strips of her clothing had to be taped to her body to stay on), and we stopped her. "Excuse me," the first, very brave girl asked. "You're very beautiful. I'd like to touch your breasts. Would you mind if I did?"

I read this and I hear the traditional line, "she was asking for it." She was dressed skimpily so sexual advances were inherently acceptable, right? This seriously crosses the line for me.

Second, and oddly even more so, I was bothered by this part: By the end of the evening, women were coming up to us. "My breasts," they asked shyly, having heard about the project. "Are they... are they good enough to be touched?"

An event which sets up this type of pressure and discomfort (am I good enough to be a sexual object for this group of people?) makes me twitch. A lot.

I would've been surprised, mostly positively, had a group of women decided to wear the opposite of this shirt. But here, there was obviously pressure. There was the accosting of women who were "asking for it." There was obviously an expectation that the men were evaluating these women's breasts. Are they "good enough"?

Cons might be full of free spirits, but the minute you are starting to judge women's "acceptability" by their body parts, you've excluded them from participating fully in the Con. Yes, there might have been women gropers as well as gropees, but that does not change the set-up. Men do not have the same issues around (1) being touched, and (2) their breasts being used to judge and evaluate them.

So there you are. Rant done.

I must also add as someone who evaluates the validity of open source licenses professionally, this isn't open source. It's not even public domain. At most it's a share-alike license.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-04-24 04:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shaix.livejournal.com
The phrase "She was asking for it, just look how she was dressed" has been used as a defense in a rape trial (actually, I don't *know* that it has, but I assume that it has). That does not follow that someone should never assume that someone who is behaving or presenting in a certain canonical fashion would be interested in participating in a related act.

I would like to point out the incredibly important distinction between *ASKING* someone for permission, and actually *DOING* the act without consent. Doing the act without consent gets a call to the cops, no questions asked. Asking politely? Especially asking someone who is provocatively dressed at a con? How is this a horrific act?

As for the women who were asking if theirs were "good enough", was there some evidence that this project was rejecting certain breasts from the experiment, due to inadequacy of shape/size/firmness? I suspect the women who asked to join the project, shyly, awkwardly, were reaching out, awkwardly, to say "That looks like fun. I want to have fun, too." A woman with a negative body image might assume that her body is not worthy of play. This is a shame, but I don't see how it's the fault of the people in the project. Why is it considered pressure? Why would a woman feel pressured to say "are my breasts good enough to touch?" in that phrasing? I am confident that there were plenty of women who were not participating in the project. Wouldn't a pressured woman say something more like "Okay, fine, touch my breasts, whatever."?

I do agree with you that referring to this as "open source" is unforgivably nonsensical. :)

(no subject)

Date: 2008-04-24 05:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] emzebel.livejournal.com

It may be a sign of just how legal-techno-jargon jaded I am that the description of this "project" as the "open source boob project" bothers me almost as much as the concept itself.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-04-24 06:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] xthread.livejournal.com
...had a group of women decided to wear the opposite of this shirt.

But, did you look at the ad copy - Keep your chest locked down, yet attractively displayed.

Um, cognitive dissonance much?

(no subject)

Date: 2008-04-24 09:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] judith-s.livejournal.com
Nope, I don't see it. I don't dress to impress all that often, but when I do it is still not an invitation for people to touch. Really.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-04-24 09:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] xthread.livejournal.com
Not you, the folks advertising the shirt.

I'm suggesting that 'I want to put myself on attractive display' and 'don't objectify me!' are messages that are somewhat fundamentally at odds with one another.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-04-24 10:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] d3l1r1um.livejournal.com
So... we all need to start wearing potato sacks to not be objectified?

This is perilously close to the "she was asking for it, look what she was wearing" line of reasoning for my tastes.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-04-24 10:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] xthread.livejournal.com
Huh. How'd you get there from what I said?


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