Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Cover that body part, it's shameful!

I don't think there's much difference between our culture telling women to cover their breasts and other cultures telling them to cover their hair.


  1. Interesting post.

    What's the difference between these two responses?

    A: "You're right. We should do neither." -some feminist

    B: "You're right. We should do neither." -some guy

  2. Yeah, that's pretty much my thoughts on the matter. I'm pretty set in my ways regarding wearing a shirt, so why would a Muslim woman feel differently about what she wears?

  3. Exactly. I still can't even believe how fucking dumb that Janet Jackson nipplegate thing was.

  4. Anonymous - who cares? If guys happen to enjoy something that is also freeing for me, that's not a bad thing.

    Lullabee - ha, I was thinking of it the other way - it's wrong to force women to hide their hair OR their chest.

  5. I think Lullabee does bring up an interesting point, though--one I'd never thought about, anyway. Because a lot of women in our culture would be uncomfortable going topless in public even if they're philosophically against being forced to cover up. It does make me wonder how women from cultures with even more restrictive dress codes feel about the whole thing.

  6. It's interesting to try to put myself in the place of a man from a hair-shy culture. Although I've seen boobies, they've only come in two dimensions or pairs. I've never even been on a topless beach, so it's hard for me to imagine how I might respond to, say, a bus full of half-naked women.

  7. "it's hard for me to imagine how I might respond to, say, a bus full of half-naked women."

    Smile and thank whatever deity you worship for the great gift you have been given. Or check to see if you're still alive.

  8. I don't like it as a legal requirement, especially if guys can go topless.

    I do like that the sight of a strange breast is rare enough to be interesting. I don't think I'd enjoy it as much if seeing breasts was routine.

  9. Aebhel - I hope it's obvious that I'm fine with someone covering their hair or their breasts if that's how they want to roll.

    Bruno - "Only come in pairs" threw me for a bit, but I understand now.

    And I think you'd get used to it in the sense that the shock factor would diminish over time, but you'd still enjoy it. You may see women's faces all day long, but when you see a nice one you still notice it.

  10. Oh, and to be all feministy about it, it doesn't matter if this hurts your enjoyment of boobs, mister, because this isn't about you, it's about my body and my right to enjoy the summer breezes and the cool lake water and to have no tan lines.

  11. You may have misunderstood--I do not think women should be required to cover boobs in public.

    I don't have any more rights concerning boobs than I do knees or elbows--basically don't touch me with them against my will.

    (for the record, I've very little interest in exercising that right.)

  12. I definitely think women shouldn't be forced or pressured to cover either - but also think women shouldn't be forced or pressured to cover either. I'd be intensely uncomfortable uncovering my breasts in public, and likewise a lot of women would be intensely uncomfortable uncovering their hair in public, and both positions should be respected just as much as women who want to uncover either.

    The problem I have, though, is when it comes to whether men should by the same philosophy be free to uncover in public: in theory, no; in practice, that could be extremely triggering/intimidating for women.

    People are complicated, film at eleven.

  13. Zeborah- I think flashing would be a lot less traumatizing (and, also, appealing) if people were freer to be nude more often.

  14. My issue with covering up is the social and legal (in some cases) pressure that you MUST to be a good woman. It's the inherent message that a woman is something that must be hidden. We as women internalize that to some degree, and it's just downright wrong. There is nothing sinful or shameful about the human body male or female.

    Men wear pants, but within my knowledge they aren't made to feel bad about the parts they are covering up, it's just the socially accepted norm, and is for safetly reasons too. Cooking bacon with your cock out is a painful experince!

    I have a friend that was born and raised in Tehran, Iran, and her parents raised her with more liberal views than their gov't would likely approve of. She does not wear head cover unless she's out in public in a country that requires it by law. Iran, by the way does. She and her family think it's very silly, but they do it becuase being stoned to death is really not fun.

    I personally believe she is not alone in her feelings. There are many women in similar situations - with laws and husdands, and religious zealots telling them to cover up when they themselves have no desire to do so.

    I don't go around topless even though I legally could legally (my bf would likely be thrilled) but I'm not comfortable with it. If a woman isn't comfortable ith showing her hair, that's fine too. It's being forced, being pressured into it that I have serious issues with.

  15. Didn't feminists used to be upset at low necklines and short skirts while men wore collared shirts with suit coats and pressed slacks?

    I could swear I remember that.

    See, you're never going to please everyone. That's why you remove as many impediments to individual choice as you possibly can and then take your hands off. Everybody can try to be happy as best they can.

  16. I first encountered nude/topless beaches as a young sailor. The very idea sounded paradisiacal--acres and acres of tits!
    The reality was that my shipmates & I soon got a little desensitized. Not that we didn't care--far from it; we still paused to appreciate a particularly shapely, large, or both pair of breasts. We just weren't agog at the fact of tits (weren't that much so to begin with, except the more naive ones).
    I, too, was disgusted by the whole Janet Jackson furor. It was a tempest in a C-cup.

  17. "Men wear pants, but within my knowledge they aren't made to feel bad about the parts they are covering up"

    I don't know about that. As a former fat kid, I didn't feel particularly good about any of my parts. Not quite the same thing but men can have bad feelings about their bodies.

  18. I'm almost an albino, and there is no way I can go outdoors without being covered from chin to toes, lest I turn into a blistered lobster. That and I prefer being supported when I move.
    Indoors, nah, I still would cover the twins. Something about imagination and anticipation . . .

  19. Holly, your point might make sense if we allowed women to expose everything except for their breasts while other cultures allowed their women to expose everything except their hair.

    But we allow women to wear just about anything--and to expose just about everything--short shorts, minis, pants, sports bras, spaghetti straps--we just make them cover their breasts. In these other cultures they can't show their hair, their arms, their faces, their legs, their ankles, etc.

    It may be residual puritanism that we are so hung up on the body but there is no comparison between what we do here in the west and what women go through in these other cultures.

  20. Somebody's been reading the Apostate. She found this post on another site and thinks you're defending restrictive, discriminatory dress codes out of misguided cultural relativism.

    Defend your honor, Holly! Or not. Whatever.

  21. Holly you said:"Oh, and to be all feministy about it, it doesn't matter if this hurts your enjoyment of boobs, mister, because this isn't about you, it's about my body and my right to enjoy the summer breezes and the cool lake water and to have no tan lines"

    Now if you were say at a nudist beach and you were doing that it is fine as there are men who are completely nude there (not just topless) as well.

    But there is this beach in France, I can't remember which one but it is well known for having topless women and it is touted as a men's paradise but the men are not nude they are wearing shorts. There is just something about this that I am not OK with, it reeks of sexism and clearly the only enjoyment is for men who get to see fully exposed breasts no enjoyment for women. I don't know why so many women go topless on that beach, when clearly it is not a nudist beach, no naked men, nothing for a woman to look at. Of course I many not be comfortable with going topless but I have no problem for those who want to have nudist beaches.

    But really a guy walking down the street without a shirt on is not the same as a woman walking down the street without her shirt and bra on. In the west women are still objectified.

  22. OK, you know what, this is three years on but FFS. Women exposing their breasts is not equivalent to men exposing their cocks. Holly didn't argue for topless women and pantless men, she argued for topless women to go along with the topless men we're already allowed to have.

    Sheesh. Breasts aren't genitals.