Posts Tagged ‘sexualization of women’


I remember talking to a friend of mine this past summer who currently goes to school in Boston. We went to high school together and she sometimes comes down to visit in Maryland where her family still lives. One time I visited my friend at her parent’s house and we watched The Wolverine. After we watched the movie we decided to go out to eat. Once we sat down at our table in the restaurant, we discussed the film. She spoke very passionately about the portrayal of Asian women/characters in the film. She complained about how the two main female characters in the film played on stereotypical Asian female roles. One of the characters in the film was a was a shy, meek, beautiful woman who needed to be saved by the stereotypical “white man.” The other Asian female character was a samurai sword wielding “bodyguard” for the lead white male character.

She went on to talk about how the city of Boston is mostly white and how the men there are “curious” about her because they look at her in a sexual way. While she believes the city is racist towards minorities, she does believe that as an Asian woman, she believes that what she experiences with the locals is somewhat different. She told me about a time when she went into a grocery store in the city with her African-American friend and while they were shopping, several white men in their 20’s were taunting him. They were whispering racial slurs towards him and they ended up having to leave because of it. While the men were hurling racial slurs, they were making comments about her physical appearance.

Throughout her many interactions with the locals in Boston, she finds it very weird how the men approach her and talk to her. She thinks that they are mostly curious about her because they are curious about her in a sexual way. To be honest my friend truly believes that the majority of white men fetishize Asian women. I’ve heard many of my own Caucasian friends and peers talk about how Asian women are more sexually open-minded than white women and that Asian women are better in the bedroom. It’s actually really commonplace for people to really believe that stereotype. It is one of the things that my friend has struggled with her whole life. Historically, Asian women in American society were sexualized because they were often viewed as the “seductress” or the “prostitute” and I think that has majorly impacted the way our society views Asian women today.

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The guy I went to prom with called me a waste the day I came out to him. He looked me in the eye and said this with a smile on his face as if it what he were proud of what he just said. This wasn’t the last time something like this had ever been said to me. On multiple occasions I have been called “selfish”, “unfair”, and “a waste” by a number of men because of my sexual orientation. And on every one of these occasions I ask them all the same question, “Why?”. (more…)

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Images such as these pervade comic book character art. Women are normally in sexy, revealing outfits; and, their bodies are often doing some pretty impossible things. A blog called Boobs Don’t Work That Way brings awareness to how ridiculously women are portrayed in comic books. The picture of Wonder Woman displayed here is not unique. Attempting to make her sexier, she is drawn into this impossible pose where her breasts and behind are shown at the same time. Also, her breasts are extremely large, and there is no way that her costume could logically support them. The commentary on the blog regarding this picture is as follows:

“It always freaks me out when boobs are drawn as almost a separate entity. This one looks like it’s about to pop off and and start a solo career.”

Other interesting points the blogger makes include the way fabric unrealistically stretches over breasts in some costumes, suctioning itself to each breast individually, the fact that nipples rarely have areolas in comics, and that breasts are not always perky and perfectly spherical.

I find it interesting that beauty for women in comic books is literally impossible for us as humans. The beauty standard is completely unrealistic. Do comic book artists feel that women will not be sexy without their impossible breasts? Or do they enjoy creating a fantasy woman? I’m not personally sure which reason correctly demonstrate how artists feel, or if there are other reasons. The blog is not being updated, but the pictures and commentary are excellent. Check it out!

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So I’ll definitely put myself out there I am a virgin and I am 22 years old. And yes I am waiting till marriage. That being said I am tired of the, what seems to me, random depictions of virgins. In the movies usually the virgin is one prophetess or religious deity like in the movies Immortal and Conan the Barbarian. Or people in generally think that all virgins are prudish, stuck up, extra conservative, and hyper religious. It’s as if within the push for the feminist movement that means that have as much sex as you please and make the choice to have sex. What if you do not make that choice are you then against feminism. I thought the whole point of feminism is to respect women and the choices they make with their bodies (themselves). But more so it is lets show the men we can have as much sex as they can. I personally am not interested. It is as self there are two different secs the women who chose to wait and rock purity rings and the women who engage in sexual intercourse looking down on those that don’t. Of course I know that this goes both ways. But I feel as if women need to know that both options are viable and for this to happen sexual education needs to occur. Sex is everywhere and women are constantly being pressured to engage in something they might not be ready to yet. So where is the dialogue for those who want to wait and those who do not.

I think it is equally annoying to have certain body movements legitimatized by bodies who have sex and those that don’t. Just because I can wind and swirl my hips a certain way doesn’t then mean I have sex. Or if I can’t dance for anything doesn’t mean I am a prude. We create so many binary for ourselves that it is difficult to claim to be a feminist is daunting if as a part of that it means you have a body that participates in sexual intercourse. And to add on to that if you are any other ‘color’ than white your body is then hyper sexualized and expected to participate in sex. And if you are not that you are linked to being a prude. And fyi a prude means “a person who is excessively proper or modest in speech, conduct, dress, etc.” It comes from the french word meaning “worthy or respectable women”. But we take words and add our own derogation connotation to them and look down on the people that fit the altered rhetoric of the word. Lets change our words and connotations or words. In thus doing we change the frame of our world.

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Are high heels hetting higher? What do super-heels do to the bodies that wear them? What does the design of super heels say about expectations of feminity, and what role does height play in those expectations?

I am 5’0″, or 5’1″, depending on the time of day. Sick of being teased for my height, I started wearing high heels at the age of 13, packing them in bookbags until my mother was out of sight.  The only time I felt comfortable not wearing heels as a teenager was when wearing soccer cleats, which did add an inch, but the soccer field was was of the only places where, as an offensive forward, my size allowed me to weave through and past other players, giving me an advantage. Seventeen years later, having spent my entire formative years running around in cleats and my entire twenties dancing in three inch heels until the wee hours, I have a pinched nerve between two metatarsals. The treatment involves cortisone shots followed by three days of limping. Not fun. This came as no surprise. I came to accept a life in flats, and that I would never “be taller when I grew up” by my late twenties. What has shocked me, in my relentless and foot-tiring search for comfortable shoes, is the marked increase in the height of high heels lately. While looking for sensible and “flattering” or “feminine” flats, all I have found is orthopaedic, hippie/nurse/grandma styles (yes this is honestly how  I see comfort shoes), babydollish flats seemingly designed for twelve year olds with no cushioning anywhere, and HIGH heels – heels frequently over four inches high.

If shoes meant for formal, fun, or even some proffesional occasions, mean adapting to styles usually directed at erotic dancers, what does this say about the sexualization of women’s bodies? Is the added height considered sexy? Or is it the discomfort and vulnerability? I certainly would not want to walk down ANY street alone in four  or five inch heels, or literally stumble out of bed the morning after wearing them. In my search for shoes, both in person and online, I have found some of the following styles:

Jeffrey Campbell “Wedges”, for a mere $275 at Nordstrom. What a nice, colorful sculpture! I’m sure they’d be great for walking on cobblestones.

Christian Louboutin “Pointe” ballet stilettos, designed by a man, high fashion of course, but are they meant for a body?

 Born “Comfort” wedges, $145 on zappos.com. These claim excellent arch support but still have an overall height of four inches.

So ,what, exactly is wrong with being short? Would strangers ask my height or tell me how tiny I am (like I have no idea) if I was 5’4″ and in considerable pain? Would men, as women have for centuries, submit to any accessory or piece of clothing that tortured them? Tortured them but let them be fashionable, stylish, and “with it”?

I frequently see girls on campus wearing stiletto heels, in the daytime, trucking around from class to class, and this is what I see: Morton’s Neuroma

 The Classic Bunion

Sadly, in the year 2012, in the country where women supposedly have the most “freedom” in the world, some still choose a Foucauldian self-discipline (or torture) not far from that of Chinese footbinding. Heels are higher than they’ve ever been. I would love to know why.

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