Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A Penchant for the Problematic

It was a bad day to be a guy in Thinking Sociologically today. 4 presentations, 3 of them on Gender Inequality. If I was one of the guys in my class today, I might have wanted to go home and shoot myself. I dont' know sometimes how the guys can get through these classes without feeling horrible just for being male.

It makes me understand why some people fucking hate feminism. Unfortunately, what opponents of feminism and radical feminists -- as well as some of those who are new to it and don't really 'get' it yet -- The purpose of feminism is not to attack men. It is to critique and attempt to make change to a system that favours one sex over the other.

What is not realized, is that men are just as much a pawn of this form of socialization as women are. Difference being, for a long time, men have reaped the benefits. Men are only doing what is natural, what anyone in a position of power does -- trying not to lose that power. Anyone who is in a position in any heirarchial structure is gonna try to maintain, if not the position itself, at the very least, the benefits that come with it. Women would do the same thing. Don't think so? Try asking a group of women if -- should modern technology allow -- men should be allowed to carry babies, and quite a few will jump on that being 'our only source of power' and vehemently deny that right to men. Oh yeah, I saw it.

But still, the focus remains on how hard done by we are. In many ways buying into what many have attempted to fight.

One of the points that was made today in a presentation concerned the media. One group did a comparison of how sexualized women had to become in order to be sucessful in music. Case in point, Britney Spears. and to a lesser extent, Christina Aguilera, as well as women who act as back-up dancers in videos such as this one:

Buck Cherry - Crazy Bitch you might not want to have kids in the room.

One of the girls in my class pointed out that the girls in this video were using their sexuality to make money, and that it was their choice to do so, thus were they not empowered to a certain extent?

The answer given to this question bothered me. The response was something to the effect of 'Well, she should be able to get a high-paying job that DOESN'T involve selling her body". This response presented me with a quandary. Part of the sexual revolution/women's lib movement of the 60s and 70's was presenting the idea that women were sexual beings in their own right, not as just as vessels for male pleasure.

So why are we still saddled with the ideal that 'good girls don't?' We look down on sexual expression for profit. Some may say it's exploitation, but is it exploitation when said person stands to profit and is aware of what they are doing?

Where is the line drawn between expression and exploitation? Why is it when Britney Spears gets half-naked in a video it's smutty and an affront to women, but if Sarah McLachlan does it, it's artistic expression? The issue of McLachlan being a superior musical talent notwithstanding.

One could argue that in Spears' case her exposure is for the sake of the male gaze, in order to titillate. But this is only a negative because society has moralized against the use of sexuality as an assertion of power. We, for some reason are only allowed to use our intellect, or physical strength to get ahead. We can use our sexuality to attract a mate, but if someone stands to make monetary gains then some invisible moral boundary has been crossed and that person is to be reviled.

Bah. I ramble. Oh yeah, the mr. Lee sight is a spoof. They can't get really make a man pregnant. Yet.

Edit: Posted video then realized I had the wrong version posted. I had originally posted the censored version.

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