Well, gag me with a spoon. Erin Gloria Ryan is about to barf.
What could have sent her delicate digestive tract into turmoil: why, beautiful sexy women athletes.
Most people, male and female, appreciate the delicate and even indelicate curves of the female body. A healthy female body bears an unmistakable sensuality. Suggestively attired, it is a joy to behold, for both men and women.
Ryan looks at a series of images of beautiful and sexy female Olympians and wants to throw up. Is it something about the women or something about her feminist ideology?
You can watch the offending images in Ryan's article at Jezebel. Here is a link.
Ryan explains that someone at NBC put together a montage of female athletes doing what they do best: competing. Many of the women are scantily dressed, though beach volleyball players seem normally to be wearing less than other women.
A normal individual might notice that when young women go to the beach they wear swimwear, even bikinis that show off feminine curves.
These women are happy to be women, are happy to have the bodies they have, are comfortable with their sensuality and are willing to show it off on the beach. It's not a crime against nature.
It makes Erin Gloria Ryan sick. Apparently, she has lived a sheltered life because she calls it “creepy” and “porny.”
In her words:
Have you barfed yet today? Get thee to a drain of some kind before watching this video the pervs over at NBC have put together in order to show their appreciation for Olympic bodies of the 2012 London Games. Unfortunately, to NBC, showcasing the "Bodies in Motion" of the XXX Olympiad means taking footage of conventionally attractive female athletes competing in sports that require them to be scantily clad, slowing it way down as the camera lovingly caresses their butts, breasts, and bouncing ponytails, and playing some soft core porn music over it. Apparently NBC is too busy focusing on jiggling ladies' asses to notice ladies kicking ass.
OMFG! Bouncing ponytails… will the sexual stimuli never stop!
Apparently, Ryan did not notice that all of the women in these pictures are participating in athletic contests. Nor does she mention that NBC covered many of the matches where these women kicked ass.
Anyway, Ryan wants to kick a little ass herself so she trots out the shopworn feminist complaint. She denounces NBC for objectifying women and presenting them as sexual objects.
In her words:
The abject inability of some Olympic photographers to refrain from objectifying female beach volleyball players is well-documented…. And seeing a TV network treating world-class athletes as little more than tributes to boners is incredibly dismaying.
OMFG… “tributes to boners.” Whatever does that mean? Will someone please teach the woman how to write. Why not say that this was a paean to female beauty? While you were watching all of those beach volleyball matches you might not have noticed that these women are beautiful or that they look fit and healthy, not skeletal and anorexic.
Besides, did it ever cross anyone’s mind that the women in question like being seen as beautiful and sexy? Not all women have tossed their feminine mystique in the dustbin.
What does Ryan have against female beauty, or even, female booty? Have you noticed how closely the words resemble each other?
Would she prefer that these women cover up, as the sole female athlete from Saudi Arabia did? Would she be happier to live in Saudi Arabia where women are not allowed to walk around town in tight jeans and Daisy Dukes? Does she want to work for the morals police?
And, did you notice that these women are participating in what are called spectator sports. They are there to compete but also to be looked at. And, being as they are women, their bodies maintain a sexual quality that the male body, in most cases, does not have.
Male attire is based on the military uniform; it denotes membership in a status hierarchy. Female attire is based on more aesthetic considerations. It allows women to manifest their beauty, to assert their femininity and to exercise control over the way they appear in public.
Besides, many women like to be looked at. They dress to be looked at, and not just for their career success.
More than a few women will tell you that it is not a happy day when men no longer notice them when they walk by.
And, of course, women also dress to be looked at by other women. You don’t think that it was all men in the stands looking at women’s beach volleyball, do you?
Ryan’s delicate sensibility notwithstanding, the pictures that NBC chose are not pornography. They are not even close. If she thinks that they are porny she has been living a very sheltered life.
Why does feminism maintain such a visceral contempt for healthy young female bodies? Does the sisterhood believes that if young women are too sexy it will inhibit their career progress?
Most likely, this is nonsense, but, what did you expect?
More significantly, feminists suffer from a maniacal belief in the absolute sameness of men and women. If a woman looks like a sexually attractive woman she is contributing to what feminism sees as stereotypes. Thus, she must come to think of her beauty as repulsive, the better to contribute to the cause.
Consider this: what if the feminist contempt for healthy young female bodies leads some young women to hate their curvy bodies and to try to erase their feminine curves by starving themselves.
How much is the dieting craze a wish to be attractive and thin and how much is it a wish to be unsexed?
Ryan does not propose any such thing, but still, the mind of an adolescent female, hearing the typical feminist rant about objectification might end up hating her body and trying to change it in ways that Ryan would surely not countenance.
The notion of women being sexual objects began several decades ago. Feminists of that time complained about men who use women only for their own sexual gratification. One must admit that they had a valid point.
But, that was then; this is now. Today’s feminism is down with telling women to allow themselves to be used for male sexual gratification, as long as they consent to their degradation.
Tufts professor Nancy Bauer wrote in the New York Times that a woman could liberate herself by dropping to her knees to render a sexual service to a man. And sex positive Jaclyn Friedman told young women to get in touch with their inner slut because sluttiness is a patriarchal concept designed to deprive women of their quota of orgasms.
Feminism has gotten beyond its initial definition of sexual objectification. Now, it believes that women are objectified by the leering male gaze. It’s no longer about what men to do women; it’s how they look at women, especially if they see women as sexual beings.
They do not consider that a woman might also be objectified by an “evil eye,” an envious gaze cast by another woman. Actually she is more likely to be frozen by an evil eye than she is by an admiring male look.
Many women watched beach volleyball and appreciated that the players looked beautiful and played well. Other women, I imagine, were sickened by the sight of lithe, athletic, sexual female bodies.
As every sentient adult knows sometimes women want to be looked at as sexual beings and sometimes they do not. They can exercise some control over the way they are looked at by the way they dress.
So, the feminist morals police are up in arms about the vision of Misti May-Treanor’s gluteal region. And yet, Katie Roiphe explained recently, they are more than down with the word: Vagina.
They shout it from the rooftops. They attend performances of a play called The Vagina Monologues because they think it’s a feminist bonding ritual. Now, to cap it off, feminist icon Naomi Wolf has a new book coming out soon, called The Vagina: A Biography.
The book is not out yet, so I cannot tell you whether it is about Wolf’s vagina, the vagina as bodily organ, the essence of vagina-ness or the Platonic idea of Vagina.
The publisher does promise that Wolf will explain the new scientific research that shows the following: the vagina is not merely flesh, but an intrinsic component of the female brain.
If you or I ever claimed that women think with their vaginas we would be run out of town on a rail. Only a feminist could get away with such misogyny.
Anyway, Roiphe is correct to say that it’s about time feminists stopped shouting this word over and over again.
The act is shameless and it is not good to throw away your sense of shame.
When women force themselves to say the word they are saying that they can only assert their womanhood by symbolically flashing their nether, nether regions.
Whatever you think of the politics, it is a vulgar gesture. It does something that even Maria Sharpaova's short skirt does not do: it forces you to conjure up a pornographic representation of the female body.
Apparently, feminists think that pornifying the female body will make women love themselves and men respect them more.
Feminists think that beach volleyball is porny and pervy but that the word vagina, with all of the images that it calls up is politically radical.
Whatever they are thinking with, they are not thinking with their minds.