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girltrouble

nohope, if sex and gender are one in the same, what does that make me? is my gender male, despite the fact most people take me to be a woman? and what of my boobs? that is a secondary sex charecteristic, so are my boobs female and the rest of me is male? or is what is between my legs the over riding charecteristic? as i said, what you posit is absurd. but really, if sex and gender are the same, and males actions, for eg, can only be male, then they are biologically fixed. so there is nothing apart from sex/gender. it is biological fact, and inescapable. and again, absurd. you are thinking in circles, nohope, and those circles aren't terribly logical.

and if you read butler's books/theorizing, in total, she pointedly ignores and disregards trans stories, identities, and views, just as lapis pointed out. transphobic.

as for your interpetation of my quote, only if we are talking about a pop-cultural conception of what biological sex is. but biologically your supposition is false. it applies to gender, but not sex. i think you need to read my first post again. twice. let go of your ideas that sex and gender are the same thing. you are thinking in 2dimentions, you need to think in three. as i said i think this whole urge to jump to some sort of sex or gender blind society, another way of silencing exploration/imagining what a femme power looks like. to say again, it is an exact paralell to how the idea of race blindness is used in american politics. there is no urge for equality, it is more a way of silencing any different ideas.

bean, i don't think that there is an instance where butch must exploit, but rather there is a choice to exploit femme energy by butch means. it's a person's choice to do the explotiation, rather than something forced by a power vehicle. does that make sense? the explotiation cannot be blamed on the means of power.

your last question is an interesting one, but i don't think american society has really explored femme power enough to know. all we do know is how butch power works, so we assume that that is all that there is.
girlygirlgag
Any professional therapist, psychologist, etc... would tell you sex and gender are two completely different things.

Sex is what you are born with.

Gender is how you are socialized.
girltrouble

i forgot to add a link to the article i was talking about. as i said i think it's a fantastic article, particularly after having just seen or read the french leutenant's woman which, if you haven't seen it is a nifty bit of not just feminist storytelling, but also, as the title of the article says, an interesting look at darwinist naratives.

for the theory geeks:
Charles and the hopeful monster: postmodern evolutionary theory in 'The French Lieutenant's Woman.'


god, you know you are a theory geek when an article with that title is your favorite thing on the web. man, i need professional help.



nohope
Lapis – I am so happy you bring up Anne Fausto Sterling, because I really feel taken together her and Judith Butler go a long way allowing us to understand just exactly how arbitrary sex/gender are.

In my mind Sterling in Myths of Gender ads the empirical evidence which underpins Butlers premise.

And what I think this all points too in terms of your discussion, is that “male power” will always be valued more than “female power.” And that is true regardless of what we mean.

We can see this in how traditionally male jobs become devalued as women enter them and begin to dominate them.

So from my vantage point, addressing the problem by addressing greenbean question “is there a way for a MAN to be a FEMME businessman?” such questions get us nowhere because at the very moment that women are using male business strategies they are feminizing them and devaluing them.

Example. My partner is doing research into why girls do better than boys in all academic arias, and one of the interesting things that the research data is showing is that the girls are coming to class more prepared than boys at all ages. And the really interesting part is that one of the reasons that this is true is that such behavior is feminized.

So the real question is not how to be a femme student, because that is directly affected by what women do. The real question is how to be an effective student or an effective Busnesswomen. And what we find is that as long as gender exists it acts in part as a barrier, not just for women but for men.

Today looking pretty is femme power but tomorrow, if enough girls act like G3 who apparently punched some guys light out, then that will be femme power.

But believe me it will still be undervalued. We think we can change the system by simply opening up what it means to be male and female, but that isn’t true. The system itself is stacked against women.

And that system is rooted very deeply in our subconscious and our language. Look up the etymology of the word “Bad.” You know what “Bad” means. It means effeminate.

So what does that make you, Girltruble? I don’t know. I depend on a lot of factors. Perhaps simply an expression of each of us, but magnified. I imagion very dangerous and it certainly is courageous for you to be in this middle ground were depending on what and how much people know you, their gender perception of you shifts and morphs.

Unfortunately the real problem is not the ambiguity and fluidity of sex and gender, but the violence of an intolerant population who are so scared of their own sexual ambiguity that they lash out at anyone who challenges their sex and gender identities upon which they cling for social stability.
girltrouble

QUOTE
go a long way allowing us to understand just exactly how arbitrary sex/gender are.
omg, HOW MANY TIMES MUST I SAY IT, SEX AND GENDER ARE NOT THE SAME THING. no matter how arbitrary sex is, it still has a physical componant. it is testable. to say otherwise is like saying gravity doesn't exist, because you can't feel it. no matter how you feel about it, there is because it is TESTABLE. gender, on the other hand is a matter of SOCIAL CONSENSUS.

god, no hope, if need be for the purpose of this discussion, JUST ASSUME THAT THEY ARE DIFFERENT SO WE CAN GET ON TO OTHER THINGS. please. i am so interested in talking about this, but we can't seem to get to talking about femme power because you suck up all the air in the room. i know you mean well, and how rarely you really get into these things on the bust board, but i would really like to talk about the heart of this discussion, and it is not trying to point out some symantic difference that everyone has accepted, or will accept for our purposes here.

QUOTE
And what I think this all points too in terms of your discussion, is that “male power” will always be valued more than “female power.” And that is true regardless of what we mean.
now you can read the future?

QUOTE
So from my vantage point, addressing the problem by addressing greenbean question “is there a way for a MAN to be a FEMME businessman?” such questions get us nowhere because at the very moment that women are using male business strategies they are feminizing them and devaluing them.
well that was an amazingly, stunningly misogynistic statement. not to mention that it really sidesteps the question. it seems this "devaluing," to use your phrase, is only one way: when women dare to usurp men's power. *rolls her eyes* as for the next three para, the only thing that makes sense is the last one where you talk about g3. the whole point of which seems to point out that gender(not sex, since G3 never changes sex) is changable and not immutable. which, is obvious.

QUOTE
And that system is rooted very deeply in our subconscious and our language. Look up the etymology of the word “Bad.” You know what “Bad” means. It means effeminate.
lol. again with the contraditions. on one hand (see above) you state that gender is changable, but above you say it will never change. but all the same looking at the etymology of bad the first thing it tells you is that it is a MYSTERY. and that those two words that mean effeminate are only possible roots. even if they were the proven root words, give anyone on the street a list of synonyms for bad, say evil, effeminate, defective, no one equates bad with effeminate, as the other two words are not common usage. further words change constantly, and often have several meanings, after all bad can be bad, or it can be bad.

now if i were then only transgendered person, i could understand your theory not having a place for me, but i am far from the only tg person, yet you have no way to classify me if your ideas held true. infact you have no place for anyone who's action is contrary to their sex. you have no system to classify women who use male tactics "devaluing them", or men who exhibit stereotypical feminine traits. to you all male acts are automatically masculine, female must be feminine. you contradict yourself left and right. seems to me you need to do some more thinking.

based on the sexism of your comments above, it seems to me, no hope that you have this hard a time separating sex from gender, as well as your need to feel this system of gender and, separately, sex are unchangeable and eternal, and i'd like to suggest, not in a mean way, but in as serious a way as possible, that this inability, or unwillingness to separate the two, may be vestages of sexism that you need to interogate. as i said in the quote about the fowler book/movie, these things are created to look like they have always been, as if they are natural, when they are anything else. this is particularly true of the patriarchy and gender values. it seems more than anyone in this discussion, you seem more tied to sex and, separately gender ideas than anyone else.


lapis
Nohope, in terms of those books, I think sex is complicated, not arbitrary. If all categories disappeared and it was all choice--how would people organize politically and how would we identify oppression and actually problematize power? I don't think male power will always get valued over female power at all--and certainly wasn't trying to make any kind of point like that. My point is that people (men and women) can utilize traditional gender categories while exercising reflexivity about what they're doing, using it in a strategic way. Female power seems to be getting valued in different ways currently--all kinds of norms are changing, sexual and otherwise. Your perspective seems to deeply want men to mantain power over women but I don't think that reflects reality--or the future.

*for me sex/gender are not the same thing and the slash denotes a separation, just want to make that clear.

OK, so, if we are talking about gender, power, and aesthetics, I am obsessed with this question: what about 80s hair bands? Is there a way to talk about all those made-up men critically? What did that moment say about beauty and masculinity? I am totally fascinated and haven't hunted around for any good readings of that phenomenon. Was it just androgyny? Was it a way to attract really hetero male audiences somehow? And what about gothic men? Any ideas?

As for the femme power, I will throw out Irigaray as an essentialist model of femme power and Jessica Benjamin's Bonds of Love. And in terms of real lives, I see BDSM as a really powerful place for this possibility and (though perhaps obvious) parenting. also, did anyone read yesterday's article in salon.com about how slutty/vacuous sellout-y the pussycat dolls are? Any opinions? Are boybands just not as overtly sexual? This goes back to the hair band question..were they just beefcake with mascara?
greenbean
A friend and I were talking about that the other day, about how all the male musicians that make the girls crazy are very 'pretty'. Elvis, The Beatles, Mick Jagger, disco, glam rock, hair bands, boy bands, goth bands. It is interesting.

Gotta read that salon piece now...
girltrouble

hooray for getting on to other parts of this discussion!

sorry if i was harsh no hope, it just feels like we were going round and round, and these things, these ideas about femme power are really important to me. i've always thought of myself as a soft butch, inspite of my girlfriends telling me otherwise, and the last month or so i have discovered this little femme self that wants to come out and play and i'm not sure what to think/feel about it. i mean i'm excited, but i like to figure out things, most importantly if it's about my identity/sex/gender. the lounge has always been a good place for me to explore these things, even if i don't like what i hear.

lapis~ hey, can you post a link to that salon article?

interesting question too! i think i remember somebody had done some sort of study (or just had a theory), about this. the conclusion they came to was that it was a kind of mirroring. that teen girls saw men that were somehow less threatening because they looked more feminine. lol i was going to say "less alien" but i don't think that applies to androgynes like say, david bowie who was trying to be alien.

i think it's also interesting to note that androgeny as far as musical popularity goes, started about the same time as ww2 was ending and men were coming back from war, and finding their jobs being done by women. it seems there might be some connection between that and sex/gender role tension.

i think it's also interesting to see how male femininty (a male femaling to some degree) works in a goth subcultural frame. there, it seems to not be at all threatening, and one place were it is very accepted. most times i think it is the norm.

i am not familiar with the two people you were talking about re: femme power. could you talk briefly about their theories? i'm usually not one for essetialism in any case. it tends to be rather limiting and ends up jettisoning lots of people. but that's just me. i am a big fan of exploring femme power in a bdsm context as well as burlesque, which i think has a playfulness that most people forget when bdsm play. i was talking bout this in the porn/cockblocking thread, i think there is an unexplored road of 'feminist porn' out there that fully explores femme AND female power. i was using the bdsm (tactic?) use of denial as just one way. after all denial is completely about the woman not only in control of her body and sexuality, but also that of her partner's. i have to say i am fascinated by that kind of power since i saw mistress midori scening at an exhibition (forgive me if you've heard me talk about her before, but she is something of a touchstone for me). she is of course a domina, a femme, and certainly able to take care of herself. still, she walked into the room and took control of it, just by her manner. even if you didn't know who she was (i didn't), it was interesting to see usually dom men jump to assist her do something she could have very easily done herself.

mornington
*sticks head through door*

i think i got this from matt ridleys red queen - sex and evolution; but it's only been since the victorians that men have been less painted-bird about thier fashion - whereas women always have been, to varying degrees. there have been other times & places, but they tended to affect both sexes (puritans, for example). Just a thought.
greenbean
Mornington, your point totally emphasizes that gender values and behaviors do change. Today it is "femme" to be pretty but in the past it was very manly and a sign of masculine status to be dolled up. Funny that things haven't changed in the animal world (ducks, peacocks, etc),..or have they? That would be funny, wouldn't it? If suddenly lionesses started growin manes?!

I do like this line of thinking about femme power, and how feminine looks can be powerful for men too, (I know *I* am attracked to pretty boys!) but I want to go back to talking about femme power in the business world if I may...

I was thinking more about it and I think what really qualifies as femme power in the work place (and can work for men too) is compassion and sensitivity. My dad is in a powerful position at his work and is very well-liked,..but his boss is not. Its my belief that my dad is more popular because he has a femme side to him. Here is an example: there are many black-americans that work with him and the head boss is a white old fart. Once the boss was talking to a black worker and called him 'dawg'. Well, it created a big hoo-ha with all the minorities (and female allies) in the office and my dad stepped in for damage control. Head boss guy was dumbfounded, didnt get what the problem was, and was frustrated with the 'softening' my dad insisted he must go through to be a good boss.

Any thoughts?
lapis
Hi. link to salon article if it works
http://www.salon.com/ent/tv/iltw/2007/03/18/dolls/index.html
I'll respond to the other great points after some sleep.
girlygirlgag
QUOTE(nohope @ Mar 21 2007, 10:44 PM) *
Today looking pretty is femme power but tomorrow, if enough girls act like G3 who apparently punched some guys light out, then that will be femme power.


And I look great while doing it dry.gif


Being in the business world, in an area that is male dominated, it takes awhile to garner respect. BEing femme, I know there are disadvantages, but there is also A LOT of power to hold.

Being attarctive is powerful. It gets you into the right circles, into the right meeintgs, etc.

But that is all you can count on it for. Getting you in. Why they let you in in te first place, is known only by "them", but you hae your suspiscions.

After that, all you have is your mind, and you have to be assertive, you have to speak up, and you cannot let yourself get pushed around.

I have only beein in this field for four years and sometimes when working with new people on a deal, I have to start from square one and be as tough and rigid as possible to let it be known, that 1. I don't mess around. 2. That I get the job done.

So, I think, FROM MY EXPERIENCE, it is a double edged sword.

I am not saying there aren't any situations that are bad, sexually harassing and condescending, because there are. That is when you have to keep your wits about you and respond in a tough, albeit, sarcastic way to let them know you are not the one to be pulling that shit with.

Unfortunately, not all women are as secure to do that, and it is threatening. You worry about your job security, your reputation, everything. It sucks and it is wrong. But A-typical of an "old boys club". That is why you can't stand for it, because luckily, it is against the law.

Luckily, this "boys club" is becoming more and more a "girls club" with every year.
greenbean
"Luckily, this "boys club" is becoming more and more a "girls club" with every year."

TOTALLY. I really believe academia and business will be dominated by women within the next 50 years. Whether that is by means of femme power or butch power I am not sure.

So, back to *me* (sorry, I'm just dying to get opinions on this because it fasinates me)....since I'm in an all-women office (there are men but they arent always in the office, cuz they arent as important tongue.gif) sometimes our sex lives comes up in conversation,..and one co-worker whos in her 30s says that she cant believe that her current boyfriend doesnt like lingerie. She says that 'all her boyfriends have, whats up with this guy'? I said I didnt think it was weird, and the youngest girl there agreed. I got to thinking could it be because of marketing? (which is part of my job, so I think about it a lot)...I mean, lingerie isnt as hot as it used to be,..now its all American Apparel tees and boy shorts and little girl cotton undies. It made me feel very powerful that I am in the same position of changing peoples minds about what is cool/pretty/sexy the same way whoever decided to push comfy undies as sexy. And I keep wondering is this an evil power? Pressuring people to buy beauty and sexiness? (I do have to admit its fun tho!) (oh, and i dont market lingerie if thats what y'll are thinking)

As for the Salon piece,..I'm quite naive to today's mainstream culture. I always hear about the crap thats on tv and just makes me so happy that stopped smoking pot and threw out my tv ages ago. Life is sooooooooo much better now!
nohope
So I am going to back track on my previous position a little. I still believe it is correct to say that sex is a gendered metric. That it is not universally measurable by the same metrics and that with out universality we must say it is culturally subjective.

That said. I don’t believe it is the same as gender.

Regardless of what gender means in any culture, and regardless of how many sexes are recognized as a result. Sex still is different than gender. I think this difference is characterized by the amount of flexibility we have in relationship to both sex and gender.

Because sex is a product of gender, and because it is measured through a societies subjective gender metrics, sex is an inflexible and unalterable category from which individuals have no recourse besides ultimately changing whatever fundamental metrics gender establishes.

Because sex is the projection of gender, what sex we are, i.e. what gender based social advantages or limitations are imposed are I direct result of what metrics we project either willingly or unwillingly.

In other word as long as everyone is under the impression that we are of one sex or another what sex we actually believe we are is of no meaningful consequence, we are for all intents and purposes the sex those who interact with us believe us to be.

Stories of doctors, who spent their lives impersonating men so that they could practice, were men. The fact that after death they were assigned a new sex based on metrics, which were not available during their life for the eyes of society, cannot change what they were during life.

I might be uncomfortable with such a subjective view of sex…yet I have to live with the fact that I am not what I wish to be, but rather what others ascribe onto me.

But my underlying point is that we can talk about sex being gendered with out sex and gendered not loosing their distinct meanings.

However I do believe it is not useful or accurate to believe that there is anything objective, measurable, or deterministic about gender from a universality perspective. I.e. sex is not a law of nature; an immutable fact like says gravity.

On the issue of devaluation of the feminine. I agree that there is a potential for the feminine to escape the cycle of devaluation. I also agree with those who say that the requirements for this to take place are for women to control the apparatus though which value is created.

i.e. marketing, entertainment, the law, politics, religious leadership, the academy, military, police… etc.

When and if women dominate the value creating institutions the way men dominate them today then whatever women do and by extension everything feminine will be values according to what value the value creators ascribe to it. My presumption is that the value creators will value what they do and how they do it. So it would seem natural that women in the position to assign value would not devalue themselves.

But I may be wrong.
lapis
Sorry for the lack of communication and for the following tome--ow you see what I procrastinated! Here's my much-postoponeed followup explanation of Irigaray's __This Sex Which is Not One__.

Irigaray's basic premise in her book is one of sexual difference--but not a difference that ties women to men as reflections of each other. This is importantly stragetic and strategically essentialist. It responds to the Victorian and before notions of women as sub-men--it's almost like a letter to Freud. Basically she's trying to de-objectify women by acknowledging their active parts, their genitals, and their potential for articulating a feminine discourse. This discourse is sometimes linked to sex as in "When our Lips Speak Together" and sometimes is just spoken from a feminine position. she calls for something beyond women acknowledging their capacity for sexual pleasure--she's calling for women's discourses and women's imaginaries. Basically, she embraces women's polymorphous perversity--we are not just holes for men's phalluses to fill--we are labia, vulva, voiced subjects and agents. She calls for a breaking open of women's pleasure to acknowledge our multiple pleasure sources that can't be "mastered" by a phallus and the possibility of conceptualizing places for women to speak their experiences from that challenge their position as defined entirely by men, as objects of trade through marriage. She talks about an economy of pleasure based on excess rather than in constant response or command to/by men. You'd have to read it but I think she makes space for a proliferation of speaking positions and of pleasures--it could be seen as friendly to queer subjectivities because it demands not being defined in terms of masculinity. And she takes Freud/Lacan to task on their concepts of gender. She also talks about phallogocentrism--as the social order ( a response to Derrida) and endorses ecriture feminine--which is well illustrated in her more imaginative sections and Helene Cixous' "The Laugh of the Medusa." As someone who really does value language and sexuality, I appreciate these projects of problematizing how we conceptualize sexual difference and thinking of language as being spoken from an embodied position, a practice which necessarily forces new types of language to emerge. It is French feminism from back in the day but I still think that project has value. I think this project is very freindly toward a proliferation of voices and sexualities challenging the hetero-masculine norm--so long as other speakers don't just reverse the order of power--a complexity and dialogue must still exist.

Also, in response to what nohope discused in his recent post of value I don't think it's that women need to become the value-makers or those who determine value--we ALL need to create more spaces to articulate and recognize the kinds of values all types of people contribute--we need to hone our senses a little better. Anthropologists, for example, have noted entirely different regimes of value, objects passed around with different ceremonial and everyday meanings, depending on the sex of the people doing the observing and the passing in the exact same place. There has to be the possibility to observe peoples' contributions to the social system--I think this requires the tolerance for and sensitivity to diversity. You can't expect everybody to jump trough the same hoops--some people would rather gyrate with them around their hips than jump through--but if you only look for jumping, well, those hula folks will look like failures.
girltrouble
QUOTE(nohope @ Mar 27 2007, 02:54 PM) *
So I am going to back track on my previous position a little. I still believe it is correct to say that sex is a gendered metric. That it is not universally measurable by the same metrics and that with out universality we must say it is culturally subjective....I don’t believe it is the same as gender.Because sex is a product of gender, and because it is measured through a societies subjective gender metrics, sex is an inflexible and unalterable category from which individuals have no recourse besides ultimately changing whatever fundamental metrics gender establishes.
Because sex is the projection of gender, what sex we are, i.e. what gender based social advantages or limitations are imposed are I direct result of what metrics we project either willingly or unwillingly.
[if] everyone is under the impression that we are of one sex or another what sex we actually believe we are is of no meaningful consequence, we are for all intents and purposes the sex those who interact with us believe us to be. Stories of doctors, who spent their lives impersonating men so that they could practice, were men. The fact that after death they were assigned a new sex based on metrics, which were not available during their life for the eyes of society, cannot change what they were during life.
i'm afraid you've got it exactly upside down.

sex is based on biology-- whatever terms you choose to call the various parts, gender is based on projection. so: my gender would be female (or transgendered, or male to female, or trans woman, or, if you so choose you can get into finer, queer gendered identifications, such as soft butch trans dyke, high femme tg, etc.) since it's how i am perceived/identify. that would be subjective. and my sex would be male, since it is based on physical determinates rather than perception. not subjective.

think about it in terms of animals. there sex is quite simple-- in most cases male of female, since gender doesn't come into play. it's sex that is body based. gender is a product of sex, not vice versa. just switch your definitions.

sex is not gendered, gender is sexed. one comes before the other-- body before the clothes. capesce?
QUOTE
But my underlying point is that we can talk about sex being gendered with out sex and gendered not loosing their distinct meanings.
lol... you're the only one that's ever contended they are the same thing, but again, you've got it backwords. in the simplest terms:sex is biology; gender is sociology.

as for your book lapis, it sounds endlessly fascinating. i'll have to pick that up when i get a chance. i am all in favor of new (or not so new) sexualities. i think we give human sexualities short shrift by distilling them down to a gay/straight binary. plus i love responses to the whole derrida/freud/lacan boys club. they're fun to use to decode movies, but in all honesty...... lol.... they can't seem to see beyond their dicks....

nohope
Lapis what a great post. I was recently looking up some stuff regarding our topic and it reminded me of Monique Wittig's saying that "...it would be incorrect to say that lesbians associate, make love, live with women, for 'woman' has meaning only in heterosexual systems of thought and heterosexual economic systems. Lesbians are not women." Monique witting's anti essentiolist materialism pg42 in Essentialy Speaking by Diana Fuss

(for the wolves out there, I niether agree nor disagree with this premise I'm still thinking it over though I think it has enough merrit for me to share it.)

Just to clarify on the subject of creating value. I did not mean to imply that what I wrote was what I believed was the ideal situation. My own dreams much more reflect your thinking. I just wonder whether that could ever happen.

That = “we ALL create [ing] more spaces to articulate and recognize the kinds of values all types of people contribute.”

What I was articulating was more a reflection of what I thought would happen, not what I wish will happen.

I wanted to muse on another point you brought up earlier

“If all categories disappeared and it was all choice--how would people organize politically and how would we identify oppression and actually problematize power?”

I don’t find this question meaningful, because is supposes a situation which I believe is impossible.

It supposes a situation in which there is power differential without categorization. I believe the two create each other. It is as impossible for me to imagine a society in which there are power inequalities with out categories, as it is impossible for me to imagine a society in which there are categories with out power differentials.

At some basic level the two are intertwined as far as I can tell. Which is not to say that every distinction creates a power inequality. I acknowledge that there are plenty of categories that do not create power inequalities. Like distinguishing between pink and blue. On the other hand the need for human meaning seems have some inherent trend towards creating inequality at least in some people.

Perhaps creating inequality is the only way some people can understand themselves in relationship to society.
greenbean
I wasn't sure where to put this: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?.../i125203D10.DTL
I guess this thread may be the right spot since the story is regarding what is appropriate dress for a beauty pageant.

It seems as if Miss Mexico is a hardcore catholic that is proud of the violence inflicted on her nation by anti-secular zealots..although I'm holding out hope that she is wittingly trying to turn the pagaent on its head by making a political statement to get people talking....but either way I think its hilarious! I mean, shes wearing a bullet belt! I bet Tarantino is stoked.
thereshegoes
wow that's bizarre. although i was dismayed by the knee-jerk pageant girl fundamentalism, i was intrigued by the statement that one wouldn't use the Miss USA pageant to protest the KKK, and i was thinking, why not? it only reinforces the pretty v. smart dichotomy to say beauty queens can't make political statements.

lapis
I thought it was interesting that someone said these pageants should not be political--but in the US they have totally become moral platforms, so why not political? So many US winners have been kicked out for kissing girls, living with men, posing nude, quitting cause they get pregnant--why is it ok to evaluate and reprimand their personal lives but prevent them from suggesting any kind of political stance? I mean, if this event is aesthetic, let it be so. But it seems like you have to embrace a kind of virtuous comportment and it's ok if you represent MADD or the Girl scouts or whatever but you can't have political views or be bisexual or promiscuous.
mornington
I thought this was an appropriate place for this: http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/sto...2062936,00.html

One of the biggest department stores in the uk is going to use "normal-sized models" for its adverts. I'm just really pleased, hopefully more shops will go the same way. Shops are doing the same thing in Spain, btw, but it's more widespread and has government support.
thereshegoes
that would get me to buy more clothes.
if a store in the US did it, i would buy from them exclusively.
hellotampon
http://tuvida.aol.com/moda-y-belleza/fotos...without-make-up

The editorial comments next to the photo are so insulting.
thereshegoes
that's awful.
no wonder so many of those girls have problems, with that kind of shit.
_octinoxate
While I can definitely agree that that sort of crap is terrible, for many reasons...
...at the same time, I find myself in a way being pleased to see it- just because it feels kind of good to know that the women we're all shown as the "ideal" are actually normal people, too (who just happen to have extremely tricky make up artists).
I also have to say that so many of them looked SO much more beautiful in their natural state, instead of having their faces painted on to them.

mornington's post, in contrast, is so encouraging! thanks for sharing that!
MaybeSparrow
I agree that its a good thing to see that celebrities are not perfect, but it is completely unnecessary to make detrimental comments about how they shouldn't even go outside. I mean, it seems like what people don't like is seeing how human celebrities are. Although I personally appreciate seeing some human flaws in them, some people prefer the fantasy.
nickclick
check out Popular Photography blog that explains the camera tricks used for the pics of celebrities without makeup (many of the same women in the previous link) in People mag's recent Most Beautiful issue.

At least the photos in the link hellot posted were more honest! But yeah, the comments should say how the look so much like you and me, and how they're still beautiful without gobs of mascara and fake tanner.
mornington
I'm pretty much with everyone else - the comments were uncalled for, but there's always a slight thrill to seeing "beautiful celebrities" looking normal, and not caked in a layer of paint. They're still beautiful, but real as well. nick's link also goes to show that people can be beautiful without makeup - even if every camera trick under the sun is being used.

I don't think it helps a lot of girls - just reinforces the message that you're hideous without makeup but you're still not going to be pretty enough.
girlygirlgag
QUOTE(nickclick @ May 3 2007, 02:36 PM) *
check out Popular Photography blog that explains the camera tricks used for the pics of celebrities without makeup (many of the same women in the previous link) in People mag's recent Most Beautiful issue.

At least the photos in the link hellot posted were more honest! But yeah, the comments should say how the look so much like you and me, and how they're still beautiful without gobs of mascara and fake tanner.



That link was good. I think it was totally unfair to make such mean comments about those women without their make up on. I would like to see what the bunch of fools who came up with them look like without makeup.

This is why i am over Perez Hilton and Trent on PITNB. I get especially offended hearing those comments from men, gay or straight, they will NEVER experience the pressure to be perfect.
knorl05
girlygirl: unfortunately i think anyone who does not live in a bubble has experienced the pressure to be perfect.. maybe men dont have to face scrutiny regarding their bodies, but they still do have standards and conditioning that is imposed on them that they feel they must live up to as well. gay men and 'sensitive' men in particular constantly have to battle the GI joe misconception.. many have told me that society expects them to be raging frat boy meat heads in order to be considered a 'real man'. just different ideas of not only what is considered the ideal, but then also how the individual interprets that how it influences and ultimately constructs their self image.

i would agree that it is complete bullshit that whole celebrities without makeup article. it's ridiculous how people place such importance on this stuff.. i mean, really, dont they have anything better to do with their time than relish in other's imperfections?
knorl05
whoa that shit is evil. i just checked that link hellotampon. although i hate hollywood, they are still people, and i hate people being trashed even more. especially goldie hawn? that's awful.
seven
QUOTE(_octinoxate @ May 2 2007, 11:12 PM) *
While I can definitely agree that that sort of crap is terrible, for many reasons...
...at the same time, I find myself in a way being pleased to see it- just because it feels kind of good to know that the women we're all shown as the "ideal" are actually normal people, too (who just happen to have extremely tricky make up artists).
I also have to say that so many of them looked SO much more beautiful in their natural state, instead of having their faces painted on to them.

mornington's post, in contrast, is so encouraging! thanks for sharing that!


::: I have to agree that most of those women are beautiful without makeup on. I rarely wear makeup, and I not because I have flawless skin or poreless skin or ivory baby-skin. I don't wear it b/c I don't know how to apply it correctly, and end up looking a LOT worse!!! smile.gif

I love natural skin so much more than make up! But that's just me. I think some women look gorgeous with loads of it.
kittenmiami
My Finnish relatives send over magazines from Helsinki all the time. They don't use airbrushing or photoshop to transform skin or bodies into these unrealistic images in many of the 'zines! Now, this is great and isn't suprising considering this is a country with a female president. On the other hand, there are still images of women that have immaculate make-up and stunning bodies. Then you can tell that the American celebrities that have been interviewed for articles sent over their own photographs that are so redone Nemo is more realistic.
So my point and question is this: If we are given the choice to see photos of our favorite celebs or models wearing the latest trends, how would we react and treat each side of the spectrum? Would we still lean toward our unattainable media ideals of beauty or would we embrace the face with wrinkles, melasma, childhood chicken pox scars, blackheads?
sukouyant
Cool question. I think most people here will agree that the tendency to hold impossible standards up as beauty standards is probably commercially driven, cosmetics industry driven. There are other ways to see beauty that have nothing to do with youth, poreless skin, or flaxen hair. (Remember when your mother was the most beautiful woman in the world?) Anyone with eyes to see can see that much.

However in American culture, celebrities who look real, caught without makeup, tired after a long day, didn't pluck her eyebrows, whatever, are held up to be mocked and degraded for it and generally people cheerfully join in.

It seems like there's so much anger towards women who are propped up by the media as beauty icons, that people are quite willing to tear down those same icons when they step out of line.

I would love to see more honest images out there though. Scars are beautiful.
nickclick
QUOTE(sukouyant @ Jun 27 2007, 10:56 PM) *
I would love to see more honest images out there though. Scars are beautiful.

seriously. someone's more beautiful when she's seen and done things in her life, when she's accomplished something, when she's proud. not just because she can afford the latest chemical peel or diet guru.

this isn't to say i don't like looking at photos of pretty girls in magazines. and i do want to know how to get my hair shiny or apply a smoky eye. there's just gotta be a better way than making models and actresses into half-alive mannequins.
anna k
QUOTE
seriously. someone's more beautiful when she's seen and done things in her life, when she's accomplished something, when she's proud. not just because she can afford the latest chemical peel or diet guru.


I try to tell myself that sometimes when I get jealous of a pretty actress in a magazine. But I do like cutting out pictures of pretty girls and admiring their style or the photograph.
mornington
anna, that's part of the reason why I like reading street style blogs, like wardrobe_remix on flickr and the sartorialist. They're real people - taken either by themselves or in the street - and I love to get style ideas from there. And a big smile or a confident pose is more beautiful than any airbrushed model.

I'd love to see more "honest" pictures in magazines too; while I too want to know how to style my hair a particular way (or whatever) I find I get frustrated because I can't get it to look like that exactly. While I know full well I'm not a supermodel, and it's simply not possible to look like the magazine images, to a part of my mind it doesn't matter - that is what i should look like, but i don't.

The mocking of the latest beauty icon looking "rough" is at once relieving - they're no longer perfect - but because they're mocked, i somehow find it makes the beauty standards more unobtainable; if the perfect face can't look like that, how am I supposed to be able to?
silverhalide
you have to remember that a large part of advertising is based on convincing the public that they are flawed--that you are in need of improvement..it's all bullshit. Makeup etc..isn't the problem really, rather how it is advertised. The type of "beauty" that is promoted in most mainstream mags is computer generated imagery that really isn't even real. That's the danger. Media Literacy, folks. Beauty is advertised as being so homogenious and fascist. Just find your own style, whatever expresses who you are on the inside and roll with it. Don't let anyone or anything tell you how you should look. I always liked looking to musicians/artists for style inspiration, they are usually the most creative, real and original. Atleast those outside the mainstream. Mornington, I love wardrobe remix! There are so many unique shades of style out there. Be creative gals! Fashion/Makeup is taken waaay too seriously. It's meant to be something to have fun with, not the be all end all of your self worth. However, most mags/advertising don't want you to believe that.
nickclick
yes, i agree beauty standards are totally made up and commercially driven. (did you see the new TV ad for some goop that's supposed to erase those "parenthesis" on the side of your mouth? i mean, they're literally making up "flaws" for us to buy shit to fix. and finding ways to try to make us look as close as possible to plastic dolls. i happen to like that it looks like i smile often, btw!)

but, is just looking the other way at alternative media the way to fix mainstream media's obsession with white young skinny perfect women?

the same question can be (and has been on these boards i'm sure) posed for mainstream porn, hip-hop, video games, etc....
silverhalide
nick--I didn't mean turning away as a way of fixing the problem, rather turning away and not buying into it. Like I would consider Bust alternative media. If more and more people would refuse to believe the advertising or buy these garbage magazines, it would begin to lose it's power. Also, the more alternative media (and books) there is, the more the "beauty" industry is exposed as the farce that it is.
girltrouble
nick i saw that commercial and was horrified. i've always thought those laugh lines were amazingly sexy on a woman. but then, i like not skinny girls, and think grey hair is pretty damn hot.... obviously, i'm insane...
sixelacat
This always becomes a chicken-or-the-egg dilemma for me. I mean, it seems like the industry is creating the market, but if people didn't SAY they want the product by actually purchasing it in profitable quantities, then the "beauty" industry would find something else to sell. I just don't think that the people creating/manufacturing stuff are doing anything but playing up to a fantasy demanded by the majority. And the majority seems to respond with a strong undercurrent of resentment, because both parties know on an unnamed level that it IS just a fantasy. But it's not the beauty industry's responsibility to call out the public, because they have never been dishonest about their goal: making money. Does anybody on earth think that Revlon is a not-for-profit? Of course not. And would their products sell if their marketing strategy was based on the slogan "Let's face it, we're ALL gonna die. And if we're lucky, we'll be old when it happens." So a multi-billion dollar industry springs up from a demand that a profitable majority would rather not think about aging and death. So who's at fault?
dolla_loco
i think the fact that women are so intrigued by pictures of unmasked celebrities reflects the tension women feel about their relationship to their bodies. The problem is not just that women are targets of the beauty industry, its that the beauty industry exists because women have a "responsibility" to look a certain way. Isnt it funny how when women are too busy or frazzled to do their hair or put on makeup, its a sign of a personal failure on their part? The reality of it is that if they dont have time for themselves, its part of the unrealistic standards society sets out for women. But i am sure this is all well tread territory. The point is, if there was more acceptance of different types of women as beautiful, it would go a long way towards bridging some gaps and relieving some of the tensions that might exist among women.
nickclick
so i guess the challenge is: could the few of us who live in reality, who are buying into a more realistic beauty standard, break the majority that wants to live the fantasy?
kittenmiami
QUOTE(nickclick @ Jul 2 2007, 09:58 AM) *
so i guess the challenge is: could the few of us who live in reality, who are buying into a more realistic beauty standard, break the majority that wants to live the fantasy?

Now that is a challenge. This issue is one that I'm actually having to face with my own business. I design lingerie with this idea that there are women out there who buy based on wanting something to make themselves feel and look nice, not to look like the supermodel in the undies. It is difficult now that I do not have any mannequins, so I have to use plain, clear shots of just the undies. Business is still on the slow side. I'm wondering if with lingerie, women actually prefer to buy based on how it looks on the model. What if real girls were used? a little booty, some hips, a tummy, boobs that aren't a plastic D cup.
mornington
kittenmiami, i know it's just imnsho, but I think that's a great idea! I mean, people responded really well to the dove "real beauty" ads (boo, unilever, boo hiss i know) but honestly - I'd be encouraged. I much prefer seeing everyday people modeling clothes - if nothing else, it helps me see what the clothes/lingerie would look like on me.

I think it might help if more and more people refused to buy into the media standards - which takes me back to small businesses using ordinary people - but at the same time, I think we've got a chicken and egg situation like sixie said; is the media creating an image, or is it building on what we're already biologically hardwired to see as attractive? A lot of people aren't as stupid as advertising seems to assume - they know that the images are both digitally altered and not representing an average body size/shape. Sometimes, knowing that doesn't seem to help, which is what annoys me.

The f-word did an article on a women's magazine which used size 16 models (the average size in the uk is a 14/16, which is (I think) equivalent to a US size 10-12). The pictures can't be seen online, which is annoying, but I thought they were beautiful - striking because it was so unusual to see actual boobs etc - and actually went back to look at where the clothes came from - which I rarely do, because I know that I either can't afford those clothes, or won't suit them when I squeeze my size 14 backside into them.
sixelacat
QUOTE
is the media creating an image, or is it building on what we're already biologically hardwired to see as attractive?


Actually, mornington, that's an interesting point. I mean, wouldn't we biologically find the women with the "child-bearing hips" more attractive than the thin, waifish airbrushed pictures? Would the trend towards airbrushed impossibility be some sort of species reaction to overpopulation? I'm talking about on a very slow, subconscious level, of course....I know nobody's actually thinking "hey, she's hot, and I bet I couldn't breed with her!". But still, it's an interesting thought....

I still think that playing up to the universal fear of "age=dying=scary" is the modus operandi of the current beauty/fashion industry, simply because it's proved to be the most lucrative advertising strategy. And I don't think that will change until fear stops equaling money. Which is where Busties come in!

kittenmiami, I second mornington. I'm more apt to buy something if it looks great on a model that is my body type. Lane Bryant used to have a virtual model thing on their website, where you could put in your own measurements (and details down to your hair and general coloring) and it would create a surprisingly accurate model which you could then dress up in their clothes. I don't think they do it anymore, but it was a great tool, as you could dress it in outfits that you might not bother trying on in the store but sometimes turned out looking great. I wish more shops had it.
dolla_loco
i think while the chicken and egg issue is a vital part of this discussion, there is also the part about cute lingerie for real women. The fact that women of all sizes want to enjoy their bodies and feel sexual, whether its for an appreciative partner or for just themselves, should be an accepted reality and not like a "oh wow" kind of moment. Women shouldnt feel like they have to be a certain size to be sexy and my biggest problem with the media is that theres a message that goes something like - you are either thin and sexy or you are dumpy and unattractive. just because you are wearing lipstick and silk panties, it doesnt mean you are giving into unrealisitc beauty standards, rather that you are rejecting them by saying you can be happy and beautiful no matter who you are.

I will now segue into a personal dilemma i have been having regarding the television show "what not to wear". on the one hand, its perpetuating the idea of female value associated with physical attractiveness and promoting consumerism, but on the other hand, the show is all about accepting your body and your personal beauty and style. i dont know about this one, i might just have to say that as a mainstream television show, you have to take the good with the bad.
nickclick
QUOTE(dolla_loco @ Jul 3 2007, 01:51 AM) *
I will now segue into a personal dilemma i have been having regarding the television show "what not to wear". on the one hand, its perpetuating the idea of female value associated with physical attractiveness and promoting consumerism, but on the other hand, the show is all about accepting your body and your personal beauty and style. i dont know about this one, i might just have to say that as a mainstream television show, you have to take the good with the bad.

i admit i love watching WNTW. maybe because i usually like the clothes they advise they pick, and i dream of having free money to shop for clothes with in NYC. but it certainly promotes (a fairly homogenous) appearance as the epitome of self-esteem, but much less than say, extreme makeover, where they say the only way a woman's gonna feel good about herself is if she chops off her nose.

(in full disclosure, i had breast reduction surgery a few years ago. back pain was a big issue, but being more comfortable and better liking the way i look were certainly pluses.)

nickclick
pretty interesting conversation about Brittney Spears' airbrushed photo in Allure magazine on the Popular Photo site....

Annals of Airbrushing: How Much is Too Much?
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