Giggly Guys

Rob Schaap rws at
Sat Mar 20 21:40:29 PST 1999

G'day Kelley,

>hmmm. not quite getting the 'beaut' is this irony? sarcasm? mocking?
>"Gorgias rightly said that one should spoil the opponents' seriousness with
>laughter and their laughter with seriousness"

Sorry, just meant it doesn't seem polite to me to tell other people what they're thinking about, what they're anxious about, and what they're jokes really hide. Better to put your hypothesis to 'em and talk about it - like I thought you had. I thought, and mebbe I was just grumpy and unfair, Yoshie was going the extra yard and telling us. Sorry if not so, Yoshie.

>now you're losing me. not sure what this has to do with objectification.

Just that if we'd been trained to see women as nought but objects, their bodies would arouse the same response regardless of what those women are actually doing. This ain't the case. Ergo, I must be capable of seeing women as something greater than the sum of those parts society has designated tourist attractions.

>and isn't this a learned response? obviously.

Mebbe. 'Twould seem silly of evolution to throw men into fits of lust whenever a woman walks by. There are a lot of you, after all. And we all have much to do that can't be done in the throes of passion.

>'intention to arouse' --isn't that pretty slippery? here in the states, a
>judge in a sex harassment case ( i think it was the infamous judge Bork)
>had to make a ruling as to what evidence would be allowed regarding the
>woman who'd claimed she'd been harassed. bork decided that pertinent
>questions would be 1] did she wear long, dangling earrings 2] pattered dark
>stockings and 3] when was the last time she'd had a date. hmmm. guess
>judge Bork thinks that dangling earrings and certain kinds of stockings
>indicate an intention to arouse. obviously Bork is a dork, but i've heard,
>seen, experienced similarly dorky things

Yeah, I see the problem. as Ange says, you always end up with the irksome little matter of definition. At least it shows the male sex is not an edifice of like-minded oppressors - at worst, we're differently-minded oppressors, I s'pose. Is that what you reckon?

>well it's interesting that you pose it as if the gazer lights the fuse, as
>if there's a great deal of autonomy regarding what you find arousing.
>sure, there's a lot of variation but don't you think we're taught how to
>read this images in certain sorts of ways?

There are poses which do not easily lend themselves to multiple readings, whether the gazer be Thai, Peruvian or Senegalese, I'd've thought.

>the people who produce these images have an extremely elaborate set of
>techniques they deploy in order to trigger this response in you. obviously
>you must learn this, learn to read the images this way: the lighting, the
>shadow, camera angle, etc.

I was awfully precocious then. National Geographic never did a thing for me, but the first time I saw a Playboy, I was precisely where it put me. And I was in Namibia. Not much chance to get this kind of learning done there.

>exactly. images of women, today, are largely represented in very limited
>ways. they are represented as being for, living for, playing for, working
>for, desiring, wanting men.

Yeah, I can't find much to oppose that with.

>well no. i think, at least Yoshie and I, are sex positive feminists. i
>was objecting to the way the images were spoken about: naturalized the
>whole thing. i know greg was goofing off, and maybe WDK too, but who
>knows? and it seemed to be typed as if there were no women in the LBO
>clubhouse. now, that's annoying. would anyone have spoken of an ethnic
>group in this way? NO.

Probably not surprising that I didn't notice. What say you, Greg and WDK?

>again, this is a claim that rests on epistemological assumptions which say.
> on what basis can you say: "I'm better at you than telling my story than
>you are" so...?

I have advanced old-fashioned humanist claims here before - Ange has given me a couple of things to think about on that, but I still reckon most people know themselves better than others know them on the whole. I qietly wear some accusations I cop because I know them to be true. I snap back at others because I know them not to be.

And the whole 'hidden histories' thing rather depends on the premise we tell our own stories differently, doesn't it? And that we're all better off for reading these different stories? As long as no-one advances the notion that they'd be - a priori - benighted by incommensurability, I'd go along with that pretty happily.

Gotta go,

Cheers, Rob.

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