Mistress Judith (was Re: Butler on Spivak)

kelley oudies at flash.net
Tue Nov 23 07:45:44 PST 1999

>> so give me a flaming break.
>OK. But if I give you a break, I want one too. Here's mine: Please
don't impute
>specific male baggage to me without first establishing some basis.
Baggage like
>I must be one of those men who thinks any representation of women's bodies,
>including the social construction of that representation, "is all natural

i'm not imputing anything to you. i *am* however wondering why it is that even when yoshie and i are talking *representations* --not beliefs and ideas individual men hold--then some men on this list get their shorts twisted and start objecting with personal experiences, etc and so on. this has happened three times now. we are *not* talking how we relate to those images per se, but how those images are created circulated and considering what the effects might be [eating disorders, the fetishization of certain body images, etc].

it is nice to think of something as a good thing, but in the context of capitalist relations, as michael reinterated, it would be nice to ask what the health and fitness frenzy is all about without people getting uptight and feeling attacked if they do work out. it is not some benign process that just happens. goin to the gym has everything to do with the social organization of work in these here united states --that is what kind of work you do [recall my ex-beau the manual laborer]. idealizing the 'outdoors' and 'nature' as special places apart from the world of work and the sub/urban has everything to do with capitalism

>> yoshie and i are *trying* to have
>> a discussion of the ways in which the idealized images of bodies consitute
>> us historically. and, in that sense, it is a *very* marxist approach.
>I note that Yoshie also seems to disagree with your take that the
regulation and
>social construction of the body is the obvious, and perhaps only,
explanation for
>how Nussbaum looks. So instead of considering me an intruder, perhaps you
>think of me as taking that side of the argument.

heh. it's a game roger. yoshie doesn't disagree with me in the least. she does however seem to be suggesting a materiality that butler does not. and i don't necessarily disagree with that. but that is hardly saying that what constitutes health and fitness is some sort of stable, objective notion.

furthermore, it's *not* about nussbaum but about the represenation of her in the photograph. *that's* about professional photography, training in aesthetics, traning in what sells and what works -- that's what we're talking about here.

and the objection to talking about that by reversion to individual experiences is the problem and were the avoidance comes in.

>>Women who run or play basketball, for example, were right to welcome the
>demolition of myths
>>about women's athletic performance that were the product of male-dominated
>>assumptions; but they were also right to demand the specialized research on
>>women's bodies that has fostered a better understanding of women's training
>>needs and women's injuries.

and lets not forget about kinesthetics and why that profession exists, eh? it exists for the benefit of professional sports. i used to date the track coach at SU, so i do know a bit about it. i also know about how that research is also all about how to get the player out on the field as quickly as possible. in his more cynical moments, that's what he told me anyhoo
>Until a few decades ago, women were not allowed to run races longer than
100 yards
>because of the claimed ill effects on their bodies, as asserted by the men
>controlled sports establishments, backed by quack male doctors. But
"women were
>right to welcome the demolition" of such myths"? They didn't welcome
them, they
>beat down the doors and destroyed them. The first woman who entered the
>Marathon (surruptiously) was draged of the course when she was discovered.

>more followed until the race was opened.
>Or take the Olympics. Women have seriously taken up all kinds of vigorous
>of late; e.g., wrestling. What are the latest sports added to the
Olympics to
>allow more female particpation? First synchronized gymnastics (the guys
who run
>the show really like to watch those pre-pubescent girls twirling ribbons),
and now
>ballroom dancing.

but this is precisely where a feminist analysis needs to start. simply welcoming women into the wide world of sports isn't necessarily liberating.

that's one of the points of contention among feminism and why marxist and socialist feminist reject liberal feminism which tends to ask for equality with men on men's terms. i'm simply asking for an analysis that, yes appreciates the good things about sports, etc, but that doesn't assume that critique means that i want to do away with sports or whathaveyou.

as for women's sports, it is clearly and has been for awhile driven by the market. 12 years ago when the women's bball league was first getting off the ground, it was also when loose baggy shorts for male b ball players were becoming the height of fashion [remember the old short shorts???!! heh]. the women b ball players objected to the pressure put on them to wear tight shorts-pressure from coaches, mgmt, espn.

the proliferation of women's sports is also connected to the proliferation of cable channels and target marketing, too. in turn, universities find it attractive to promote womens's sports because there is money there.

but why is this any good. it sucks. do youhave any idea what the pro sports meat grinder is all about? it's about wasting bodies, about using them up and discarding them. and prosports extends into high school these days in a way that it didn't in my day. i was the water girl for the football team. there wasn't any pressure on those kids to go pro --not the way they put pressure on my son at sports camps and practices.

anyway, every read michael messner's stuff on the sociology of sports and men's identities? good work.


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