Sandy Hook

Sandy Hook

Saturday, June 19, 2010

1970s: Helen Reddy - I Am Woman

Women have come a long way, baby. Since the 1970s when Reddy wrote I Am Woman, my sisters have made huge strides in the political and corporate arenas. Yet many battles continue - the fight for equal pay and reproductive rights, the fight to be treated as the victim in rape and spouse abuse. Minority women have an even larger battle.

Women are still fighting the characterization of our sex as mere pieces of meat. Whole magazines feature illustrations of nude or semi-nude women. TV and billboard ads feature women in suggestive poses with pouty lips and curvaceous bodies.

Maybe this is to be expected in the world of advertising and magazines. After all, boys of all ages will be boys and I suppose playing out their sexual fantasies by looking at girlie pictures should be expected.

But I'm having a hard time accepting this - especially on normally progressive blogs published by supposedly intelligent men who usually write well about the issues of today. Girlie pictures are insulting to most women. You have the right to post such crap. We have the right to change channels - perhaps feeling some disappointment that in this day and age, in this year of 2010, all men seem to be created equal in the world of the meat market.


  1. You're point is well taken, Leslie. I admit to drooling a bit when I posted pictures of Rimah Fakih, Miss USA 2010, but my motive really was to point out the GOP hypocrisy of condemning her because she was a Muslim.

    I've long supported women's rights, so I guess that makes me an equal opportunity male chauvinist pig. ;-)

  2. TC: I have no problem with the posting of Fakih's picture not only because of the GOP hypocrisy but because she did win. And, frankly, she is quite beautiful. But this isn't quite the same as displaying women just for their sex appeal.

    You are not any kind of MCP as far as I can tell.

    Before I'm accused of writing this out of prudity, I'm not. It's the exploitation that bothers me.

  3. I sometimes wonder who is being more exploited by Cheesecake - the girls or the people paying money to look at them. Same with strippers and hookers. When there is reciprocity, it's just business. When Johns and Droolers act morally superior to the Objects, that's some bullshit. Further, those girlie shots and the attendant drooling combine to make me feel inferior like Cheesecake vs Chopped Liver. That's the point of magazines and marketing. There's never anything wrong with the pants they are selling - it's my ass that's the problem which means I need to buy several products so I can measure up (or down, as the case may be).

  4. Not that I buy those products, by the way. It just pisses me off that advertisers create and then exploit insecurities.

  5. progressive bloggers are posting these pictures? I thought it was rightwingers who exploited woman. I was just talking to my mom today about how is loaded with smut and the Fox shows always have their slutty looking woman front and center with their asses and boobs hanging out. It is so true, men will be boys when it comes to woman, the slobber tells me so! ;-)

    OH almost forgot, love the new blog look! I'm gonna look into this new feature. Was it easy to do and is there no chance of losing old posts and comments??

  6. Notice that PC is the only man who has the chutzpah/courage to leave a comment? Bravo for him, by golly.

    PEN: "When there is reciprocity, it's just business." I think that's true and maybe if I had those looks and figures, I'd have a different outlook - but I don't and I'm past the age of giving a shit. Freedom to be me.

    I guess to me, women should want to flaunt their brains instead of their boobs. And I think men should appreciate what's inside rather than what's outside.

    And I don't want to imply that these women are all brainless. I have read plenty of articles about women who put themselves through college and housewives who pay for med school by stripping. But this is 2010 - are we ever going to get past this?

    Sue: Republicans like their women sexy and dumb. At the same time I don't think sexy women are necessarily dumb. Marilyn Monroe for instance - sexy as hell but you could see life in her face. Liz Taylor? Not sexy, dumb looking and hard.

    The new layout isn't difficult but your choices of templates are pretty limited. But you can tweak them with background and font colors. I like things rather simple, uncluttered and not all chopped up with borders and different-from-the-body colors.
    I got frustrated with the damn blog title color until I realized it's a link!

    I'm not crazy about those birdies, so I may play with it some more. I would like to figure out how to put a picture in the description or at the top of the blog. It still needs some tweaking.

  7. Sue: Probably the thing I like the most is that you have control over the width of the column and the sidebar. I have a private practice blog that I use to screw up on.

  8. tnlib, your indictment is very generalized, and PENolan makes excellent points to the effect that this is not all one thing. A lot depends on a lot of things.

    Much depends on the individual woman, her mindset, standards and values. One woman can be degraded by the same thing that makes another woman stronger, more confident and independent. One woman can have fun and make money doing the same thing that leaves another feeling exploited and cheapened.

    There's a world of difference between, say, posing for Playboy or for a magazine tailored to the tastes of lowlifes who refer to women in the magazines as sluts while enjoying seeing them in what they, the men, see as degrading poses and circumstances. That's a sick and disgusting point of view, reflecting the unfortunate fact some men are sick and disgusting individuals. The availability of titillating material doesn't make them that way. It's what they bring to it.

    Yes, this is 2010, and no, we're probably never going to get past this. Men are wired to enjoy seeing a nicely proportioned female body, the more fully revealed, the greater the enjoyment. You can say that's bad, but you might as well say rainy days and coin tosses that come up tails are bad. It's a force of male human nature, and in a man who's the product of a halfway decent upbringing it needn't be a bad thing for him or for any woman.

    Too many Americans have an arrested-development (at junior high level) attitude about the human body and nudity. The more repression and suppression there is, the worse that situation becomes. There's nothing about the sight of a partially or fully nude body of a person of the opposite sex that need ruin the person seeing or the one being seen. It all depends on time and place, attitude, intention and character, or lack thereof.

  9. The comments took a different turn than I expected, focusing on the prurient. What has bothered me is evidence that young women today seem to prefer being “play pretties,” interested more in outward appearances than inner strengths.

    This is tough to take for someone who made her way in the goold-old-boys club of print journalism newsrooms.

    Fox News is not alone: cable news has gone from the professional skills of a Judy Woodruff or an Andrea Mitchell to teleprompter reading bimbos. Outward appearance is the new criterion for professional women, it seems.

    I think this really hit me when Diet Coke ran the commercial featuring women hanging out of office windows to ogle the hot constructon worker. There is an assumption that this is all today’s career woman is interested in.

    I guess I’m trying to say that the struggle for women’s rights can no longer be effective if women don’t want their rights.


  10. I obviously did a rotten job of stating my case and that is my fault. I cross-posted this to The Swash Zone and here are a couple of comments left by Octo and Dino that do a hell of a better job explaining what I should have.

    (Echidne is a former contributor to The Zone.)

    "I think what Echidne and tnlib are asking of us is to be public persons in the sense that they can count us as allies in support of feminism. How can they consider us as allies if we, the male of species, lapse so easily, so subconsciously, into sexist objectifications and stereotypes? How can we be liberal and progressive humanists when we dehumanize … without even a hint of self-awareness? I can certainly understand feelings of betrayal when we let our sisters down, and these posts are meant to be consciousness-raising."

    Dino adds: "If there's one thing I'd like women in their late teens and twenties to understand, it's that gains made a generation or two back aren't guaranteed to hold -- there are MILLIONS of of Americans who want to roll everything back several decades. . ."

    To me, this really is the crux of the matter. After decades of progress are we not reverting back to looking at women as mere sex objects?

    There is absolutly nothing wrong with either sex appreciating the physical attributes of the opposite sex - or of their own sex whether gay or not. But, just as I have a problem with obscenities thrown in my face, I don't care to click on a blog with five or six, or one, scantily clad woman. I find this offensive and it doesn't speak well of the poster. And it's a little jarring.

    I can cuss like a sailor but don't care to have it thrown in my face anymore than someone quoting Bible verses. And from an (((artistic))) standpoint, I have a deep appreciation of the nude body. I also enjoy the heck out of sex - and probabloy will if I live to be 110 - but I sure as hell don't want to stand around watching a couple copulate.

  11. I side with you here,Leslie. In a male-dominated world "beefcake" and cheesecake are NOT equal, not falling under any kind of equal-time rule.

    I don't have any research, but I firmly believe cheescake pics are far more damaging to young womens self-esteem and far more likely to cause some kind of physical or emotional trauma (unnecessary surgery,dieting,heels,whatever)than similar male pics are to young guys.

    You aren't overreacting, you're right.

  12. Oso: Good points and I think this is what PENolan was saying when she said, "It just pisses me off that advertisers create and then exploit insecurities."

  13. I had no doubt that it was the exploitation that prompted this great item.

  14. TomCat: You're absolutely right but this sort of thing became passe several decades ago. Now we're seeing it more and more. It is no surprise to see this crap on such sites as Donald Douglas but on those of intelligent, sensitive and progressive bloggers?

    To me it's like reading a book on hunger in the world and interspersing it with girlie pics.

    True story. That photo of me in my Anniversary Issue was taken when I managed The Denver Post library. My staff and I were talking about all the girlie pics around the city room. We decided to display our own collection - all male of course. Guess what? We were ordered to take them down.

  15. Well, I didn't exactly get a response to my comment, but at least TC wasn't the only male with the chutzpah to comment. :)

    On your point about outfits like Fox hiring bimbo newsreaders, Fox is all about broadcasting the right-wing GOP party line and attracting eyeballs. Independent, evenhanded, "go where the story leads" journalism is the last thing Fox wants to do. Airheads with eye appeal will read their lines and not wander off the reservation, whereas brighter, well-trained and ethical journalists present a risk of doing the opposite, making for bad PR when they inevitably quit or get fired.

    FWIW, and without any hard evidence to point to, I admit, I think there is less cheesecakery going on now than in past decades.

    Men shouldn't feel all worthless and inadequate because there are always male movie and TV stars and athletes out there with Schwarzennegar-like physiques and musclelature. Neither should women feel demeaned or unattractive if they don't have the face and figure of a playmate or movie star. They certainly shouldn't feel they need to spend a fortune and take risks with silicone implants and cosmetic surgery just to gild the lily. That trend in society does exist. It's foolish, costly, risky and in most cases unnecessary, IMO.

    Finally, should blogs with a focus of serious discussion of politics and public policy throw in gratuitous sex or cheesecake? I don't think so, and I don't do it on my blog. To be honest, that's not because I'm afraid I might offend someone. It's simply that that sort of thing would be inappropriate for what my blog is about.

  16. Oh, SW, I did not mean to overlook you at all - or BJ. Have been working on a new blog design and I'm trying to finish up a pretty major post. I'll either get back to you tonight or in the morning. I'm so sorry.

  17. Frodo has often mentioned Barbi Benton, who wore a flak jacket in one of the pictures that accompanied her coronation as "Playmate of the Year," in 1968.
    Even today, he turns back the pages and thinks about the boys who dreamed, and played make-believe, who are no more. How many times and how many voices worded the phrase that "this is what we're fighting for"?
    Barbie Benton and Betty Grable, and perhaps a thousand others have helped to launch a thousand ships, but stood on many a widow's walk to watch for homeward angels.
    Frodo's sisters need recognize that sometimes the most banal of what we say, is actually an expression of our gratitude, and the hopes we share, together.
    If ever Frodo's words are offensive, then even Lisa the Howler Monkey should say so.

    Now where did Frodo put those 1968 Playboys?

  18. tn: whatever you do with the new blog design, stick with "black letters on white background". Think Google: if it works for the most successful web site of all, it should work for blogs.

  19. I cant know how it is for women or has been because I was never a woman .... but I do know how the system work's and has worked very well .... and have wrote several piece's on this subject, because I have seen how tough women have struggled for decade's. I have 3 daughter's .... and they are also all girl's of multi culture, being mixed .... I constantly tried to stress to them at a young age .... I started them very young, of the possible obstacle's, scam's, and everything that I could give them to work to their advantage, even putting them behind the steering whel at 9/ 10 year's old ... to showing them how to change their own oil, fire a gun, and the importance of education that is formal. All 3 have degree's and career's, and are doing fairly well, at least better than I ever did with my record and 8th grade education level. But yesterday almost had me in tear's when my daughter's hugged me (who are all grown women now) .... and told me that the most importante thing I done for them over the year's .... was all what they learned from me that made their struggle's somewhat easier .... it was just kind of touching .... and never heard them talk like that before, so it got me kind of emotional I reckon .... I just will leave it at that .... and nice posting Ms.Leslie. BTW .... we were in Houston saturday (your former haunt) .... believe me .... you wouldnt probably reckonize it in 2010.

    Later Grrrrllll.....

  20. S.W., my friend, I hope. To be candid, this is what threw me in your first comment:

    "your indictment is very generalized, and PENolan makes excellent points to the effect that this is not all one thing. A lot depends on a lot of things."

    PENolan does indeed make excellent points, but what I don't understand is the difference between "generalization" and "not all one thing."

    What I was simply trying to get across - failing miserably - is that in the year of our Lord 2010, we should have moved past cheesecake on the more serious minded blogs. What people do in the privacy of their own closets is their own business but putting up girlie pics is insulting to most women these days - and even to a lot of men.

    Now, thanks to all the comments, we have veered off into many directions which underscores how damaging such photos are - especially to young women. "You can only have a happy life if you're beautiful and sexy." Speaking as a father, Oso's points are well taken.

    "Much depends on the individual woman, her mindset, standards and values." True but it doesn't take into account the impressionable young lady (15 to 35) who equates happiness and being liked with the perfect body.

    "Men are wired to enjoy seeing a nicely proportioned female body, the more fully revealed, the greater the enjoyment." No doubt but there's that old saying - there's a time and a place for everything.I believe you are saying this at the end of your second comment.

  21. BJ: "young women today seem to prefer being “play pretties,” interested more in outward appearances than inner strengths."

    They are an advertiser's dream. Sadly, it is part of our culture.

    Frodo: To be honest, I'm having a hard time connecting the two.

    dmarks: I hear what you're saying. Actually the background is a light gray, which cuts down on the glare that comes from white. My motto: KISS.

    RC: Your comment brought a few tears there. Thank you for sharing your day with us.

    You mean Houston's worse?

  22. You haved to be kidding about taking them down. What's good for the gander is good for the goosed. ;-)

  23. TC: I wish I were kidding. To say we were ticked is to put it mildly.

  24. No Ms.Leslie .... I didnt mean Houston was worse, it just has really developed and grew significantly .... it has changed quite a bit. But of course ... some thing's get better ... yet other's may get worse.

    Take Care Grrrllll ....

  25. RC: It wasn't exactly Mayberry when I was there in the 60s.

    I hauled a horse down there in the mid 80s and couldn't believe it. The freeways were bumper to bumper. If cars were moving they were going so fast that the cops wouldn't even risk trying to patrol them. The traffic in the Galleria area was gridlock. But oh my God, what food.