Friday, March 11, 2016

Femme Friday

So, this happened (possibly NSFW?):

As previously discussed, I have an appreciation for butch women who are HAF.  But a femme woman strutting it up to "Pony"? Yes, please.** (This post is about the first half of the video).

To take a step back and think about things from a feminist perspective, here is what I like. First off, she is emulating her husband's performance as a male stripper in Magic Mike. Although undoubtedly also appreciated by hetero men, her performance of "male stripper" implicitly caters to the female and queer male gaze.

For instance, her clothes: She's wearing sweatpants, sports bra, tank top, and a baseball cap. Women do not typically get to wear such clothing on TV, especially when they are trying to be sexy for the hetero male gaze.  Yet, go to many a gathering of queer women and that is often standard attire.

And then, relatedly -  my gods, listen to the women in the audience screaming! Watch the DJ watching her. They are loving her. And, I love everything about it.

A society that centers male (hetero)sexuality has a pervasive myth in which women as a class are uninterested in sex. Men (as women's "opposite") are in contrast framed as rabid horn-dogs who must trick/cajole women into sex in order to get any. Women's desires, if they are admitted to exist at all, are not viewed as legitimate.

Meanwhile, in reality, women have been sharing their sexual fantasies, as well as reading, watching, and writing stories that turn them on, since forever. These are widely accessible on the Internet. Unfortunately, two things happen.

One, men's desires, particularly their sexual ones, are promoted, mainstreamed, and catered to.  Rape culture narratives, as well as socially conservative ones, structure gender dynamics around aggressive male horniness and demand that women and society take measures to contain it. When male desires are treated as all-encompassing, there is no room for women's desires.

And two, when women's desires are acknowledged, the things and people women desire are often dismissed, mocked, and trivialized - for if predominately women like something, then it has the DUN DUN DUN taint of feminine inferiority! Think about it: 50 Shades of Grey. Justin Beiber. *ahem* Magic Mike. Romance novels. Erotic slash fanfictionHow do many men (and even some women) characterize these? As unimportant. Not legitimate forms of their respective media. Silly. Not serious in the way that men's desires, and the art that represents their desires, are serious business.

(**FYI -  I agonized over this post more than you will ever know, because being a lesbian feminist in a society that simultaneously sexually degrades women and degrades/fetishizes lesbian sexuality is.... complicated).

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