posts tagged "objectification"
Female bodies as “distracting”: Another quick thought on dress codes & sexism
I’ve been amazed at the number of comments that just don’t get it over at my post at The Nation on the way dress codes can discriminate against women. (And the way school administrators and faculty can use said code to sexually harass young women.)
What’s been truly interesting to me is the way that commenters continue to make the same argument that Stuyvesant’s principal did: that the way some young women dress is “distracting.” That men can’t help but look at these young women and their supposedly scandalous attire - and that this overwhelming desire to ogle young women means that school work isn’t being properly paid attention to.
This “distraction” standard for a dress code sets up a model in which the default student we are concerned about - the student whose learning we want to ensure is protected - is male. It presumes that female students are a distraction to male students’ learning, and therefore it’s young women’s actions that must be policed.
But what about the way that the young women of Stuyvesant are being “distracted” from their studies by a school that harasses and slut-shames? What’s more distracting - glancing at a girls’ legs or being pulled from class, humiliated, and made to change outfits before you’re allowed to learn?
I really like what she’s wearing, as I do with a lot of the pictures I see on my dash. But I find myself feeling more and more conflicted reblogging these headless (usually at least eyeless) women. Tumblr feels obligated to edit images so that women are faceless and the sole focus of the image is their bodies. If I was optimistic I’d hope that people are simply doing it in an effort to draw attention to the clothes, but I’m not even mildly optimistic so I don’t think that’s the case. I see these crops that are just an ass and thighs or just a torso or everything but a face, and I feel pretty safe in assuming that it’s just really lazy objectification. While the objectification and the dismemberment is clearly the biggest issue, the lesser issue of how fucking rude it is to take someone’s art and mutilate it to redraw the focus for such a shitty reason is also frustrating. You can debate the artistic quality of the images all you like, but you still have to agree that taking somebody’s work (and in the case of the model, their face) and cutting it up to suit your disengaged idea of sexy is obviously wrong. To be clear, when I say ‘disengaged’ I mean not wanting to see a woman’s eyes, and by association not wanting her to be a person. Wanting her to be a thing, merely the sum of her physical parts without the one physical part that seems so personal. Blank faces aren’t enough, they have to have no faces? You can’t look and think “she’s hot”, you have to think “that body is hot”? This went on longer than I’d planned, so I’ll just cut it off here and share her fucking face.
The picture I’m reblogging is some woman’s body as edited by kinky-little-kitty for Tumblr. The picture I’ve uploaded is Lara Stone by Mario Sorrenti for Vogue Japan.