There’s really only one thing I wanted to add about this today, and that’s a link to Greta Christina’s feminist defence of the Boobquake meme from a few days ago.
As ever, she appears to be right about everything, but one thing in particular she just so utterly nailed that I wanted to quote it in full:
The main feminist objection to Boobquake seemed to be that the women who participated were letting ourselves be exploited. They argued that many men reacted to the event with sexist, “Show us your tits!” idiocy — a reaction McCreight should have foreseen, and was therefore responsible for. Even if the intention behind the event was good (a point on which anti-Boobquake feminists differ) — even though the event was initiated by a woman and voluntarily participated in by women — the result was simply another round of female bodies being objectified by men.
Ah. I see.
Women ought not to display our sexuality — because men can’t be trusted. In the presence of a display of desirable female flesh, men will lose control of themselves. Women ought to dress modestly, and ought not to encourage other women to dress immodestly… and if we persist in our immodesty, and men respond by behaving badly, it’s women’s fault.
It all makes sense now. I just need one question cleared up:
How, exactly, is this “feminist” response to Boobquake anything but a more moderate version of the statement by the Muslim prayer leader?
I know, and Greta acknowledges too, that some people have acted obnoxiously over this, probably mostly men. I’ve read more than one female blogger (though I’ve lost the links now) complaining of “being made to feel like a bad feminist” for not wanting to go beyond their own comfort zones in showing off their bodies, just because someone else decided to make an event of it.
And that’s not cool at all. This is something that some people are getting wrong. Not all women are finding this a liberating expression of defiance against a tyrannical patriarchy. Some of them are finding it oppressive in its own way, because of how some men are treating it. All of this is bad, and all these women deserve better.
But none of this is inherent in the act of defiance itself. Any woman is of course free to keep covered up as much as she wants, and to tell any man who thinks otherwise to mind his own fucking business. But the Boobquake backlash that calls the whole movement anti-feminist is just finding another reason to tell women they’re wrong to expose their bodies.
The oppressive philosophy espoused by Muslim clerics, against which Boobquake itself arose, is:
If women flaunt their sexuality, men are going to have impure thoughts and dishonour themselves before God; therefore women shouldn’t flaunt their sexuality.
And the anti-Boobquake rhetoric often sounds a lot like:
If women flaunt their sexuality, men are going to behave like sexist assholes; therefore women shouldn’t flaunt their sexuality.
Women: wear what you like. People may react in ways you don’t like; but you’re not putting sexist remarks in people’s mouths any more than you’re putting impure thoughts in their heads. Don’t be cowed by accusations of either.