Headless Bodies in Topless March
Mark Richardson discusses
by Laura Wood) about a bunch of feminists in Portland, Maine who held a demonstration in which they walked in public topless (along with some shirtless men) in order to establish the idea that men should not respond any differently to female breasts than they do to male breasts. There are various funny and thought provoking comments, but the women’s purpose has not been explained in a way that makes any sense. I wrote at Richardson’s site:
I still don’t get it. What do these women want? Do they want men not to be attracted to them?
- end of initial entry -
Someone needs to ask one of these women:
“Since you want men to have the same response to female breasts as to male breasts, i.e., no response at all, does that mean that you also want your husband or boyfriend to have no response to your breasts? If your answer is no, then you are simultaneously demanding that men be attracted to your breasts and demanding that they not be attracted to your breasts, which makes no sense. If your answer is yes, then you don’t want your husband or boyfriend to be attracted to your body, which also doesn’t make sense. Another possibility is that you do want your husband or boyfriend to be attracted to your body, but just not your breasts. That also makes no sense. So please tell me again what is it that you actually want.”
April 7, 12:07 p.m.
Bob S. writes:
This CBS News report strikes the right tone: “Topless Women Shocked that People Like to Watch Topless Women.”
Paul K. writes:
There seem to be a lot of exhibitionistic women who will take their clothes off if they can rationalize that it’s for “art” or to make a “political statement.” It doesn’t matter how goofy the cause is, it just provides an excuse to get naked. Think of the thousands who show up for Spencer Turnick photo shoots or the actresses who pose nude for PETA’s “I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur” campaign.
Also, congratulations on infusing the classic NY Post headline with new meaning:
James N. writes:
I see VFR has finally moved up to the essential “What do women want?” question, the answer to which eluded even the master.
In the case of these women, what they want is to castrate all men psychologically, EXCEPT for those men whom they, at their sole discretion, for a time of indefinite and changeable duration, WANT to be attracted to them. Men are not allowed to find out whether or not they are in the privileged class of (temporary) attractees, so they are to sit like a dog and to beg only on signal.
This is of course the principal of sexual harassment writ large, by being blown up into a cartoon that anyone can understand.
It is the adult equivalent of the “right” to abortion—that is, the existence and behavior of all other creatures, especially human males, is merely contingent, depending solely on the psychological state of the female at any point in time.
You say that Freud couldn’t answer the question. But 500 years before Freud, Chaucer did answer the question, which he put in the mouth of the Wife of Bath. What women want is “maistrie.” Mastery. Now I’ve seen some feminists render this as women just wanting control of themselves, not to be controlled by another. But I think the way it is usually taken is that women really want everything their way.
And isn’t that what you’re saying about the feminists. They want to control reality totally by a double standard under which the men in whom the women are NOT interested will be emasculated, and the men they ARE interested in will be liberated to act like men.
[LA adds: I initially mistyped Chaucer’s word “maistrie” (mastery) as “maestro” and didn’t catch the error for hours.]
Patrick H. writes:
The topless women want the men to notice them, but not look at them. This is a blatant power move. Walk about revealed enough to ensure that you snare the attention of men, thereby demonstrating your sexual power over them. But also prevent the lowly subordinated men from allowing their lowly subordinated eyes to linger for even a second on your majestic form. If you’re ugly, even better—you’ll startle the men into staring at you, and when they look away in haste, you’ll be able to tell yourself it is your dominance that repels their gaze, not your repellence that dominates it.
This is about power, and is a highly aggressive extension of the LOOK DON’T TOUCH game women like to play into a LOOK BUT DON’T LOOK catch-22 trap. By the way, despite any policy changes, there will be no change in long-term behaviour. In Ontario a few years ago, a court struck down the prohibition on women showing their breasts in public. A few strode around topless for a while, but none have been seen since.
What do women want, in this instance as in others? What they’ve always wanted, what they even say out loud in the advertisements directed at them. They want it all. But that is, of course, a gnostic fantasy. Underneath the increasingly frantic farrago of feminist denials remains the truth about men and women: we are different. Women demand that we turn our eyes away from the differences between men and women but that we notice them first. Now they demand we turn our eyes away from topless women, but that we notice them first. They want it all.
Not that it will change any of the differences. It’s not the differences, it’s how we talk about them. Some women will go topless, men will not stop staring, the women will realize they don’t feel that comfortable after all, and they’ll cover up. Just as they have up here in Canada. Just as they have throughout history. What do women want? The attention of men. Just the absolutely right amount of it, that’s all. No more. No less. For the right amount of time and not a second longer. What do women want? They want it all.
Plus ca change, as they say. And vive la difference! That too. Sigh. [LA writes: I again apologize that VFR cannot display French accents and other special characters. It is due to a very complicated, deeply embedded problem at the site that I have been unable to fix.]
This may be a good time to repeat my December 2008 entry, “A theory of Viagra”:
I have previously written:
The way many women dress today, with half their breasts exposed, is an expression of total disrespect for men. Men are left with three possible responses. To grab the woman, which is illegal; to ogle the woman, which is socially unacceptable; or to affect not to notice the woman at all, which is emasculating. A culture that normalizes such female behavior—i.e. not only not noticing or objecting to it, but prohibiting any objection to it—is extremely sick.
To expand on this idea, let us consider a situation we see constantly on television today, particularly on the cable news stations, in which a male guest or host is speaking with a female guest or host (though more often the woman is the host or interviewer) on a political talk show or news program. The man is dressed properly in jacket and tie. The woman is wearing a top with an absurdly plunging neckline revealing half her upper chest and often more besides. It is highly revealing, highly provocative, and totally inappropriate for any forum in which serious matters—war, economic recession, constitutional crises—are supposedly being seriously discussed. Yet, though the woman is exposing her body in a way that is impossible not to notice, and though her exposed body undercuts the very idea that this is a serious news program, the man is not supposed to notice it, or to appear as if he notices it. And, I believe, so profoundly acclimated are contemporary men to feminist mores and liberal expectations generally that the man in fact doesn’t notice it and is entirely cool with the whole set-up. And so the man in sober jacket and tie and the woman with ludicrous acres and declivities of flesh revealed go on talking about terrorism, or the economy, or the next president’s cabinet appointees, with the man’s eyes never even for a micro-second wandering below the woman’s face. Not only does the situation emasculate the man, but the man, by submitting to it instead of telling the woman that she is not dressed appropriately and ought to cover herself (as, I’ve heard, Muslim guests on TV shows have occasionally told female hosts) emasculates himself. He emasculates himself sexually and as a male figure deserving of respect, because he is suppressing his normal reactions both as a man and as an authority figure. Thus have contemporary men turned themselves into passive drones, eunuchs of the gyneocracy.
Carol Iannone speculates that this ubiquitous self-emasculation of men, this psychological turning off and suppression of their normal reactions to women, has affected them to such a degree that when it’s actually time for them to release their normal sexual response, the response is not there, they can’t do it, they need help. And thus the Viagra craze.
[end of excerpt from 2008 entry.]
What do women want? To be stopped, that is all. The more we indulge them the worse it gets. It’s like dealing with spoiled children. They need to be, and want to be stopped.
Jim C. writes:
“Carol Iannone speculates that this ubiquitous self-emasculation of men, this psychological turning off and suppression of their normal reactions to women, has affected them to such a degree that when it’s actually time for them to release their normal sexual response, the response is not there, they can’t do it, they need help. And thus the Viagra craze.”—LA
I think you’re off base here. Are there c***teasers out there who get their kicks emasculating men? Yes, but most women I know (and I have to be guided by my own experience here) either dress up for other women or dress provocatively to attract men. It’s been my experience that self-confident, intelligent women won’t mind if you admire their assets—provided you’re not vulgar. One of the more amusing anecdotes I have on this (and I have a lot) is meeting Ellen Barkin for the first time after she had finished her breakout film with Robert Duvall. “Tender Mercies” (a wonderful film, by the way). Anyway, I was in a business meeting with her regarding a book I was editing and art directing. She was wearing a nice, loose-fitting blouse with no bra—and I knew damn well that she had no problem with me sneaking occasional peaks at their pert perfection. I find that most woman are like Barkin—comfortable with their sexuality and friends of men.
I think you’re missing the phenomenon I’m talking about. I’m focused here not on sexy actresses, but on women in business, politics, and news media, in settings where they are displaying themselves excessively yet it’s supposed to be a professional non-sexy setting and the men do not (and cannot allow themselves to) take notice of the women’s bodies.
Read again my description of the typical TV situation of a male host interacting with a female.
Also, the “theory of viagra” is meant fancifully. Carol Iannone did not mean literally that men are unable to perform today because of the way women dress. The theory of viagra is a way of expressing the reality that today’s gynocratic culture emasculates men.
Also, this is not about women “getting their kicks emasculating men.” I don’t think that most of the women who dress this way are at all aware of what they are doing. They are simply mindlessly following the fashions of the day. They are like the topless demonstrators in Portland, Maine who brainlessly (hence the “headless” in the title of this entry) believe that women should be able to expose themselves and that men should not notice this. Also, “Tender Mercies” was made in 1983. Your meeting with the easy going Ellen Barkin took place in another era, before the reign of PC and the cult of career women had taken over.
James P. writes:
Jim C. writes,
Posted by Lawrence Auster at April 07, 2010 01:55 AM | Send
“Yes, but most women I know (and I have to be guided by my own experience here) either dress up for other women or dress provocatively to attract men. It’s been my experience that self-confident, intelligent women won’t mind if you admire their assets—provided you’re not vulgar.”
He is missing the point that women are not dressing for ALL men, because they do not want to attract all men, they are dressing for the selected subgroup of attractive and dominant men. As James N. trenchantly said, “what they want is to castrate all men psychologically, EXCEPT for those men whom they, at their sole discretion, for a time of indefinite and changeable duration, WANT to be attracted to them.” If Jim C. has not found that women object to him admiring them, perhaps this is because he is the type of man whom women want admiring them. He should not make any general statements about women based on his particular experience. Nor does this invalidate the argument that are trying to castrate everyone who is not an “alpha.”