Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Legit Question. . .

Now Playing: Trocadero - The Man in Red

Is it impossible for men not to objectify women?

Is it? Isn't it?

(Men who are attracted to women. If I must clarify here).

Like. For years now, a part of combating rape culture has been fighting against the idea that men are wild animals who will turn bloodthirsty at the sight of bare skin. They're not all rapists waiting in the wings, two seconds away from snapping if a girl walks by in a miniskirt, right? They can be attracted to a woman while also acknowledging that she's a human being with thoughts, feelings, desires of her own, right?

I'm asking because I got into an argument about Phantom Pain's Quiet. And any argument involving scantily clad pixel-constructed women is a total shitshow from the beginning, but holy shit do I try. I love video games too much not to try.

Anyways, the man I was arguing with kind of implied it wasn't fair for me to make him feel guilty over his attraction to Quiet. He didn't say it outright, but that's what I got out of the conversation. He just wanted to play the game and shouldn't be punished for it. And it's a good game, I'm not trying to take that away from him. But apparently--at least according to what he told me--our argument seemed to just amount to me shaming him.

My goal in feminist discourse isn't to shame anyone. It isn't to make you feel guilty for liking things that might have fucked up elements. I like a ton of crap that's fucked up in some way or another because nothing is perfect. I'm not trying to get you to feel like shit every time you launch up Phantom Pain, but I do want people to be aware of why that certain component is harmful and why we need improvement in future work.

In said argument, he said something like, "I can't help but like how she looks. I can't help it."

And I just. . .

I mean. . .

Okay. I gotta ask:

Really?

Like, you don't see her in a thong and torn tights in the middle of a combat zone and think, "that looks uncomfortable as all seven hells." I mean, after you think, "she's so gorgeous!", doesn't the second thought ever make an appearance?

There's a scene in season 2 of The 100 where Bellamy is stripped almost completely naked and tortured when he poses as a Grounder to get captured by the Mountain Men. (Undercover job, high risk, that kind of thing). I remember one, one, female fan on Tumblr saying something like, "that scene was kinda hot," and having a dozen others go, "wtf?? How about no?"

Because no matter how attractive Bob Morley might be, THAT SCENE WAS NOT TITILLATING IN THE SLIGHTEST.

Just speaking as a heterosexual girl, seeing a man stripped and tortured and obviously in pain (definitely not the good kind of pain) doesn't fade into the background in favor of abs/shoulder blades/strong arms. Hell, there's an entire scene in Deadpool where Ryan Reynolds has to fight completely in the nude, and while he's covered at times by clever lighting and angles, his body isn't always in total obscurity. And as far as I can tell, never once did I nor the women watching forget who he was and what his situation was in favor of WOO SIX PACK. (Granted, his face is kind of a mess while that's happening. But I get the feeling it shouldn't have theoretically stopped anyone from admiring the rest of him, if circumstances had been different).

The stereotypical retort to this is: well, duh, women aren't sexual creatures, only men are!

And that's such rotten bullshit, I am barely going to acknowledge it before moving on. No. People of all genders can be equally sexual. It all depends on the individual.

Overall, I'm really bothered by this question. I've been bothered ever since I heard there were guys who thought Cersei's penance walk was "hot" just because Lena Headey (and her body double, I guess??? I think that's how they filmed that scene) is a beautiful woman. As if tits and ass makes one forget that she's wounded, covered in dirt, ridiculed, in tears, and generally slut-shamed and harassed and injured throughout the entire sequence.

It's not just gross. It's disheartening.

Granted, the Quiet example isn't the same. I don't know if there are scenes were she's being hurt and it's meant to be titillating. She's in a dangerous environment, sure, but she's not in visible discomfort. Still. I can't help but think--doesn't this bother you in the slightest? Surely there are better places to look at semi-naked women.

I should and do give men more credit, but let's just say the man I was arguing with is someone I actually know and admire. So. This is troubling, to say the least.
~Becky

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