Monday, July 28, 2008

This is an absolutely fabulous and beautiful post on bodies and the ownership thereof that I found through the 61st Carnival of Feminists. (It's likely I'll end up passing on more posts as I work my way through.) A sample:

It also reminds me of a dance competition at my school. One of the female dancers did a not-quite-appropriate-for-school kind of dance, and some boys in the audience jeered, called out "slut" and the like. The boys were dealt with, but likely not enough for them to understand their error. I'm guessing they reacted to her power. Desire can be scarey business. And they couldn't have her themselves, so they tried to wreck her for everyone else by disparaging her. Standard. But they also misunderstood her performance as an offering to anyone watching. What they were being offered was the opportunity to see her dance, nothing more.

But I'm ignoring the sense of the line that suggests that if I'm showing off my body, then you have a right to stare or touch or whatever. So, it follows that if I don't want your specific attention, I must choose a tent dress, perhaps a bag on my head. That's just silly. Do we really want people to hide their beauty to keep a few lug-nuts from finding them too irresistible to look away? Beauty is to be enjoyed, not possessed.


I am in awe of the human body. I know that barely repressible urge to touch a stranger's body. It's exactly like the urge to touch the glasswork in a gallery. Because I really want to, because the stunning beauty is drawing me in, capturing my full attention, doesn't give me the right to without explicit permission. Art is on display for our admiration, not ownership.

You can't own me, but I'm sometimes willing to share myself, let you touch and taste. You can look but only respectfully, with appreciation, not appropriation. If you're standing too close, or reaching out to touch, I'll kindly ask you to step back.

In addition, because I've given up on self-restraint, you will find below a bunch of posts I liked from the Carnival. As always, go ahead and ignore if you like.

Bloke Coke -- the relationship between sex and food, and how it's gendered.
How it ought to be -- experiences of a former stripper and her boyfriend of five years.

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