Ah, but I would discover that it was up to Nenena to bring the rage.
It never ceases to amaze me how some feminists can salt their their thoughts with bits about how sexual attraction is natural and healthy and then completely fail to comprehend how male sexual drive operates.
It's almost as if they're operating on an assumption of how they think it should work, rather than how it actually works.
Here, check this out. Nenena says:
Clothing is a form of expression. It communicates. And the way that clothing works - its message and its purpose - relies on a LOT more than just how much skin it covers.Perhaps. But how much skin something covers is a significant factor in how men respond to any clothing. If it wasn't, you'd never have any woman get ticked off because a guy was staring a bit over-long at their cleavage. This isn't to say that guys are always without fail going to see some flesh and get an uncontrollable boner or something, but it does mean that just because what some woman is wearing isn't lingerie, that men are somehow never interested in that exposed skin.
Nenena, on her blog, has helpfully provided a whole mess of images. Many are of lingerie. However, there isn't a single image in the "not lingerie" range that someone hasn't turned into a Google-able fetish or fantasy. Skintight leotards? Check. Swimsuits? Check. Tube-tops? Yep.
The problem with the "clothing as message" premise is that, like all communication, it's subject to misinterpretations and multiple meanings to different mindsets. A swimsuit may have a primary function of making it easy to swim without being either A) dragged under by waterlogged clothing or B) naked, but there are swimsuit contests to show off women's bodies.
You may think a piece of apparel has a particular meaning, but it would be folly to assume your preferred meaning is the only one, or that you are able to restrict such meanings to only ones you approve of. Like it or not, lots of men see lots of clothing types, even those not intended to be sexy, as being sexy. Nun's habit, anyone?
She goes on to post instances of men's apparel, and even there, I imagine, though biker shorts are not primarily intended as fetish wear, for some gay guys it probably is a fetish, or sexy, at the very least.
First, I have to question how he's using the phrase "sexualized by the male gaze" here.Answer One: sarcastically.
Answer Two: in the way some feminists, like Nenena herself, use it.
Is it somehow not the premise held by those offended by the Playboy cover that it conveys a level or style of sexuality which is inappropriate to the Wonder Woman character, or the symbolism the character supposedly conveys? And is that not how Nenena's own link to an American Psychological Association page defines sexualization, "inappropriately imposed sexuality"? Perhaps it's not just me who's the "confused blogger".
(Interesting word, "sexualization", as defined by the APA. Just what is "inappropriate sexuality?" Inappropriate can be so open to interpretation. Why is Wonder Woman being sexy on the cover of Playboy inappropriate? I don't recall seeing a lot of Wonder Woman's actual sex life depicted in the comics I've read. Is it so hard to imagine that the character might be willing to pose for Playboy if the mood struck her? Would she be offended that anyone might find her sexually attractive in that outfit, "battle armor" or not? And who makes these determinations? Readers? Writers? Wonder Woman's corporate owners? "Sexualization" can be so damn vague as to be nothing more than a propaganda tool, a buzzword to demonize (to use another word tossed around lately) people who find certain things sexy that other people think should not be sexy (or only sexy in ways they allow). Repeated for the umpteenth time: It's an attempt to "take the sexy away" by saying "you should not find this to be sexy".)
If you're writing or drawing Wonder Woman to look or act like Tarot, then YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG. That is bad writing (and sexualization). And that is what most feminist fans of Wonder Woman object to.I refer anyone interested to this blog entry of mine. If there is no hive-vagina, why assume I'm talking about "most feminists"?
Unfortunately, I am unable to re-locate the specific blog entry elsewhere in the blogosphere that inspired my original post, but my impression of it was that, indeed, the blogger was shocked and surprised that Wonder Woman would be used in a sexy pictorial for Playboy, and part of her thesis was that, since Gloria Steinem selected Wonder Woman to be on the cover of Ms. Magazine and the character was adopted as a feminist symbol, the character should somehow be sacrosanct, inviolable. (Which explained the surprise, she assumed nobody at Playboy would DARE use the character.)
I didn't link to that post at the time due to laziness and the fact that I didn't think her arguments were unique to her viewpoint (Greg Rucka pointed out the Ms. cover, for instance), so call it a strawfeminist if you like, but these were specific points of view I was responding to.
This, now, is the capper:
And really, it's pretty fucked-up to say that just because a woman is exposing a certain amount of skin, it's the same as if she's wearing fetish lingerie. That's a curiously prudish thing to say, coming from a blogger who normally casts himself as crusading against prudishness. Honestly now. Have we never been to a beach, or what?Can we go in two or three different directions at once, here, or what?
First off: Yeah, I've been to a beach, and while there I've noticed that I'm not the only guy there checking out pretty girls in bikinis. The fact that they wear swimsuits and not lingerie does not diminish sexual attraction, and depending on the swimsuit involved, may even evoke a greater reaction.
Second, if it's prudish of me to equate exposing skin with lingerie, how much more prudish is it to equate clothed characters with porn? The Heroes for Hire cover, Greg Land's tracing, etc., etc... Nenena ought to have a talk with the anonymous poster who complained on my blog about "the pornification of comics" before pulling off some double-twist rationalization so she could call me a prude. (And if she herself was in the HfH=porn camp, then, Pot, Kettle, what-the-hell-ever.)
Third: See the above about clothing and skin exposure.
Well, okay. Maybe it was a bit much for me to compare Wonder Woman's costume with lingerie. How about this, then: If you dyed Wonder Woman's bodysuit a solid single color, what would you get?
Whattya know. With bracelets and a tiara, too!
(Brace for impact)