Why are we still talking about women’s breasts and nipples? Does it really matter that Anne Hathaway’s nipples were showing? Shouldn’t the real conversation be about her skills as an actor? Shouldn’t we be talking about women in regards to their competency? Their mastery of their subject matter, their talents?
When the topic of ‘the nipples’ appeared on my Facebook page, one women commented that no one could take away a woman’s power–we were talking about the societal tendency to reduce women to sexual objects. I absolutely disagree with her. And, I agree in some regards. What happens when we talk about Hilary Clinton’s hair style, Angela Merkel’s cleavage or someone’s nipples? We may not be stripping them of their power, but the message is loud and clear–these women are just objects. We aren’t going to have a serious discussion about them as people–we’re going to analyze them in the most superficial of ways.
Who gives a Flying Fuck what Ms. Clinton’s hair looks like? She’s one of the most powerful people on the planet. Granted we do talk about Donald Trump’s hair, but in general the media rarely comment on a powerful man’s appearance. Because in our culture it doesn’t seem to matter how men look in relationship to their perceived authority or success. But women? Geez…
Let’s start talking about men’s bulges. Shall we? Can we talk about whether’s Boehner’s bad days are related to the size of his penis? Is it too small and therefore he’s unwilling to give up perceived power? Let’s start rating newscaster credibility in light of what color of tie they wear. I love Brain Williams–but, oh man… he’s wearing a purple tie?!
And, what about this guy? The one in the middle, in case you can’t tell. Hubba Hubba! (by the way he’s an award-winning Olympian.) Poor thing–he did get press coverage but it was all about whether he was sporting an (admirable) erection or not. You had to feel sorry for him having to defend his package instead of his Olympic performance.
So, yes it does go both ways–but not often enough.
Silly isn’t it. And frustrating. Double standards still surround us when it comes to talking about powerful, famous women. We diminish women, negate their accomplishments and perpetuate gender inequality when we engage in this kind of derogatory commentary about women.
And, much of the time it’s women who’re doing the criticizing.
Women are making huge strides in breaking into traditional male domains. We have a record number of women in Congress–there are 20 women in the 2013 Senate. But, we still get tripped up when some one shifts the conversation to her clothes, breasts, suspected weight gain, etc….
I propose that the next time you hear someone make a comment about a woman’s breasts you say, “Wow, did you see the bulge on Paul Ryan last week at _______. Amazing, I wonder what size shoes he wears.”