I thought that with cleavage came power. But as my cleavage amassed, I found the opposite to be true. My ample cups seemed to hint at certain unpleasant possibilities. Like, maybe I was dumb. Maybe I was slutty. Maybe I liked it when people gawked at my breasts, and when the guy driving that van rolled down the window to say “nice tits, love” as I walked past in my school uniform.
Can men be valued even if their bodies appear flabby and “gross”? What about women? Can they be? Maybe. But men may have more leeway.
While looking thru the archives at Sociological Images, I ran into this. The pictures are from a few years back but they’re still relevant. Dr. Lisa Wade makes some interesting points here.
By Lisa Wade @ Sociological Images
Mercedes DeM. sent in this Vanity Fair cover (for April 2009)…
I know women find fit men sexy, but I believe that is the wrong word in a way. If a woman can’t cum from just looking at the male body, then I don’t see that as sexy. Sexy to me means you’re deserving of someone’s desire or orgasm. Most guys are oblivious to the fact that most girls don’t get that aroused from looking at their abs, muscles and penis.
Be careful what you wish for. Read the rest of this entry
Elizabeth Hall Magill @ Yo Mama has asked the same question. And she wonders how women can better appreciate the male form, without objectifying them. Here’s an excerpt from one of her posts (with permission).
So—where does that leave a woman’s gaze? Read the rest of this entry
By Eric U
As a man I was once oblivious to my image, as if it didn’t matter. When viewing porn or having sex it was all about how the woman looked and whether I was giving her pleasure.
But then I started working out, in part, to be seen as sexy, to make women stop and stare and talk to me.
I did attain the sexy, fit look, with abs and muscles. But women never came “hootin and hollerin.”
So I started searching for what turns women on. Everything said they liked “broad shoulders, forearms, back muscles.” Yet it wasn’t working.
Nothing about me matters — except how I look.
I’m plus size.
I have big boobs and a tummy, thunder thighs and a humongous ass. Seats are almost always too small for my butt.
Still, I do yoga and sports. I like doing my hair and makeup and being flirty. Or doing dirty work or drinking disgusting beer. I also love kids. My friends would call me a sweetheart, a completely honest and wholesome friend.
But few try to get to know the real me. Read the rest of this entry
You’re not going out dressed like that!
With those words, parents seek to protect their daughters from objectification: being seen as one-dimensional “things” that exist to titillate men.
But the attitude could help to create objectification.
Some guys think girls flaunt skin to gain power and superiority over men.
But most do it because “hotness” so often measures a woman’s worth. And a girl likes to feel good about herself.
So plenty of young women feel pressed to put on the act, even if it feels awkward and overexposed.
I’ve created a string of thoughts that come from my women students, Colbie Caillat’s “Try” and Ashley Judd’s response to chiding over her “puffy” face:
* * *
An old boyfriend told me that I wasn’t as attractive as other girls. I asked him why he didn’t think so. He said,
I don’t know. You’re always all covered up. Maybe you’d look more attractive in a cocktail dress. You don’t open your clothes and let men in.
Today’s woman may be a CEO, legislator, minister, action hero…
But as the sexes grow more similar, their bodies — at least in media — are diverging.
Men are getting bigger and women are getting smaller — except for their busts. Read the rest of this entry
Especially if you fall into one of the following categories, according to Psychology Today:
You compare yourself to models
Fashion magazines are all about unachievable ideals (and pushing products to “help” you meet them). Those who buy these glossies have worse body images than those who don’t.