I’m All Into Nudity, Hot Male Lesbians & Exploitation Today

05.14.13

My friend April asked me if I’d write something about a new show on Danish TV where women get naked in front of two old men (I’m assuming they’re rich because there’s no other reason for these two to see so much skin) and are evaluated. Apparently the world is in an uproar because this is the most sexist thing ever.


Except that Howard Stern has been doing it for at least 8 years if not more and his stylist Ralph had a laser pointer which he’d use to point out a woman’s cellulite. Ralph is so handsome that he’s actually qualified to do this.

ralph cirella is handsome

You can stop laughing now.

The question is why we care? We’ve obviously decided somewhere along the way that men need to be rich and women need to be beautiful. There’s no good reason for men who look like Ralph Cirella or Thomas Blachman to be in a room with a very good looking naked woman unless money or power are involved.

These shows don’t bother me. They interest me and I think they demean the men as well as the women. It’s abundantly clear that if everyone in the room was naked the only things the men would be holding would be their own erect penises. I watch them appear and I’m drawn in by curiosity the same way that I’d rubberneck a car accident (sorry about the traffic snarls kids).

I understand why women take their clothes off for men. I understand why men want women to disrobe. I understand why it makes everyone uncomfortable and I absolutely adore the fact that it forces people to take sides (there are many more than two sides here).

My question for you is, who exactly is being exploited?

For hot male lesbians go to Benchwarmers.tv and watch episode 4. 

My 10 Year Old Son Thinks the Trailers for Brave are Sexist

06.10.12

We don’t talk about sexism an awful lot around here so I was surprised when my ten year old looked at a billboard for Brave and declared it to be sexist. I asked him how it was sexist and got a five minute diatribe about how all the men were made to look stupid and that gender inequality was “from the 1960’s”.

Alexander asserted that girls do everything boys do except in sports and that the only reason someone would make a movie like this is to make boys feel about about things that happened even before they were born. He was genuinely offended by the trailer and the marketing, particularly the portrayal of Wee Dingwall.

I asked him some leading questions like, “Are there more boy scientists than girl scientists?” He looked at me like I’d sprouted an arm from my head and said, “No.”

“Are there more men than women in computer programming?” I followed up. “I don’t think so.” Was his (second wrong) reply.

I went through every profession I know of, even my husband’s where I know there’s dearth of female executives and he reminded me that our friend is president of a large corporation. She is a Mom.

My son was indignant. Boys are smart and so are men, he’s tired of them looking stupid all of the time. Part of me agrees with him. Men are often painted as buffoons so that women can look strong or savvy. Conversely women trade in on their sexuality. Modern Family is kind only to it’s two gay male stars and I assume that’s just because our country is so horrible to the gays that television can’t be, yet.

I wanted to tell Alexander that women don’t make as much money as men. I wanted to tell him that one of my first jobs was at a Mann Movie Theater and the term sexual harassment was an understatement it was more like Sexual Assault. I wanted to explain to him that women in technology are at a significant disadvantage in terms of networking and being taken seriously and wanted him to know the term “booth babe” because my hope is that in a dozen years when he enters the workforce he was have absolutely no idea what a “booth babe” is.

But I didn’t tell him this. I just sat in the car and listened more while my son told me that he and his sister had all the same opportunities, they have the exact same education and they are both good at different things but it has nothing to do with gender or gender roles.

He asserted that men are smart and I agreed with him. He told me that the movie was about ancient history and I nodded my agreement.

My son is wrong. Gender discrimination isn’t ancient history. Just last week every single republican in the senate voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act.

My son is also right. He’s right in knowing that 10 year old boys in America don’t see girls as weak, dumb or inferior. They also, mercifully, don’t see the comedy in portraying men and boys as bumbling buffoons. I don’t want to ruin his perception with a dose of unkind reality.

I wonder if there will be a smart movie that can talk about sexism without one gender having to win the imaginary war? It’s possible that Brave is this movie, unfortunately none of us will see it. Alexander would be wounded if we did.

 

What Every Volleyball Mom Should Know

03.28.12

A little note to the Volleyball Moms out there.

Jane is playing volleyball these days and it’s just terrific. It’s a sport that kids come to a little later so there’s less parental involvement on the court than there is with other sports. I may have just lucked out with Jane’s particular group but the volleyball parents are absolutely wonderful. The coaches are also amazing.

As amazing as volleyball is I need every parent to know why there should be no cameras at your daughter’s volleyball matches.

These are Jane’s shorts.

Volleyball shorts

The first time she wore them she was clearly uncomfortable. She’d be tugging at them and pulling them down. To be frank Mr. G. and I were also a little uncomfortable just looking at her in them. Our daughter’s shorts were smaller and tighter than our son’s underwear. I tell myself that this is okay because she’s an athletic girl and it’s different than being the girl dancing on the sidelines while the boys shoot hoops.

I didn’t actually believe my self-talk. Who would?

I’m resigned to the fact that shorty shorts are the volleyball uniform. I’m not happy about it but it’s not the battle I’m about to wage as certainly it’s not one that I’m likely to win. Jane would lose.

So after a million misgivings about sexy looking shorts on my thirteen year old daughter I learned to suck it up and smile. Now when I look at her and her teammates I see athletic young women who run around gymnasium floors and leap vertically to hit the ball with an outstretched arm. There is no mistaking a volleyball player for anything other than an athlete when she is on the court.

Unless you’re a guy with a camera.

When I log out of google (logging out matters because it won’t be a personalized search) and search the term “volleyball shorts” these are the images that come up.

Volleyball_Shorts

If you feel a little sick to your stomach, if you feel a little bad that clearly underage girls are objectified like that then you know how I feel.

There are entire pages of Reddit devoted to girls in volleyball shorts. If you visit these pages you’ll probably feel a mix of rage and shame. If you feel excited I hope you’re a 13 year old boy and not a pedophile, the girls are… well, they’re little girls.

http://www.reddit.com/r/VolleyballGirls/

Of course a month ago Reddit had a “necessary change in policy” outlined here. It includes:

We have very few rules here on reddit; no spamming, no cheating, no personal info, nothing illegal, and no interfering the site’s functions. Today we are adding another rule: No suggestive or sexual content featuring minors.

Although noble(ish) Reddit hasn’t been able to enforce this well. Reddit is not the whole  internet, to many it is the perfect representative, but Reddit is just a tiny corner of the internet and there are sites devoted to girls in volleyball shorts with nothing but crotch shots.

There are some important takeaways here for all the volleyball parents.

  • Do not share photos of your daughter’s volleyball team online without double checking for photos you want to keep private. This includes email.
  • Do not allow your daughter to be photographed from behind by strangers while playing volleyball.
  • Talk to your volleyball club about why you don’t want your daughter photographed by just anyone, do a quick google search with them and show them why.

Just yesterday the International Volleyball Federation announced that out of sensitivity to different cultures the women’s beach volleyball teams in London will be allowed to wear shorts that reach almost to the knee (yes they set a maximum length) as well as long sleeved shirts. This leaves me hopeful for years to com. For today there’s got to be a lockdown on how we’re allowing our daughter’s images to be used.

And please before anyone tries to explain that these shorts are somehow performance related I’d like to share with you an image of elite boys volleyball.

Football Girls and Very Bad Parenting

10.18.11

When Jane was in the fourth grade she wanted to play football. What you may or may not know is that within the private schools in Los Angeles there are intramural sports starting in fourth grade. During the fall season the boys play football and the girls play basketball. Three years ago Jane wanted to play football with the boys. I said no.

I love sports. I play a lot of tennis, I’ve coached Jane’s soccer, before I was a soccer mom I was soccer girl. Sports matter for their own sake. I’m the mom that gets it.

Maybe I’m the mom that only sort of gets it.

When Jane wanted to play football with the boys I could see what she wanted. She wanted to prove to them that she was equal, she wanted to show the other girls that she was faster, stronger and smarter than the boys and the girls, everyone really. Jane wanted to physically dominate. I said no. Mr. G. said no to Jane and we didn’t offer her an answer, we just vetoed the whole football notion and sent her off to play a crappy game of basketball. Jane’s fourth grade teacher said I should fight for her to play football. We didn’t reflect on this, as we were pretty sure we did the right thing.

Alexander is in the fifth grade and he is on the football team. This year there is a fourth grade girl on the team. At the dinner table Alexander would talk about how there was a girl and at practice he had to block her. “You’re not allowed to hit her.” I’d say. Mr. G. would roll his eyes and ask why there’s a girl on the team. I’d be unable to answer, Alexander would be unable to answer, and Jane would just glare at us and say, “I wanted to play football but you wouldn’t let me.” I’d smile and say, “You’re not allowed to block a girl, tell your coach your mom won’t let you.” and then we’d move on to another topic.

Alexander would occasionally revisit how awful it is to practice football with a girl on the team. He’d moan about how it sucks when you can’t block the person you’re practicing with. I’d nod, Mr. G. would remind him to be nice to her.

They played a game today. It was a good game and the team dominated but I felt conflicted about it. I liked the little girl being there and I felt like her very presence was a victory for little girls everywhere. At the same moment I felt like her very presence ruined the experience for the boys.

I understand wanting the world to be equal. I understand wanting all the same opportunities. I also understand wanting boys to play boy games.