Girls explains the difference between porn and nudity in half an hour (nsfw)

After all my frustrated and repetitive attempts at trying to explain the difference between porn and images of naked bodies and the difference between objectification and images of female sexuality that aren’t exploitative or sexualized, Sunday night’s episode of Girls basically did it all for me.

Go watch it, if you can, but here’s a super brief recap for those who missed it: Hannah meets a hot doctor dude (Joshua/Patrick Wilson) who comes into the coffee shop she works at to complain about the shop’s garbage ending up in his trash cans. Hannah, being the secret culprit, goes to his place to apologize, kisses him, and they spend the next two days humping. Good times.

Warning, there is no humping in the following clip:

The point I’m often trying to make with regard to pornography and pornified images of women is that objectification defines pornography and, in large part, explains why pornographic imagery contributes to the oppression of women. The thing about objectification is that, though we very much like to pretend that it’s somehow ‘natural‘ or unavoidable, it isn’t. It isn’t necessary for women to be objectified onscreen and simply seeing women’s naked bodies or being attracted to a woman doesn’t necessarily mean those women are or must be objectified. It is possible for there to be depictions of sex and sexuality on television and on film and it is possible for female bodies to exist on screen (even naked!) without those images constituting pornography or exploitation.

It isn’t about skin or sex or even voyeurism. It’s about the choices made with regard to context and, essentially, camera angles. The camera is responsible for putting the audience in the position of the objectifier and of forcing us all to see women onscreen through the male gaze. The camera can make different choices. Directors can also make different choices about the kinds of bodies (friendly reminder: all bodies can be objectified, so objectifying less conventional bodies is not radical, per se, BUT putting non-conventional/imperfect bodies onscreen and not making those bodies the butt of a joke is a good thing) that are depicted onscreen and the contexts within which those bodies are depicted.

So while everyone on the internet is busy talking about whether Hannah/Lena Dunham could bag a dude like Joshua/Patrick Wilson in real life, they’re missing the actually interesting and revolutionary (yes, I realize I may be a little overexcited about a whitey TV show about rich kids in NYC, but let me have this one, please?) aspect of the show, which is NAKED FEMALE BODIES THAT AREN’T PORNIFIED. It’s possible and it happened.

S

Yes, dudes are choked because WTF is up with women on screen that aren’t just masturbatory material and actually look like normal, real, people, but this, of course, is a sign that Dunham is doing something right. You want proof? and thought it was the worst episode ever. I, on the other hand, thought it was the best episode ever and felt swoony inside my cold, black heart after watching.

I’m pretty positive that the way to be absolutely sure that we’re doing something right as women is if a bunch of internet dudes are pissed off about it.

 

 

Meghan Murphy

Meghan Murphy

Meghan Murphy, founder and editor of Feminist Current, is a freelance writer and journalist. She completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog. Follow her @meghanemurphy

  • http://www.anemonecerridwen.net Anemone

    I understand your argument about porn vs nudity. After all, the nudity at a nudist beach isn’t porn. However, you’re never going to convince me that adding nudity and sexualized content to people’s job descriptions isn’t exploitive. I’ve looked for acting work, and it’s crushing how everyone seems to assume it’s women’s jobs to pucker up and strip. Even acting classes are problematic. It may not be male gaze porn, but I still see puckering up and stripping as a condition of employment here. How many working actors can you think of on TV or in film who have never done it? Very few women, but probably quite a few men. So there’s still a loss of choice. “That’s just the way things are.”

    (Plus I think this sort of episode is still reacting against arguments set by others rather than storytelling from an empowered female POV. And it’s never changed my thinking the way disabled people blogging about sex has.)

    • Meghan Murphy

      Well totally. I mean, the fact that women are basically expected to get naked and be sexy if they want to be in television or on film is a huge problem that is attached to porn culture. That said, my point in writing this and what I saw in Sunday’s episode of Girls was proof that objectification and pornification isn’t necessary or natural, which is often the argument that’s made. People also tend to respond to feminist critiques of porn by saying things like ‘oh you just hate to see women’s naked bodies because you’re a prude’, or things of the like, which isn’t the case – it’s the objectification part that bothers me. What I wanted to do (and what I often try to explain) is to say that nudity or sexuality does not necessarily equate to porn and it doesn’t have to be sexist.

      • http://www.anemonecerridwen.net Anemone

        So it’s like you’re saying “Well, if it were ok to make employees take their clothes off, this is how it ought to be done”?

        I think nudity and sexuality are always sexist when it’s in the job description, because of the power dynamic between employer and employee. It amounts to sexual harassment of the *actors*, even if the *characters* are being treated well. I understand in rare situations it could be seen as for a cause (e.g. Schindler’s List), but I don’t think this is the case here. (And it wouldn’t necessarily be the best way of promoting the cause, anyways.)

        If the actors getting paid to pucker up and strip then they’re “sex workers”. It’s not trafficking, but it’s still prostitution, regardless of the intentions. But a lot of abolitionists seem to ignore it when they’re the target audience. :s

        • Meghan Murphy

          I don’t agree that women’s naked bodies onscreen or depictions of female sexuality onscreen necessarily equates to prostitution….

          • http://bonerkilling.blogspot.ca BK

            I also don’t agree. Nudity is not inherently degrading nor sexualized – we have simply made it that way and it has become normalized in western culture. We associate nudity with sexuality and sexual activity but there is no essential connection between the two.

            Nudity and sexuality can be explored through art without embracing patriarchal-white supremacist beauty standards, the male gaze, capitalism, and pornography etc, IMO.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Totally. I mean, this is why I included that shot of the two characters playing ping pong — Nudity that isn’t sexualized at all. I think it’s so refreshing. There are also ways, I think, of showing sex and sexuality without it being pornified and I think Girls does this successfully.

          • MLM

            Nudity, if presented in the right way can also be a metaphor for “nakedness”, too. I always think of that scene when Glenn Close breaks down crying in the shower (in response to her friend’s suicide) in “The Big Chill”. Nothing sexual about it. It revealed a moment of her character’s naked, private grief.

          • Me

            It’s also somewhat difficult to portray men as truly naked, because that’s not how masculinity is constructed. Like it can take the whole movie just to show that a female character is an actual person. (Not to say that what viewers see accurately represents what the actors go through and how they experience it.)

          • MLM

            There’s a german film called Wolke 9 (Cloud 9)
            ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1037228/ )about an affair between a 60something year old women and a 70something widower. It features a lot of nudity and fairly explicit sex scenes between the pair. When I saw it (about 5 years ago) several people (all men) walked out during the sex scenes. I have to admit it was initially sort of confronting even for me to see an elderly couple in a naked, very sexual context onscreen – simply because it’s so rare, and I was so very unused to it. They weren’t the young, thin, nubile “nudes” so often shown, their bodies were ageing and not idealised. And the way it was filmed was quite naturalistic, so it had quite a real and intimate feeling about it. And it drove home loud and clear for me the profound lack of body diversity I am used to seeing onscreen when it comes to nudity .

            I definitely can see Anemone’s point about the effects of the industry power dynamics for an actress. And I think that a big part of the problem is a lack of strong female presence at the top of the tree, which really needs to change.

            And I can also respect the highly valid points made about the ubiquitousness of female nudity. But I still think there is something quite hopeful about Dunham’s attempts to humanise the nudity in her show.

          • Me

            I’ll see if I can find that movie, thanks :)

            I loved bell hooks’s Cultural Criticism & Transformation talk when I saw it online years ago. Here’s the eight part where she talks about rap music and the music industry:
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xtoanes_L_g

            I think in any capitalist entertainment industry the successful people within will be true to what that industry is true to and how it defines success. I do think it would be great to have a strong female presence at the top and it could make a difference, but the industry also needs to change so it becomes true to empowering people as citizens and not consumers. Entertainment from the people to the people and less sitting in front of a tube and more living and experiencing and creating. I’d really love it if people could do theater or movies or music for a couple of years of their lives when they wanted to, and not as a permanent make it or break it career. While the money economy exists, people should get paid just for existing so they could pursue their interest from a young kid on, and they should be encouraged and rewarded for doing work that’s socially and environmentally healing. Nobody would have to sell their bodies for sex either, wouldn’t that be great 😀

            I definitely agree with you when you said “there is something quite hopeful about Dunham’s attempts to humanise the nudity in her show.” People tend to be so far removed from any sane sense of humanity that anything that suggests at the possibility of rebuilding that connection is good and hopeful. People do need to work with what they’ve got, but that doesn’t mean they should be blind about what could be. Thanks!

          • MLM

            Thanks for the link, Me. (I love bell hooks, she’s brilliant).

            “…the industry also needs to change so it becomes true to empowering people as citizens and not consumers. Entertainment from the people to the people and less sitting in front of a tube and more living and experiencing and creating”.

            Absolutely agree with this. While production means are now far more accessible to most people than they have ever been in the past, there’s still a largely passive consumer culture, where there is so little questioning of the dominant cultural tropes, which impedes. So stuff which meets a level of media conformity will still always have a far easier time finding a home. Ironically, though, people thrive on “surprise” in drama, so there’s definitely scope to find a way to present a challenge to accepted ideas in an enjoyable, entertaining way, even under the guise of ostensible conformity.

            “People do need to work with what they’ve got, but that doesn’t mean they should be blind about what could be”.

            Wise words, and totally true.

          • http://www.hellyeahimafeminist.com ptittle

            the men who walked out – i wonder what they would give as their reason for doing so.

          • http://www.anemonecerridwen.net Anemone

            I suppose if you only look at prostitution/sexualized job descriptions in terms of how other people are affected, the two situations are very different, but if you look at it in terms of working conditions, they are more similar than different.

            There isn’t any trafficking, but there is a lot of grooming that goes on in acting classes/culture that weeds out people with healthy boundaries and encourages unhealthy boundaries. I was shocked at what I saw in acting classes. Really scary stuff in some cases, with no intention to harm but with no real examination of just what was being taught. Stuff that would never get past a research ethics committee. It’s rather cult-like.

            There is zero research on outcome in the performing arts (unless something has come out in the last year or two, which I doubt), so there is no way of determining objectively whether working conditions in the performing arts are harmful or not (which makes it hard for actors to make an informed decision, and there are people who find out the hard way that sex/nudity is too hard for them). The same working conditions are harmful in pretty much any job that has been researched, including office work and prostitution, so why would it suddenly be harmless in the performing arts? It’s not as if actors are a different species (one in no way harmed by tobacco smoke, either!). And even if the performing arts magically weeded out anyone who would be harmed, without harming them, is what is left what we want to see in terms of how people are represented on camera? Plus if it’s so harmless why are models currently forming unions over these same issues?

            Because it’s a job, it is NOT the same as what people do for fun on their own time. There are differences with prostitution, in that you get grooming instead of trafficking, and it’s harder to get in and easier to get out (the slightest resistance to the way things are and bye bye!) and obviously it’s less extreme, but it’s still over the line.

            Regardless of how much agency Dunham has in this particular situation, acting involves people in power making other people cross lines that are normally completely unacceptable in employment, as a condition of employment. The ones who refuse don’t get work (and it’s not as if there’s a surplus of work out there). It is not about free choice and enthusiastic consent; it is about people who are willing to knuckle under to a particular way of doing things (that is in no way a bona fide occupational requirement) because otherwise they wouldn’t get work. (I’ve been on disability for a long time, so I can testify that people can’t always just go out and get other work.)

            I see it as basically the same thing as prostitution (as someone who has been in both situations) because of the lack of agency and the probability of harm. Intention is irrelevant. Outcome is everything.

            I realize that in the absence of any research whatsoever it’s hard to make definite statements about what is going on, but my own take is that any time you put something in a job description, you change the dynamics. And I see the arguments in favour of this sort of content as being basically the same as the arguments in favour of “better” porn/prostitution, you know, the kind where people aren’t victims. If it’s not ok for Rye to purchase sex, as conscientious as he is about it, then why is it ok for producers/directors to require it of actors? They are often a lot less careful.

            I encourage you to think about this.

            Also, someone needs to do research. I want to, but can’t do it on my own. If someone wanted to mentor me/help me, that would be great.

          • Meghan Murphy

            @Anemone – I totally believe you with regard to the pressures faced by female actors. That said, this is Dunhman’s show, so she writes and directs (and acts in it) so she has a lot of control over the scenes.

            I don’t see what she’s doing in the show as ‘prostitution’; she isn’t even actually performing any sexual acts.

          • http://www.anemonecerridwen.net Anemone

            She’s kissing, and taking her top off. That may not be intercourse, but it’s still intimate. Most of us would be put off with it in our job descriptions. And most of us would see it as cheating if our significant others did it with someone else.

            I recognize that Dunham has a lot of control (I didn’t realize this originally), but so do some prostitutes. That doesn’t make me any less an abolitionist. It’s not that everyone is getting hurt, but that too many people are.

          • Meghan Murphy

            I’m afraid I just don’t see actors showing intimate moments on screen as prostitution. Dunham isn’t kissing this actor because he’s paying her to provide him with sexual pleasure.

  • yellowmarigold

    If there were anywhere near an equal number of naked male bodies on TV, in films, advertisements, magazine covers, etc., compared to female bodies, then I wouldn’t have a problem with Dunham’s apparent compulsive need to take her clothes off on camera. I certainly agree that she challenges dominant beauty standards and I do enjoy it that so many male viewers seem to be outraged that someone as “unattractive” as her struts naked on TV. How dare she! But I don’t think the answer to ever-present pornified images of women is to supply even more images of naked women, no matter what they look like. Again, it’s always women’s bodies on display. And the fact that there are so many articles and blog posts this week discussing Dunham’s body is just not an advancement for feminism.

    While I understand your points on an intellectual level, I don’t feel like cheering.

    • Meghan Murphy

      I also “don’t think the answer to ever-present pornified images of women is to supply even more images of naked women, no matter what they look like” – but Lena Dunham’s character has sex on the show and I like that the sex is portrayed in an awkward, honest, often ‘unsexy’, non-pornified way. I think it’s great, actually!

      • http://bonerkilling.blogspot.ca BK

        Also, sex in film and television is not porn – people are ACTING. there’s a big difference there…however, portrayals of sex do matter, and again, while i haven’t watched the show – it’s nice to see that the sex isn’t some porno fantasy to titillate male viewers.

        I am kind of surprised there is nudity in the sex scenes on tv shows, is that new? unless this is a channel you have to pay extra for? I haven’t seen any nudity on cable anyway, haha. NO WAIT…I did see a ballet with topless women dancing about…it was on “Showcase” though…LOL

        • Meghan Murphy

          Yeah, it’s HBO :)

          • http://bonerkilling.blogspot.ca BK

            That explains it!

    • sporenda

      I agree with marigold.
      The show might move some of the boundaries imposed on females (your body must fit the accepted beauty standards) but it still complies with an even bigger rule : women must show some tits and ass to get people interested.

      There is a huge amount of female nudity everywhere (movies, tv shows, advertisements, even museums) and this fact is by itself one of the most blatant signs of the objectification of women and of their inferior status.
      Men’s power is directly linked to the fact that their meat is not on display.
      Showing nude female bodies that don’t fit the beauty standards is somewhat feminist.
      What would be more feminist would be to stop assuming that movies about women must necessarily show lots of female nudity.
      Another feminist approach would be to show as much male nudity as female nudity. Which is not the case in Girls.

      • Meghan Murphy

        Well, I don’t think you’re wrong, but I suppose it’s a different point I’m trying to make with this post. It’s not about beauty standards (though, as I say, it is certainly a ‘good’ thing, as opposed to a ‘bad’ thing, to show ‘normal’ bodies on screen) as much as it is about showing female bodies in a way that doesn’t objectify them. I feel like a lot of people (not you, but many others) have a hard time understanding what feminists mean when they talk about objectification/sexulization/pornified imagery and I think this episode (and other episodes) of Girls shows that objectification isn’t necessary when it comes to female bodies on screen.

        • Vouchsafer

          I didn’t see the episode, but I still think the goal would have been to do the scene without female only nudity. I agree with Sporenda. The male actor remaining clothed while the woman exposes still represents a power dichotomy in which the female comes off as the underdog.
          I mean, why the disproportion, right? show both or show neither, that would make a level playing field.

          On a separate note, I feel like Dunham will bear the burden of those images for a long time and endure thousands of hurtful comments that no matter how hard she tries not to let them will eventually erode her self worth.

          I also feel sorry for any woman Dunham’s size or larger that heard the jeering or fat jokes. not that she is, it’s just that when you hold up a curvier woman’s body for scrutiny, which I think these images do, and they’re not well-recieved, I can’t help but think that a heavier woman will feel even more insecure.
          not explaining this well but it’s like this:
          What? People think Dunham is gross naked? Well then I must be really disgusting.

          • Meghan Murphy

            I think the male character in this episode got the same amount of ‘nude time’ Dunham did (though I’d have to watch again/pay closer attention to be sure). That said, female nudity is perceived differently than male nudity onscreen — so, obviously both characters were topless often, but because women have breasts, that kind of ‘nudity’ is perceived differently. Without seeing genitalia (which you don’t), it’s hard to say whether or not the male nudity vs. female nudity was ‘equal’. I mean, technically, it probably was close, although I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw Dunham’s ass more than Wilson’s…?

            I’m also surprised (or maybe not surprised? But disappointed? But really…Kind of surprised…) that Dunham gets so much heat for her naked body. Her body is fine. People act like she’s totally disgusting or something — it’s insane. I have to say that I appreciate that she keeps on keeping on regardless. It can’t be easy…

          • http://nomoredeaddogs.tumblr.com ceg

            If I remember correctly the male character keeps his boxers on at least through the whole episode, but with all due respect while I get that you’re angling at the larger cultural implications of that power dynamic, in the context of the show this:

            “The male actor remaining clothed while the woman exposes still represents a power dichotomy in which the female comes off as the underdog.”

            Seemed to be sort of exactly what they were going for in the episode. Hannah does a fair amount of demanding of (or at least asking directly for) things of Joshua in the episode. She has the illusion of control but ultimately by the end of the episode it’s clear she is very much not in control with regards to this power dynamic and becomes essentially left emotionally bare where he is not, too. The nudity is sort of a narrative literalization of what’s going on in the episode itself (maybe not the most subtle piece of symbolism but I still found it effective). I tend to agree in general with you/sporenda but I think it had such a clear artistic purpose as opposed to “well this is HBO, the viewing public is owed some tits” that I have a difficult time taking issue with this specific instance.

        • sporenda

          I understand the point you were making in this article, and it’s a valid point.
          It’s just that I object to the recent notion that feminist points must necessarily be made in the buff.
          This is what the Femen are doing too, their puzzling brand of feminism consisting of validating the 2 biggest patriarcal norms imposed to women: 1/ be young and pretty 2/ show tits and ass.

          In “Girls”, Dunham clearly breaks the first rule (and it’s good) but she complies with number 2.
          Like: I am showing a plain looking body, that’s breaking new ground, I should compensate by sticking to the tits and ass rule (and showing lots of it), that will make my statement more acceptable.
          Of course, this criticism would not stand if the male characters were showing the same amount of skin as the females;
          they never do, not in Dunham’s serie nor in other tv shows, novies, etc.

          And the debate about : could a girl like Dunham bag a guy like the character she fucks for 2 days in this episode? is hilarious:

          For God’s sake, some dudes fuck goats, ducks or rape 87 year old women.
          When I was working in an area near a street where lots of prostitutes were hanging out, I couldn’t help noticing that some of the women plying their trade there were quite old and looked terrible.
          That didn’t keep them from doing brisk business, sometimes with young and very good looking guys.
          If you know anything abour porn, you know that there is a demand for all sorts of physiques: fat, skinny, young, old, etc.

          • Meghan Murphy

            @sporenda – I agree! Feminist points certainly shouldn’t have to be made in the buff. That said, I don’t think Dunham was pretending to to feminist activism in the show (although I do see her choices, in terms of what the camera does, context, etc. as ‘feminist’ choices as opposed to sexist ones) as Femen does. Femen explictily tries to be ‘sexy’ in order to get attention to their ‘movement’ which isn’t a movement at all. Dunham is making a TV series that tries to depict honest representations of the lives of (some) twenty-something women.

  • http://bonerkilling.blogspot.ca BK

    This makes me happy. I have never heard of this show before but I really love the image you showed from it and I love how pissed off dudes got about it. I believe that they became pissed off because they felt challenged and threatened by this woman’s presence and her non-sexualized nakedness. They’re pissed off because this woman is actively engaging in something completely unrelated to her nudity and absolutely unrelated to sex – table tennis! She is not shown contorted in some submissive, backbreaking pose. Further, she is not staring lustfully into the camera, emphasizing the presence of a male viewer – she is not wearing any fancy lingerie or high heeled shoes – she’s not existing as an object of a male gaze and THAT is why dudes are freaking out. Dudes are also threatened because her body does not fit into patriarchal beauty standards. Also, she looks too “normal”, too much like how “everyday people” may look naked. She does not have a long, lean super model physique and her breasts don’t resemble beach balls. Simply, this woman is not acting out some dudely-porno “fantasy” – she actually is challenging such a fantasy by her non-sexualized, naked presence.

    Ultimately, Pornsick dudes can’t understand why a woman would be naked for the hell of it – not for them to look at or for any sexual, boner-inducing purpose…she’s just naked and playing some table tennis…and why not?!

    • Meghan Murphy

      I totally agree! I think men do think that women and women’s bodies should only be for their consumption, so when they get all choked because they don’t feel Dunham’s body is porny enough, that makes me happy.

      • Grackle

        It’s like they take it as a personal affront.

  • Hecuba

    Why does that still image show the male wearing oversized knickers whilst the female is exposing her breasts? Oh wait it is for the sexual titilation of the male viewer. As always women are the ones having to display their naked bodies not men. Now if this still photograph showed the male without his knickers and his naked butt was on display then that would be nudity without ‘the sexualised element’ but of course men mustn’t be reduced to disposable dehumanised sexualised commodities must they?

    Why was the woman exposing her breasts? Surely she could have been portrayed wearing bra and pants which would demonstrate she is not merely mens’ disposable sexualised commodity. After all male is wearing oversized knickers so he is obviously not a disposable sexualised commodity. Remember female breasts are viewed by men as ‘mens’ sexualised commodities so the claim this image is not pornographic or sexually exploiting women is nonsensical.

    This show is about female sexual exploitation and by the way in hot weather it is common for males of all shapes and sizes to wander around public spaces without their shirts and exposing their chests and that is not perceived by other men as ‘males being reduced to sexualised commodities, rather it is a demonstration of male sexual power over women.

    ‘Humping?’ Is that what constitutes sex then? Images of a male forcing his penis into a woman and she faking orgasmic pleasure? Wait of course it is because this is male definition of what supposedly passes for sexual activity between a male and a female wherein it is the male’s sexual pleasure which is important and the female merely exists to sexually service him.

    • Meghan Murphy

      I think the topless ping pong image is funny and awkward, rather than ‘titillating’, personally. And Dunham’s underwear aren’t particularly ‘sexy’ either….

      Have you seen the show? She isn’t treated as a ‘disposable sexualized commodity’, in my opinion, and the male character doesn’t force himself on her. The orgasm is ‘fake’ only in that it is acting…

      Re: ‘Humping’ — call it what you like, but I find the word hilarious and stupid, which is why I use it on occasion.

  • Vouchsafer

    I think we need to come up with a different word to define what is meant by ‘porny,’ i mean we all understand on this site what’s meant but it doesn’t translate well into academia.

    Not that I want to give Jason (from the other week) props but he may have had one point: when we use language that jangles in the ear of the educated (or in other words, doesn’t have a technical term and or definition) we run the risk of having our theories be taken less than seriously. How can people fully understand our point if we haven’t taken the time to set it down definitively?
    I think we need to come up with a definition for what porny or pornsick means in terms of how feminists percieve that gaze.
    ‘Atavistic’ is close but not quite exact. same with ‘objectifyingly’ or ‘dehumanizingly.’

    What about ‘dysmorphic?’
    As in, In looking at the woman as an object for his own gratification, he was looking at her dysmorphically: A morph is a change or transition, right? so a dysmorph is the reversal. in viewing another in that manner, one fails to make the leap that the other person has a self inside them of value equal to one’s own.
    To view dysmorphically is to distance oneself from another. It’s a backwards negating of their humanity, or removing them from one’s own evolutionary level.
    What do you think?
    Given that kind of definition, is it kind of what we mean when we say porny?

    • Meghan Murphy

      I see what you’re saying, yes. When I say ‘porny’ I suppose most of that is about the objectification and sexualization aspect. Making women into consumable commodities that exist for the purposes of male pleasure/consumption. A woman who is cut up into parts and made into a male fantasy — dehumanized.

  • Sex Neutral Feminist

    I don’t care what nude female bodies look like on screen but as an artist, and a heterosexual, I do objectify and idealize male bodies, I guess. I am very attracted to beautiful mens’ faces and all my muses have been above average looking men.

    There was this movie about a couple who lost a child and the wife’s descent into madness and I think the first scene was of them having sex. Their bodies were not at all attractive and I was not bothered by the woman’s body but was disgusted by the man’s and told my friend to turn off the movie. If I’m going to see a man on screen nude, I want to see a beautiful man on screen nude. I forget the actor’s name but he’s famous, and he’s old and ugly, sorry to say.

    He may be a great actor and a great human being but his body is not attractive so he should not be doing nude sex scenes.

    That’s just my unabashed, unabridged, unapologetic and un-pc, heterosexual female artist perspective.

  • Sex Neutral Feminist

    “I totally agree! I think men do think that women and women’s bodies should only be for their consumption, so when they get all choked because they don’t feel Dunham’s body is porny enough, that makes me happy. ”

    Yeah I can get that. I think the “controversy” over public breast feeding in this country (USA) is the same. American men, and perhaps Americans in general, are just not comfortable seeing the breast functioning in a non-sexualized context.

    Very odd.

  • http://ewinsor.wordpress.com lizor

    On a related topic, I have just watched the first three episodes of Top of the Lake, a crime drama set in New Zealand and written and directed by Jane Campion. Having sworn off crime drama for obvious reasons, I decide to give this a try based on some (not all) of Campion’s work. What I really like about the show so far is that it depicts the constant and ubiquitous threat of sexual violence without making us consume image after image and sequence after sequence of sexual violence. We see a variety of women resisting sexism, gender oppression and threat of violence in a variety of ways. Unlike most crime dramas we don’t have to sit through the gory details of rape and murder (like we do if we choose to watch “quality” shows Prime Suspect or The Wire) or the endless pornographic shots of naked dead “hot” females that are the stock-in-trade of American entertainment.

    I am only three episodes in, but I feel very hopeful that this might be an actual story of resistance, not just more normalizing of pornographic violence that fills most TV schedules.

    • Meghan Murphy

      I love that show! (on a side note)
      I’ve been raving about it, big time.

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  • An actual feminist

    White ciswoman posing nude: Empowering.
    PoC transwoman posing nude: Not empowering.

    Hmm.

    HMMMMMMMMMM.

    • Meghan Murphy

      WTF? Have you somehow missed ALL the other articles on this website criticizing the objectification of white women?