Emily Ratajkowski & Naomi Wolf team up to sell Playboy Feminism

What could be even more provocative than an interview with a naked lady talking about the innate empowerment of self-objectification? An interview with a naked lady about the innate empowerment of self-objectification conducted by Naomi Wolf.

In the July issue of Harper’s Bazaar, actress and model Emily Ratajkowski reasserts her inability to separate “sexualization” from the biological fact of having a female body to Wolf, who declares her “an outspoken feminist.” Wolf defends her statement by reminding the reader that Ratajkowski “challeng[ed] the haters with a topless, in-your-face Instagram alongside Kim Kardashian.” In case you don’t recall, this “challenging” of “the haters” looked like this:

In your face, haters!

Ratajkowski has been working this “sexualization = liberation” angle since she first discovered it, back when she starred in the video for Robin Thicke’s rape anthem, “Blurred Lines,” wherein she played the role of “naked accessory.” When questioned about whether or not the video was sexist, she told Esquire, “I think it’s actually celebrating women and their bodies.”

Emily Ratajkowski, celebrating women and their bodies in the "clean" version of the "Blurred Lines" video
Emily Ratajkowski, celebrating women and their bodies in the “clean” version of the “Blurred Lines” video

Wolf, who lost the plot long ago and, apparently, never recovered it, expresses enthusiasm at Ratajkowski’s Slutwalk/Playboy Feminism ideology. “Her politics,” Wolf writes, “especially about the body (show it off), attention (why should women not want it?), assertion, and self-acceptance occurred to me as mostly very good news.” Wolf, like the third wave she’s aligned herself with, accepts an “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” approach, seeing self-objectification as the only possible solution to porn culture:

“Her peers, the children of a pornographic culture, are doing just what they should do, given the wash of objectified, naked bodies everywhere. They are engaged in establishing a new narrative to reclaim the body…”

Wolf views this as a more positive approach, contrasted with the “sober puritans of feminism of yore.” This assessment is particularly amusing as Wolf is not only almost two decades older than me, but because feminists young and old abandoned Wolf’s feminism back in 2011, when she defended Julian Assange against rape charges and accused his victims of using feminism to “assuage… personal injured feelings,” and then again when she published a self-helpy book about the Vagina, chalk-full of bad science and essentialism. I suppose it’s possible that Wolf’s acknowledged that the “sober puritans of feminism yore” aren’t buying her brand, so hey, time to start fresh with a naive new generation.

While she does admit to wishing Ratajkowski “could have a huge career and keep her shirt on,” I mean, what can ya do? If I recall correctly, “What choice do we have” has always been the rallying call of the radical feminist movement.

Ratajkowski, as she also wrote about in her essay for Lenny earlier this year, tells Wolf she was sexualized at an early age… Well, she doesn’t say it quite like that… She says, “I genuinely hit puberty before everyone. So I really was more sexual than my classmates.” What she means, though, is not that she literally was “more sexual,” but that she had the body of a woman and was sexualized by those around her because of it.

It certainly was not Ratajkowski’s fault that she was treated this way, and yes, she should be able to wear whatever she wants to wear, without being treated as an object by those around her. But what is absolutely baffling to me is that not only can Ratajkowski not discern a difference between feeling sexual and having a body or wearing clothes that is perceived as being sexual, but Wolf, a long-time, well-known feminist cannot either.

“Thong or no thong,” Wolf says, “or overalls or shave your head or not. If they have a problem with my sexuality, that’s their problem.” What thongs and overalls have to do with sexuality is never explained, alas. I love overalls, as did Andrea Dworkin, and she’d have been as curious as I to how they connect to female sexuality. I know men are always wearing or not wearing overalls and thongs and not thongs, then shouting, fists up, “If you have a problem with my sexuality, that’s your problem!” If it’s good for the gander…

This comment naturally leads Wolf to ask about the topless selfie with Kim K, which was posted in response to Kim’s effort to liberate women by tweeting a photo of her breasts:

“We’ve gotten to ground zero of this whole conversation, which is that there’s still the fear and contempt of female sexuality and the just intolerable cultural reaction when women take ownership of their sexuality and their bodies.”

(Like, as if the way women are going to take “ownership of their sexuality and their bodies” is by posting photoshopped versions of it on the internet for men to jack off to.)

Ratajkowski agrees:

“Kim said that to me. You know, when Lena Dunham takes her clothes off, she gets flack, but it’s also considered brave; when Justin Bieber takes his shirt off, he’s a grown-up. But when a woman who is sexual takes off her top, it plays into something.”

This actually gets right to the heart of the matter, though both try to backtrack — it makes very clear that Ratajkowski believes women’s sexuality exists for the male gaze, whether or not she is able to understand that. Dunham’s nudity is criticized, often, by many people, but the reason it is not viewed in the same way as Ratajkowski’s or Kim Kardashian’s is because the nudity Dunham chooses to display on Girls is not a sexualized one, but a kind of intentionally ugly one — at very least a neutral one: a naked body that happens to be doing things like eating cake on the toilet, as opposed to a body that exists purely as a decorative object. Despite the conventionally attractive bodies of both Ratajkowski and Kardashian, they could choose a kind of nudity (if they must at all — it must be noted that women “choose” nudity much more often than men do, in the media) that was not objectifying, but do not. They could also, of course, be sexual and love their bodies without posting objectifying imagery of themselves on Instagram, looking flawless…

Summer 16

A photo posted by Emily Ratajkowski (@emrata) on

Whether or not people want to believe it, Lena Dunham’s body is no less objectifiable than Ratajkowski, although the latter is more likely to be encouraged and commodified.

“There’s this idea that if a man enjoys a photograph of a nude woman or if he likes your short skirt, he’s taking something away from you,” Ratajkowski says. “It’s not right. Sex is normal. Desire is normal. Attention is normal, and that’s okay. That’s really what slut shaming is, right?”

And yes, of course sex and desire can be ok. But when we criticize objectification and sexualization, as feminists, we aren’t criticizing women for having bodies or sex or desires, we are criticizing exactly what Ratajkowski is espousing: the idea that having a female body is “sex.” It’s the idea that female bodies are to-be-looked-at and that this being looked at is what makes a woman “sexual.” Having breasts or being looked at by men has nothing to do with whether or not a woman enjoys sex or “owns her body.” And, in fact, that we equate female bodies with “sex” and see self-objectification as the only possible way a woman might “own her body” is part of the problem.

Women’s bodies don’t exist to be looked at — they don’t exist, even, for sex. They exist for us to live in. They are, in fact, functional things that belong (or should belong) to us — women — regardless of whether or not we put them on the internet.

Ratajkowski complains that when she posts nude (or near-nude) photos of herself online, she gets comments from men along the lines of, “Oh, sure, go ahead and reclaim your sexuality, I got my rocks off.” And I feel for her, in more ways than one. “Reclaiming” one’s sexuality in a culture so rife with sexual violence that we can’t seem to imagine sex without it is something that’s difficult even to imagine. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure whether it’s possible within a context of heterosexuality and patriarchy. But one thing we can do is to start thinking about women’s bodies — our own and others — as things that exist for ourselves, not for others. And we can start thinking about sexuality as something that we feel, not something that is projected at us from the outside, through the male gaze.

I mean, the thing is that, as much as I wish men wouldn’t leave those kinds of comments on Ratajkowski’s Instagram photos, the message conveyed is an accurate one. Posting sexualized photos of our naked breasts online really isn’t “for us,” otherwise we wouldn’t post them on the internet… It’s for others to look at and enjoy — if it weren’t, we’d probably leave ’em be, badly-lit, in unflattering or neutral poses, just as they are, rather than perfected and presented and propped up, tanned and made pert with ice cubes, for the viewer, posed in the most unnatural ways, in order to be more easily gazed at and consumed.

There’s a reason interviews with men are not preceded by gigantic photographs of the interviewee nude atop a horse, in incredibly awkward positions. That Wolf and Ratajkowski can’t be bothered to consider and acknowledge why that is should provide some insight into the legitimacy of their analysis.

Impolite as it is to say, it can’t be denied that the only reason Ratajkowski is being asked to speak on such matters is because she defends the very status quo she imagines herself to be challenging.

Emily Ratajkowski
Image: Harper’s Bazaar/Mona Kuhn
Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, I-D, Truthdig, and more. Meghan 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.

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  • Hey! I actually got something out of Vagina. It actually helped me reclaim some of my sexuality. And it pointed me, and probably a lot of other women, to a really good book on female sexual health problems. That is the sum total of my defence of Naomi Wolf.

    (Also, I wondered, from what she wrote, whether there was a link between episiotomy and postnatal depression. I found a site that mentioned a possible link – it might be this one: http://patient.info/doctor/episiotomy-and-tears)

    I miss the days when it wasn’t cool to be a feminist.

    • Meghan Murphy

      That’s cool! I found it annoying, but I do know some women who enjoyed it, so fair enough.

  • radwonka

    good thing I never wasted my time with Wolf’s books I guess

    • Claudia Manion

      Same. But I feel I should in order to have an opinion, though it’s a painful idea.

      • Anon

        I read the Beauty Myth. It was… meh. Nothing really new in it, but not objectionable, for the most part.

    • anne

      I was just thinking that. I’ve had ‘The Beauty Myth’ in my library for ages, but somehow never started it.

      • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

        I read it years ago and thought it was fantastic, now I’m wondering if I was young and naive and didn’t see she was like this back then too?

        • Meghan Murphy

          I was very young when I read it. I wouldn’t have known enough to formulate any kind of critique, so who knows…

  • BenEsler

    Three hundred and twenty two thousand feminist boners.

  • Laura

    I wonder what it’ll be like for her when/if she realizes how she’s scamming herself. I wonder if she would admit to being wrong or just keep up the charade for $$$

    • Anon

      I’m going with $$$.

    • Zuzanna Smith

      She will in about thirty years or so when she finds out there is nothing more despicable to men than an old woman who still has the gall to speak publicly.

  • melissa

    “She says, “I genuinely hit puberty before everyone. So I really was more sexual than my classmates.” What she means, though, is not that she literally was “more sexual,” but that she had the body of a woman and was sexualized by those around her because of it…”

    “…But when we criticize objectification and sexualization, as feminists, we aren’t criticizing women for having bodies or sex or desires, we are criticizing exactly what Ratajkowski is espousing: the idea that having a female body is “sex.” ”

    Nail on the head.Encapsulating everything i was thinking and wish i could’ve articulated. Whats ironic about this kind of libfem rhetoric is that its actually not far off how conservatives talk about women’s bodies. As someone who grew up in a conservative religious family, women’s bodies were always talked about like they’re innately sinful, lustful sex objects that must stay covered up, that must be “preserved” and “saved” only for your husbands, almost like their private property,as opposed to our bodies existing for us to live in as functional being just like men are allowed to be, as you point out.They’ve shed religious conservatism only to land on the opposite side of the same coin. Instead of our bodies being reduced private property and “sex” for men, now they’re being reduced public property and “sex” for men. We’re still dressing and acting in relation to how men choose to perceive us. This is like trying to oppose obesity with anorexia.Either burqa culture or porn culture, its two sides of the same patriarchal coin. The project of desexualizing women’s bodies by “freeing the nipple” becomes so incredibly contradictory and incoherent when we constantly talk about women’s bodies in terms of “sex” and “sexuality”. This is not like in some African tribes where women and men walk around more or less nude and no one bats an eye, garners no attention.This is the opposite.The whole point of “freeing the nipple” has morphed onto demanding attention, titillating objectifying and sexualizing women for merely having female bodies, over and over again.

    • lk

      At this point, I feel like there is no hope for women in either liberal or conservative ideology.

      Liberalism loves to present itself as some kind of liberating, progressive, rational ideology that is the opposite of repressive, regressive conservatism…but it isn’t.

      Neither ideology seems particularly interested in helping women see themselves as human beings who have value outside of their usefulness to men.

      • melissa

        Yea, exactly. I’ve been getting growingly more appalled by misogyny from liberals than conservatives in the recent years. Maybe its because you expect much better from them that it feels like such a slap in the face sometimes. Asides from reproductive rights and a few other issues, the liberal media has turned into almost as much of garbage when it comes to women’s issues as conservative media. How depressing.

        • Wren

          If I had to choose an evil it would be conservatives. They’re way less underhanded.

          • melissa

            Damn, that would be a tough choice.Interestingly conservatives have started to adobt some of the same choicy choice libfem arguments. i can’t even argue with a lot of them anymore without someone screaming how I’m not really a feminist at all since I’ve supposedly questioned their choices.And for some reason lib fems feel the need to often defend,normalize,justify and romanticize some very conservative ideas themselves as well, like the hijab,niqb,burqa etc (A very recent example from huffpost calling head to toe black burqas with face covering “Empowering”. Not kidding…http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/photographer-depicts-the-ways-hijab-can-empower-protect-and-emancipate-women_us_577d7a2ae4b01edea78c74a8?ir=World&section=us_world&utm_hp_ref=world ).Looks like all kinds of sexists from conservative to liberal minded ones, are jumping on board this incoherent libfem “choice” and “feeling” narrative.Liberals seems to have managed to opened their arms to every kind of misogyny there is in the world.Its quite incredible.Its not even necessarily conservatives vs liberals anymore.Quite the shit show we’ve gotten ourselves into.

            God, i should really proofread. Just noticed the mess that my first comment is.I think I’ll just use the not my first language as an excuse again..:P

          • Wren

            Yeah a lot of the choice rhetoric reminds me of the 90’s “cultural relativism” crap. I mean, we shouldn’t judge anyway for subscribing to their cultural mandates, such as wearing a burqa, but to say it’s empowering is saying that there is no sense of universal human rights. This kind of crap justifies a great deal of evil, both passive and active.

    • Germaine

      Something like this….

  • lk

    I clicked on the harper’s bazaar link to read the interview and there were a few things that caught my eye.

    Emily R. “A selfie is a sort of interesting way to reclaim the gaze, right? You’re looking at yourself and taking a photo while looking at everyone.”

    -I don’t get how a selfie reclaims the male gaze…For the most part when we take a sexy selfie and post it, we are presenting ourselves in very specific ways that meets the approval of the male gaze.

    Wolf: It’s true.What’s more, I notice again and again, is that there’s a deeply anti-feminist origin of mocking women for seeking attention….No, because you can’t engage in history, or be a leader, without some drive for recognition.

    -Society encourages girls and women to seek male attention by being pretty enough, thin enough and etc. and then puts them down when they do things to get that attention. And I don’t think that’s right. However, I do not think its anti-feminist for us to start questioning why women want and seek approval from men; why so much of our self-esteem and self-worth relies on a specific type of attention-one that does not focus on our accomplishments or talents but on how sexy we are. And I think there is a significant difference between seeking recognition from your peers for a talent or skill and seeking attention from men for having having breasts or blond hair and so on…

    Emily: There’s this idea that if a man enjoys a photograph of a nude woman or if he likes your short skirt, he’s taking something away from you.

    -What does she mean by “enjoying” a photograph of a nude woman? Because later on she comments about guys saying things like “I got my rocks off” from your photo…For a lot of men, this is what “enjoying” an image of a nude woman is, just something to ejaculate to.

    (Side note: I thought Meghan’s article was very well written and there were a number of lines that jumped out at me, but I think this is one of my favorites: “Women’s bodies don’t exist to be looked at — they don’t exist, even, for sex. They exist for us to live in. They are, in fact, functional things that belong (or should belong) to us — women.”)

    • Germaine

      …..why women want and seek approval from men; why so much of our self-esteem and self-worth
      relies on a specific type of attention-one that does not focus on our accomplishments or talents but on how sexy we are.

      Because the self-esteem and self-worth of men relies on how other ( men ) see them.

  • Cassandra

    Ugh. That’s all I can manage tonight. Ugh.

  • sarelynn

    The same Naomi Wolf who wrote ‘The Beauty Myth’…. Did she even read it let alone write it??

    • Meghan Murphy

      ikr

    • Rachel

      Holy crap!!! The penny just dropped!!! The whole time I read this article I was thinking of Naomi Watts! What the?! What is Ms Wolf thinking?! Damn. Devastated!

      • Meghan Murphy

        ha 🙂

  • Lucia Lola

    I remember reading her essay in Lenny’s newsletter. I also remember her posing with Kim Kardashian. Let’s just keep this civil and use the word “unimpressed”. I am very, very, very unimpressed.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Yeah, same.

  • therealcie

    This puritanical radical feminist of yore is now going to bang her head against the wall in frustration.
    Desire may be normal, but objectification certainly should not be. She is excusing the “boys will be boys” mentality.

    • Independent Radical

      At the risk of sounding even more puritanical (by which I mean, sounding like someone who cares about being a good person and encouraging others to be good people, how dare I even use the word “good”, in this post-modernist age, right?) I don’t think we should be giving men permission to go around “desiring” women based on how big their boobs are or tight and spankable their asses are. If those are the criteria through which men choose their sexual and romantic partners we can’t be surprised that many women feel bad about themselves for not meeting prettiness (I think “beauty” is too profound a world to be used in such a context) standards.

      If we want to live in a world where such things don’t matter and women don’t have to feel like garbage if they aren’t “hot”, then men need to stop caring about such things too, which means if they do “desire” women because of such things, they should keep that fact to themselves. They can’t keeping talking about women’s physical traits and then complain when women have self esteem issues because of those traits or spend too much time prettifying themselves. This is the price men have to pay for pretty girlfriends that they can use to boost their status and get empty physical pleasure. Men don’t want to acknowledge that prettiness comes at a cost.

      I don’t really think there’s much distinction between desires based on physical traits (and non-sexualised features such as the face count as well, because there are standards surrounding such features that also make women feel horrible if they don’t meet them) and objectification. Maybe there is a distinction and it matters if you’re an attractive (in the eyes of society) woman who wants men to acknowledge your humanity, which is a reasonable desire, but that doesn’t mean we can ignore the way in which men’s desires harm women who don’t meet their standards of attractiveness. I feel like the “you can appreciate me for my sexiness, but don’t objectify me” approach ignores women who don’t get “appreciated” for their bodies, but are instead told that they’re ugly pieces of garbage.

      Liberal women don’t want to give up the “appreciation” that they get for having the “right” genes and/or abusing their bodies to make them “attractive”. Thus they maintain the status quo and only seek to make slight modifications to it to suit their interests. They probably think that people can’t help but be concerned about attractiveness, but if we’re talking about what “should” be, what people are like at the moment doesn’t really matter. Radical feminism is all about challenging the way men and women “naturally” are. Why not challenge men not to give a shit about the physical appearances of women and to choose sexual partners based on other characteristics? Probably because that would interfere with their “sexual liberation”.

      • Meghan Murphy

        I guess, by ‘desire’, I meant simply feeling attracted to another person… Which is not necessarily the same as objectifying them… Though I suppose how Ratajkowski meant it was in an objectifying way.

  • fragglerock

    Every day I’m further convinced I need to go live on a mountain somewhere……

  • fragglerock

    https://media.giphy.com/media/eYEZQ2tDXml1e/giphy.gif
    Dame Maggie Smith does NOT approve.

  • Novo

    The ageism in Naomi Wolf’s comments is repugnant and really disappointing. If that Emily lady wanted to do feminism she could have publicly criticized Robin Thicke and his gross rape anthem. (Has she?) But I guess men get a free pass! The only villains in this are puritanical mean older feminists who want to ban all sexxxy selfies. How surprising- a very young, thin model whose feminist credentials consist largely of bashing other, older feminists gets interviewed in Harpers and held up for ‘smashing the patriarchy’ while veteran feminists- even Steinem- get deplatformed and dismissed as irrelevant.

  • Anon

    spot on, good analysis

  • Helen A. Handbasket

    One day, Emily Ratajkowski, you will get old and wrinkly and fat, and probably the nicest thing men will be telling you is to put your clothes back on. So pretend you’re “empowered” while you can, because we all get ugly in the eyes of men eventually.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Yeah… While she tried to cover up for it, she basically said, in not so many words, that Lena Dunham, 1) Isn’t as ‘sexual’ as she is because she is (to her mind) less attractive, and 2) That her nudity is considered ‘brave’ as opposed to objectifying because (to her mind) she is less attractive.

    Like, she’s the one who is body shaming, here (as you say). Not her critics.

    • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

      The “Lena Dunham is not sexual” bit irritated me the most of everything in this. Excuse me Emily, but who are you to dictate whether Lena is sexual or not? Not even that she was not behaving in a sexual manner, but that she IS not sexual. And this is the problem, the whole problem.

      What does it look like when a man “is sexual”? Is there such a thing, or only men behaving in a sexual manner? I think men usually are judged when “being sexual” in a public way. You could say Robin Thicke was “being sexual” with Blurred Lines, and the general consensus seems to be that he’s a bit of a creep and a little inappropriate. Most people (not even feminists!) seem to think he’s gross. So Emily’s claim that women are not permitted to “be sexual” in the way that men are is not working – although I believe it is true, I don’t feel that she really gets it. She is fighting against something else entirely.

    • Morag999

      Yes, she’s the one who’s doing the shaming here.

      This notion Emily has that only young and pretty women have a sexuality, as opposed to the lumpy masses who do not, is just as objectifying as her well-lit naked ass. It’s measuring women’s “sexuality” (and what does this even mean?) in direct proportion to men’s erections.

      It’s an admission: men still decide what women are or aren’t sexually. That’s bad news. But getting naked on Twitter, by “choice,” doesn’t change that power dynamic. Why can’t she admit what she’s already admitted?

  • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

    Naomi has become a bizarre flake. I used to follow her facebook page but it was all conspiracy theories, all day. I had to unfollow her after the Orlando club shooting and the wacko stuff she was spewing.

  • Sara Marie

    Great article, Meghan.

    I don’t at all understand how yet another women posting a sexy photo on Instagram–a young, thing, white, woman in a photoshopped photo, that is—is “reclaiming” anything for herself. Maybe she is finding a way to make money from the male gaze and Amerikan celebrity infatuation, but that’s about it.

    What Emily R. is doing is not original at all. Why does the “ownership of [women’s] sexuality” always look like a sexy pose for the camera and nothing else? Does she think she would get even half the clicks she has received if she was posed fully clothed, and did not photoshop the pic? Oh, and maybe looked more like the average human female, meaning darker skin and much heavier?

  • Cassandra

    “…(how can I get him to see that this is *not* about ME dominating, but about him NOT dominating?).”

    This is the heart of the matter. Men see it as a zero sum game. If they’re not dominating you, that means you’re dominating them.

  • Jodie Elcarim Farm

    Yet another winner from Meghan Murphy 🙂 The thing I don’t understand among all this is that these women who are doing the beauty standard ‘right’ and encouraging other women to make themselves available for men to look at can’t see that the only people who benefit from all this are men. So you spend all the hours at the gym and get all the primping and polishing done and take a selfie and the net benefit to the world is that men get aroused. How is this empowering for anyone other than the men who have tricked you into doing it? As I like to say, when women get their tits out, no matter why they claim to be doing it, the only people who benefit are the ones who like to look at tits. And defending women’s right to ‘choose’ to get their tits out still only benefits… yup, you guessed it. If leaving your shirt on or taking it off are legit equal ‘choices’, why would you ‘choose’ the one that makes men see you and every other woman in the world as a little more sex object and a little less human, while at the same time making a whole bunch of women and girls feel bad because they don’t look like you?

    • Meghan Murphy

      Yes exactly!!! This, in fact, hurts even the women doing it, in the end, as they will never be respected by men even for playing along, and will be discarded (as another commenter noted) as soon as they become imperfect/unfuckable. It’s completely stupid, on their part.

  • lk

    “Why do any feminists think female sexual “liberation” (i.e., female sexuality) will lead to equal treatment of women as human beings within society?”

    Contemporary feminism seems *obsessed* with the idea that performing for the male gaze and having sex the way men do is the absolute key to liberating women; is the key to women being treated as human beings.

    And honestly, I don’t want to have sex the way men do: Men often just use their partners for sex, they make getting sex ASAP the goal of all their interactions with women; they do + say everything they can just to get sex and only care about their needs during sex; they pride themselves in how many people they can get to have sex with them..

    I have no interest in that kind of sexual “liberation.”

  • therealcie

    I think that women like Naomi Wolf are confusing feminism with “women’s liberation.” Feminism embodies all the boring stuff like women wanting to be treated like people rather than objects, equal pay for equal work, all those dull things. “Women’s liberation” boils down to women being “free” to fuck whatever man happens to want to fuck her, to not be tied down to one partner. Thus, a woman who only wants to be with one partner is boring, prude, and not liberated, even if she happens to be a feminist.
    Being “liberated” to be a fuck toy or an object for the male gaze does not, oddly enough, sound very liberating to me. I guess it’s because I’m one of those fuddy duddy feminists, and not a “liberated” woman.

  • therealcie

    Dudebros don’t want natural big breasts. Those things get saggy, dontcha know? They want the surgically enhanced kind, the ones that stand straight up even when a woman is lying down.

  • therealcie

    That’s why I didn’t have sex/relationships for 16 years and assumed I never would again, and was okay with that. Then this wonderful anomaly of a man came along who actually treated me like a person. Sadly, he is very sick now. But I wouldn’t trade him for some “stud” any day.
    I’m not sure when the push to act as if anyone who wanted an emotional commitment with sex was just a silly prude started, but I think it was in the late 1960’s, when “women’s (sexual) liberation” became a thing. I don’t think it’s done anyone any favors.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I think ‘desire’ can be and often is generally based on more than just physical attributes, though. This isn’t to say that men don’t often objectify women, but that ‘desire’ does not necessarily mean something superficial. My desire is not at all wholly based on physical characteristics — I mean, it’s not like I’m attracted to model-looking men — and I’m fairly certain that men who have desired me are attracted to things beyond simply my breasts… I mean, you must admit I have a shining personality 🙂

    • Rachel

      I agree that desire should be, and is often, based on more than physical traits. I think desire has become confused and superficial in our society though, as people seem to think desire means objectifying another person. But desire is much deeper generally. You can acknowledge a person is conventionally “attractive” as defined by our media, without desiring them. However, most men have this confused because they’ve been primed to see women as objects, and therefore tout this as “natural desire” when in reality, it’s just brainwashing. Which is why men go stupid around “conventionally attractive” females, and women just move on and don’t dwell on the “conventionally attractive” males, because desire is much deeper than looks.

      However, even objectification is based on more than the look of a person also, because objectification is about power and entitlement, and men will often objectify children, but because of their physical attributes (though people think it’s based on that), but because of the inherent dominance they have over them due to age difference and the innocence and nativity that’s associated with youth. Like, the reason why young girls are sexualised isn’t because men are inherently physically attracted to them, but they have become fetishised due to the power difference. Looks are not sexy to men. Power is. And that power has become intertwined with the “looks” of youthful women and girls, because men are too stupid to understand it most of the time if they are into that, and society has been brainwashed.

  • Alienigena

    I was never a fan of Naomi Wolf. Someone posits the view that she has always been a conspiracy theorists and was only right once re: the conspiracy of patriarchy.

    http://www.newstatesman.com/sarah-ditum/2014/10/naomi-wolf-not-feminist-who-became-conspiracy-theorist-she-s-conspiracist-who

    She was always a bit too much of a product for me (or brand if you prefer), selling herself as a public intellectual more than anything else. Andrea Dworkin was more my style. I once heard her speak at the Jubilee Auditorium in Calgary in 1992 or ’93. She liked comfortable clothing and so do I. It was sort of surreal seeing her in my city, given its machismo (oil industry, cowboys, ranching).

    Maybe Naomi Wolf has adopted the values of toxic masculinity and doesn’t leave room for humanity.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/22/naomi-wolf-feminists-twitter-abuse

  • Alienigena

    Is the middle finger image mostly for ‘wrong kind of’ feminists, women in general or for men? Because if it is for feminists or women … screw them. I mean who is more likely to find their imagery most offensive or simply questionable (or a sign of incredible cluelessness) other than a small number of straight, fundamentalist (any stripe) men, the ones who are not hypocrites? Men or women (in general)? The latter I think.

  • Morag999

    ‘How is it that one aspect of the object/masturbator form of sexuality she promotes is “powerful” while the other entwined piece is “disgusting”? She wants women to devote themselves to embodying jack-off fodder but does not want men to jack off?’

    Your comment gets to the bottom of this revealing and embarrassing little exchange between Emily and Naomi. And while it was more embarrassing, I think, for the elder of the two women, clearly both of them find it disgusting that a man would say — straight-out — that he uses images of women’s “empowerment” as nothing but pornographic masturbation material.

    But that’s just the thing: what these women find disgusting is not so much that men like to use pictures of girls and women, to reduce the female to nothing but her sexual function, so that they can ejaculate whenever they feel like it. What’s truly disgusting is that some men would actually be honest and SAY it.

    I mean, how rude! Why can’t men just pretend that they’re not evaluating, reducing, using and sexually objectifying us while sweating like pigs and playing with their dicks? Wah! How’s a liberated gal supposed feel all empowered by her own sexiness when she’s forced to acknowledge that dirty old and young men are using her likeness to imagine the most foul, ultimately rapist scenarios, in order to sexually triumph over her and all women? This information really kills the empowerful mood.

    Clearly, someone is to blame for bursting this beautiful, sexy choice-agency-power bubble. It couldn’t be porn-sick men, though? Nah, because as disgusting as they are, they are also, in some mysterious way, the source of the feelings of empowerment. Best to blame the feminist prudes! Cause, you know, if it weren’t for them dealing with the real, male-supremacist world, it would just magically all work out. Somehow.

  • Rachel

    Yea exactly. Basically they’re thick as pig shit.

  • Rachel

    Exactly. People (even women) will say it’s because women’s bodies are inherently sexier, whilst men’s are boring and “useful”, which is why apparently we, again, including women, like to watch and ogle women. Why young women will buy men’s magazines to show men how cool and with it they are because they’re “secure enough” to ogle women because women are “sexy”. Barf. Gross. Actually, I like to look at men, and find men attractive. I’m very capable of objectifying men if I so wish, however – I have a life and too much to do with my time, plus see them as whole human beings and not just wank objects. Pretty sure Naomi said something along those lines also in her book “Beauty Myth”. Funny that.

  • Rachel

    Ha ha ha!

  • Cassandra

    Yes, I agree. (-: