Monday, March 16, 2009

Sluttly McSlutterson

I had a long overdue appointment with the dentist today, and while I've never really had problems with my teeth, sitting in that chair with my mouth hanging open for an hour isn't my favorite way to spend an afternoon.

But today, I experienced a different kind of horror at the dentist.

As I pushed open the office door, I was immediately met with what can only be described as a "family friendly" atmosphere - complete with a variety of toys on the floor and a half dozen framed photos of the dentist's children decorating the walls. I wandered to the front desk and stood there, waiting for someone to greet me so I could fill out my paperwork and fess up - to myself and to the receptionist - that NO, I don't have dental insurance, and YES, I will be paying for this "out of pocket." Moments later, the receptionist rounded the corner and I was almost suffocated by the overwhelming presence of her enormous, prominently displayed, fake boobs.

This receptionist was probably in her mid-thirties, still young, but not young enough to be able to claim blatant ignorance about what is and is not acceptable office attire. To say she was wearing a cleavage-baring shirt would be a gross understatement. Honestly, she might as well have been wearing a bikini. Admittedly, and with the exception of the over-sized breasts that were easily three cups sizes larger than what would have looked proportional, she had an amazing body - one she had clearly, and obviously, spent a lot of time and money to achieve and maintain. I don't begrudge her that. However, I do begrudge her the "feminist" label.

I wouldn't dare to comment on fake boobs in general...partially because I have boobs, and can't possibly know what it's like not to have them, and therefore want them bad enough to spend thousands of dollars to purchase them. However, the supposedly feminist prerogative to strut one's stuff to whatever extent one desires, and to then be offended if people - especially men - take notice, really annoys me. My experience at the dentist proves that people can't help but notice, be distracted and, if you're a heterosexual man, probably be aroused by such a display of skin. Heck, I was so distracted, that I could hardly keep my eyes off the mammary twins, much less focus on filling out my medical history.

Later, it occurred to me that it's rather hypocritical for a woman wearing revealing clothes to claim sexual harassment when a male colleague compliments her appearance, while men can't claim sexual harassment when provocative clothing distracts them from their work. I don't really see a difference - the man might enjoy the distraction in some capacity, but if the woman chose to wear a low-cut blouse, she was clearly hoping someone would notice.

Obviously, I'm commenting on extreme cases. Certainly, there are slimy men who harass even appropriately dressed women, simply to feel superior and powerful. I happen to think it's great for a woman to look and feel (especially feel) sexy. I don't think we should be forced to wear huge cloaks to hide our bodies simply because men in the workplace might be attracted to us. My annoyance is specifically targeted toward those women who clearly connect "sexy" with "revealing," and figure it's their "feminist right" to shake what their mamma gave them, everywhere and anywhere. Perhaps it is their feminist right, but then I pose the following quandary: HOW CAN WOMEN INSIST ON NOT BEING OBJECTIFIED WHEN WE'RE DOING IT TO OURSELVES?

At the risk of once again sounding quite conservative (is anyone picturing me in a channel suit with a string of pearls and a cup of tea?), I worry that instead of a step toward liberation, the sexual revolution was a step toward permissiveness, promiscuity and sexual confusion. Regardless of your personal views of stripping and pornography, allowing these industries to become mainstream only blurs the lines between a healthy attitude toward sex and the ancient human fascination with exhibitionism. Sex sells, this we know. But that doesn't necessarily mean that its prominence isn't damaging the future of women and society. Could the obsession with sex and the acceptance of things that were once considered dangerous and sleazy, be partially responsible for the fact that as a group, women in American are constantly battling insecurity and depression, while striving to look like porn stars and swimsuit models?

From bearly-there Halloween costumes to Girls Gone Wild, we are teaching ourselves, and future generations, that attractive, fun and sexy are synonymous with slutty. Personally, I think we've gotten ourselves into trouble, with a capital "T."


Bird* said...

amen sister

Laurie Stark said...

When it comes to sexual harrassers, the slimy men you mention aren't the exception, they're the rule. Sexual harrassment doesn't target women like the one at your dentist's office. It targets women who slimy men think appear vulnerable, insecure, and unlikely to retaliate. Sexual harrassment from men is a very serious issue and one that is very much separate from a woman wearing a revealing top.

To be honest, I can't think of a time that I've ever seen a woman dress like that at work, at any job I've ever had. It certainly exists-- you saw it today at your dentist visit-- but I think women like this are a small minority of women and are certainly not to blame for women's repression where it exists. If anything, this may be simply another expression OF that repression.

Invisible G. said...

I'm apt to question whether women as seen at your dentist's office are loudly proclaiming their feminist right to bare what she paid so much for.

Mind you, if I paid that much for a pair of breasts, I might be prone to displaying them any chance I got.

Kidding aside, there are women who feel the only way to be noticed period is to rely on their physical assets. Is that symptomatic of our current views on sexual freedom?

I tend to think it's mostly due to the fixed societal roles laid upon us. Women are meant to be pretty and dazzling. If they are not, buy it. Men are meant to be capable and strong, if they are not that's what stripping and porn is for.

I agree with Ill Fitting though, and believe a small portion of women subscribe to such nonsense.