white/black

white n black

Sooooooooooo…

First thing that entertains me about these shots is that they were taken with the same flashβ€”and the background to the white one is darker.

First thing that you’ll probably notice is that my head is missing. So are my pants (and I did wear underwear). This is a response to this (solidarity, sister), which is a response to this, which is a response to this.

I think at this point, we’ve moved past the question of which is better: black or white and on to the question of what’s the difference of response to John in (just) a shirt vs. to me in (just) a shirt.

So: objectify away! Which is better: Black or white? Which is more normative: male or female? Which do you prefer (regardless of sexual preference, although that information might make it interesting)?

And, by popular demand, the originals: with heads. I’ll take ’em down in a few days…get ’em while they’re hot.

18 Comments

  1. I think the black is better, though the white is sexy too, though to be honest, either could be “better” depending on the rest of the ensemble. Using the white “virginal” look facetiously would be hot, as is a sultry black number.

    I’d say for you, it’s a toss up. For John however, black is best. I think it has a lot to do with the cut of the shirt. The white one is form-fitting which accentuates some lovely assets and is very attractive, whereas John’s white shirt looked very Mormon and conservative (unlike yours).

    And I’m gay, in case that wasn’t clear yet.

  2. Solidarity, sister! As for which is more normative, I think we’re making inroads πŸ™‚

    Actually, I think what you and I have done is more normative. Walk through any mall and you can see similar pics. However, I think the attitudes approaching our shots and John’s shots are still very different. In spite of the fact that you can see scantily clad women everywhere you go, people were much more shocked (at least it seemed so) by my pics than by John’s. Those are the attitudes I’m wanting to challenge, if that makes sense.

    As for black v. white? I think I’m actually going with white in this case. Very sexy, chica πŸ˜‰

  3. Craig: I’m with you on the subversion of virginal white (that’s what I like about John’s white-shirt pic). I’ve just about always been more comfortable in black, regardless of my level of dress.

    Lessie: as to seeing more scantily clad women in daily life than scantily clad men, you’re absolutely right.

    So why is it more shocking for women to be less clad?

  4. So why is it more shocking for women to be less clad?

    I think there are a few, interconnected reasons why that is.

    In western culture, breasts have been sexualised even though they have nothing to do with sex – probably because they had to be covered originally to keep warm, and then later because all women were inherently naughty and needed to cover themselves so men wouldn’t get “ideas”. I don’t think that mindset originated in the Middle East nor does it only exist there.

    Still, I know that for me, even parts of a man that can be exposed on the street become sexualised when actually having sex, and I assume the same would be true about women were it were normal for women to bear their breasts in public.

    I think that our culture used to be almost as strict about women showing their lady parts (ankles, shoulders) because those who did were whores, and we still have that today, just the parts that need to be showing to be a whore have gravitated towards the centre of the body instead of the extremities.

    While a lot of the attitudes about women have changed, there is still a lot of covert sexism in our culture. The overt sexism is somewhat easy to combat and change, but the covert is so embedded in our culture and in all of us, men and women. I think it is even more strongly embedded and a more fundamental part of our culture than racism or maybe even heterosexism (though I’m not sure about that), because sexism against females is something that would have existed and been ingrained into the culture very, very early on, say when the Germanic tribes (my ancestors) were roaming around northern Europe around 1000 BC.

    Or you can just say that women need to cover up their dirty pillows.

    It is legal for a woman to expose her breast if she is nursing a child, which suggests that breasts aren’t sexual and therefore should be able to be bared all the time. I personally think that in public (unless you’re at a nude beach, in a bathhouse, in the showers at the gym, etc.) that both men and women should only be required to cover their genitals.

  5. Craig, i love you πŸ™‚ I had a post over on fmh that addressed some of these questions.

    xJane, I’m still trying to figure that out. I think Craig has certainly addressed some of the issues. I think another issue might be that people still expect some Victorian moral high ground from women. We’re supposed to be modest, we’re supposed to be demure, and goddammit, men just can’t control themselves when we show any skin. Which is total bullshit, of course, but it gets tossed around.

    Btw, Craig, breastfeeding in public is on shaky ground. I know a lot of people who are uncomfortable with it. For me it wasn’t an issue. I was nursing my kids, I was trying to be discreet, but I wasn’t hauling around an extra blanket to make sure I saved any men/lesbian folk from embarrassment (another issue that I think you’ve hit on, is our reluctance to normalize gay/lesbian orientations in these discussions).

    And of course, I think a lot of it comes down to control. There is still a lot of latent sexism in our culture. There are still a lot of people that are scared of changing the status quo and so feel the need to control women’s sexuality. They expect us to be fine with that. So when we protest, or throw something in their faces, they are shocked.

  6. Craig: I agree with everything you’ve said. But I still don’t get why it’s acceptable in one forum (wandering around the street, going to class) but not another (posting it on a blog).

    Lessie: I just did a research proj. about breastfeeding & my partners were all shocked and horrified that it was legal. To which I was shocked and horrified.

  7. xJane,

    What is the “it” that’s “acceptable in one forum (wandering around the street, going to class) but not another (posting it on a blog).” I didn’t understand what the antecedent to that pronoun was.

    They were horrified that it is legal to breastfeed in public? That is horrifying.

  8. For real, xJane? I’m not surprised. The last stat I saw on breastfeeding said that 57% of Americans thought it should be illegal. That is so far beyond comprehension to me that I can’t even begin to put it into words. I really, truly think like Craig said, that in the appropriate contexts, toplessness for either gender/sex shouldn’t be an issue. Then maybe we could all get over our discomfort and/or fear of our bodies in general.

  9. Really? 57% That’s horrible! What the hell is these people’s problem? They’re just BREASTS!!!

    I mean, if I, as a gay man can tolerate to look at them, then bloody hell, the rest of you can too! πŸ˜‰

  10. John White,

    I really don’t think they’ve any more to do with sex than a man’s chest has. As I already said,

    Still, I know that for me, even parts of a man that can be exposed on the street become sexualised when actually having sex, and I assume the same would be true about women were it were normal for women to bear their breasts in public.

    There is biologically nothing sexual about breasts, their sexual status has been assigned to them by our culture based on a variety of factors I and others have already mentioned. There’s nothing natural about them being sex objects.

  11. parts of a [person] that can be exposed on the street become sexualised when actually having sex

    Anyone ever had the inside of their elbow gently caressed? My god is that a sexy part of flesh. Yet perfectly reasonable to expose in public).

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