Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Boobie Protest Continued

While FLG made light of the boobie protest, Robbo raises a good point:
Ms. McDowell and her ilk are not, in fact, seeking any kind of “freedom” for themselves.  Ms. McDowell already is welcomed to take off her top in the middle of the street act like an idiot if she chooses.  What she wants is the ability to act like an idiot without anyone else being allowed to think that she’s acting like an idiot or, in this case, to enjoy her idiocy.  (How she expects to obtain such freedom – whether through legal fiat or just by wearing down generally accepted standards of behavior – is unclear.)
For FLG, this is the problem with a bunch of the young feminists, and in truth probably all of the waves to some degree.  Saying that women should be treated equally in the workforce is a matter of great importance.  Contraception and abortion matters, no matter where you stand on them, are also of great importance.  There are others as well.

But then there are issues of little to no importance.  Is the freedom to walk around with tits hanging out really a form of oppression that needs to be fought?  Moreover, it's not even legal oppression, it's just the result of societal and cultural norms.

FLG has mentioned this before, but this is where the whole social constructed theory of reality really begins to make its holders look stupid.  First, reality is at least partially socially constructed.  FLG doesn't dispute that.  However, the problem arises when people want to believe the entire world is socially constructed.  If there is some sort of biological basis for reality than the reformers are constrained in immutable ways.  But...but...if it's all just what we agree upon than the world is infinitely malleable.

But FLG, I hear you saying, the idea that women ought to cover their breasts is socially constructed.  This is true.  But it's a question of priority.  Does the requirement that women cover their nipples, which is all that we are really talking about here, prevent women from flourishing as human beings?  FLG seriously doubts it.

See, but for true believers of the social construction ideal my question is too narrow.  It's not that covering their nipples itself is an issue, but that it reinforces the notion that men and women can be treated differently.  Therefore, it needs to be overturned.  But then they run into a small problem.  Women's and men's breasts are, in point of fact, biologically different.  Does that mean that women ought to cover them?  Not necessarily. But it seems quixotic at best to say that human beings ought to react the exact same to men and women walking down the street topless.  Even in places where topless beaches are relatively commonplace, say France, FLG guarantees that eyes linger longer on the females than the males.  Male breasts simply aren't secondary sex characteristics.

Next, and this slightly tangential, FLG has long maintained that gender is a spectrum and socially constructed, while perhaps true in theory, is ultimately doomed in practice largely for the reasons the topless people are so silly.  Let's say gender is a spectrum and a person can choose any point along the spectrum to be.  That's all well and good.  The person then thinks of themselves as at that point.  Trouble is that gender has two sides.  We have our gender, but if you think about it, almost the entire point of that is how we relate to and are treated by other members of society.  Well, people you meet can't interpret the infinitesimally small point you've determined for yourself on some spectrum and react accordingly.  They perhaps can pickup some markers and get the general idea, but people are inevitably going to react in ways that don't accord with the specific gender point.  The best that can be hoped for is a set of more categories than binary man and woman, but the people the gender spectrum theory would benefit if put into practice magically would still feel uncomfortable in many situations.

This is where the gender as spectrum people usually retreat to the "treat everybody the same" argument.  But the primary point of gender is to be treated differently by different people in different situations.  So, they are actually arguing for the elimination of gender, which FLG doesn't think they recognize because gender is so important to them, but then again FLG doesn't think these make-a-scene-about-something activist types are terribly pensive anyway.

Finally, this lack of pensiveness among make-a-scene-about-something types is on display at Georgetown.  Some students are protesting the university's anti-contraception policy.  To which FLG says, it's a private, Jesuit, Roman Catholic university that is adhering to Church doctrine and nobody is forced to attend.  Moreover, there's a fucking CVS a few blocks away.  Shit.  If the availability of condoms on campus is so important to you, then fucking transfer you idiots.

This quote by one of the organizers sums up both the smugness and idiocy of the protesters:
It showed we are ready to stop at nothing to get justice

Yes. Of course. Poor, oppressed Georgetown student. FLG is so impressed by the adversity these students have overcome and the courage they have to fight the good fight. Nelson Mandela's got nothing on them.

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