Posts Tagged ‘images’

Here’s your piece of Carnivorous Surprise for the month: BREAST CANCER IS NOT SEXXY. It’s an awful disease that kills people (men AND wimmins) and causes them to sometimes have parts of their body cut out, off, and around. Mount Franklin would like you to know that not only is chestal carcinoma the flavour of the month (or the flavour of the godfucken YEAR if the LENGTH of this STUPID CAMPAIGN indicates), it also signifies a whole lot of messages about the attractiveness of women, boobs, women with boobs, and women without boobs. All of them about as palatable as having a malignant growth in your left tit should be.

Back in ’94, me mam had breast cancer. I was of a squidgy, eeny kind of age, where the main things I gained from the situation were blind panic about my mother’s life hanging by a thread and a weird, inexplicable taste for hospital food, nurtured by stealing bites of her “mashed potato” when I visited her, feverish and sweaty, on the cancer ward (I was a kid with my priorities straight, what can I say). This means two main things for me right now: one, I very much understand the horror, from a precocious but nevertheless childishly impressionable perspective, of having someone you love in danger of popping their clogs due to a bit of rogue cell gunge in their body, and two, I very much understand the fear of contracting this disease myself.

So let me say this: I do not care about saving my funbags. Fuck my tits. My tits, apart from their possible spatio-temporal involvement in the growth of tumours, are the absolute last thing I would be worried about if I happened to contract breast cancer. This may come out of left field for the few of you in the audience who are unutterably misogynist prickfaces (hi there!), but I would first and foremost be worried about MY CONTINUED FUCKING EXISTENCE. My ability to skip gaily through life making fun of everything is not going to be affected by chopping off a few fat cells and milk ducts, but the condition of pushing the daisies certainly would. This is not to say that women who are extremely attached to their breasts are wrong, simply that some faceless advertising wolverine trying to figure out how to suck three bucks out of me for a product which will inevitably destroy the planet and whose pthalate-enriched packaging is probably carcinogenic, does not get to decide what is most important to people with (or who might get) breast cancer.

And another thing: women without breasts can still be attractive and worthy human beings, you tit-centric boobonormative ogres. Women who decide that their life is worth more than their boobs, or maybe decide not to opt for reconstruction, have just as much right to relate on a sexual or attraction-based level to their chests as women who have congenital boobs, non-congenital boobs, reconstructed boobs, or boobs made out of fucking breeze blocks. Losing your boobs does not have to equal losing your mojo. Conversely, this stupid ad also does the opposite side of the objectification coin, sexualising ALL women’s breasts, women who may not feel that catching attention with their boobs is their God-given highest purpose in life. I certainly don’t feel comfortable with the idea that some schlub drinking a bottle of water is imagining they’re suckling from my teat, although that image is funnier when you remember that men get breast cancer as well, I suppose.

I haven’t even broached the subject of the overwhelming and nauseating dominance of the colour pink in breast cancer activism, or the dubious purposes toward which your pink titty-dollars are put, or the even creepier suggestion that breast-checking is a mandatory activity which a representative of patriarchal dominance is entitled to perform for you if you don’t do it yourself. Basically the whole thing is a clusterfuck which makes me wish I didn’t even have boobs, and lived in a state of hermitude on the tit-free planet of Mars.


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Pussycat Witchhunt

In the spirit of it being university holidays,  I’m going to see if I can re-introduce the concept of leisure into newsblogging. I could do this during semester, but who has the time? After you add together all the hours I spend polishing my silverware, tatting lace, and being a slut, there’s very little time left over to peruse the various news sources with one hand and furiously masturbate with the other. What? I’m a female Arts student, apparently it’s expected. (Oh, the calluses.)

So here is, had you not deciphered the sheepish apology in the preceding paragraph, a news story that was not only published five days ago, but is, in content, Shockingly Old: Pussycat Dolls Milk Porn for Power.

Here’s the thing. I really, really like Ariel Levy. I find her charming, clever, and unaffected; her piece on getting married to another woman is one of the things I read to myself after enduring an horrific event, like wearing a hole in my shoe, or eating slightly too much pudding. Despite this, I occasionally curse her. She is, if not solely, then majorly responsible for the trend of this article that I find leaves a shallow, satiny taste in my mouth:

Instead of waiting to be subjugated as sex objects, women are rushing to present themselves that way, objectifying not only themselves but other women.

This about the Pussycat Dolls, recall. The entire article is pervaded by this tone, rushing to blame not the corporate machine that created the Pussycat Dolls, but the gyrating, tanned Feline Faux Humanoids themselves. The concern of the author is decidedly feminist in nature, as she frets over the sexualised presentation of plasticised femmebots to girls not old enough to shimmy into glittery, padded “training bras” (I’ll do a post about them, I promise):

The message is clear: Women can do whatever they want, and what they want most is to please men. It’s a confusing message from a group of women with fame and money, marketing themselves to the barely pubescent.

Yes, thanks, some of us may have noticed over the intervening 10,000 years of human cultural evolution that depictions of women are generally engineered to present aspects of male fantasy, and concluded that marketing these images to impressionable young mites might seriously warp their conception of gender roles. Come on, though; I don’t think it counts as denying women’s agency to suggest that maybe the people responsible for this carefully constructed and ubiquitous artifice are the people who construct and perpetuate the artifice, also known as “recording companies”. I’m not saying that the Dolls themselves are oblivious puppets, because if someone offered me millions of dollars to dance around occasionally in my underwear, you’d better believe I’d rip off the old wimple and go for it.

The point is that it’s a bit unfair, within a system of cultural currency where women are at their most venerated and profitable when skinny, nude, and lascivious, to blame women who choose to be skinny, nude, and lascivious. I want to see someone cutting through the moral panic bullshit and flinging the dart at the right target, the one with “A&M RECORDS: YOU MUST BE THIS SASSY TO RIDE” written on it. I don’t hate the Pussycat Dolls; in fact, I’m quite proud of them for taking commercial advantage of their exceptionally writhe-suited physiques. It’s what they’ve got, it’s what they’re obviously very good at, and given the expansive niche for it in popular culture, someone’s got to do the job.

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