Saturday, May 31, 2014

Sexy Shoulders

A school in Utah came under fire recently after it was revealed that the administration doctored a bunch of yearbook photos. There is nothing odd about touching up and editing photos for the sake of quality and consistency, but there is something massively creepy about covering up a bunch of girls' arms and shoulders.

Apparently, these girls violated a dress code by showing too much skin and not being modest enough. Clearly, no one in charge of taking the pictures was ever actually made aware of this code, otherwise the photos wouldn't have been taken at all, right? I think The Young Turks do a bang-up job of mocking those responsible for this absurdity.

Some (indubitably) male authority figure finds the shoulders of teenage girls too tantalizing, and I"m sure he'll never have his sexual modesty questioned. As much as I find women attractive, it's hard for me to imagine the shoulders as a sexual object. Those rare moments when I find myself in the middle of highly misogynistic, objectifying banter, shoulders and arms are very rarely ever the body parts discussed. There's just too much effort required in sexualizing the shoulders, but I'm sure there are videos you can find online that will aid you in your visualization of this process.

And then there's this bullshit notion that is a lot more common, and a lot more general than the covering of shoulders. When I was in school, the rationale behind what constituted appropriate attire for females was that it should not be distracting. While having my female peers fully clothed no doubt helped me concentrate in class, no amount of Sharia shawling was going to stop me from being distracted by girls. It didn't matter what they were wearing, I was distracted by my female classmates. Hell, you could've taken them out of the room entirely, and I'd still have been daydreaming about female classmates.

I'll admit that back then I was a slave to my hormones. But I still find it absurd and offensive that I should not be held responsible for managing these distractions. All of this makes sexuality that much more arbitrarily confusing for kids, and subsequently adults. Instead of teaching our boys how to manage their own sexual desires and frustrations, we pile all of the pressure on the shoulders (now more literally than ever) of our girls.

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Sam/Tebow Comparison (Persecution Complex on Display)

Since NFL draft pick Michael Sam kissed his boyfriend on national television, certain conservatives have attempted to downplay the significance and symbolism of the moment. Since I love making psychological speculations I am nowhere near qualified enough to make, I will guess it is a natural reaction to the shame of realizing they've been wrong about something for such a length of time that it makes them appear backwards and hateful.

One writer claims that there exists a double standard in the media, because Michael Sam was praised for his bravery (of being openly gay and *gasp* kissing his boyfriend, thus SHOVING IT DOWN OUR INNOCENT, TENDER THROATS) but Tim Tebow was mocked for openly displaying his faith.

Right from the first snap, let's get one thing clear: Tim Tebow was not mocked for being a Christian. He was, however, mocked for being one-dimensional, both on the field and off. I'm not saying he was a bad guy and that he was entirely deserving of derision, but if anything his zealotry probably kept him in the game longer than his playing abilities would have otherwise dictated. In this country, Christians are the majority. Even if they weren't, there is still a vocal enough minority of Bible-thumping born-agains and Baptists who are willing to cough up the cash for the replica jerseys of anyone who represents them on the national stage.

But this isn't so much about Tebow as it is about the author's persecution complex and discomfort with homosexuality. She writes, "Tebow also didn’t whine like a baby when someone made fun of his beliefs, and that goes for most followers of Christ. Christians know who they are and they’re used to society hating them for it."

Really? Society hates Christians? How many presidents have been Christian? How many members of congress? She may claim the not-a-true-scotsman fallacy for most of these individuals, so for argument's sake, let's pretend that wouldn't be fallacious; who exactly are these "fake" Christians trying to appeal to?

"Why did ESPN find it necessary to show Sam kissing his boyfriend? If the gay community wants to be treated the same, they should stop expecting special treatment."

"Don’t get me wrong. I have no ill will towards gay people, but if you find all your identity in your sexual orientation and have to flaunt it absolutely all the time, there must be another underlying issue."

Hannah (I'll just address you now directly), there is nothing weird or exceptional about kissing your loved one when you achieve something great. Please admit that you are bothered by the normalization of this act, and not the exceptionality of it. The kiss is brave because so many people like you hate seeing it. If you see a celebratory kiss as "flaunting" someone's sexual orientation, I believe you yourself have some underlying issue.

Also, if there exists such an egregious double standard, why hasn't Mike Singletary seen the media pull him down by his giant fucking cross necklace?

I've said this before and I'll say it again; I played football. I saw great players give up the game because they were gay and their teammates expressed homophobic sentiments. Michael Sam gives kids like them hope. It shows them that they too can be included in something big and cool and fun. It is incredibly sad to me that you feel so threatened by that.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Why I Believe "Bubble Butt" is Brilliant

If you are unfamiliar with the Major Lazer song and video, "Bubble Butt," take a moment to acclimate yourself.

I understand if the gratuitous posteriors offend some of you. On the surface, it appears as if this video is a prime example of female objectification. But(t), I beg of you, look closer. On the backside (see what I did there? No? Let's pretend this never happened then), this video features a bountiful range of booty types. Some are the run of the mill oversized rumps you see in every music video (well, every music video featuring dancing women. We'll have to keep waiting for a Tegan and Sara twerk-off). Other asses are relatively small and firm, and more than a few are disgustingly dense.

In between all of this is an oversized woman attacking a city. Her multifaceted disembodied head occasionally spins around like a mirror ball, reflecting all that we normally find acceptable, abhorrent, or sexy and simultaneously disgusting about mainstream music. And this is where it really gets me. Major Lazer is a collaborative effort. All of their releases bend genres, not the least of which include reggae, dancehall, trap, rap, and anything else you could conceivably use to get your bubble butt shaking. They bend those genres, it seems, until they snap and bleed into one solid, coherent work of art.

Eric Warheim does something very similar with this video. He takes everything provocative but otherwise officially "okay" about sexual objectification, and pushes it just beyond the point of what is commonly acceptable. This video forces us to reconcile our ideals with our animal lust and our hostile reality.

If nothing else, the song itself is so catchy that it burrows into your brain and lays bubble butt eggs somewhere around the part of your brain that is connected to your ears. They hatch at random and you must feed the little minions by listening to the song again and again.

Some of you may accuse me of reading far too deeply into this song and video. My only response is that I'd rather read too deeply into something enigmatically simple than recklessly ignore something important.