This post is a response to Why Biking Enthusiasts Need To Be A Bit More ‘Hollywood’ About Things by This Big City
I would have said ‘Great rack!’ but because it wouldn’t be a politically correct statement, and because I don’t want to be an ogre that comes down hard on anyone’s choice to dress as he or she pleases — and because I love the female form, especially Monica Bellucci’s (wow!) — let me just say, ‘Great way to use one’s body assets to promote oneself and other products, including bicycles, because clearly a knockout cleavage and a short dress have everything to do with bicycles.’
And by the way, ‘Great rack!’ just in case it didn’t sink in the first time.
Alright, ‘rack’ is a little condescending, an objectifying term. It’s akin to looking at a man and saying, ‘look at those guns!’ which is a totally inappropriate and objectifying statement to make about a man’s arms, so let me rephrase:
I’m sensing that some people are still upset. I don’t see why though. I just made a perfectly sound set of cheeky statements about appearances and sexuality in a way that has everything to do with the image above. I’m dead center on how that image was meant to come across, acknowledging its effect(iveness). Yes, I peppered my piece with sarcasm to give it more flavor, so what? When they make sarcasm illegal, sue me.
But because I want to be fair, I’d like to offer readers the chance to prove me wrong. I’ll retract my position if anyone can make a sound argument against my claim that these boobies and legs were used to elicit an emotional response from the original article’s audience. They were used as clickbait, you know how it works, turning the model into an object. Or maybe the model consented to the picture, becoming an accomplice in the exploitation/weaponization of sexuality. The author seems to know what he’s doing, choosing that image.
And I, the observer, am a justified commentator.
A few words on my worldview: I defend women’s choice to dress themselves in miniskirts, g-strings and see-through blouses, among other things, because I enjoy looking at them, not staring, looking — ok maybe a bit of staring when no one’s looking, and a little gazing when someone’s looking, depending on the situation. I love the explosion of sexuality we’re experiencing across the world right now. I don’t think it bodes well for the species — see alien observing oversexualized ape scenario – but I love it. When it suits me.
I also believe in a woman’s freedom to dress as she pleases, but that’s too obvious a point to make, and too serious. I want to stick to the provocative aspect of this argument.
Back to overt and commoditized sexuality, and the pleasures it comes with. Given the circumstances, I, as well as any rational person, am at perfect liberty to point out that the aforementioned sexual freedom comes with a hook (duh! it’s how it works) a hook that involves stirring up emotional and sexual responses in people. In this case (see rack above — I’m talking about the bike frame on which Monica is resting this time, though the focus is still on Monica, funnily enough) in this here case, as in countless others, the hOOk was applied with intent, as in ‘I know perfectly well what’s happening, how this photo shoot is supposed to work — how it’ll be used to sell pics, image rights, bikes, and tourist packages to Italy and California.’
How to qualify it then? Two options: a) call the behavior slutty or manipulative, demanding it ceases immediately (I don’t like this option), or b) celebrate the wonderful body bursting out of that dress, wishing the seams were weaker, while also getting a strange impulse to go riding in the park.
I vote option b), hands down. It not only is the civilized approach (people can dress as they please, and sexuality has opened up, and it’s ridiculous to even discuss it — it’s a done deal, get over it), but it also allows me to comment on the use of flesh as an advertizing commodity without being branded a ‘sexist pig.’
We all know what’s going on, how it works. Sex in advertizing is everywhere, perfectly legit, we watch it and react to it with lust, buying things we wouldn’t normally buy (yep!) and can’t stop commenting on it. Many of us love it, can’t get enough of it. We thank God for feminism and the way it brought the soft-core material to our living screens for free.
Others enjoy it with a caveat. Not everything we say about it is supportive and positive because, hey, that’s not reasonable. There are things that are wrong with sex in advertising, points to be made, and make them people will, despite the efforts of the indignant to shut them up.
See, there’s a tendency to brand sexist anyone who comments on sexuality. Raise an issue with cleavage and what it has to do with bicycles, and you’re a pig, at least in the eyes of some crusaders. Say that you enjoy looking at said cleavage makes you even more of a pig. Angry at how objectified some women are, the crusaders blame it on the rooster who comments on it. It’s a no-win situation: damned of you applaud, damned if you don’t.
The secret is not to care. Applaud with your heart, cleavage is good, naked flesh is awesome, sexuality amazing, can’t get enough of it, don’t be shy, ask for more. If the cultural watchdogs get upset, flip them the bird.
Sorry gender crusaders, If you want to come down hard on anyone, take it out on the model and the writer who set up this ‘objectification’ in the first place. Take it out on the sex-appeal industrial complex. Don’t come after the messenger. Don’t blame someone who embraces the boom of sexuality, not on account of one’s honesty. Don’t like the tone? Take it up with the tone police. There isn’t one? Take a cold shower!
Bottom line, if sexuality is a thing, and freedom to dress and pose as we please a right, we have to be able to comment on it on sexual grounds (not sexist but sexual) without being shamed. Let me be aroused when I see an image designed to arouse me. Let me express myself in a manner that reflects what the image wants from me. Don’t shut me down for responding to it. As long as I’m minding my own business, what’s the problem? The notion that we should respond to sexuality in non-sexual terms is nonsense. What kind of bolshevik bullshit is that? Liberal-slash-oppressive? Freedom to be sexy comes with freedom to comment on it. When ads are floated on sex, get ready to be called out for it, or praised for it in terms that highlight the choices made. Sometimes the choices made come across a little cheaper than one would have liked. Their ulterior motives are revealed, their weak points traced out. Deal with it! That’s how commentary in an open society works. The subject is fair game.
So here we are, enjoying the benefits of open sexuality, warts and all. Until someone comes up with a sound rebuttal to why we can’t be crass or sarcastic about it, I’m going to enjoy myself, spending my time in a world brimming with sexual freedom, if you don’t mind. I, like everyone else, am at perfect liberty to comment on the sex-appeal industrial-complex and all that it entails, positive and negative, light or serious, with tongue in cheek or at face value, on both men and women alike.
Now where’s that picture of Brad Pitt with his sizzling six-pack that has everything to do with jeans and cars and whatever the screen is selling? Yummy-yum, let me get a feel of those guns, see how they recoil in my grip.