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January 17, 2014

Apparently Modern Feminism Is Pretty Much All About Pubic Hair

No seriously. I won't google-prove this but every day I see Feminists insisting on two propositions that seem contradictory to me:

1. We are serious people who should be taken seriously for our serious thoughts and serious criticisms about society.

2. We're being oppressed by a societal preference for shaving or grooming our mons junk.

Let me say something obvious: Your preferences about such small-potatoes personal-taste questions are not "political," nor are they "cultural" nor "sociological" or whatever you wish to term them. They are simply personal choices, which have as much to do with politics as my infamous love of risotto.

These are trivial things which trivial people chatter about because they can do no other.

American Apparel, which likes flattering trivial people by making Important Declarations that their trivial bugaboos are important (for example, they recently sold a t-shirt adorned with line-art of a menstruating vagina, which, for reasons I cannot fathom, is an Important Declaration about sex-buckets), now makes another Important Declaration: display mannequins in store windows should feature very-visible pubic hair.

First of all let me note the "shocked" reaction from onlookers is not actually due, mostly, to this Important Declaration in favor of renormalizing 70s-style bushes. Much of the shocked reaction (if it is shocked, as opposed to "annoyed at people who are Trying To Hard to Shock me") is due to the fact that mannequins, which for years have been denuded of all sexual features -- they feature the de-sexed form of women only, which permits an onlooker to judge how a garment might hang on a naked human body without actually seeing a naked human body -- are now being invested with anatomically-correct sexual features.

The deliberately anodyne desexualization of a department mannequin is designed to inform a consumer without injecting overt sexuality into the matter.

Adorning a mannequin with a big-ass merkin and nipples (yup, they've got those too) sexualizes that which had been for 100 years been desexualized. No one thinks "sex" when he sees a department store mannequin (well, a few perverts with specialized interests, sure, but no one else) because sex is removed from the picture.

People are not so much "shocked" as annoyed at the publicity stunt -- why do I need to see nipples and pubic hair to get a sense of how clothes might fit me?

Now, American Apparel wants Feminists everywhere to praise them for featuring "real women's bodies" or something, and Shocking the Straights with the Terrible Secret that women tend to have pubic hair.

And yet... when I look at the American Apparel mannequins, I do not see "real women's bodies," now do I? What I see, yet again, is an almost comically-idealized figure which sets the standard that a Barbie-like frame is the ideal, and not just an ideal, but indeed a normative standard to which we should all aspire.

So why isn't American Apparel featuring more likely female bodyshapes? Where are the chubby girls? Where are the skin-and-bones girls with not much bust or hip?

These are "real women's bodies," and much more common than the Genetic Lottery Winners or Straight-Up Fantasy Bodies that serve as the template of every American Apparel mannequin.

But no, it's all the same Negative Body Messaging Oppressive Male Gaze Patriarchal Standards of Feminine Beauty we always get, isn't it?

So, they took a mannequin with impossibly long-legs and and very unlikely combination of 6% bodyfat and yet generous breasts and slapped a merkin on it.

Yaayyyy Important Declarations about normalizing "real women's bodies."



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posted by Ace at 02:11 PM

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