Over at Hugo's blog, there's a discussion going on about going shirtless in public. One of the comments is by a someone called Mermade:
Yes, we women are attracted to a man's nice chest, but I don't think that girls struggle nearly to the same extent as guys with staring at a man's chest, grabbing it and making crude jokes about it.
What bothers me the most about the statement, "Men can expose their chests in public, so women should be able to, too" is more or less about the undertones of it all. Basically, that would mean that a woman's breasts are no more special or valuable than a man's chest. It kind of means that they don't hold any uniqueness. (I know that's not what you mean, but that's how I feel). And I just don't buy into that. I think a woman's breasts are a part of the body that is very, very, very special. They already go under enough scrutiny when covered up.(emphasis mine) So I don't know... I just can't see eye-to-eye with you on this.
I disagree with this statement quite a bit, mainly because I know that women aren't any better at hiding our lust than men are, there are just stronger reprocusions when we do it. If I make a guy uncomfortable about looking at his chest, he might kick my ass, or at the very least, there are strong social reprocusions for it. I am already castigated as a slut for being "openly" sexual, it would be even worse if I did the creepy lust thing that guys feel okay doing. My breasts ARE NOT any more special than a man's, mine just happen to be a bit bigger and a little more useful when it comes to child-raising. As a sort of tom-boy, I'm telling you: you can be "groped" without it being anything sexual, as has happened when I played football or wrestling. The fact that my breasts are under scrutinity a lot means that many guys don't respect boundries, not that they are inherantly sexual. I mean, when ankles had to be covered up, they were considered sexual. I could be dressed as a nun, and I could still inspire lust. So, it's not my body, or any particular part of it that inspires lust or is inheirantly sexual: it's other's responses to it that does.
Perplex's quote was this:
I'm in agreement with Mermade here. Men's chests and women's breasts are obviously different, with a stronger sexualisation of women's breasts than men's chests - the reasons for which belong to another thread. Nevertheless, this is a fact. Correct me if I'm wrong, but are their any strip bars where you see SINGLE women (as in, walking in on their own) ogling men's chests? The only male strip bars I see are where you get "hen parties" (like a big group of women) who treat it all as a big laugh watching some guy strip. And I just see them laughing and enjoying themselves, not really ogling men's chests in silence. Also, what about porn for women? Again, can we really compare the amount of porn aimed at women's breasts (for men) with men's chests (for women)?
My point is that sexual parts of the body are covered for decency. That's why both men and women must cover their genitals. If it was a patriarchal conspiracy, men could walk around completely naked.
The fact that others sexualize me as a female is NOT my fault. I more than the sum of my body parts. And just because women express sexuality differently then men, and just because we have been socialized to not express that toward men, does not men that it doesn't exsist or that it isn't as strong. Consuming porn isn't really the must healthy way to express oneself as a sexual being, anyway, in my mind. My body is NOT indecent, and neither is a male's: it might be the nudist in me, but I don't think that there's anything wrong with it.