I have the cutest picture of Dr. J and me kissing at some drunken Halloween party. I went as a cat and she’s wearing my ears. It’s a real kiss, not one of those fake “for the boys” kisses you see some girls do. And it’s one of those photos that I look at and it just makes me laugh. It’s cute and sweet and funny and, since Dr. J is one of my dearest friends, I’m glad we smooched and it was caught for posterity. Probably, at the time, it seemed a little scandalous, but now, it just seems sweet.
I say all this up front just because that’s the first thing I thought of when I saw the now infamous photos of Bob Corker’s daughter. I saw it, thought “Give her a real kiss, you wimp,” and smiled and moved on.
I wish I’d had the guts in college to say, “Fuck my dad’s job. This is my life and I’ll do whatever dumbass thing I want, even if he’ll find out.” I did not have those guts, which is why my college career was marked by long passages of doing nothing interrupted by brief drunken bouts of awkward indiscretions. It wasn’t until I got to grad school that I even thought of doing shit just for the hell of it, just because I thought it might be fun.
So, good for you, Julia Corker.
But… and you knew that was coming… apparently that’s not the majority attitude.
So, go read Kleinheider’s post and then come back here where we attempt to parse the salient points. Trust me, it’s worth it, if only to see Kleinheider speculate about Sarcastro‘s masturbatory habits.
Okay, then, let’s get started.
Point Number One: Kleinheider Thinks He’s Defending Corker’s Honor, When Really He’s Slut Shaming
Slut shaming, for those of you not up on your third-wave feminist terms is the act of attempting to make women feel ashamed for enjoying or, and this is critical, seeming to enjoy sex. As any girl who’s been through high school knows, you can be a slut even if you’ve never had sex. It’s not about what you do or don’t do, it’s about keeping you in line.
Here’s how things work: under our current system*, women are responsible for men’s behavior and it is our duty to make men behave properly in all aspects of society by allowing or cutting off access to our vaginas in order to insure that men do what they’re supposed to do. This is really a bullshit role for women, because it means that our primary relationship to sex is therefore one of duty to society and not pleasure for ourselves. Since it is a bullshit role, women have to be forced into it. The main way we are forced into it is by indoctrination into the belief that women who enjoy sex, or seem like they might enjoy sex, are bad and evil–this is accomplished by slut shaming. A “slut” is discovered and she is ridiculed, not only to ostracize her from the community, but also to frighten other women from acting out (or, more realistically, being discovered) in ways that contradict the current system.
So, here’s what Kleinheider is up to. There’s these pictures of Julia Corker acting in a way that is outside the parameters of appropriate behavior for women under our current system–“The pictures are out there. It was a despicable thing to do but they are now in the public sphere.” Does Kleinheider then argue that the current system is stupid anyway?
No, Kleinheider rushes in to defend her honor–posting her pictures is wrong, linking to them is wrong, looking at them is wrong. Kleinheider’s so sure that the pictures are naughty, that Corker should be ashamed of them, that he’s arguing that decent people will look away.
See, he doesn’t think he’s calling her a slut. He thinks he’s defending her from charges of slut-dom. But it’s only because he thinks that behavior could be perceived as slutty is such a defense necessary at all. Do you see what I’m saying? He’s saying that her behavior, which might be perceived as slutty, could be construed as something to be ashamed of.
Point Two: Has Sarcastro Become a Third Wave Feminist?
I don’t know. I just don’t know what to think. But check this:
Your whole argument seems predicated on extolling some Eisenhower-era mores while tossing in the “but, what if she was a (insert hypothetical)” card at every opportunity. Well, she isn’t. She’s an attractive girl, smart enough to make her own choices, who was having some fun and someone took a picture.
And who’s making the “women don’t need to be rescued” argument? Again, Mr. Smartypants:
Good thing she has you as the defender of her virtue, her secrets, her solitude, and her soul. […] When you appointed yourself her Galahad, did you bother to ask what her opinion is of the pictures? Or are you just assuming that girls with a couple of drinks under their belts aren’t capable of making decisions? For all you know she is proud and unapologetic.
Holy shit, Sarcastro, look at you throwing around feminist philosophy like it’s nothing but common sense! Shoot, you make me want to take back all those mean things I’ve said about you.
Point Three: We are Sexual Beings. There’s Nothing Wrong With That.
Y’all, Adam Groves looks at those pictures and says, “All I can do is preemptively say how disgusting it is” and Kleinheider is all throwing his hands up in the air and running around like someone seeing a picture of a girl in her underwear or kissing another girl is so humiliating that we all ought to be ashamed for even looking and that Sarcastro is some big pervert for not poking his eyes out after accidentally viewing the photos.
The honest truth is that the only person who has anything to be ashamed about is the dink with the bad haircut who seems to be trying to horn in on the kiss. Good lord, man, where are you aiming those lips?
But the rest of us? We’re sexual beings. We look at each other and enjoy it. I like the way a man’s shoulders move under a dress shirt. And I’m a sucker for scruff, the way it looks, the way it feels. I love how it feels when a man puts his mouth on mine and I don’t think it makes me a pervert to think about that. I love soft and curvy women and often think about how much fun it would be to squeeze them to me. That’s how it works.
We look at each other and appreciate what we see.
And, more importantly, most of the time, we like to be looked at. Sure, it’s weird as hell when people hoot at me when I’m out walking the dog, but it’s also flattering. And don’t think for a minute I’m not delighted when I catch y’all staring at my tits. It makes me feel sexy and powerful. And if construction workers want to holler out the things they’d do with me if they only had the opportunity, as long as it’s in a manner that doesn’t suggest that they’re going to pluck me off the street to do it, admire away gentlemen.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be looked at and wanting people to consider you as a sexual being.
There’s nothing wrong with being photographed looking like a sexual being. If anyone needs to reconsider what’s shameful behavior, it’s the folks who think that acknowledging women as sexual beings somehow might insinuate that those women are bad.
That’s something to be ashamed about, that you can’t get over the idea that women who look like they enjoy sex are slutty, and therefore, when “nice” girls look like they might enjoy sex, they need to be protected and sheltered from people who might “misunderstand” what’s going on.
*i.e. The Patriarchy