Hey, I’m Cute, Too!

Over at Jezebel, they’re having this discussion about Ellen von Unwerth’s photos. In fact, her whole book of photos of women is available for free on the internet. It is completely not safe for work. Not even a little bit. Boobs, gals comparing pubic hair, touching themselves, touching each other, bending over so you can see their underwear, tugging cutely on said underwear–on and on and on.

And the discussion over there is interesting, about whether photos like this are less problematic because they’re taken by a woman, about whether they’re vulgar, about whether they’re exploitative, about whether, in other words, it’s the same sexist shit on a different day.

For me, I experience the images as playful and as women performing playful and sexy for other women. I’m sure I’m biased, but I feel like I can tell that those photos were taken by a woman. They’re sexy, but in this “we’re doing this with you” way, not in the performance-y “we’re doing this for you” way of photos of women taken for straight men.

“Imagine you’re us or here with us, doing this, too.” is what I feel like I’m being asked as a viewer.

And the thing is, I really want to.

But after 400 pages of photos, I realize I can’t.  The “you” invited is not me.  It’s not a lot of women. And the more photos you see, the more you realize what a very narrow slice of womanhood is represented here. And yet, I can’t  help but feel like the emotions being expressed are pretty universal–women want to be funny and at ease with each other and ourselves. We want the ways we’re intimate with each other (not just sexually, but sexually, too) to be recognized and recognized as having value. Women are so often set against each other that seeing photos of us in which that’s not the case is pretty awesome. I think.

And I want to see myself that way, too. I want to be the cute girl in the flouncy skirt straddling the man in the top hat in some Moulin Rouge fantasy world. Or I want to see women who look like me doing that. I want to see women who look like my mom and her friends sitting at the piano naked. I want to see more women of color. I want to see women who don’t have perfect bodies.

And yet, I know this is a kind of bullshit want.

Opening up the gates so that we can all be sexy doesn’t really get us past the whole “women are for sex” problem.

So, I don’t know. I was hoping when I started out this post I’d end up somewhere, with some understanding, but I didn’t. I did get to look at naked pictures, though, so that’s something.

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Whew, Things Got Ugly at the Convention Center Forum

At Steve Gill’s convention center thing, Liz Garrigan reports that restaurateur Randy Rayburn attacked Metro Councilperson Emily Evans.

He called out another panelist, project skeptic and Metro Council member Emily Evans, saying that while his businesses create jobs, “Council Lady Evans has not created any jobs in the marketplace that I’m aware of.”

So, that’s the standard? Create jobs and you get respect? By that standard, we should invite pimps and mid-level drug dealers to have a say in the convention center debate.

Nice.

Real nice.

I guess all of us who aren’t as fortunate as Mr. Rayburn just need to learn our place and do what he says, because, unlike most of us, he creates jobs. You know, unless you count the people who eat at his restaurants and pay the salaries of those people whose jobs he “created,” without whom he’d have no business and no ability to create jobs.

I’d just mention that Evans’s money spends and spends in Rayburn’s restaurants.

You’d think, in this economy, he wouldn’t want to alienate customers.

And this part is weird, too. Rayburn accuses Evans of opposing the convention center because she wants to use her opposition of the convention center as a springboard for a run for mayor.

At the same time that proponents of the convention center are acting like the convention center is so popular and it’s just a couple of worry-warts who are standing in the way, Rayburn seems to be saying that opposing the convention center is popular enough among Nashvillians that holding that stance could launch a mayoral run.

So, which is it?

And lastly, is it really that weird that Gaylord would be involved in this debate? I’ve been saying since this summer that it was obvious that the proponents of the convention center wanted to compete with Gaylord for convention business.

So now they’re outraged that the business people at Gaylord are attempting to protect their business interests? And these people run around claiming to be great businessmen themselves?

And I still don’t understand why, if so many businesspeople around town think this is a good idea, they don’t put their own money into it.

Ha, you know, at this point, I’d really be fine with there being a new convention center if the leading proponents and the media agreed to a deal where, whenever the convention center was mentioned in a news story, folks like Rayburn were named.

If it turns out to be a great thing for the city, Rayburn and his friends would continually get credit–“MCC, whose biggest advocate was Randy Rayburn, did eleven billion dollars worth of business this year!” If it turns out to not be as popular as promised and if it costs local taxpayers money, then Rayburn should face that association as well.

But I’m more thinking that the MCC will go up. It will do middlingly well, though not as well as promised because we live in the age of the internet. And life will go on. Few people will remember who stood for it or against it.