Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Case of Sexualized Attention

"Why do you hate (certain person)?" nobody asked me ever, but I'm going to answer anyway.

"Because she sexualizes her attention," I say to the person who doesn't exist.

"What does that mean?"

Hi, I'm Scarlet. You may remember me from The Case of "Empowerment," Your Music is Too Loud, and Get Off My Lawn.

I've made up the term; I'm not sure if there's a better term I haven't found yet. I shy away from "attention whore" because of the unnecessary usage of whore, and because that's not quite what I'm talking about.

Sexualized attention takes many forms. It could be flirting (not all flirting is equal), it could be suggestive body language, or it could be provocative clothing. Mostly, it's all three put together, for the sake of getting something out of someone (other than sex / sexual relations).

(What it's not: the person in suggestive clothing that is giving you the cold shoulder / not engaging you. Nope. The friendly banter between you and another person that leaves you feeling a little warm. Nuh uh. Your date that got a little heated but didn't go anywhere. Maybe, but probably not.)

The point of sexualized attention is to use sex or  suggestion of sex to keep the other person's attention. Asking for help replacing a flat tire is normal. Telling someone they are a big strong man with sultry eyes and a come hither stare is using sex for attention.

Why does it matter? Because as a woman (I don't know of this happens among guys) providing sexualized attention is "worth" more to a man than regular conversation.

For example, I was having a great nerd conversation with a guy once. I wasn't look to bang or get into a relationship or anything---just making small nerd talk. A woman comes up, dressed up as a slutty cop (it was Halloween) and flat out says, "I loooove sucking cock."

And BOOM! I ceased to exist. Our conversation was over, I was rendered invisible, and the drool on his face was evident.  She went on to explain how she was going to suck cock right here at this party and he was entranced. I walked away, completely forgotten, not visible next to a woman with a huge rack talking about sucking cock.

There's no way to "win" as a woman, when another woman uses her sexuality. Men love it. Men will eat up any sexualized attention they receive, and some women use it as a weapon.

I thought it was only high school that guys were hypnotized by boobs, but it never went away. Guys would complain about wanting a girl friend to play video games with.....only to be at the beck and call of the girl who developed early. She was the dumbest person I'd ever met--she thought she invented 'oy vey' and was skeptical re: Jewish phrases.

Some women know this at a conscious level; some women don't understand why the guy thinks she likes him, even when she cuddles and giggles and strokes his hair.

Advertising uses it to the extreme form (does anything not use sexy women to sell their product?) But women do it themselves too. A woman who sexualized herself is prized by the media and marketing. A woman with experience and education is nothing compared to a woman who knows how to make a man feel good.

Of course, I'm not allowed to say any of this. It is some sort of shaming now---probably slut shaming, though I have no issue with who / how manu they've slept with. At least I'd you sleep with them, it's not for an ulterior motive.

I guess that makes me a fake shamer.

The Case of "Empowerment"

The word "empowered" sends shivers down my spine. It's a good bet that it's used when talking about a woman who is wearing revealing clothing, and not anything else, like "empowering girls to pursue science!" or "empowering girls to follow your dreams!"

Hi, I'm Scarlet, and I will be your Hater for the evening.

Every time I turn around, there's another article about how empowered a woman is because she's wearing something that just happens to a) shows off her cleavage, or b) show us her ass cheeks, or the weird new c) option, which is holes cut randomly around the hips because how would we know she was a woman if half her clothes weren't missing.

And to some women that's empowering. Don't mistake it for objectification-- they're doing it for themselves! Other people's opinions don't matter! As if we are not products of our culture and we weren't feed these images since we were kids.

Though it's marked as progressive, it's really the same spiel that's been going around for a long time. Women who are sexualized ( I'm sorry, sexualize themselves) are the most womanly women. They are the epitome of what it means to be woman. High heels. Make up. Designer clothes. Tits up and ass out.

In a society supposedly demolishing the idea of gender norms, it really seems to be doubling down on it. We applaud women who "dare" to take center stage in short shorts and killer high heels, or who decide to post nudies of themselves out of "self love"---nevermind that society always love a woman in leather and heels, or how "self love" requires the attention, gratification and feedback of millions of followers.

Now, a woman (or anyone) who shared a nude selfie after a mastectomy? Brave. Someone shows their less-than-perfect body to show that perfection is a myth? Honest. But a celebrity who shares nudies / almost nudes / sex tapes frequently? BORING. Boring fucking shit.

There's not room in our society for women that don't find sexualization empowering. Someone went so far as to call it rape culture---as in, if you don't stand up and applaud every time someone posts a selfie, you're a soulless harpy that somehow hates women.

Lips are curled and noses are looked down at any women who don't want to wear heels or makeup. "You're one of them"  they snarl, as if every woman is either sex diva that loves her ass to hang out, or a closet case just waiting for someone to liberate them---by wearing lingerie and fetish wear out in public. Not for other people, of course. For yourself.

And not buying into it makes you a something-ist. Sexist, misogynist, sex phobic, whorephobic (I thought you weren't supposed to judge people based on their clothing but I guess not???)

I have no idea how we went from "you should do this or you're not a woman" to "you should do it or you're not an empowered woman." They very people that were supposed to be accepting of different choices are now doubling down the same sexist standards.

Call it a great rebranding effort:

"It's not objectification; it's empowerment."