Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Horray for boobies... But where the hell is my man candy?

I have never really understood straight men's fascination with breasts. Mostly they seem like two useless jiggly bits of fat that bounce around when I am dashing about. I know that there is some use to having them presumably for that small window of time when they are used for feeding a baby (should I choose to have one) at which point my hooters are vital to the continuation of the species. Sometimes I can get turned on by someone who knows what they are doing stimulating them, but I am the one who derives pleasure from it. So I am still left wondering, what is the big deal about boobies that motivates the straight men (and presumably some lesbians) of Auckland to line the streets of Auckland for their very own version of the Santa parade?

With no disrespect to other writers on the subject, my objection to boobs on bikes has nothing to do with the emphasis on women as only breasts or sexual beings. It is clear that for some bizarre reason men like breasts and if women want to parade theirs in public then I say all power to them. Their body, their choice. Yes I realize that they are helping to create an environment where women can be objectified by men and all the nasty things that entails, but so too do the women going out on the town for a drunken one night stand and yet we don't tell them to stay home or not drink in case men do bad things to other women in similar situations. We place the blame where it should be, on the minority of men who think that they have a right to control womens bodies.

I don't even care if the pornographer wants to make a quick quid from the parade, it would be hypocritical of me to denounce people making money from pornography when I've watched it and even purchased some on various occasions.* My objection to boobs on bikes is that as a heterosexual woman there is nothing in this 'celebration of erotica' for me to enjoy.

So I ask the question the question that has yet to be asked, where the hell is my eye candy? Where are the guys with the washboard abs that I can lick chocolate sauce off of? Why can't the men with butts that I could bounce my loose change off be on display instead of the ugly old men driving those bikes? Or could it be that the enjoyment of sex and human bodies is just for men?

I am sure Steve Crow's argument would be that women just aren't that interested in visual stimulation. But surely isn't the fact that he has created an event that only appeals to heterosexual men a huge factor in why women aren't interested in tagging along and presumably part of the reason why we get so pissed when we are objectified for commercial gain.

*Yes I realize there's an internet full of free porn. But it is hardly something you can gift wrap.


ms poinsettia said...

I think a lot of straight women probably do get off on looking at women's bodies. I've always thought in this culture women's bodies *are* sex and hence women are taught to get off on the thrill of being an object of desire. It's not a big leap from getting turned on by some guy's appreciation of your body (objectifying yourself) to getting turned on by another women's body (Objectifying another women). For some reason, the leap to objectifying men doesn't seem to happen as much. And when magazines were made that were centred on objectifying men(I'm thinking Playgirl here) I don't think they were that commercially successful. Whether that points to intrinsic gender differences or social conditioning or both, who can say?

Carol said...

I think the problem is not that some people find some women's breasts a bit of a turn-on. I've had this response to some women from my early teens - it's nothing rational. The problem is that the BoB is displaying women as nothing but boobs, and often in ways that exaggerate the size of that body part unnaturally.

And from what I've seen, some pretty unattractive men drive the bikes, leaving the boob displaying women with little control.

I think when women find men's bodies attractive, they don't focus obsessively on one body part.As far as I can see it's more about the appeal of the total man e.g. Daniel Carter in his undies.

I prefer the Sydney Mardi Gras Dykes on Bikes. What you get there is a diverse range of women and looks: various sizes, some displaying their boobs, some driving, etc. The focus is on the diversity of women, who presumably each are attractive to someone.

BoB creates a very narrow definition of largely anonymous female sexuality, and reduces it to one body part, separate from the woman as a whole. And yes, they don't seem to be feel any need to provide attractive men to drive the bikes.

Hugh said...

Playgirl is successful. Maybe not as successful as Playboy, but it's definitely not going out of business any time soon. But interestingly, most of the audience are homosexual men not heterosexual women. Which seems to imply that that male objectification isn't necessarily restricted to women.

Anonymous said...

This touches upon something that I've pondered for a long time: as a guy who is generally sexually-attracted to women - I say this because as a general rule I don't really believe in sexual labels. i.e. I think we're attracted to people not necessarily genders - what is it about breasts that turns me on? Is it simply social construction: I'm told I should like them; therefore I do? It's a fascinating area and I'm sure those more knowledgeable than myself will have some thoughts. No doubt the French feminists and post-structuralists have a whole canon of work devoted to this very kind of idea.