Monday, July 21, 2014

I'm Wonder Woman


Here's yet another swimsuit from that pile of print bathing suits that MC got for me.

Our entire household is in love with Wonder Woman. And while I fully endorse and adore her character having been co-opted by second wave feminists back in the 70's, I also absolutely refuse to accept that the "male gaze" automatically equals subjugation -- and I have the luxury of doing so, at least in part due to the efforts of those very activists. I'm an action hero regardless of whether I feel like being sexy or who I'm doing it for.

So yeah, I thought it would be fun to capture this swimsuit with a pin-up shoot.


Edit: Hey, I made a meme.

7 comments :

  1. I don't know, I think there's always a problematic element - but then you balance it, I think, with the simple act of there being an actual choice. I LOVE Wonder Woman, have always loved her, have loved her through every single horrible iteration of outfit they've ever done for her. I love her for the sort of hilarious subversion she was of traditional femininity even while she was all done up with makeup and what is essentially a swimsuit as an outfit - for the pseudo-lesbianism that her creator wanted to embrace, that was only codified later in some comics, and not others and for the BDSM under/overtones that were clearly all part of the fun of seeing who would pick up on them. I love that; but I see how she's still a problematic creature, and pinup photos definitely are problematic, too.

    On the other hand, there is subversion in taking the male gaze and choosing how to react/utilize it, too.

    Also - one more note about Wonder Woman - I'm assuming you've read Kingdom Come, right? The graphic novel that moves us ahead some time? Because Diana in that graphic novel I think is one of the best versions of her I've ever seen, and I think really drives her home. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it.

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    1. I read Kingdom Come way back in college but now that you mention it, I think I should revisit it. I don't think I fully appreciated the multi-layered aspects of books like that, the Elseworlds series, etc. at the time. Having better context for comics now, I'd probably get more out of it!

      I think that if "problematic," in this context," implies that something is complex and often divisive in its social implications, then yeah, I'm 100% with you. Shit, if the concepts here weren't at least a little problematic, I probably wouldn't have felt the need to say anything about it at all! But to me, the biggest problem in feminist rhetoric is the common social tendency within ANY ethos to get too entrenched in rhetoric in the first place; to attempt to paint lines of universality OVER TOP of context.

      Any woman with eyes in this society knows that there are images of women that are intended to both objectify and degrade. But to decide that therefore, any image of a woman that's intended to evoke pleasure is, ipso facto, degrading, is fucking asinine. That's reductive as fuck. It's so obtuse, it borders on dogmatic.

      If some faction of feminism tells a woman that she should feel fear or shame about celebrating her form because there are ignorant sections of society that will assume that by virtue of her celebration, she remits the right to have anything else about her be recognized and probably that she implies through her celebration that the viewer has physical rights to her body, that sounds to me like that faction of feminism is handing a shit load of power directly over to that ignorant segment of society. I flatly refuse to accept the terms of this rhetoric. The ignorant segment of society that draws these ridiculous conclusions has the problem, not the woman. For women to restrict themselves from celebrating beauty, lest they risk provoking the idiot minority (or even majority), is like giving in to a toddler's temper tantrum. It only reinforces dumb ideas and bad behavior and it's ethically stupid.

      I can celebrate my form, I can even enjoy the male gaze if I choose to. NONE of this means that anything else about me is rendered less important, none of it means I have fewer rights over my body. Sure, there may be many idiots out there who don't agree, but the mechanizations of our culture won't eclipse those voices by implying, through placating them, that they're correct, by ceding to the fallacy that I can't be a valid person AND be viewed in terms of "beauty" or "pleasure." To me, being a feminist partly means rejecting this silent quid-pro-quo.

      What I'm not even getting into here is whether a woman revealing her body must automatically be viewed as a function of the male gaze in the first place (spoiler alert: not really! that’s super gender dogmatic!) but anyway, sorry to run so far into rantville. I know you're smart as hell, Katie, and don't mean to imply by ranting about this stuff that you haven’t considered these perspectives. You just got me revved up! You should be a professor.

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    2. Yay! I love this whole long reply. I LOVE IT.

      And yes, by problematic I guess what I really should have said was "everything about this is complex and layered and doesn't exist in a vacuum" and other stuff like that. Sometimes I don't lay my thoughts out quite so well as I'd like to. I am all about women taking back sexuality/being sexy however it is they want to - sex-positive porn, for example; I don't really like porn personally but have thought the women-positive porn movement is insanely gratifying and an awesome thing. I get the arguments against it, that it's ALWAYS going to be bad, blah bliddity blah blah, but we're talking about primarily either women or people who are not gender-binary in one form or another getting together and working to make this medium safer and more palatable for people who are not into the degradation of women, and having that out there is always valuable to me, having that available, ensuring that people can have access to images of sexuality that have been... I guess reclaimed, for lack of a more precise term.

      "What I'm not even getting into here is whether a woman revealing her body must automatically be viewed as a function of the male gaze in the first place (spoiler alert: not really! that’s super gender dogmatic!) but anyway, sorry to run so far into rantville. I know you're smart as hell, Katie, and don't mean to imply by ranting about this stuff that you haven’t considered these perspectives. You just got me revved up! You should be a professor. "

      I like Rantville! I enjoy our times there.

      And really, i agree with you. I mentioned the element of choice being the important aspect, to me, and I stand by that. There is a difference between the male gaze taking away a woman's choice of whether or not she is utilizing sexuality and the woman involved being able to make that choice herself. Obviously you are 100% in control of yourself and your image, because I can't imagine you otherwise, but I do think there is a pressure to always be/be looking sexy that young women primarily really feel. I think it's getting worse for tweens and teens to feel they need to look "grown up" and that sort of being to look "sexy" or whatever the media definition of that is. So there's still a balance to walk, and it's still complex as hell, but there is a lot of value in there being a representation of women owning sexuality and sexiness as an example.

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    3. Woman after my own heart. :)

      I fully agree, the pressure to be "pretty" or "sexy" or any of these qualities at all times, when it's not your own choice, is a poisonous and shitty symptom of misogynist currents in society. And don't even get me STARTED on the sexualization of children and teens. Providing sexuaized role models (cough *Monster High* cough) for kids too young to have developed their OWN sexuality, or the sense of self necessary for the prominent figures in their media to represent preference rather than pressure, is straight up unconscionable.

      Of course, sometimes in feminist society, the reaction against the pressure to be sexy all the time can morph into a reaction against sexiness as a whole, a baby/bathwater situation which is the point at which the snake eats its tail, and women are back to being told what they should and shouldn't be. Which bypasses the most important element of being recognized as a first class citizen in your own society -- exactly what you highlight: choice!

      :)

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  2. Best post ever!
    You look phenomena!

    xoxox,
    CC

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  3. yowza! you make a great wonder woman!

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