It occurred to me, at some point, that I had somehow picked up some very skewed perspective of female sexuality (e.g. women don't like sex, but rather simply submit to it to satisfy men).

Since I made this realization, I have been hard at work to correct my misconceptions. A neighbor and I were recently discussing gender sexuality. I told her that I felt it was a piece of sexual discrimination that men were allowed to go without shirts in public (under certain circumstances, like running or a day on the beach) while women were not permitted to do the same. Now, I realize this is due in part to the way that our society has defined gender sexuality, specifically the sexual aspect of women's breasts. They are mammary glands, functioning biologically for the purpose of feeding the young; however, they tend to give rise to sexual arousal in men, and I think this is why, primarily, that we have such a discriminatory rule.

Also, I feel that, as we are gaining ground in gender equality and as women and men near parity in gender equality, the expectations that we have for men and for women respectively should begin to apply to the opposite sex. For example, I feel that women should begin to assert themselves with respect to approaching men that they find attractive, those men that they are interested in (a role that we have traditionally put men in) , and that men should be more willing to become more passive in sexual activity (presuming an increase in women's desire to be more active/dominant).

Here are my questions:

1.) Should women be allowed, upon the basis of gender equality/non-discrimination among genders, to go topless just as men do in certain circumstances, e.g. a day on the beach?

2.) Is it acceptable or desirable that women should become more active or assertive in pursuing or approaching men that they desire, thus engaging in an act or fulfilling a role that men have traditionally found themselves in?

It is true that I am biased. I, being a shy kind of guy, do not approach women in bars or clubs, and it would be to my advantage if women were more apt to approach me. Also, I do feel a kind of hurt resentment with the notion that men's chests are somehow not as sexually appealing as women's breast, such that there is no prohibition against men displaying their torsos because it will not excite the sexual appetite of most women. However, I do not deny that this could very well be the "reality of things".

Tags: gender, nudity, public

Views: 38

Replies to This Discussion

See this rule doesn't make much sense in light of the fact that feeding babies is a really easy way to get their ears to pop as they go up and down the pressure gradient. Surely a kid screaming because her ears are trying to implode is aggravating a lot more people than breastfeeding?
That requires the assumption that the only babies can/will suck on is an exposed breast.
I was more musing along the lines of "Feeding baby makes takeoff nicer for everyone - pumping can be tricky, especially if you don't do it often or had to do it in a hurry - alternatives may not be RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW, they might be in the overhead locker or in the other kids backpack three rows back - and so sometimes breastfeeding is the only option right now to get the baby to suck on something." And if it's screaming baby or breastfeeding, please please breastfeed.
But the ultimate hypocrisy is the fact that young women's bodies are used as advertizers' "eye candy" to sell everything from Viagra to sports cars.

There is quite a twisted irony there. Hooters, the Go Daddy girl, any number of car, sports, or beer commercials. But a real woman shows up at an airport in a tank top and we get all puritan.

Granted, there are some folks I think don't wear that tank top well, but like free speech, I will defend to the death your right to wear that tank. If there really were a fashion police, I'd have been jailed for life long ago.
1. I feel you answered this question with your quote above, we can only be SO equal in so many ways, some things are going to be different, like a womans body, there's really no way around that. I am okay with this, for lack of a better word, discrimination because there is a blatant difference in male and female biology. I wish everyone was able to see past the sexuality and just see a body part, but unfortunately we don't live in that world. We live in a world run by religious people. I'll admit even I have been affected by this way of thought, it's just societies perception of right and wrong.

So, would it be okay for women to be bottomless and not men because in that case men have floppy protrusions? (Just poking at you.

2. We can only fight our nature so much. I think women do seek out men, but it is predominantly men doing the searching because like I said, it is in our nature.


Umm.....cite your source? On what basis can you say that it's in women's nature to be passive in romantic/sexual pursuits? Am I then "unnatural"?
1. I am all for being equal in what is ok to wear. Many years ago I was a life guard at a water park. And every time a tour bus pulled up I knew I would have to ask some European tourist to put her top back on once they got to the pool. I hated having to do that. . . (and yes I was a typical 16 year old at the time. . .) but I didn't understand why they could do it in their "less free" country but it was not ok in America.

2. We can only fight our nature so much. I think women do seek out men, but it is predominantly men doing the searching because like I said, it is in our nature.

I think it is more Nurture then Nature. But I think that, except for a small minority, this will not change. It is so ingrained into every major society that we are stuck with it for now.

Ariel - and you are not "unnatural". Your unique, just like everyone else. . . :-P
>> 2. We can only fight our nature so much. I think women do seek out men, but
>> it is predominantly men doing the searching because like I said, it is in our nature.

> Umm.....cite your source? On what basis can you say that it's in women's nature
> to be passive in romantic/sexual pursuits? Am I then "unnatural"?

That's what I was going to say! Lacey L, it's wrong to frame it as "fighting our nature", because in most cases we aggressive women are simply acting on our nature. Our nature is just different. Is it nature or nurture? Personally I think it's both, but why should that matter? Our genetics and our experiences are both inseperable parts of who we are.

It would be fair to say "only so many women differ from the cultural/genetic 'norm'", because it's plain to see there is a trend toward the traditional. But "we can only fight our own nature so much" makes it sound like all women are subs underneath, and the aggressive ones are in denial. Which is obvious garbage, and kind of what the OP was about, no?
I have often hypothesized that, were men's pectoral muslces to gain a sacred, forbidden status (imposed upon them from without), that the same mystique or taboo surrounding women's breasts would come to apply to men's chests as well. It would be just as "inappropriate" (and goddamnit, that makes me so angry) for men to go around barechested as it would for women. But as long as we treat them like they're no big deal, as long as we openly allow them to be displayed in certain public venues and media, that won't happen. I personally can only hope public breast displays somehow become more acceptable.

And yeah, I suppose you're right about the double standard in gender approach. Although it's ridiculous to suppose a woman should be thought a whore because she sees an attractive man and wants to ask for his number or just have a beer and chat with him. Of course, when a man makes the approach, he's being assertive, confident....how come the woman isn't if she approaches? (Rhetorical question, ladies and gentlemen).
They are mammary glands, functioning biologically for the purpose of feeding the young; however, they tend to give rise to sexual arousal in men, and I think this is why, primarily, that we have such a discriminatory rule.

Yes, indeed... but they also give rise to sexual arousal in some women. I also know men who aren't sexually aroused by breasts.

For example, I feel that women should begin to assert themselves with respect to approaching men that they find attractive, those men that they are interested in (a role that we have traditionally put men in) , and that men should be more willing to become more passive in sexual activity (presuming an increase in women's desire to be more active/dominant).

I agree up to a point. Must one party always be active, and one be passive? How about if both parties are active? And... some women already assert themselves in respect to approaching other people.

1.) Should women be allowed, upon the basis of gender equality/non-discrimination among genders, to go topless just as men do in certain circumstances, e.g. a day on the beach?

Yes, but then I think all the various genders should be able to take their shirts off at the beach, or other areas where appropriate.

2.) Is it acceptable or desirable that women should become more active or assertive in pursuing or approaching men that they desire, thus engaging in an act or fulfilling a role that men have traditionally found themselves in?


2.)Is it acceptable? I don't care if it is, or if some people think it is not. I already do.

Also, I do feel a kind of hurt resentment with the notion that men's chests are somehow not as sexually appealing as women's breast, such that there is no prohibition against men displaying their torsos because it will not excite the sexual appetite of most women.

Oh, but men's chests are sexually appealing... maybe you just don't know people who think they are.
I would opine that those men who aren't aroused by breasts are rare exceptions. Also, I'm pretty sure that the informal social rules (or hell, even formal legal rules, i.e. laws) against displays of breasts have nothing to do with the sexual desires of women. People weren't thinking about women becoming sexually aroused by seeing other women's breasts in public, although surely it does happen....which is really hot, by the way.

I never said anything about one being passive and the other active. Currently, one IS more active than the other, which implies that the other is not necessarily passive, just...less active. I don't conceive of it as a polarized dichotomy. All I was saying is that I would like to see some reversal on this expectation that men are supposed to be the approachers. Women should do this more often, should be more active than they are. You said some already are, and I'm aware of that; not ENOUGH, in my opinion. The responsibility is still thought to lie with the men, to be more active. I wouldn't mind equality there in terms of responsibility. Not that it means much, but I can tell you that I myself have never been approached by a woman in a bar, club, or other social venue; and I'm 26. That sucks.
One other minor point of interest is that attraction to breasts (or other body parts) can be more of a "mood" than a general, ongoing thing. Speaking personally, I know that sometimes I just really, really, like breasts but other times I couldn't care less - although I might like something else.
Well at least you get out to a bar, that's further than some of us get.

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