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Tue Jan 10, 2012, 06:18 PM

I changed my avatar today

Big whoop, right?

Not for me. My previous avatar was Betty Page. I always thought she had a special beauty to go with her obvious sexiness. She certainly wasn't one of the half-starved waifs we so often see in fashion magazines looking as if they're pitching for some disaster relief program in famaine-ravaged countries.

To me she represented a breaking free from an era that dictated women spend their days vacuuming in high heels and pearls. She was openly what women were never allowed to be publicly --

THEMSELVES

And believe it or not, sometimes what a woman wants for herself is some good sex. She did what she did because that is what she wanted to do on her terms. To me "my body, my choice" takes a variety of manifestations including the right to work in "adult entertainment" (which ironically turns many into tittering pre-adolescent males).

Nowadays, though, I think the world is different. Now women have gone from celebrating their sexuality to being marginalized by it. If they don't make with the goods than society has no use for them. The iconoclast that was Betty Page has become the status quo of your average MTV fare.

Yeah, sure, I get it: consenting adults, make your own viewing choices, turn off the damned TV if you don't like it, yatta, yatta, yatta.

I'm not casting stones here because I'm not perfect. I started early in high school and I had several boyfriends during college. When my husband and I first met we were both nursing recent break-ups and we were just in it for the sex. I'm not "sinless" and I don't pretend to be.

But a number of threads here on DU got me thinking recently. Some started to complain about the de-humanization of women and some to complain against the complainers. In one of the threads I was asked why I had Betty as my avatar. I gave my answer -- or at least I thought I did.

I think the thing I missed was not that Betty was smashing her barriers but that she was being objectified. Whatever it was she wanted was lost on her audience. Most never gave a damn about her, they just wanted booby pictures.

My hubby helped me realize this. I was trying to qualify what it was about him that made him so special from the other guys I had been with. Certainly his good qualities are legion -- I deserve nothing less! it -- but there was something "different" about how he is with me. I'll spare you the entire conversation we had this past weekend but what he told me still echoes in my heart.

"I don't just want to have sex; I want to have sex with *you*."

It's not like he couldn't score elsewhere if he wanted to. I don't think any other man I've ever been with ever felt that way about me. Maybe there was one and I missed him but looking back I can't help but feel that unless I was putting-out their interest in me would have been less than zero.

How does that liberate me? How does that reinforce my place in this world as a human being?

It doesn't.

So maybe Betty was making her own statement on her own terms but now it seems like it was just the sex as far as her audience was concerned. They never cared for her as a person or what I think she was trying to say in a larger sense. That hurts me. That hurts me a lot in my heart. I wanted her to be bigger than that.

So I changed my avatar, which is a shame because I wonder if maybe I wasn't one of the few who actually gave a damn about Betty as a person. I still believe in "my body, my choice" but I'm hoping to see a lot more people into making more self-affirming choices instead of mere crowd-pleasing choices.

If you made it this far, thank-you.

9 replies, 2279 views

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Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 9 replies Author Time Post
Reply I changed my avatar today (Original post)
Nuclear Unicorn Jan 2012 OP
OKNancy Jan 2012 #1
Nuclear Unicorn Jan 2012 #4
LiberalAndProud Jan 2012 #2
Nuclear Unicorn Jan 2012 #3
iverglas Jan 2012 #5
Nuclear Unicorn Jan 2012 #8
iverglas Jan 2012 #9
RadiationTherapy Jan 2012 #6
seabeyond Jan 2012 #7

Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Original post)

Tue Jan 10, 2012, 06:26 PM

1. Thank you for this lovely post. n/t

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Response to OKNancy (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 10, 2012, 06:41 PM

4. Thank-you n/t

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Original post)

Tue Jan 10, 2012, 06:33 PM

2. If Betty Page smashed barriers, so did Mae West before her.

It seems odd that women who are irreverent regarding sex are seen as smashing barriers. I'm not certain that it communicates anything positive about our society as a whole, because it seems that women are first seen as sexual creatures and only secondarily as strong characters. Or are they only seen as strong characters because they gleefully flaunt their sexuality?

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Response to LiberalAndProud (Reply #2)

Tue Jan 10, 2012, 06:40 PM

3. I often wondered

if a woman using her beauty was really no different than an athlete using their talents but the more I think about it the more I could cite examples of decency and humanity taking a backseat to an unhealthy craving for athletic prowess. Perhaps people just have a tendency to worship the wrong things; things that ultimately dehumanize all of us.

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Original post)

Tue Jan 10, 2012, 07:19 PM

5. boo!

 

No, not "boo!" as in "get off the stage".

As in: I'll bet you didn't expect to see me here. And recommending your post.


Your story about your mate reminded of an exchange with a man I was dallying with by email, lo these many years ago in the early days of the internet. He was a fair bit older than me - not a generation older, but possibly of an older generation. And we had the intellectual hots for each other to be sure for a while, but ultimately didn't meet.

I asked him whether he didn't want to be wanted by a woman. And he said oh yes, that was the male dream, the perpetually available woman.

He actually didn't know what I was talking about, it seemed. To be wanted: not to have someone make themself available.

And yes, I think your anecdote was quite relevant to your point, and your point is of course us complainers' own.

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Response to iverglas (Reply #5)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 09:29 AM

8. "the intellectual hots" are the hottest hots ever

Sorry it didn't pan-out.

As in: I'll bet you didn't expect to see me here. And recommending your post.


Honestly, I'm surprised you didn't see the by-line and pass it over. I suppose if I can fall madly in love with a conservative, two would-be progressives could exchange cordial words with each other.

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #8)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 09:40 AM

9. I was directed to it

 

And then I directed to it.

I, like the law, am no respecter of persons!

One of our departed colleagues, from the good old days long ago, should you need amusing:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=118x21533#21553
(the awkwardly titled "self-defence with a pregnant woman", wherein iverglas defends DoNotRefill against the gun-grabbing hordes) (I can say that here)

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=show_mesg&forum=104&topic_id=778538&mesg_id=778538
(DoNotRefill's pregnancy saga continues, wherein iverglas defends DoNotRefill against the feminist hordes)

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Original post)

Tue Jan 10, 2012, 07:29 PM

6. "I don't just want to have sex; I want to have sex with *you*." - stealing because my wife doesn't

read DU.

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Original post)

Tue Jan 10, 2012, 08:33 PM

7. all the difference in the world. and i have only been with the men that wanted me.

and vice versa.

interesting post nuclear. and as always, wonderful writing and expression. thank you, AGAIN, for sharing. i will be thinking about the post longer than just clicking out of here.

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