Why is Immodesty Immodest?

This was originally going to be a comment in reply to Miranda Hale’s post about boobquake, but I noticed I had quite a bit more to say than I originally thought, so I decided to make a post on my blog about it.

I realize that many men can be boorish, and that will never change, but I think the bigger issue is the question of why it is such a big deal that cleavage would cause men to go nuts in the first place.  Why does the prospect of seeing the skin on a woman’s chest, that often can’t be distinguished from the crack of an ass when viewed close enough, become so controversial?  It is because of the cultural prohibition of showing it.  Do men get all stupid about boobs in cultures where women are generally topless?  Is it even necessary for women to show cleavage at all to get men hot in countries that find the showing a little ankle to be provocative?  I think Jen was right on target in that regard.  It’s not so much the showing of cleavage that is so exciting, it is women dressing at the edge of societal norms.  If we were in some Muslim countries, an uproar could have just as easily be caused by anklequake or foreheadquake.  This makes me ask why that is the case.

The reality is, we see in some cultures where it is immodest to show any skin whatsoever, and in others there is no problem with women being totally naked.  You won’t find men going nuts about boobs in some African tribes any more than you will find men going nuts about seeing women’s knees here in the US, and the reason is that men find enticing those things they are prohibited from viewing by society.

Not too terribly long ago, it was scandalous for women to wear dresses that showed off the knee, or even wear shorts here in the US.  It’s unthinkable now that we would worry about it.  We have gotten used to it.  Because of that, women no longer need to worry about men getting overly excited about them showing off their knees.

I think that modern feminism has some contradictory ideas about these things, and unless they understand that and embrace what will stop men from acting stupid, they will never experience the freedom they are looking for.

Women have quite an unhealthy hangup with the way their bodies look, and they fail to realize that it’s not as much how men view them as it is how they view themselves.  Women are in constant competition to look good, and they often think the competition is to look good to men, and although we find the depictions the media portrays of women to be beautiful, it is not men that drive the ideal.  It is women.

Men aren’t all that difficult to impress.  I can go out and see a woman I find extremely attractive and not be able to say a single thing bad about their dress, appearance, breast size, or anything, but if you turn to the nearest woman, guess what they have to say.  It isn’t men that drive the fashion industry, it is the desires of women.  You don’t generally find men out there telling women that they need breast implants.  You don’t find men out picking women apart for all these imperceptible flaws.  Instead it is women.

Men are going to be happy with whatever you women give us.  Of course men will say things about the size of women’s breasts or their butts, or they’ll consider a woman fat that is just not as skinny as some ideal, but that is driven by women just as much as men.  Women are unique in the sense that even women can easily find women attractive without necessarily being homosexual or bisexual.  Because of that, they more easily see the things about themselves that don’t conform to what they believe society wants of them.

I personally find it frustrating that you seem to rarely find a woman with natural breasts in magazines or movies.   I personally think in most cases breast implants are defacing what is real beauty.  No matter what people say, they don’t look real, they don’t feel real, and I often find small breasts are more attractive than what is considered average.  They aren’t preferable to the real thing for me, and I would hazard to guess that I’m by no means alone.

Now, back to the boobquake thing.  I find that it is often the women that don’t have a healthy view of their own bodies that make a stink about how much of other women’s bodies are exposed.  I think that the real problem with women showing skin isn’t as much because there is something inherently wrong with showing that skin, but that women are afraid of what other people might think of these parts of the body that are generally hidden.  I don’t think it’s really even a problem that men are out there getting excited about the prospect of seeing it.  Think about it.  We’re on the internet.  Men have an endless supply of breasts they can see at the click of a button.  The uncomfortability is not caused by men asking, because we ask all the time.  That’s why the porn industry is so profitable.  The uncomfortability is already there about how women perceive themselves, just as I don’t feel very comfortable sometimes taking my shirt off because I don’t have perfectly sculpted abs.

We have created a society where only women that look a certain way tend to be comfortable showing everyone the way they look.  The women that don’t look that way then become self conscious because of it, and keep themselves hidden.  It perpetuates the idea that only certain body types are acceptable and others are undesirable.  It is a self defeating system, and feminists should realize that.

In reality, these stereotypes and misconceptions are probably only going to disappear when women stop covering up their perceived flaws and let other women know that they aren’t unattractive merely because they don’t look like some ideal.  The problem is not the way men treat them as much as it is how women treat each other.  I think that these before and after type things like Jessica Simpson just did recently are great, where she showed how she really looked in a photo before and after the image processing.

I know that society isn’t going to overcome these things overnight, but to perpetuate covering up under the guise of the idea that men might get excited is flawed, and probably contrary to what feminism should be trying to fix.  I never have quite understood why feminists would try to prohibit women from using the biggest tool that women have, the fact that they are women, in any way they please.

I think events like boobquake are exactly what is necessary to diminish the perceived problem.  If it happened every day, nobody would be terribly excited about it.  I think the fact that boobquake got so popular speaks more to the fact that it doesn’t happen enough than it does to not allowing it to happen in the first place.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • blabv

    it has to do with man's fallen nature – read Genesis

    here's a jewish answer –

  • http://godlessons.com Godlessons

    Nice to see that you didn't read the post and just assumed this was a religious post. If I cared about what religion X had to say about it, I would have been discussing it in religious terms. The fact is, the only reason anyone should have a problem with nudity is if they are religious. Otherwise everyone should be able to show as much skin as they feel comfortable with, and it's no business of yours or anyone else's.

  • http://godlessons.com Godlessons

    Nice to see that you didn't read the post and just assumed this was a religious post. If I cared about what religion X had to say about it, I would have been discussing it in religious terms. The fact is, the only reason anyone should have a problem with nudity is if they are religious. Otherwise everyone should be able to show as much skin as they feel comfortable with, and it's no business of yours or anyone else's.

  • schizzoid

    I think it would be pretty offensive to a feminist to hear that “the biggest tool they have” is their womanly body. Being a woman is not about how you look ~ big boobs or small. It’s also false to say that the women who are covering up are only covering up their perceived flaws and that the only women who have problems with other girls showing off their “girls” are the ones who don’t have boobs of their own.

    Please consider the ladies who cover up because they don’t want men to see them as sex objects. Women are stereotyped as not having anything to offer except their bodies/sex. I am definitely not embarrassed about my body, but dressing modestly is dignifying and I don’t understand why anyone would willingly turn themselves into boor eye-candy. The sad truth is that we do live in a culture in which cleavage and butts-peeking-from-the-shorts (is there a slang word for this yet? peeking cheeks, perhaps?) cause men to “act stupid,” as you say. What do men /really/ think of a girl who wears shorts that are too short or tops that are too small? Wouldn’t a man naturally draw a connection between that girl on the street and the pair of boobs he just saw in his internet porno? And is he really interested in anything about porno-girl besides her body?

    Rather than trying to acclimate men to every inch of the female anatomy, it would avail women more to cover up and prove their worth in every other area than the tired sexual manipulation game.

    Thanks for reading :)

    • http://godlessons.com Godlessons

      Is it a bad thing that women’s bodies are so powerful? I call it the biggest tool they have, not meaning that they don’t have other tools, but because it is unique to women, and the supply is not anywhere near as great as the demand. If someone wants to be offended by that, I would put them in the “I like to get offended and look for ways to be offended at all times” camp.

      There would be no need for worrying about what is showing if nobody cared, and the only way for nobody to care is to make it so there is no big deal about it. You suggest covering up and proving worth in other areas, but the fact is the strongest drive in humans is sex. You will never get rid of the “sexual manipulation game” without desensitizing, and without getting rid of the “sexual manipulation game”, there will never be any proving of women’s worth more than sexuality.

      So, for those that live on Earth, and realize that humans are humans, I stand by my statement. The only other option I can think of is to genetically engineer humans so they don’t exhibit sexual seeking behavior. Your option is a close six hundredth place though, so we shouldn’t toss it out entirely.