In your face

Little did I know that my visit to the Eiffel Tower last week would coincide with an organized demonstration. As we approached the monument from the Trocadero side, we saw that a group of spectators and press had amassed off to the side, with the tower as a backdrop. Edging closer, to my surprise and my 13-year-old son’s delight, we saw a cluster of women who were stripped to bikini panties, holding signs that proclaimed, “Muslim women, let’s get naked!”

Bemused more than shocked, I took advantage of the photo op and moved on to other things. After I returned to the States, I decided to look up the demonstration to see what it was all about. It turns out that the focus was intended to protest the objectification of women. Hmm.

While I certainly don’t want to be viewed as an object myself, I wonder if this is an effective way to communicate the cause. Yes, it got a lot of attention, but I’m pretty sure that most people were drawn in by the spectacle and probably don’t remember much but the naked bodies.

Women or men, we don’t want to simply be bodies. We want to be intelligent, funny, engaging creatures, remembered for our contributions rather than the way we look or the space we fill. In this case, if no one remembers the speech because everyone has been so captured by the nudity, hasn’t the demonstration accomplished exactly what it was trying to eliminate? Then again, I did look it up to learn more, so maybe it did have some positive effect.

I’m still pondering, but I’d like to know what you think. Comments, please!

6 thoughts on “In your face

  1. While I could go on and on…
    I won’t. I don’t need grief. I’ve evolved into a man interested in the whole woman, not just a body with a brain attached. I know better now.

  2. That’s pretty funny. I don’t understand it either. You’d think if women didn’t want to be objectified, they’d be covered up, unless maybe they were just trying to show the body in its natural state? Instead of in a pin-up type pose. Unfortunately though, if women are going to be half-naked, then they’re going to get gawked at and no one’s going to care about their minds when all anyone sees is their bodies.

  3. Mohz says:

    I realize I’m shallow, but I would love to be objectified for being beautiful. It’ll never happen mind you. Not that I don’t want people to thinkthose other things about me also. I guess bottom line: I lfind it pleasurable to be a liked for whatever reason.

    • It had nothing to do with beauty. It was about women being treated as objects simply because they are women and therefore assumed to have less (or no) worth. My comment about people remembering the nudity had to do with the shock value, not the way they looked. Of course I would like people to think I’m beautiful, but I’m pretty sure that no one remembers those women’s faces.

  4. Mohz says:

    Let me be clearer.

    “Women or men, we don’t want to simply be bodies”

    I don’t mind being simply my body to people (I.e. objectified), beautiful or not. I can’t speak for all men and even less so for women. Nevertheless, my suspicion is that the fear of physical objectification is greater with women than with men. It is interesting that we choose to divorce ourselves from our bodies. No one ever complains about being only loved for their brains or being objectified for their wisdom and experience. We operate as if our physicality is somehow less us.

    FEMEN, the group responsible, has protested “sex tourists, international marriage agencies, sexism and other social, national and international ills”. Perhaps they are in some way attempting to reclaim their bodies as theirs to control rather than objects to be sold, exploited, or on the other end of the same spectrum, forced to be covered.

    It is at least conceptually related to the very conscious effort of the homosexual community consciously adopted the term “faggot” or the some people in the black community adopted the usage of the “N” word. In both cases it initially would seem to defeat the objectives of the group – both such horrible and demeaning slanders. However both terms, through that very cooption by the targeted group were substantially diminished in power.

    I cannot speak for FEMEN and I don’t know their rationale, but since you are pondering the overall implications, maybe they too are simply trying to reclaim their bodies as their own (even the “ugly” ones) from both the regulation and exploitation of a clearly male-oriented society.

    And for the record, I knew nothing about the group or their causes before. I have now read a fair amount about them. So, as you mentioned in your post, you looked it up. I looked it up. Like all marketing, even a bad ad that sticks with you was effectual.

    Anyway, those are my rambling comments per your request and for your pondering pleasure or displeasure as the case may be.

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