Archive for February, 2009

In her article for Salon.com, Rebecca Traister describes a new phenomenon of women writing/blogging about issues concerning their bodies (usually reproductive functions) in great detail. Beyond writing just to achieve some kind of grossed-out reaction in readers, is it possible for women to write honestly and candidly about their bodies without producing shock?

For centuries, the female body has been a source of mystery. It seems that it is only recently that it has started to be explored and exposed in the mainstream media. See the recent NY Times article on female sexual desire. And yet, when women write about their bodies in a less than scientific context — outside of controlled studies and electrodes – the stories evoke shock, and in many cases, disgust. Why would someone possibly want to reveal the details of her period or the process of giving birth to her child? In fact, I remember taking a women’s studies class in college where we watched videos of women giving birth, and most of the women in the class, who will most likely give birth themselves some day, reacted with nothing but disgust.  They couldn’t understand why we were being forced to sit through these videos. Of course, most people seem fine when female bodies are objectified in a sexual context, it’s in a non-sexual, natural context that we don’t want to see. Even the NYTimes article, while trying to demystify certain aspects of the female body, did it in a sexual context, something that probably seems as if it would appeal to more readers.

I hope that the writers that Traister describes continue to write openly and shamelessly about their bodies. It’s time the media starts depicting women as human, and not just mysterious sexual beings.

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back to real blogging later. 🙂

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The NY Times published two articles this weekend about groups of women living without men. The first was a shorter piece about lesbian separatist communities where groups of, mainly older, lesbians live in communities away from men and the rest of the world.  The second is about single mothers by choice, who don’t have husbands, and who rely on their girlfriends (NY Times makes it very clear that they are “platonic friends”) for support.  These articles are both very interesting, providing some insight into communities that don’t receive much attention. But, I think it’s really interesting how fascinated the NY Times seems to be with these women and how they aren’t relying on men in their every day lives.  The authors of both of these pieces seem to be skeptical of the fact that these women don’t need men to survive. I’m not sure how exactly how I feel about either of these articles, but they’re both interesting, and it’s strange that the NY Times continues to publish these articles that seem to be trying “figure women out.”

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