Sunday, May 10, 2009

Offensive Material

So Playboy has named it's first Black woman as Playmate of the Year in Ida Ljungvist.
And Rihanna has her goodies shown all over the Internet.

While Cassie is showing her barbells on the Internet too.
But there seems to be two schools of thought on this issue;
One is that these images objectify Black women
While the other just thinks that these are just some good looking women deciding to show off their most visible assets.
But I have a question...
How many GOOD LOOKING (or self-confident) women are offended by the acts of these young ladies?
I'm not talking about the haters who may look like Karen Carpenter or Monique, but the women who actually feel that the actions of Ida, Cassie or Rihanna will have a negative impact on the way men view them.
Chances are; If you look like MoNique or Karen, men are NOT looking at YOU in the same way.
YOU are not being objectified.
It's not just Black women that are offended by someone from another race thinking of pretty Black women as sex objects - Choptensils cautioned me in an earlier post because I pointed out that there are a lot of smokin' hot Asian chicks in the media.
His instinctive thoughts of protection just kicked in.
When I pointed out that there were some butt ugly Asian women too - he agreed and admitted that there were some sexy Asian women in the media.
I guess it was a good thing that I wasn't Emmett Till.
But some women are just hot beyond race.
Pam Grier has been thought of as a sex symbol for years. She can also be said to have been objectified for years.

Beverly Johnson puts the others to shame - thirty years ago.

Josephine Baker wowed them in Paris early in the last century.

The Hottentot Venus amazed Europeans with her ba-dunk-a-dunk.

And Venus De Milo didn't even need arms to entice men.
IMO - Pornography, adult content, BET, and random photos on the Internet DO NOT objectify Black women.
It only effects the good looking ones.


RunningMom said...

Renee Tenison was the first black playmate of the year in 1990..but lets get real, two in the history of Playmates is not really great news. But considering it's 2009 and we're still counting "first black ______" shows that our society has a long way to go.

Makheru Bradley said...

The playmate appears in this picture to be heavily siliconized. I have no interest in seeing her pics in the magazine. I suppose everyone is scrambling to have a “first black something.”

As far as the other two celebs are concerned, at least they appear to be natural women.

I know more guys who like BBW’s than those who like skinny women. We used to call ladies like Mo’Nique “tons of fun.” Was that sexist—you bet.

Pamela Suzette Grier, the original Foxy Brown--no need to say anymore.

The first time I saw that picture of Beverly Johnson was in “Beautiful”—nudes by Marc Baptiste, which I purchased at the “Shrine of the Black Madonna” bookstore (of all places) in the ATL. I consider that book to be work of art, although there are many who would consider it to be exploitative.

Saartjie Baartman (1789-1816) was an enslaved Khoisan woman who was brutally exploited by Europeans during her life and after her death.

[Saartjie was exhibited around Britain, being forced to entertain people by gyrating her nude buttocks and showing to Europeans what were thought of as highly unusual bodily features. Due to her steatopygia, she had large buttocks; in addition, she had sinus pudoris, … the elongated labia of some Khoisan women. (Although "sinus pudoris" refers only to the labia of Khoisan women, all labia vary in size and shape to some degree.) To quote Stephen Jay Gould, "The labia minora, or inner lips, of the ordinary female genitalia are greatly enlarged in Khoi-San women, and may hang down three or four inches below the vagina when women stand, thus giving the impression of a separate and enveloping curtain of skin". Saartjie never allowed this trait to be exhibited while she was alive.

Baartman later traveled to Napoleonic Paris where an animal trainer, Regu, exhibited her under more pressured conditions for fifteen months. French anatomist Georges Cuvier and French naturalists visited her and she was the subject of several scientific paintings at the Jardin du RoI, where she was examined in March 1815: as Saint-Hilaire and Frédéric Cuvier, a younger brother of Georges, reported, "she was obliging enough to undress and to allow herself to be painted in the nude."

Her skeleton, preserved genitals and brain were placed on display in Paris' Musée de l'Homme until 1974, when they were removed from public view and stored out of sight; a molded casting was still shown for the following two years.

When Nelson Mandela became President of South Africa in 1994, he formally requested that France return the remains. After much legal wrangling and debates in the French National Assembly, France acceded to the request on 6 March 2002. Her remains were repatriated to her homeland, the Gamtoos Valley, on 6 May 2002 and she was finally laid to rest on 9 August 2002.] -- Wiki

M.K. Asante, Jr, amongst others, believes that there is a message in the life and struggles of Sister Baartman for today’s hip hop artists who are repeating the white supremacist exploitation of Black female bodies, but others would say that’s just art.

Ghetto Booty: The Hottentot Remix
For Saartjie Baartman

The spectacle wasn’t you.
Look at them:
Men, without women, lining
the streets of cities to attend.
Same ones at the fray of Goree,
standing in shadows of the noreturn
That was then,
when you endured their “scientific” staccato,
trapped in the plaster of a fleshtone coffin
customized for cattle.
That was then,
When they sold ounces of your womanhood,
leaving you a weightless museum piece,
simply because they could.
That was then,
Look at them.
That was them
Look at them.
That was then, and

Beautiful. And Ugly Too

I’m ashamed, only because, if that was then,
– where was I, and the rest of our men?
Must have been studying them, for how to
treat daughters, scattered to Atlantic winds.
We’ve become masters.
Spreading heteropsychotic donkey-rhythms
to those who were mastered.
And the masses think that the base-glossed vulture,
stalking the beauty of inverted brown wombs
for sales-jumps on posters,
is our culture.
So do we.
The spectacle is not them.
Look at us.

uglyblackjohn said...

@ RunningMom - Damn... I didn't know that you read Playboy.

@ MB - So am I wrong in assuming that if the woman is hot it's exploitative?
Hot = Art
Not Hot = Exploitation?

FreeMan Press said...

I'll be honest I was kind of stuck at the Pam Grier pic, the young girls make me feel like a perv. I guess I like women not little girls.

To each his own on the exploitation. The only issue with me is they are getting younger and younger. I bet you Pam Grier wasn't a teenager showing her breasts. I think people are offended primarily because the older women know they aren't teenagers and since most men can't pass the playboy mag they mess up by making women feel unattractive.

I think it's hard to take someone serious when their titties are what they are selling. So hmmmm are only attractive women objectified because the alright girls are not gawked at. Do you have to be ugly to be taken seriously as a woman?

Berneta said...

I think you hit it on the nail, FreeMan, twice:
"The only they are getting younger and younger," and "it's hard to take someone serious when their titties are what they are selling."

That's exactly it. First, the fact that these girls are getting younger and younger should disturb anyone. Second: she's just her titties. Exactly. The woman becomes solely her body, not treated like a human being (as human beings are complex thinking organisms) but merely a piece of meat to gawk at.

And uglyblackjohn, there's no denying the extreme nature of the exploitation of Baartman at the hands of Europeans (too much research has been done on her): the exploitation was so extreme that they literally put part of her genitalia on display. If that isn't exploitation and objectification, I don't know what is. But I appreciate you provoking these questions. They are well worth discussing. (I'm not sure what to say about the Beverly Johnson photo. Like Baker's, there seems to be something slightly subversive about it.)

Oh, and I can't believe people are that excited about the "first black playboy" such and such: that's pretty saddening. We should be excited about a lot of first black such and such's, but this shouldn't be one of them. Why are we celebrating black women's inclusion and acceptance into the world of white male sexism, a world so embodied by Playboy Magazine? As a black woman, I'm not interested in being elevated to the level of the white woman, because the white man objectifies her to no avail too and merely cast the shadow of innocence behind her to save her from being seen as completely skanky and sexually depraved.

FreeMan Press said...

@Berneta - To me all of the Black firsts are dumb because they are in comparison to whites. That is a issue with self-hate that we want to create ourselves to be the black version of them down to the derogatory.

People get excited about T&A because the more ignorant you are in appealing to your animal behavior the more magazines you sell. It's not just women check out any commercial and see if it's an exaggeration of reality to such a degree people emulate it and even worse they copy it and bring it into being.

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Anonymous said...

All women get objectified. After all, you didn't mention Karen Carpenter in this post because she's a great singer, but rather, because she's the go-to example of a too-thin, white woman. You mentioned Monique's most salient feature — her big body. Yes, it's all in context, but the fact is, these women are just as well known for being thin and fat as they are for their respective talent.
So, no. Not just attractive women. Women. Period. Is it necessarily bad, when it's human nature? I don't think so. But it's real, like racism, and it happens to us all the time (again, like racism), in subtle, pervasive ways that men might never notice or understand.