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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Girls as sexual objects but not beings???

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Author Topic: Girls as sexual objects but not beings???
ceilidh
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So I was wondering the other day, reading some junk food magazines (Marie Claire, Vogue, etc...) and thinking about the girls in my school, why is it that it is okay for us (i'm a girl) to work hard to be sexy as a desirable, arousing thing to others, but is so NOT okay for us to really have sexuality of our own? I was looking at these clothing adds and the expressions on the girl's faces and thinknig that they were looking and dressing like that to get other people off, and that was somehow okay and good, but that if they were to have dressed to get themselves off, then it wouldn't have been acceptable.

For instance, its "okay" and even encouraged for girls to dress sexy, act coquettish, talk trashy with men, and do anything that will be sexy for whoever they are with at the time, but it is not acceptable sexual behavior for a girl to talk about mastrubation, or being sexy in her own right, for herself?

Obviously i'm making generalizations here and there are loads of places, like Scarleteen, where reality and reasonable thinking hits and its completely okay and normal and GOOD for girls to mastrubate, as it is important in finding out and understanding our bodies and sexuality, helps us to have a better time with partners because of this knowledge, and is generally, in my opinion, a rewarding thing to do.

But, then I go to my highschool as a junior and even with my closest girl friends (ONE exception,) mastrubation is completely off limits for conversation, jokes, hypothetical analogies, etc. It seems absurd to me that, while mastrubation is a private thing, we aren't even supposed to ADMIT to EVER having touched ourselves because that is a shameful, embarassing, unladylike thing. It's alright when we are talking about sex and joking around to talk about guys, or our sexual encounters with them, but not with our own personal, individual sexual encounters with ourselves.

Guys joke about "Jacking off" all the time. How come we don't have any cute terms? How come we don't use them?

I've been able to orgasm by myself since I was thirteen. Recently I had a talk with a good girl friend of mine and took a big step in throwing this into the conversation where i thought it would be fitting. Luckily, she gave me a high five and we both sighed huge breaths of relief and laughed about it. I even told her about how excited I was to have been brave enough to finally order a vibrator for myself online. I had been really psyced about that but coludn't tell anyone. It was wonderful to be able to laugh about it with a friend and not feel like i had to hide that sort of thing.

But something that disturbs me is the knowledge that I wouldn't nessecarily be brave enough to make such a bold comment about the reality of my own comfy-ness with mastrubation in a group of girls for fear of ....I'm not even sure of what. Just ominous BAD BAD BAD blinking lights i guess. I wish I could at least to set an example for more timid girs that it is okay and natural and good and that SOMEONE thinks so and isn't too shy to say it. BUt I guess I am too shy, so that's no good.

Anyway, I was just wondering why it was that this oldfashioned, victorian idea of female sexuality as being unfeminine, uncouth, shameful and innapropriate is still an issue today. Why is it that in so many teenage circles, girls mastrubating is so hush hush, when talk about girls having sex with men and movies like "the Sweetest Thing" or TV shows like "Sex in the City" which trumpet Female independance and sexual freedom by example of girls being irresponsible with sex and having casual sex with whomever without thought for emotions is somehow okay?

(For end notes, I do actually enjoy Sex in the City so long as I can keep in perspective that it isn't reality at all and that if it was, all four of those women have really unhealthy sex lives emotionally, in my opinion. Really messed up relationships and ideas.)


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Milke
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Do you really think it's appropriate for anyone to be openly discussing what are generally considered to be personal sexual details? I know I was never too comfortable talking about masturbation in large groups of people, and that's not because I'm a prude, but rather, because I don't feel okay talking about anything overly sexual unless I'm doing it with someone I'm very close to. That's a pretty commonly held feeling.

I wonder sometimes if talking about masturbation, for some people, is sort of an updated version of talking about boogers and farts. Sure, a lot of kids did it when they were seven, but that sort of thing has to stop, or change, over time. There are certainly gender roles involved here, but I don't think anyone's out to repress you; rather they're just doing what they're used to doing.

However, if you want change, you can start by replacing sleazy women's magazines with more intelligent ones like Bitch, or ones on non-gender related topics like Natural History, or heck, Cat Fancy, if that's your thing. You could even seek out some independent zines, or articles online. The more trashy mags we buy, the more are going to be printed and distributed, the more are going to be easily available, and read, and influencing people . . . you see how it's a bit of a vicious cycle?

------------------
Milke, with an L, Mrs BD to you, RATS, TMNTP, MF, CWCD, WAOTA

We can't rewind, we've gone too far


Posts: 5122 | From: I *came* from the land of ice and snow | Registered: Aug 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
logic_grrl
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quote:
Do you really think it's appropriate for anyone to be openly discussing what are generally considered to be personal sexual details?

But I think ceilidh's point is that friends often do discuss the details of sexual encounters with other people, while there's a taboo on discussing masturbation.

Even without explicit details, it's still a big deal for a girl to admit to a friend that she masturbates at all - whereas with guys it's taken for granted.

ceilidh, have you read the book "Kiss My Tiara: how to rule the world as a smart-mouth goddess" by Sarah Jane Gilman? It's a very funny book with some sharp commentary on just these issues.


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DC_WillowFan
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Well, I can understand your point of view, about how it's okay for a guy to talk about masturbation but not for girls.

I guess it also depends on the area you're at. It'll probably be a lot more easier like in a big city than in a small village. As well as girls might probably be more open in college than high school.

But yes, I know what you mean by how sexyness is okay to please others but not the girl itself. Just look at the media, about how they made a big deal about Britney Spears when she said masturbation and sexyness is okay.

Anyway, I have two friends (females) who are very open minded, like they'll talk about sex openly maybe even more than what you'd expect... some might even say they're perverted That's just how they are, open and comfortable, even in public, and I think it's nice. I mean, at college people didn't looked at them in weird ways or anything, it was fine with most people. Except in public places like malls and restaurants, some people will always stare and give weird looks, but that's how it is, and probably will always be unless people talk about it and reassure girls by telling them it's okay.

I don't have a problem with people talking about their sexuality, but yeah it might be surprising if it comes out of nowhere, but otherwise it's okay with me.

Anyway, I'm sure sure this makes much sense, but still that's what I think.

David

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- I hope I shall be able to confide in you completely, as I have never been able to do in anyone before, and I hope that you will be a great support and comfort to me.

Anne Frank to her journal
(1929-1945)


Posts: 201 | From: Montreal, Qc, Canada | Registered: Jul 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
ceilidh
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I'm sorry for being less coherent in my original.

When I was addressing the issue of teenage girls not feeling alright talking about mastrubation, I was not questioning that mastrubation is a deeply personal affair and not nessecarily something to be shared with others, or that discussing mastrubation at random at the lunch table is appropriate.

What I meant was that, in situations where girl friends are dishing out details of their sex lives to each other, for whatever reason, it is generally felt (in my experience) that mastrubation is off limits. This would include any discussion of a girl touching herself WHILE participating in any sexual activity with a man (or woman, although none of my highschool friends are openly homosexual or bisexual), or basically any form of self stimulation.

The taboo extends so that if female mastrubation is brought up, even in such tame descriptions of "I like to caress my breasts when my boyfriend is going down on me" or "Tim and i had a great time last night because I finally got up the guts to show him what felt good to me", the girls would grimace, make faces or disgusted noises or just general uncomfortableness that seems completely out of sync when you take into consideration the racy things the girls were talking about a moment earlier.

And then into this complaint and questioning, I sloppily sloshed in a rant about women feeling that they are only worth what others think of them, are only as sexy as others see them, or are only as beautiful as others believe them to be. This is where the comment about it being "Okay to be gussied up and coquettish to turn on an external source, but not acceptable to do so for yourself."

I think that mastrubation is only a small part of being in touch with your own sexuality. Other things that go along with mastrubation, in my mind, would be dressing up in a sexy outfit, that YOU find sexy because YOU feel like feeling sexy that day for yourself and not for others, putting on makeup to please yourself rather than trying to attract the attention of others, or treating yourself to a particuarly sensual desert for the pleasure of letting it melt in your mouth and tingle your senses.

the strange thing is, any of the above behaviors would probably inspire some raised eyebrows and confused expressions from the majority of girls at my school. It would be normal for a girl to do any of those things if there was a male onlooker that said female was trying to attract, but not just for themselves.

I do come from a small town high school that is unusually (uncomfortably) caucasion based and, despite being a public school, is composed of wealthy suburban residents with huge SUVs. I go to the kind of school where its not so unusual for a kid to be wondering what kind of car they will get from their parents on their 16th birthday. (this is EXTREMELY strange when you take into consideration that the average yearly income of Americans in 2000 was around $24,000) My school is also very conservative. Out of 1600 kids none are openly homosexual or bisexual. It would be a scary place to come out.

So perhaps my experience and opinion about the restrictions on female expression of their own sexuality are askewed. It wouldn't surprise me considering how tilted many other aspects of my school community are from a larger reality. But these are the kinds of things I see on a daily basis, and they bother me.

~~~~~~~~~~~

"dark and dangerous as a secret that is whispered in a hush/when I wake the things I dreamt about you last night make me blush..." -Indigo Girls


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Milke
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I went to a similar school. In general, I didn't encounter the attitudes you did. Sometimes something's regional, rather than universal, and should be treated.

My SO went to a high school that was 70% Hispanic (I mention this only because race seems so significant to you). He's never referred to his school as being 'uncomfortably' populated by any group, nor should he, because racism's not acceptable on these boards, nor should it be anywhere else. Please don't post that sort of thing here again.

------------------
Milke, with an L, Mrs BD to you, RATS, TMNTP, MF, CWCD, WAOTA

We can't rewind, we've gone too far


Posts: 5122 | From: I *came* from the land of ice and snow | Registered: Aug 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
ceilidh
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I'm sorry Milke. I didn't intend to offend anyone and I'm sorry for the lack of thought.

Logic-grrl- thanks so much for the book recomendation. I found it in a store and flipped through it, bought it , and am loving it! I never would have known to look for it if you hadn't said anything.


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Heather
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Just to even out the scales a little and keep things clear, if what you were saying was that your school is not racially diverse and that bothers you, I would not interpret or class that as racist.

I think it's more than acceptable to post that one is or isn't comfortable in nondiverse environments, so henceforth, may just be a way of saying that with a little more finesse so that it's read correctly, if that is what you meant.


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ceilidh
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yes, Miz Scarlet, that was what i meant when I said my school was uncomfortably white based. I didn't think of it as a racist comment when I wrote it, but racism is so delicate and powerful that I wasn't going to argue with Milke about it. I personally do feel uncomfortable in environments that lack diversity. It's been really difficultt for me since my family moved out of the city to the suburbs. I've been wierded out a bit by the culture shock. It's quite different than Philadelphia.

That's all I was trying to say. It wasn't supposed to be a comparison of any sort between caucasions and any other race.

In the future, I will think more about being specific, clear, and well phrased.


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SenegalParrot
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What i often wonder is how did sex in general become so taboo throughout history.
I find it quite a interesting phenomenon.
We should have a world which is very liberal in discussions of sex.

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Jebus1
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ya' masterbate
ya' orgasm
and then ya'go to sleep

what's there to talk about?


Posts: 3 | From: UpperMarlboro,Maryland, U.S | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
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Jebus, we ask that users who are going to post in a thread do so when they DO have something to talk about, preferably on the topic at hand.

So, in the future, please only post when you have something relevant to add to an existing topic, rather than posting to state you see nothing to talk about. Thanks.


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geek_rock
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quote:

ceilidh, have you read the book "Kiss My Tiara: how to rule the world as a smart-mouth goddess" by Sarah Jane Gilman? It's a very funny book with some sharp commentary on just these issues.[/B]

Hey logic_grrl. Sorry this is pretty off-topic, but that's a cool book and I wanted to know if you had any other book recommendations O_O;;;

------------------
Five times out of a hundred. Tell me what my odds are, my heart isn't working. Five times out of a hundred. Tell me what my chance is, romance is under rated.


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