My grandmother grew up in this tiny village in Barbados, and she was the only kid in the village to have a cricket bat. She used to play with all the boys, but then they started stealing the bat every time she bought it out of the house and saying that she couldn’t play because girls shouldn’t play sport. So one day she invited them to come play cricket, then set fire to the bat and made them watch it burn, so none of them could play cricket anymore. She was 11.
Here’s the thing. Men in our culture have been socialized to believe that their opinions on women’s appearance matter a lot. Not all men buy into this, of course, but many do. Some seem incapable of entertaining the notion that not everything women do with their appearance is for men to look at. This is why men’s response to women discussing stifling beauty norms is so often something like “But I actually like small boobs!” and “But I actually like my women on the heavier side, if you know what I mean!” They don’t realize that their individual opinion on women’s appearance doesn’t matter in this context, and that while it might be reassuring for some women to know that there are indeed men who find them fuckable, that’s not the point of the discussion.Why You Shouldn’t Tell That Random Girl On The Street That She’s Hot » Brute Reason (via albinwonderland)
Women, too, have been socialized to believe that the ultimate arbiters of their appearance are men, that anything they do with their appearance is or should be “for men.” That’s why women’s magazines trip over themselves to offer up advice on “what he wants to see you wearing” and “what men think of these current fashion trends” and “wow him with these new hairstyles.” While women can and do judge each other’s appearance harshly, many of us grew up being told by mothers, sisters, and female strangers that we’ll never “get a man” or “keep a man” unless we do X or lose some fat from Y, unless we moisturize//trim/shave/push up/hide/show/”flatter”/paint/dye/exfoliate/pierce/surgically alter this or that.
That’s also why when a woman wears revealing clothes, it’s okay, in our society, to assume that she’s “looking for attention” or that she’s a slut and wants to sleep with a bunch of guys. Because why else would a woman wear revealing clothes if not for the benefit of men and to communicate her sexual availability to them, right? It can’t possibly have anything to do with the fact that it’s hot out or it’s more comfortable or she likes how she looks in it or everything else is in the laundry or she wants to get a tan or maybe she likes women and wants attention from them, not from men?
The result of all this is that many men, even kind and well-meaning men, believe, however subconsciously, that women’s bodies are for them. They are for them to look at, for them to pass judgment on, for them to bless with a compliment if they deign to do so. They are not for women to enjoy, take pride in, love, accept, explore, show off, or hide as they please. They are for men and their pleasure.
Yes, false rape accusations happen. Run the protocol anyway. I’ve heard that perhaps the military has the highest number of ‘em. True or not, RUN THE PROTOCOL ANYWAY. Because in 15 years of investigating rape accusations, I can count those that panned out as false on one hand. Meanwhile, the one time I almost skipped the protocol, the one time I almost didn’t believe a petty officer, because I was naive as an investigator and a young woman, because her commanding officer described her as “a party girl, always late, always out drinking, don’t bother with this one”, she turned out to be the victim of one of the most brutal assaults I’ve ever investigated. She shouldn’t have still been -alive-, let alone up and making the accusation. So let me repeat: five false accounts in fifteen years. And one time I almost failed a woman ‘cause of the bullshit way it’s normal to talk about us. Take your shipmates’ word, and then run the protocol. Every. Single. Time.- JAG lawyer, speaking to my husband’s plant during Sexual Assault Prevention Month. (via circusbones)
“Female ‘Purity’ is Bullshit”, by Lindy West (at jezebel.com)
A catcall is entirely about reminding you that you are not yours. The purity myth is entirely about reminding you that you are not yours. The fetishization of female purity in a world where catcalls are an acceptable form of communication telegraphs one thing very clearly:
“Women, stop sexualizing yourselves—that’s our job, and you’re taking all the fun out of it.”
The sexualization of women is only appealing if it’s nonconsensual. Otherwise it’s “sluttiness,” and sluttiness is agency and agency is threatening.
Jane Foole was a 16th century court jester to Catherine Parr, Mary I, and possibly Anne Boleyn, and is the only female jester ever depicted. She features on the lefthand side of this portrait of Henry VIII and his family, whilst the King’s jester, Will Sommers, features on the right.
Even in a time when ‘the privileged amused themselves with dwarfs, the deformed, the disabled and the dimwitted to ridicule and to laugh at,’ a female jester is still particularly curious. Despite this, however, frustratingly little is known about Jane’s life. Other than the above portrait, the only proof of her existence lies only in The Privy Purse Expenses of Princess Mary. Indeed, until her death, Mary financially supported Jane, ensuring she was always well presented in the most fashionable dresses and shoes - over the course of 18 months she was gifted 36 pairs. Furthermore, Mary paid Jane sick pay during “the tyme of her seekness” in 1543, handsomely compensated a Mrs. Ager who cured Jane of an eye ailment in 1556, and paid for elaborate gifts for Jane’s ‘valentines’.
Undoubtedly Jane was better looked after than most women at court, however, she was also required to shave her head twice a month in a custom ordinary for male jesters, but which would have undoubtedly set Jane apart from other women. Unfortunately no records of what she did to entertain the Queens she served survive, but feigning stupidity whilst insulting one’s master, practical jokes, and making up funny stories, were all popular tricks of the trade amongst male jesters of the period and might indicate what Jane got up to as well.