Friday, April 9, 2010

Which Set of Lips Stay Closed Now?

A friend recently sent me a link to this article about Purity, or how dieting is the new virginity. It makes the point that women's bodies used to be more controlled via sexuality. Women were valuable based on their virginity and the sex they did not have. Now, women's bodies are more valued on their thinness, or on the food they did not eat. 

I think there are some interesting correlations here. Firstly, both sex and eating can be highly pleasurable activities, and I believe that we as a culture are quite afraid of pleasure, especially the pleasure of women. Women feeling pleasure makes them into people instead of objects or "lesser beings" and that can be dangerous to the "men are people, women are commodities" story of much of our patriarchal culture. 

I also am sorry that the author of the article, Zaftigzeitgeist missed the obvious play on words. Zey say, "It is as if we have gone from legs closed to lips closed." I would say that the more obvious phrasing would be more like, "It is as if we have just changed which set of lips to keep closed." (Groan, I know. My partner definitely groaned at that one. But I think it's good.) Looking at it from a lips point of view raises the appetites correlation, which delves a little deeper. 

Things go through women's lips into their bodies, and often it is because women choose to bring those things (food, fingers, penises) into themselves. The patriarchy has a fear of women's appetites and women wanting too much. Too much sex, which can "unman" a man, too much food, which can mean she is not striving to meet patriarchal beauty standards, too much attention, work, rights, votes, influence, power, equality, etc. Women wanting things, or more than their allotted amount, is dangerous to the patriarchy. Therefore what passes through women's lips and how much they are allowed to WANT to pass through their lips becomes an appetites control. 

I also find the whole situation sad. Sex shame and food/fat shame do documented damage to women throughout our society. And as for the men, they don't really want skinny women or women who hate sex. Studies have shown that men in our society really do prefer women curvier than the prevailing beauty standards and willing partners. Patriarchy hurts all of us.

This all goes back to the Pleasure House ambition of mine, and speaks to the deep revolutionary nature of a sacred space for people, especially women, to explore and indulge themselves in sacred pleasure. Perhaps the motto should be something like "open wide" or "making all lips smile" or "read our lips to see if we're satisfied." Okay, all of those are terrible, but I'm sure someone will think of something actually clever and a little raunchy without being terribly offensive along those same lines.



Zaftig Zeitgeist said...

Thank you, I really enjoyed reading this, and I like how you expanded my original point and used it as a jumping-off point for your own thoughts.

Philosofisher said...

Thank you for reading and glad you enjoyed!