What gender scholars get wrong about the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue | FACTUAL FEMINIST

What gender scholars get wrong about the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue | FACTUAL FEMINIST

For years, women’s groups have complained
about sexy SuperBowl ads. So many are hailing this year’s game as a sign of progress.
There were far fewer ads catering to the male gaze, and many new ones promoting women’s
causes and scolding men for their moral shortcomings. Well, apparently, Sports Illustrated didn’t
get the feminist memo. Just a few days after the SuperBowl, its annual swimsuit issue came
out. Gender activists were not amused. Are they right to be offended? That’s coming
up next on the Factual Feminist. Now, I can understand why many parents would not want
their kids to see this particular cover while waiting in grocery line. And there will be
many religious and culturally conservative adults who will take offense. I for one hope
that store owners find discreet ways of displaying it. But the gender activist critics are not
arguing for public decorum. Instead, they consider it politically regressive for women
to be treated as eye candy for men. Peggy Drexler, Cornell University psychologist,
put it this way: “if the point isn’t to objectify women for the pleasure of the male
gaze, why has no one created a counterpart magazine featuring a scantily dressed man?”
Here is the Factual Feminist’s reply: For better or worse, popular culture is full of
highly sexualized images of women—Consider a Beyoncé or Rihanna video. Or Cosmo. Scantily
clad bodies are everywhere.But feminist critics are not objecting to women being sexy or underdressed..
It’s the male gaze that troubles them. Anyone who studied gender theory will probably have
read about the evils of the “male gaze.” In 1975, a feminist theorist named Laura Mulvey
published a paper that faulted conventional cinema for its “phallocentric” assumptions
whereby men are active viewers, women are passive objects. In her words, “Woman then
stands in patriarchal culture as signifier for the male other, bound by a symbolic order
in which man can live out his fantasies and obsessions…” Whatever. For the record,
Gaze theory has no standing as social science. It has no
hypotheses that can be tested. It’s a fanciful theory confined to gender studies programs.
But graduates of those programs keep turning up in the media carrying on about the insidiousness
of the male gaze. What about Drexler’s point that if sexy images were empowering, men would
be posing for them too? Well, it’s been tried. There used to be a magazine called
Playgirl that featured sexy men in erotic poses. It went broke. Its primary market turned
out to be gay men. Women were far less interested. According to the Cambridge Women’s Pornography
Cooperative, this is what works for women. Women seem to be less focused on sexualized
imagery than gay and straight men. Gender activists mostly leave the gay gaze alone,
but declare open season on straight guys. Well here is the Factual Feminist’s verdict:
The rights and wrongs of mass media sexuality should be debated in terms of public manners—not
of gender power and selective shaming. The frenzied policing of straight male sexuality
is a dead end. Well, what do you think of the uplifting Super Bowl commercials? Do you
think it would promote gender equity if Sports Illustrated went in for images of beefy guys
in speedos and thongs? I welcome your comments. And if you like this series, please show your
support by subscribing and following me on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you for watching
the Factual Feminist.

38 Replies to “What gender scholars get wrong about the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue | FACTUAL FEMINIST”

  1. These days with the feminist movement. It’s severe brainwashing. It’s Role reversal, women want to act like guys and want guys to act like girls. It’s unnatural. That’s why women are nuts these days and and men want nothing to do with them. I’ll keep my house thanks you can fuck off

  2. Feminism is cancer. However it does have one thing correct the male gaze is definitely a factor in life. But men and women are turned on by different things. Why do you think there are so many romance novels on the shelves at bookstores? Should we as men be boycotting and blocking the publication of romance novels?

  3. Thank you for being so sane. I am jealous of your husband or manfriend. Thank you for being here speaking sensibility.

  4. This could've been summarized with two words; Sex Sells!
    Simple. Besides there shouldn't be an issue if the women are volunteering to do this, and are paid, and treated respectfully like any other employee, or free lance worker. Modelling is in fact a career, and if it pulls in more money due to men PEACEFULLY gazing upon them, then who are we to say anything? We need to stop thought policing people.

  5. "The frenzied policing of straight male sexuality is a dead end." You might be partly right, but I fear that will never stop these radicals from attempting to push a less "phallocentric" publishing industry. Not that that is completely a bad thing, mind you. in fact it may be nice to see a "femellocentric" industry grow out of this movement. Of course, the better solution would be a drawback to a more "origocentric" one that is less primal. Unfortunately any of these conditions would have a lot of push-back. Warning –> these other two words are my own design, not found in any dictionaries.

  6. I call feminism the “we can objectify people too!” movement among other things. I’d be for more modesty in culture, by choice not force of the government.

  7. whats wrong with a kid seeing a woman in a bikini? they see that all the time at the beach. its not like they're having gangbangs in these magazines.

    would these feminists be ok with lesbians looking at these magazines? they act like a woman cant appreciate a pair of tits

  8. I may die to laugh seeing sexy women on Cosmo's covers.
    The magazine is full of feminist articles about the poor objectified women and horrible men.

  9. "Women tend to be less focused on sexualized imagery than are gay and straight men." That is a universal truth, but to mention it in certain circles would cause an intersectional tantrum.

  10. 1:16
    They tried that before. Ever hear of Playgirl? Yea, it was a magazine from Playboy that featured content for women, including sexy men getting naked and female-centric articles. Want to know why most people don't know about it? Because women weren't interested, the primary audience was gay men.
    The true female equivalent to porn magazines are romance novels. The reason being, men's sexuality is primarily aroused through visual stimuli – photos, videos, erotic lingerie, etc. Women's sexuality is primarily aroused through feelings – graphically descriptive stories, talking, cuddling, etc.
    While there is quite a bit of crossover in both genders, there's enough truth to the "stereotypes" to make them reliable, hence a porn magazine directed toward women will never be as popular or successful as a similar magazine directed towards men, just as a series of romantic novels written for men will never be as successful as a magazine line.

  11. Um, I'm pretty sure there are magazines and other stuff you can buy with scantily-clad guys. Why aren't they complaining about those calendars full of half-naked firefighters or whatever?

  12. We are a culture of Tits & Ass – women should appreciate the fact that you are appreciated ! ! Women (fems) MUST stop "crying" about anything & EVERYTHING !!!!!

  13. The popularity of muscular men in film and tv seems to suggest that at least some women enjoy looking at men’s bodies. For example, every Marvel movie has a shirt off six pack shot. I don’t think men would try and look good naked if women didn’t have any interest. Of course some men like looking ‘good’ for their own vanity, but I think the point is still valid.

  14. Women be offended who cares? what arrogance to believe everything hinges on what offends women. I couldn't care less what offends women.

  15. What family didn't start out with a man appreciating the looks of a particular women and then engaging her personally? If you are stuck on objectifying people you have a problem. But attraction starts with the appreciation of some, often physical, quality and then proceeds naturally to getting to know the person.

  16. this is why men think women are nuttier than squirrel shit.you have this feminist woman bitching about men looking at women.however, there are other feminist that will say,if you got it, flaunt it.Its the models right to be shown in a sexy way, independence.So just shut the hell up.

  17. Men who are attracted to women tend to look at women and women who are attracted to men tend to look at men. At sometime during all this looking these men and women make babies together and the existence of human beings continues in the world. ?

  18. As a male and a husband and a father.I really do not give a toss about these female dictatorial crones. If women did not wish to look good and attractive, why is the cosmetic industry so vast. Most men myself included admire a woman by her stance, not the war paint, not the clothes she wears, not the jewelry. Go to any beach or night club and you will see all the bodies you need if that is your inclination. but the dictatorial crones need something more. they need their 15 minutes of fame it is all self-effacing and has nothing to do with the welfare of the female gender. HYPOCRISY at its FINEST

  19. Seems not too many females commenting. When are they going to take the “male” and “man” out of their gender descriptors?

  20. Sexual depictions have been in art through most civilisations throuought history.

    Sexuality and the human body were considered natural concepts.

    Altho they did publically shame sex and outside marriage.

    Wasn't till during the medieval age when sexuality was starting to be condemned and the human body seen as sinful.

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