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Pubic Hair

Apr. 15th, 2006 12:17 pm
poliphilo: (Default)
I understand that no-one under thirty likes pubic hair.

See here

I grew up in the 60s when pubic hair was the holy grail. Why do you think anyone ever watched anything by Jean-Luc Godard?

No, that's unfair; Godard in his pomp rocked my soul. Weekend was a life-changing experience. But it didn't hurt that he had chicks walking around in the background with their panties off.

And back then chicks with their panties off meant huge, cushiony swatches of pubic hair.

The temple was veiled....

O.K., OK... Now I'm embarrassing myself.

Apparently the fashion for bare pubes is down to porn. Porn stars wax. And we all aspire to be porn stars (Ach, we are such sheep) just as we all once aspired to be the Venus de Milo or the Apollo Belvedere.

Though that was a little before my time.

The first artist to paint pubic hair was- I rather think- Gustave Courbet. Thereafter the bush had a golden age that lasted approximately a hundred years.

I think the human body benefits from that patch of shading. To me it looks unfinished without it.

The pornstar look is an android look- No hair out of place, boneless bits that don't wobble. Immaculate.

I reject it. I like flesh that behaves like flesh. Follicles that work.

The call of the wild.
poliphilo: (Default)
I like Elton John. Always have done. Even at his glammest, silliest, most diamante-studded-bespectacled. I think he's a brave little tyke. I think he rings true.

And now he's become historically significant by becoming the first famous person to enter into a same-sex marriage under the new rules.

Well done him!

New Words

Jan. 13th, 2005 11:02 am
poliphilo: (Default)
I love new words. New words mean new ideas. They mean you can talk sharply about something that was all fuzzy before.

I guess these words have been used by academics for a while now, but they're new to me.

So, I pull the chord, the curtain slides back, and here they are:

Homosocial

Heterosocial

Mainly they're used as adjectives, but they can be nouns as well. The words homosociality and heterosociality also occur.

To be homosocial is to dig the company of your own sex. To be heterosocial is to dig the company of the opposite sex.

And to be autosocial is to wish that everybody else would go take a running jump.

Google "homosocial" and you'll find theses with titles like "Male Homosocial Desire in Thomas Hardy" and "Homosocial Intimacy in the Old West."

Homo and hetero sociality have nothing to do with sexual orientation. Many homosocials are heterosexual and many heterosocials homosexual. Sorry, it gets a bit tonguetwisty after a while.

And now I'm going to play with my new toys.

This is a homosocial society. It regards heterosociality as aberrant. I found that out when (aged 11) I chickened out of crossing over from the boys' side of the aisle to go sit with my girlfriends. I am profoundly heterosocial. The rituals of male homosociality- talking about cars, playing golf, drinking and messing about in packs- have always disgusted me.

Look ma; not only new words- I got a new identity as well!
poliphilo: (Default)
People get pulled up on the feminist site I frequent for using "sex" and "gender" interchangeably. The distinction is useful. If I've understood it right, "sex" is about physical characteristics and "gender" is about what goes on in your head.

Someone proposed that if you enjoy the cut and thrust of the work-place your gender is male and if you like staying home knitting bootees your gender is female.

I expect they got jumped on. But here's the problem. Sooner or later you stumble over the stereotypes. "Sex" is easily determined (in most cases) but "gender" is a social construct.

I'm confused. I've just written a book in which my tomboyish heroine keeps dodging in and out of drag. She is, of course, a version of myself.

I'm a man. And I'm heterosexual. But when I put myself in a book it's as a girl who goes running about with a sword in her fist having wild adventures.

I think there are probably quite a lot of us with this cast of mind- we are the male fans of Buffy and Xena and Uma Thurman's Bride- but I don't believe there's a word for us...

...Yet.
poliphilo: (Default)
It's only a hundred years or so since men in the West stopped regarding women as property.

Of course I'm talking Law here. In private lots of men still do regard women as property. We've learned to be shocked by slavery, by genocide, but the overwhelming horror of a set-up where one sex dominates and abuses the other hasn't quite hit us yet. We're recovering, we're in denial. The thing is too huge and we're all pretty much incriminated.

So when we sail into third world countries and beat them up for not being like us, we tend not to put women's rights very high on our agenda. Damn it all, you will have a democracy! But the burkha, female circumcision, forced marriage, the denial of education to women- these are all cultural phenomena and maybe it would be a little racist and imperialistic to criticise.

Where women are concerned all men are nazis. Some of us, perhaps, are good nazis.

Fatherhood

Nov. 13th, 2004 08:47 am
poliphilo: (Default)
What's with this this father-son thing that Hollywood keeps shoving
at us?

Spielberg can't leave it alone. Catch Me If You Can was sharp and funny so long as Leo was sticking it to the Man, but then we found out that his delinquency was down to the lack of a father figure and all it needed to reform him was for Tom Hanks to offer him unquestioning love.

Yesterday I was watching Finding Nemo. Great film in its way, but Albert Brooks's fussy lttle everyman of a soccer-dad made me feel queasy. If Ellen DeGeneres hadn't happened along I might well have walked out.

It's like the nineteenth century cult of motherhood. It gives off a sickly smell. I think there's something rotten that's being covered up.

Actually, I know perfectly well what it is. A very high proportion of dads who walk out of a marriage lose contact with their kids within two or three years. And a high proportion of those who stay behind are bullies, brutes and abusers. Of course there are good dads, but there are an awful lot of absolute shites as well.

Do families need fathers?

We daren't say "no" because if we did it would hurt the feelings of men. And that would be tricky because it's men who run the world. So we tell ourselves these cute little stories to keep ourselves from thinking too much about the facts.

There was once a little fishy and his wife got eaten by a barracuda so he had to look after his baby son all by himself and he loved his little son so much that he got a weeny bit over-protective; and then one fine day...
poliphilo: (Default)
The feminist community I lurk at is full of chaps sounding off. A few days ago a chap was telling us how woman-friendly he was and how he wanted women to tick him off every time he displayed insensitivity in his postings. And then another guy blasted him for being all male-centric and me, me, me. I was tempted to join in, but - oh, that's enough already from the people with vagina-envy. Boys, we talk too much. Our place in a feminist community is to sit somewhere near the back and listen!
poliphilo: (Default)

I'm reading How To Suppress Women's Writing By Joanna Russ (thanks for the recommendation, [livejournal.com profile] ide_cyan) and she has this fabulous quote from Virginia Woolf. 

As a woman I have no country

I like it so much that one of the characters in the novel I'm in the process of revising now has it printed on her T shirt. 

It contains the whole of history.  

Virginia Woolf is currently my god.

Turing

Sep. 2nd, 2004 05:33 pm
poliphilo: (Default)
There's a man sitting on a bench in a Manchester park, just accross the canal from the gay village. The first time I saw him I reckoned there was something not quite right about him. When I got closer I saw he was made of bronze. The effect is creepy.

So it should be. This is the monument to Alan Turing, the father of computing and (by virtue of his work on Axis codes at Bletchley Park) one of the heroes of the Second World War.

Turing was gay. The police harassed him. He avoided prison by agreeing to submit to oestrogen injections. The establishment turned its back on him. He committed suicide aged 42.

He committed suicide in rather a novel way (he was, after all, a genius.) He injected cyanide into an apple, then ate it.

The bronze man is holding an apple in his hand.

A few posts back I said we can't do public sculpture any more. That wasn't entirely true. The Turing monument is a great piece of public sculpture. Mike wanted to see it so I took him there this afternoon. We sat on the bench across from Turing and and he looked at us and we looked at him. The face is bland. It doesn't accuse. It doesn't ask for pity.

Turing's wartime work was hushed up for the longest time (national security don'tcha know) but he did as much to defeat Hitler as Churchill, Montgomery, the Battle of Britain pilots or anyone else you care to mention. He was a very great scientist. He was hounded to death.
poliphilo: (Default)
I'm at the doctors- and what have they got in the waiting room? Women's magazines- the cheap ones- with articles entitled "I married my abuser" and "my new vagina" and picture features that gloat over the weight gain and fashion disasters of female celebs. My heart sinks.

Porn degrades women? Maybe (I'd be prepared to debate that one) but not half as much as these women's magazines do. Here every unsuccessful woman is a dozy cow who has let herself be exploited by men and every successful woman is a stuck up bitch just asking to be pulled back down into the ditch where she belongs. "God, but she looks fat in that!"

Misogyny sells. And the most avid consumers of it are women.

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