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Climate Marches and The Futility of Child-Abstinence When You Are Assumed To Have A Womb

24 Sep

Here I was thinking I was depressed but really I was just angry. Angry that she could tell me “You’ll understand when it happens to you”*, assuming I would want it eventually and implying that it “happened” to her. It’s a fucking choice when you’re a white woman of certain economic means and education, with the option to use protection, abortion, to choose and control the medical treatment you receive and when you can afford paid support.  It’s a even a privilege to have social resources.

And it’s my fucking choice to refrain from adding another resource-sucking, commodity consuming, emotion and focus draining being to this Earth when there’s plenty of humans and animals already present in need of care.

I’m angry because I fall prey to as many societal justifications as she does and am no more removed from the normative thinking that sucks the passion from each of us.

I’m angry because on Sunday, 400,000 people came together with the seedlings of desire for change but all we could do with it was feel satisfied and superior as we burst into party like noises after a self congratulatory minute of barely disciplined silence.

How long before that energy collapses?

Knowing that I participated, people have been asking me “what now?” I know of little practical behaviors** that I imagine would create at least some small change. But my lack of faith in our current system grants me no fantasies about larger, regimented change. Capital centralized criticisms of the march were spot on: Companies are the maladies of a more palpable disease and until we break from our complacency and challenge our commodity worship these marches/demonstrations/protests will continue to lubricate the machine we think we’re dismantling.

Marches/demos/protests that (at least in the case of the one I refer to here) have been marketed to us and provide a certain amount of cultural capital.  Rather than return to the hopelessness of the daily grind, can’t we adopt an expansive, overarching policy of regular action and criticism to accompany otherwise symbolic action?*** Movements fuel us by reducing the alienation we would otherwise feel in the face of a complacent world. They give us ideas and support, help make us more efficient in a lot of ways. But individually there should be a persistence that withstands the whims of culture, that takes it’s cues from independently constructed ethics rather than media-fed trends.

Won’t that help us more, to take satiation from the process rather than assuming some specific resolution (that ultimately will be contingent on numerous forces and therefore subject to change?)I think we can expect more from ourselves by shifting our values away from solutions and towards incremental changes and by forgiving our set backs through constant reassertion.

*For the record, this well-meaning individual and I have talked about kids before and I had frankly stated, with respect to her feelings on it, that I would not be birthing a child myself despite having an interest in eventually care taking when I am emotionally and economically ready to do so through adoption or foster care. But this is not a given nor an inevitable to me and if it doesn’t happen I won’t feel diminished as a person. I hold no personal animosity towards her but to the assumption and entitlement that I’ve heard her and others express regarding the institution of parenting.
** Avoiding the impulse and temptation of emotional catharsis through shopping, cooking locally and at home, bringing my own lunch and beverages, minimizing my participation in industrialized agriculture, engaging in conscious vegan living (as opposed to vegan marketed consumption), biking almost everywhere, unplugging appliances and avoiding overuse, reusing what plastic, paper and other waste I can, utilizing my local compost (trust me, chances are high that there’s one available to you without much extra effort), cleaner cleaning supplies, avoidance of chemicals on my body and at home, absolute refusal of air conditioning. Please feel free to give me more ideas.
***Having recently become more politically active, I understand that there are probably lot’s of things I’m taking for granted, speaking ignorantly about or misunderstanding. I welcome your ideas but felt that this rare feeling of motivation towards writing had to be enacted.

One ring to rule them

3 Jul

When statistics claim that people who are married tend to be more happy, healthy and live longer than single people, I can’t help but feel that this is misleading. Marriage itself or even being monogamous don’t necessarily create happiness (although, the resources of support that are more accessible when in a relationship help) but it’s the way we think of happiness and how it’s defined that, in my opinion, result in these numbers.

What I’m trying to argue is not that marriage and/or monogamy are wrong or can not make people happy, but that our definitions of happiness are defined by our culture values and reaffirmed by our norms. Media regularly express love and monogamy as magical, intangible; a phenomenon that somehow epitomizes the human experience. When a culture regularly tells you that you need to find your “other half” we start to think in terms of love and a relationship as fulfilling us to the fullest extent. But is this always necessarily so? Does everyone human have an inherent query left to be answered by another person? Are we all walking around as half people till we find the one person to complete us? If so, how do we explain the prevalence of polygamy or multi-way relationships in so many of the worlds cultures? How do we explain the joy and satisfaction expressed by people within those circumstances?

Love, like anything else, is historically volatile. It’s subject to the cultures, history and politics that express and represent it.

My most common proof of this is when a friend and I will be discussing “non-traditional” relationships. People I’ve encountered so regularly question the functionality, the emotional security and/or support of a non-monogamous relationship. But is this not a reflection of our own cultural mindset? That having never experienced those situations and living in a society that vastly demonizes them we refuse to believe that they could actually work? And why are we so trusting and loyal to the idea of the monogamous relationship when there is a vast library of experiences telling us that monogamy is rife with it’s own issues like any other form of relationships?

To some extent, sometimes people have a point: Our society is largely set up to support the monogamous relationship, especially marriage. We have financial support, legal support and a system of cultural behaviors to make monogamy that much more manageable. We see it as the norm and so we build up ways to maintain it. There are tax breaks, legal rights and social behaviors to reward and protect monogamy. Our media is full of lessons to not only support this but to teach that any alternative just doesn’t work. This is why every romantic comedy ends with two people (often straight and still pretty regularly white) either together or broken up. For a moment I tried to think of an example of an American, popular movie that represents polyamory in a positive light and could not think of one (I welcome suggestions).

People often argue that this is the “natural” or “instinctual” way. For me these historical biology debates are always problematic. Humanity as it is today does not operate in the same way as it may have with “our primitive ancestors”. Yes, for mating humans historically paired up but we assume this pairing was dominant in all parts of human life (the way being a couple is now). Not only do we pair for sex but now we pair for eating, leisure, shelter and even operate as a partnership within larger social groups. You go out to eat with your monogamous partner. You relax with them. You live with them and you go out to events together.

Historically, humans were much more socially promiscuous. The people we conceptualize as “primitive humans” typically lived in groups in which social interaction was not based on dual partnerships but a serious of group interactions and relations. All support (labor, emotional, sexual) could be provided by any other member of the group regardless of their gender and or copulation (for reproduction) mate.

So when we say that people historically paired sexually, this is to some extent true, for reproduction purposes. But historically, there was much more social exchange of emotional and social resources.

This is not to argue for that as the dominant model but to question and criticize the language used to defend the current dominant model (of monogamy) as the only way.

Policing Behavior Through “Trending”

6 Jun

I have a twitter account and regularly ignore the “Trending” section. But today I clicked on the “#aintnothingsexyabout” trend. I was struck by several things: a. how many were directed specifically at women (including things that would seemingly relate to men as well), b. the differing nature of things directed at women as opposed to men, c. the predominance of smoking as not sexy, d. the nature of the tweets directed at gender (or not directed at a gender) from trend to trend.

So take a look. No surprises with the things directed at women, they mostly reflect things we already see in advertising and various other medias (and by the way, were posted by both men and women):

“#aintnothingsexyabout a drunken woman staggering and getting off with every man in the club. Be a lady.

Ladies #aintnothingsexyabout you dancing on every dude in the club

a hairy coochie, some ladies didn’t get the memo that was handed down in 1995

out of shape women

Make up that I can tell you have on.
a girl who gives herself away so easily… Ladies never settle to be a man’s everything till he puts a ring on you

a women who smokes…sorry ladies that’s just not attractiveActing like a dude, you’re a LADY. Act like one

girls with messed up teeth & always laughing @ something

A female trying to act hard. We all know you’re not about that life. Please take a seat.
a girl that can’t cook
being insecure..luckily for me, i dont have an insecure bone in this eat anything i want no calorie counting slim body”
So the general message would be: don’t be flirtatious, don’t seek attention, don’t act in typically masculine ways, don’t wear obvious makeup, if you have a physical “anomaly” fix it (but of course make sure it’s not obvious to us that you “fixed” it so that you’re not accused of being obvious) or don’t EVER laugh, shave yourself (but again, hide it all costs for someone may be able to tell that you weren’t born hairless) and please, no smoking and amazing cooking. BE A LADY.
Also, if you’re going to be strong, be ready to be put in your place. We all know you’re weak.
A particularly interesting one was the last: the implication is stunningly honest: If your metabolism is such that you can eat whatever you want without “gaining weight” then you should not feel insecure but that those women who are not considered “thin” should constantly be insecure till they are at an acceptable look.
But of course, after all that, don’t think for one minute you’re entitled to feel insecure.
#aintnothingsexyabout a woman with a lot of baggage and insecurities
#aintnothingsexyabout– a girl who needs to be told she is beautiful….. ladies have self worth…don’t wait for a man to validate you
So the majority of tweets directed at a gender were women as were (I found this surprising) tweets about not smoking directed at women. It strikes me as odd that men are as not policed for smoking as women are.
However, men were policed on some other things (when they were actually mentioned, that is):
#aintnothingsexyabout a man with no confidence … go find some & then re-present yourself #YRB
#aintnothingsexyabout two men kissing
#AintNothingSexyAbout Stalking. If you like her approach her, don’t be a creep.”
#aintnothingsexyabout guys disrespecting & mistreating females ladies if a guy can’t love you & respect you for who you are leave them.
#AintNothingSexyAbout a guy that dont know how to stand up for his girl. Smh.
#aintnothingsexyabout flip-flops on men.
So from these views, men must be confident, must not be gay, should seek women without stalking them, and aim to respect women (interesting that even this message is also directed at women as being responsible for leaving that person), men must stand up for their (assumed) women and can never wear flip flops (that sucks). Generally, it was harder to find tweets directed at men at all but when they were there, they were rarely directed at their physical appearance.
Of course, there were a couple of racial controls going on as well:
#aintnothingsexyabout getting blond streaks if you are desi. honestly, you look like a sunflower, and not in a good way
#aintnothingsexyabout getting dreads if you are a white person. seriously, slavery was bad enough, leave the black people alone.
And then a plethora of anti-smoking tweets generally aimed at everyone. Almost all of the posts about cigarettes aimed at a gender were about women. Other cigarette posts did not reference a gender or addressed both (of the dual socially accepted genders; I do recognize there are more).
Of course, collecting data from twitter is not systematic: it’s limited by the demographics and values of the people who use twitter, who use it during the days I looked (for example if people of a different economic status are working particular times they are less likely to post where as I might run the risk of having collected posts from only people able to post during those times, ie. unemployed high school kids, etc). And perhaps those who do not tag to the trend but still post about what is sexy to them have different values to reflect. So I recognize the general limitations and would not seek to create a definite message off this collection.
What I generally want to call attention to is the way these values keep repeating in society, who they are about (predominantly) and what ways they differ from group to group. It’s worth taking a look at.

White, Educated, Upper Class

13 Mar

Post Secret is, for me, reminiscent of Sunday morning cartoons: something to look forward to and await anxiously each week. And when I’m through with them I’m always a little sad that there aren’t more.

They are always full of sociological examples. This week was no different but one particular one relates to things I’ve been thinking about lately:

It really illustrates well the conceptions this society has about domestic abuse (and perhaps violence in general). The assumption is that a white, well educated man would be above abusing a spouse. This kind of assumption is not only telling of people’s assumption of race and class but of the one’s it alludes to comparing. For example, do we think the post is referencing that Asian men generally hit? Or are we just referencing black American men? Latino or Hispanic men as well? Based on the cultural conceptions of race, I’d suggest that the post means some non-white groups and not others.

Additionally, the fact that class and education is mentioned references the complexity of these ideals: Apparently (according to this view, which I think is common) white uneducated, lower class men have a higher likelihood of being abusive than educated, upper class white men. And because the post simply doesn’t say “He’s an educated man” and references race and education level together, it implies that non-white men of all education levels are more susceptible to performing domestic abuse than white men in general.

The secret also reveals the common conception of the abuser being a man. Obviously, a man in this case is actually abusing his partner: this is fact. However, the wording of the post implies that it’s not a surprise that a man would abuse, only that a man of a certain race, education and class level would. In listing the identity points of the abuser, the person does not say: White, Upper Class, Educated, Man but omits the identity marker “man” because the implication is that it’s “obvious” it’s a man (and the use of “he” confirms that). Of course, this person is simply documenting their own personal experience and not trying to make a point of their beliefs. However, the post uses language that implies a cultural shared perspective between the writer and reader.

We don’t know the gender of the writer but I’ll admit to my first assumption (and I think it’s one many Americans would make) that the writer is a woman. Perhaps I’m particularly gender prejudiced but my mind fell on this assumption to reflect the notion that “men are the abusers, women the victims”. Generally, I think this conception would be shared with most people I know and it’s telling of how we still view women (some would also say it’s telling of the statistical reality that women are more likely to be abused than men, I can’t speak to whether that’s true though I do believe we live in a culture that encourages violence against women).

But the reason my assumption and assumptions like it is dangerous is that it effectively works to shield us from recognizing other kinds of victims and abusers. I truly believe that men in this society suffer much more domestic and sexual abuse than has been documented. This is not to imply that it’s more than women, I don’t know that it is but that it’s much more significant than we recognize and ought to be addressed. Of course it’s already difficult to document domestic abuse with any certainty (regardless of gender) because many victims are afraid to come out or embarrassed that they “let that happen” (more on this later). But additionally, our society places high premiums on the emotional “strength” of men to tolerate things silently without complaining or getting all “sensitive”. The expectations of men’s physical strength also means that men are expected to be able to hold the abuser off or “defend themselves”.

What’s more, because people do not conceptualize women as abusing men (the assumption being that they can’t do as much damage and that men can take it) many people do not recognize physical, violent acts within a relationship against a man as “domestic abuse”. The statement is not “She abuses me” but “oh yeah got into a fight with her, she hit me”. So men are silenced by our society’s notions of abuser and victim.

Generally, there is a mentality that blames victims or holds them responsible for their own recovery. In “The Macho Paradox”, Jackson Katz argues that stories about women who have been abused focus on their efforts to rise above and “get themselves out” but while this celebrates victim strength, it and the expectation of women to leave abusive relationships fails to recognize the responsibility of the perpetrators. I’d argue that because men are rarely seen as victims in these situations, the assumption of responsibility to get themselves out is even greater and even less conducive to recognition and support.

Because the assumption is that women do not abuse as much, they are rarely suspected of committing acts of violence or sexual abuse. Which brings me to the other Post Secret I found interesting:

This post and the words “by a woman” implies that it is surprising that a woman (and perhaps a woman of a Feminist persuasion) would sexually assault another (implied woman, though we’re not positive that it is). This references the blindness of Americans to these occurrences by women. The mental perspective follows that: 1. Men are more likely to abuse, 2. White, upper class, educated men are less likely of all men to abuse, 3. It’s a surprise when women sexually assault someone.

Of course, once someone says it out loud they would quickly indicate that it’s an incorrect set of statements but this doesn’t mean that people don’t think it. This kind of mentality has numerous repercussions for the way we live:

For example, women are often granted open access to children where as our society is highly suspicious and cautious with men being alone with them.

Another example, I have literally seen women I know hit and kick and physically hurt men in their lives without being as outraged with themselves or the friends that do it as they would with men doing the same to a woman. Often, because the taboo exists that men are never to hurt a woman (again, only when they do is it abuse) they often have to take it and submit to the abuse or refrain from defending themselves.

The second Post Secret also implies a lack of recognition of the (assumed) woman by her Feminist peers in the case of woman on woman sexual assault. This also marks the issue well: Because we don’t assume women will be abusive, we often overlook or ignore the need for help or signs of abuse coming from a woman. We don’t suspect her and we often ignore that women are capable of it. The victims are therefore silenced and without as many resources.

Jackson Katz argues in “The Macho Paradox” that to call abuse a “woman’s issue” is neglectful in that it ignores the (alleged) fact that men are often the ones doing the violence and therefore men should take up the responsibility of changing society as well as women.

I would argue as well that we cannot see abuse as the particular issue of one gender (not men as abusers, women as victims nor women as abusers, men as victims), race or class because it blinds us to the various ways it is perpetrated in our society and the kind of perspectives that contribute to it.

“Say It Without Saying It”

20 Feb

Betty Friedan’s “Feminine Mystique” became famous for her concept of “the problem that has no name” as characterizing the experience of post-World War II women (arguably of a specific, college-educated class).

“The problem lay buried, unspoken, for many years in the minds of American women. It was a strange stirring, a sense of dissatisfaction, a yearning [that is, a longing] that women suffered in the middle of the 20th century in the United States. Each suburban wife struggled with it alone. As she made the beds, shopped for groceries … she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question — ‘Is this all?”

I argue that not only has this mystique maintained itself through new forms beleaguering American women today, but that the essential “silence” now (and perhaps always) plagues American men as well. The kind of communication and acquired voice that this and other works helped women develop, men have yet to (in my opinion) experience.

Gender, for men, is assumed not constructed but inherent; natural. Call it into question and identity politics quickly show their importance. I believe that women have, in recent years, been able to perform gender in more elastic (yet still restrictive) ways. Masculine identities are held to more stark, cemented definitions (to different, but equally oppressive ends).

For example, while women are still held to a double standard in terms of sexual quantity of encounters, they are often afforded more diversity and freedom of experience within those encounters whereas men are expected to live to an ever-competitive quota of partners but are discouraged from experimentation within them. For example, women are more easily accepted as having “experimented” with other women (though for who’s enjoyment we may consider a male-dominated perspective) while for a heterosexual-identified man to do so can result in harsh social consequences. The homophobic policing, though strongest from other men, also comes from women as well. Though there are undoubtedly many heterosexual-identified men who have experimented with men, they dare not discuss it with other men and often women as well. In fact, in many social circles to express that another man is attractive often marks a social (though in varying degrees of severity from group to group) transgression. These admissions are often joked about or addressed in a way that reassures the listeners “I’m not serious. I would never do anything with a man”. To have sex with a woman as a women does not necessarily threaten your feminine identity and in fact, from a male-gaze perspective it merely heightens it as you perpetuate the sexual ideal for a man and are thus defined by that. But as man having sex with a man, you are stripped of your fundamental man-identity as being a lover of women and only women.

The social policing does not begin or end there. Men must often choke down moments of vulnerability women would feel comfortable expressing to maintain a stoic, inhumanly insensitive facade. Quips and insults must not only be taken in stride by the subject, often the subject must indulge the joke on himself in order to seem un-offended. A joke on someone’s body weight must be taken without the slightest reflection of hurt or else “you can’t take a joke”.

This brings me to my latest fascination of NYC subway ads. Once again we seen alcoholic beverages gendered for men but this time with a general theme: “Dear Men, Continue to hide your emotions. Here, we’ll help.”

Johnnie Walker: “Say It Without Saying It.”

The ad is aimed at men through cultural markers (markers, I would argue, that are distinct to an assumed “white” masculinity of “fishing, “taking a mulligan”, “mullets”, “mixtapes”). The sentences adorning the subway ads have varying phrases meant to typify a man’s experience. The silence is a re-ocurring theme throughout: “I’d rather streak across a packed stadium than tell you this”, “Say it without saying it”, “Some gifts don’t need a card”. Lack of communication is key. These ads epitomize the capitalist notion that through material objects we purchase we can be productive or successful in some aspect of social life. Here a man need not risk his masculine identity with communication, in fact he can emphasize it through a safe/masculine item given (removed from emotion) to another man.

Sarah Haskins discusses this appeal of capitalism to masculine silence through jewelry ads:         

Also within the whiskey ads are implications of homophobia and heterosexuality: “Never have to say ‘I love you, Man’ again” and “Thanks for introducing me to Katie in D.C.” While the second phrase seems inocuous enough, it appears on a list of phrases meant to express pinnacle experiences of a man’s life and there are also no “Thanks for introducing me to Bill in Philly” phrases.

Equally interesting are the sizes of the fonts. All the phrases are repeated in different sizes, however the ones most prominently displayed in larger fonts include “Thanks for always giving me Hell” and “Actions speak louder than words” where as the smaller font phrases include “Thanks for always being there”. The positive, vulnerable sentiments seem minimized (literally and figuratively) whereas the “tough skin” sentiments and discouragement of verbal communication are emphasized. If this were one ad, isolated and rare we could dismiss these meanings but taken into the larger context of American social life, they seem to echo masculine ideals we see and hear all the time. They are part of the bigger, more complex and interlocking conception of masculinity as that of actors (not talkers). (Sociological Images has discussed this numerous times, one example being: Gendering Toys)

Other than exploiting masculine ideals that already exist for profit (I don’t expect profit-focused businesses to act ethically) these ads have (perhaps) the unintended consequence of reinforcing these ideals and shaping them for each subsequent generation. I don’t seek to blame one company but to examine and question the social world these ideals exist in and to determine whether the consequences are oppressive or not.

Another thought these ads bring to mind (along with my beer post) is how these ads make alcoholism more permissible (even supposedly non-existent) for men. Men in American are often thrown into a binge-drinking culture in which their masculine prowess is judged by how drunk they can get without “wimping out”. Wimping out can consist of many things; falling asleep, being sad (alcohol is a depressant), vomiting and in general showing “weakness”. Whereas it is (in many ways rightfully) seen as dangerous when a woman binge drinks (the threat of rape or sexual abuse being ever present), men are not only treated less cautiously, they’re often encouraged to drink till “black out status”. Someone, in masculine drinking culture, is “the man” when they can out-drink their friends and do outrageous or “extreme” things while keeping the party going. Though women face these social pressures, I’d argue that they are not pressured nearly as much to out-drink men (the assumption is they cannot handle as much as a man can) or to perform the kind of acts men are praised for in drunken states (like pranks, sexual antics, tattoos, sports, violence). 

This is in no way to minimize the struggles of women (women face as many oppressive restrictions as men but in different ways) but to promote dialogue about the particular issues surrounding men’s oppression and how they differ from women’s.

American (Faux) Beauty

6 Oct

I saw a cab pass my job on 6th Avenue advertising Maybelline’s Volume Express: The Falsies.

The cab ad read “Get the false lash glam!”

It struck me as funny that not only is mascara being sold in a way that acknowledges the unnatural ways Americans seek beauty but that this society rarely advertises anything boasting how fake it looks.

Fairly honest advertising, but still a disturbing message: Be beautiful by being fake.

My questions are: Is this ad running in other countries? How is it doing both here and there? Are there other things we advertise using fakeness as a virtue?

Manhood=Beer. Women, take note.

7 Sep

In the discourse over the nature of men and women there emerges a popular theme: Men and women are two different creatures.

We have various forms of media and social vehicles telling us this; movies , books (“Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus”), our friends (“ugh, men” and “women, who needs um?”), music, and of course, commercials. Commercials are great (from an analysist point of view) because they’re meant to convey a lot in a short time frame. They often employ social short-hand to this end that tells a sociological observer a lot about the target audience.

For me, there are few things as reflective of men’s cultural identity than beer commercials. Beer commercials reflect and reinforce men’s identity as men, their relationship to women, to other men and to the world around them. In this instance I’m talking about straight men as the assumed epitome of manhood but I believe that gay men are also influenced greatly by these images.

The fact that these beer commercials are almost all marketed to men reveals a certain sociological awareness on the part of beer marketing companies: they must realize the phallocentric lens women see themselves through and therefore market to men knowing that it will reach women as well. That is, they’re aware that women are taught to see themselves and other women through the eyes of men. Furthermore, the superior value attached to “manhood” rather than “femininity” in this culture results in a constant attempt to “be one of the guys”, to be “the cool girl” (the one that plays video games, watches football and drinks beer yet remains a “woman” in certain ways).

For example, in the following Miller Lite video women are warned not to be the party poopers who look down on objectification but to, taking a cue from Pam Anderson, join in on the bikini-clad pillow fight of life (for the sexual gaze of men, of course).

Then we have the “Man Up” commercials in which, in a rarely seen twist, women are policing men’s gender performance, encouraging them to reject signs of femininity and embrace their man-ness (the ideal) with beer and pants:

In this example we have a clear distinction between the joys/worlds of men and women (also notice the skin tones of those in the commercial)

(Edit: I read a comment about my post on a forum pointing out that the ad is not an American one and therefore should not have to reflect American demographics. This is fair and true. And I was sloppy in my analysis of this ad. But I do retain the same criticism for American ads that feature entirely white characters):

This one I found incredibly offensive.

I only sleep with someone if they claim to like Celine Dion, not Peter Cetera. Who the hell is Peter Cetera?

This commercial not only offends my musical tastes (as a ticket-to-Lillith-Fair-carrying woman, of course) but also marks women as trophies to be collected (or displayed demurely on someone’s wall) and as the ultimate object to obtain in order to be a true man or “the man”.

And finally this one is my favorite. How dare Heineken imply that women do not also have a telepathic connection to quality beer.

Throughout all the commercials you may notice that the racial make up of the majority of them are white. The few exceptions involve black men (perhaps referencing conceptions of black men as sexually potent) but never a woman of color as the sexual object. White, relatively skinny but large breasted women remain the ideal and white men remain the normative eyes through which we see the (commercial) world.

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