February 11, 2009

Wednesday's Comment Call-out: What a boob

"I'll try to restrain the tears. I've seen pictures of the author and she's an attractive woman. She should talk to my sister sometime, who has chronic, flaking psoriasis, and see what it's like to go through life with actual social problems and widespread abuse from shallow people. I wonder if even Ms. Ginsberg would have treated my sis with the affection she deserves. Nobody else did other than my fam. I also couldn't get out of my mind the massive number of vainglorious women who intentionally augment their breasts. Who would do that when it's so obviously horrible to have them? Hmmm, I wonder how awful this condition really is. 'Woe is me! Men want me sexually and people treat me differently because I have great big breasts and I'm pretty. Boo hoo.' I guess I should walk a mile in her shoes before getting so testy over this stuff, but I've seen the other side and it gets far nastier. Some people would love to have even one man lean out of a car to say he wants to f--k them, because nobody else has said it all their lives."

This lengthy comment was left on alternet about an article originally from RH Reality Check by Samara Ginsberg. The article is titled "Women have boobs; get over it." The author describes scenarios from her youth like being held down and groped by boys, being called slutty, being told by a teacher that he likes women with curves, and hearing about rape fantasies she inspired. Does that not count as abuse?

Here is a person sharing something very intimate and humiliating about her life and I'm shocked that some commentators don't respect that. Throwing in a "I should walk a mile" statement at the end here doesn't make up for the fact that you have just done the exact thing Ginsberg is arguing we should not do - the thing that YOU are arguing we shouldn't do: invalidate and judge people based on their physical nature and bodily concerns. The poster's sister with psoriasis undoubtedly has a tough time, but does that preclude her and her family from having sympathy for other people? It does no good to compare the two situations because everyone deals with their own burdens differently. Comparing only makes the rift between "me" and "everyone else" larger. The solution to both problems (judgments and harassment of people with large breasts and people with skin issues) is founded upon building understanding and empathy instead of alienation. Then we can start reading in between the lines for more specific solutions.

Sure, it would have been nice for Ginsberg to point out her ideas of resolution, but we can use our brains, too, when we read things like "I believe that the reason that so many women feel that it’s acceptable to mock large breasts is that there is an underlying assumption that all women want larger breasts," and "It’s as if women’s breasts are public property." So is that assumption true? Where does it come from? Who does it benefit/hurt? Who's property are they? What needs to change? What can I do?

Finally, I have to say I think it's funny that this poster seems to believe Ginsberg is feeling sorry for herself (which wouldn't necessarily be uncalled for given her story) when Ginsberg states "I’m not saying: 'Boo hoo, look how difficult life is for gorgeous women, don’t hate me because I’m beautiful!' Being regarded as attractive generally makes life much easier and puts one in a position of privilege, an unfair and wholly undeserved privilege that I am aware of having."

Check out the article and comments here.

No comments: