I have a whole set of questions on this, and related topics:
- Some say the "ideal male" image has shifted to be slightly more feminine. Has a similar shift occurred in the "deal woman" image --if so what was this shift-- or why hasn't it happened?
- Gay men are threatening to homophobic straight men, yet effeminate (need not be gay) men are also glorified in certain limited contexts. I don't see any reciprocal pattern for butch women. Why not?
- It might on the surface seem easier for lesbians to come out, compared to men, yet it is harder for lesbians to escape objectification and trivializing of their sexuality. In many ways lesbians are made invisible. I think it is clear this is due to sexism.
- There is a glorified archetype of the "pretty boy" (David Bowie etc.) in pop culture, but no similarly visible glorified archetype for the manly woman. Why? I think part of it could simply be the way our culture tends more and more to value thinness and youth. Yet, this dosn't explain why a very fit muscular woman is more often called "gross" than "sexy and androgynous."
Here's an example of just what I'm talking about with lesbians being invisible... and it ties in to that other thread about the Republican candidate for Governor in NY:
Meanwhile, the Web site that first revealed Paladino had forwarded several racially charged and sexually suggestive e-mails disclosed more X-rated pictures and movies supposedly sent out last year by the Buffalo builder. The e-mails, posted by wnymedia.net, feature women in various sexual situations, including one showing a woman performing oral sex on another.
At least two e-mails bear the same commentary attributed to Paladino: “Awesome.”Source: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/paladino_aide_had_gay_old_time_jjmInDE1Q8as4YTmLZARWO
(I know... The New York Post
is a terrible source... But, this thing with him and dirty emails is on multiple sources.)
So, this is the man who is disgusted by homosexuality. Yet he thinks sexualized lesbian images are "Awesome." We see in his comments that deeply sexist world-view, sex is done by, wanted by and only active
if coming from men. Women's sexual choices only matter insofar as they please men... etc. (I'm not saying anyone who enjoys lesbian/bisexual porn images must be sexist, by the way, I saying there is a huge discount when someone is unable to see that these images are also "gay" --the inconsistency is breathtaking and commonplace.)
To expand on the other questions: Why are the images associated with "positive androgyny" in western culture more often of the "pretty boy" type? I'm talking about the skinny, David-Bowie-like boy-ish girl or "lovely" boy. (In Japan it'd be called "bishonen.") On the other hand, the image of a man-ish woman... even though it is also
androgyny, has fewer positive connotations in pop culture. I'm talking about the female bodybuilder, the butch, burly woman. In pop culture she is more often cast in a negative light.
Not that the pretty-boy kind of androgyny is always considered to be positive, far from it! There is ridicule (often even violence) for both. But, why is one more often attacked than the other in the context of what is and isn't beautiful?