Bodies as currency

Lizl Morden

Lizl Morden

By Lizl Morden

At the Red Hot Chili Peppers concert in Joburg recently, two separate incidents got me a little annoyed. But it was only later, when I put the two together, that I got really mad. The incidents: dudes and boobs.

First: I was in the very long queue to buy drinks. I finally got to the front of the queue and the man serving my row and the next one was kind of ignoring me. Or he was very busy getting the 10 000 drinks the person next to me had ordered, whatever. Everybody was impatient to get their drinks ASAP because it was almost time for the Peppers to start. So the guys next to and behind me offered some helpful advice on how I could get the barman’s attention: “show him your tits”, they cried.

The guy next to me said I should pull my T-shirt down to show some cleavage, he was a barman once and this works. The guy behind me literally shouted “show him your tits”. I shouted back that he should show the barman his. Not the sharpest comeback, I know. Anyway, the barman helped me without me having to expose myself and away I went.

Second: I think it was close to the end of the concert, the camera was panning across the (golden circle) crowd and focused on three women sitting on someone’s shoulders. When the third women saw she was on the screen she lifted up her top and there was an appreciative roar from many thousands of male voices.

I have three issues with this:

1) Why did the camera focus on women sitting on shoulders? (possibly because they were easily distinguished in the crowd, but why did anybody have to be distinguished?)

2) Why did that woman lift her top? Is it because it was the expected thing? Because she felt she had to do something?

3) *eye roll* at the crowd’s reaction. At the time I told my sister: I mean really!

Of course this is not only a type of violation on women’s bodies but also makes the harmful assumption that men, all men, are these dirty-uncle types who enjoy watching and objectifying women even though it makes the women in question uncomfortable. Bodies belong to people with feelings and histories and so on, and objectification
denies this – that the body is in fact a person.

Boobs, women’s bodies in general and my body in particular are not here for anyone’s entertainment or to be displayed in return for favours. In other words, no objectifying allowed. And if you really want to leer at a boobs all day long, surgical advancements have made it possible for you to shimmy on over to a plastic surgeon and get your own.

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2 thoughts on “Bodies as currency

  1. It is not just disturbing, it is absurd, degrading and frantic. Showing off private parts of your body questions your own intergrity as a person, about self respect and your personal dignity. Everybody has a choice, women must choose to do the right thing and stop putting the blame on men. We are not forced.

  2. I agree, everybody does have a choice, we are not forced and I am not blaming men. After all, I did not show him my tits and neither did the other 2 women the camera focused on.

    But we do live in a society where it is acceptable, and sometimes even encouraged, for women to present themselves, or to be presented, as objects. And that is my point. everybody should realise that our bodies and not there for the consumption of others.

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