Friday, October 27, 2006

Politix: To Breast or Not to Breast

Can a woman political candidate still claim to be a feminist if she shows cleavage?

Or as The Associated Press put it in a report on Loretta Nall, the Libertarian Party candidate for governor in Alabama:
"[She is] campaigning on her cleavage and hoping that voters will eventually focus on her platform."
Now I'll be the first to admit that I do not lie awake at night pondering such imponderables, in part because we have the indubitable Lily to do so in a terrific commentary over at the Gynocracy Invasion blog:
"It seems to me that a woman can be both a 'new' feminist and a libertarian, she is running as a Libertarian candidate after all. But perhaps the question was prompted by the fact that she has apparently made remarks about using her cleavage. (Holy shit, oh no she didn’t! I feel more oppressed already! Somebody stop that woman!)

"I had put in my usual two cents' about feminists that want to become authorities over other women, and the 'to breast or not breast' matter. After all, there are many different variations of feminism these days, with many different expectations about how individual actions perpetuate or dissolve oppression. My view is simply that we have to really avoid the finger waving and 'should talk' because autonomy doesn’t go down by shifting authority. Authority is still authority, and we need to be mindfully suspicious of it. That is not to say that libertarian models are the answer either -- it depends really on how you view the role of societal bureaucracy. My view is that they should pave my roads but stop at my door -- with a few exceptions of course. . .

"Is that where we are at now though, equating what is hopefully an effort to steer a movement toward respecting personal choices, to equating the 'use' of cleavage with being a 'new feminist'? Should we? Certainly lots of women from all walks of life choose to view their breasts in many ways. Some see them as a tool, others a burden, others a food source, others something to celebrate as part of being a woman, some (like me) see them differently at different times.

"Point is, I’m not sure that -- regardless of the reasons -- it makes sense to conclude things about us because we either 'use' cleavage or don’t.

Amen, Lily.

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