Saturday, May 9, 2009

Boobs and Atheism

Man, I just can't stop talking about boobs lately.

Anyway, Friendly Atheist shared this idea for the "Atheist Bust Campaign" the other day:

Other than the fact that it's hard to read (should be one phrase per cup!), I personally thought it was hilarious. Bus. Bust. Har har. A play on words, plus it's a bit ridiculous - who would expect to see this on a bra if you're getting hot an heavy with some girl? What a silly way to advertise! Funny, right?
"Do we really need to objectify women to make our case? This seems pretty tasteless to me."

"I know it seems to be the consensus that anyone calling this sexist needs to “lighten up,” but I’m pretty sure this is exactly what stopped a lot of people from listening to Peta (in addition to a variety of other hypocrisies of course, but this is one reason). Objectification is bad no matter who does it, and it’s especially annoying as a feminist to see another cause I care about wanting to use it in order to reach out to nonbelievers."

"I find the ad mildly offensive and somewhat humorous, but I’d be much less annoyed if there were another ad showing off a close up of men’s filled out briefs. But then that begs the question of what exactly do a bra and briefs have to do with the message here?"

"For those of you suggesting that the users who rightfully mentioned this should just “lighten up,” I ask–do you really want atheism reflecting such narrow-minded views about gender stereotypes, too? Atheism is supposed to be a part of the movement of intelligible REASON. It’s bad enough the religious are so willing to persecute women for being even remotely sexual and the LGBT community for merely existing. Also, if you disagree that subtle forms of sexism–even sexist humor–can be harmful to women, I suggest you read up on the stereotype threat literature."
The comments for this post annoy the crap out of me. Yes, you all need to take a fucking chill pill, and that's coming from a fellow feminist. It was one joke based on a play on words. Maybe if there was a national campaign dedicated to nearly naked skeptic girls without equally nearly naked skeptic dudes, then I'd see the objectification and problem with exploiting female sexuality for advertisement. But it's not. The Richard Dawkins Foundation isn't funding it; there's no grassroots atheist boob effort. Maybe if we had been the "Atheist Class Campaign" the joke would be a booty for the "Atheist Ass Campaign." "Atheist Dunk Campaign" would be "Atheist Junk Campaign" and we could all stare at some guy's crotch. My point is, the person who made this image probably wasn't going out of their way to objectify women - bust just sounded like bus, and the idea of atheist advertisements on bras is ludicrous and funny. I hardly see how a single joke is equivalent to PETA's trashy campaigns or religious oppression of women and LGTB groups.

Are we not allowed to joke about anything sexual at all because of the fear of not being politically correct? My friends and I make jokes that uber-feminists would consider sexist, but you know what, it's about context. We're not making them because we think it's true that women are dumb or emotional or whatever - we make them because we think it's ridiculous that people actually do think that way. We're mocking people's intolerance. I don't Feminist Avenger Punch my guy friends when they jokingly tell me to get in the kitchen and make them a sammich. Why? Because I know how to take a joke. If they were the type of males who actually believed that, I wouldn't be friends with them.

This is why a lot of times I hate calling myself a feminist. I want equal pay, equal opportunities, etc, etc... Why don't we worry about the big problems instead of flipping out over a joke about a bra? Yes, we should have concerns about the objectification of women in our culture - but when it's something minor like that, I think we all need to calm the fuck down. I hate the fact that I've been told I'm not a "real feminist" because I'm not totally extreme. I had a friend once try to argue with me that shaving your legs was just conforming to the oppressive patriarchal rules, and if I disagreed with her I was just not educated enough to understand. No, I fucking like having smooth legs. It feels good. Even if it's a symbol of the higher standards of beauty women face, I really don't care. And that was an argument from someone who wears make up, and I don't wear any. Should we start a jihad against lipstick because of what it symbolically represents, or try to tackle the bigger problem of women's self image and social standards of beauty?

That being said, here's a SMBC that I like to believe was released today especially for this post:
Now if you excuse me, I'm going to go prepare myself for the upcoming feminist flame war. *crawls in her barricade*


  1. I don't get these "ever implying that women are sexy is OBJECTIFYING and SEXIST" frames of mind, I really don't. Women are sexy. Men are sexy. I say this as a straight dude. Is there anything wrong with pointing out this fact every once in a while, and relishing in it? I do so hate prudes.

    Also, "objectification is bad"? Sorry, objectification can be hot. And no, it's not just women who can be objectified, and no, it's not automatically bad. Matter of fact, smart women can exploit objectification for their own gain. I call that empowering, not bad.

  2. Good one, Blag Hag!!

    Will atheist promotional bras really help?

  3. On leg shaving: it's not just women. Some men in porn wax just about every hair on their bodies. I know some gay men who are much more apt than straight men to shave their leg, arm and chest hair. Some straight men shave more than their pubic and face hair.

    If there were a very fast and easy way to permanently remove body hair, I'd probably opt out of leg, arm and chest hair too. Smoothness>all. Not to mention that clothes pretty much make most hair obsolete.

    Anyway, it is slightly oppressive that women are expected to shave their legs and men aren't. That's not fun.

    And I agree with BorgHunter: there is nothing inherently wrong with objectification. It becomes a problem when it's pervasive and takes away individual freedoms and opportunities, like sexual harassment from a boss at work.

  4. If women of the world bare their breasts with atheist slogans. I highly doubt, I would ever go back to Christianity. Especially since Christian women rarely bare their breasts, unless more than two mixed drinks have been drank. :-D~ Plus Atheist women are 16.8% hotter than Christian women. lol

  5. But then that begs the question of what exactly do a bra and briefs have to do with the message here?Oh for fuck's sake. Hey, as long as we're asking questions, what does mass transit have to do with atheism?

    You know, I would've figured that part of the whole "feminism" deal would be to recognize that the members of the female half of humanity are not all identical. Respecting women as individuals would imply, I'd think, that aforesaid women don't all have to share the same attitude on what they do with their bodies or how they address the confusion known as sexuality. But no: on the topic of sex, everyone must have the same sense of humour. Anything else is Treason to the Cause.

  6. An afterthought:

    Why don't we worry about the big problems instead of flipping out over a joke about a bra? Yes, we should have concerns about the objectification of women in our culture - but when it's something minor like that, I think we all need to calm the fuck down.If I could figure out why people flipped out over things like this, I think I'd know something important about humanity which I don't know right now. It's like when somebody goes, "Ghasp! You just admitted you don't like watching sports! And you had a drink at the JREF meeting! You're giving The Skepticism Movement a bad name!!"

  7. Hey, thanks for this. I put the picture together in 10mins to make a friend laugh, and never anticipated anyone thinking it was sexist! Like you said, it was a joke based on a bit of wordplay and (if anything) poke fun at men. Certainly not an attempt to objectify women, or an endorsement of an actual Atheist Bust Campaign - that would clearly be wrong. I was starting to worry I might need re-calibrating, though, so it's good to know it's not just me...

  8. Ahem. That should have read: "Like you said, it was a joke based on a bit of wordplay and (if anything) meant to poke fun at men."

  9. If we get men matching tight underwear, would that help balance it? Though men's underwear that fit the whole phrase would be hard to come by...

  10. Its obviously a joke for women anyway. Men stopped reading after there were no boobs behind the bra.

  11. I don't get how the offense came about anyway, I read the original post and comments up to the date of this post.

    It may have been different if the bra was actually POPULATED, but it was simply a bra, sans woman, sans breasts, and therefore, I really didn't understand the offense.

    Would people have reacted the same if it were showing a pair of (empty) Depends(tm) with promoting Agnosticism? "Do you think there is a God? Depends!"

    "Lighten up" and "Wet Blanket" probably could have been avoided, rather the question could have been asked why someone thought it was offensive. Respect peoples opinions, and learn why they feel that way.

    I know that I have told a joke that has nothing to do with race, that was taken as racial slur, because of someone's ignorance. After they realized that 'albino' has nothing to do with race, I think they realized that it was a joke about a genetic condition, rather than a racist thing.

    Here is the offending joke: "Have you heard about the albino fly? No? I heard he was pretty white for a fly guy."

    So, I guess the point is, I could have ignored the offended person, but I think we both learned something by opening up the communication channels. They were terribly angry, initially, and it was difficult to get them to calm down, but I think we are both better for it.