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Things that don't go together, together at last - Tactical Ninja

Nov. 30th, 2012

10:01 am - Things that don't go together, together at last

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OK folks, I'd like to know what y'all think of this. It's an art exhibition that involves naked women in various situations in which they are truly objectified - as lamps, for example, or as blank canvases for the audience to write on. It's designed to challenge people to separate nudity and objectification from sexualisation, essentially to see if they can. The premise being that the female form is so commonly sexualised that seeing it as anything other than sexual will be hard.

OK, I get that, and I'm certainly intrigued. But there's a small part of me that is seeing this as ironic sexism. Dunno, maybe it's ironic ironic sexism in that it's caricaturing ironic sexism by taking the irony to the extreme and putting lampshades on naked ladies while going "Go on, I dare you not to look at my bits! Can you?"

It probably doesn't help that I spent some of yesterday pointlessly trying to explain to someone on the internet that ironic sexism is still sexism and that adding the comment "This tweet is pointless without that chick’s number" in response to this ad is not clever or witty or even arguing a point, it's merely sexist. He insisted that irony is a better form of argument than pathos, and therefore his comment was justified. As you can imagine, I was unimpressed by this abstraction, and I'm pretty sure that interaction has coloured my view of the above.

So I'm asking you, what do you think? I will probably go see it regardless, because like I said, I'm intrigued. But I'm curious whether my little flashes of "Umm..." are on track or not.


Look, I made more Skyrim friends!



This is actually kind of out of date, but still sums up my Skyrim social life pretty well. I hang out with horses a lot. And that person in the foreground, getting in the way of the shot and messing it up? That's Lydia. If you've played Skyrim you'll be going "Ah yup" right about now. She's.. monumentally stupid. She stands in doorways, gets in pictures the wrong way round, and can't climb up the same things I can so she ends up running the long way round and I have to wait for her. She does carry my crap for me though, and she seems to be quite good at getting and keeping aggro. Her archery is legendary. And she's not dead yet which is quite amazing really. I actually sort of like her because she's not perfect. In short, she makes Hawk look clever and does a reasonable job of helping me not get killed. ;-)

But sometimes I just want to grab her by the horns and throw her somewhere out of my way. And I do wish she had a backstory and conversational ability. We've run a lot of miles together and we ran out of conversation options after the first two. Step up, Bethesda.

Anyway, I've been playing the game for about 60 hours total now and while I'm still enjoying it, it does feel quite a lot like I'm playing for completion rather than being carried along in an adventure. It's fun, it's distracting but I have no real drive to achieve any of the main goals. I haven't joined a faction because, well, the Imperials tried to kill me and the Stormcloaks are a pack of racists. I don't really care about the political stuff, but I quite like killing dragons. It still reminds me of WoW, especially now that I have more gold than a bull can shit and my inventory's almost entirely made up of ingredients for alchemy/smithing.

So I'll do the main questline to the finish but then I think I'll drop it, and maybe pick it up again later if I'm in the mood for aimless wandering in a beautiful, empty land picking flowers.

Incidentally, I don't know if it's the timing or what but since playing Skyrim, I've been struck by the urge to stop and pick certain bushes that I see growing on the side of the road. Hee.


Dear weather gods, I have 40-odd sheep to shear tomorrow. Please be nice and let me get them done. Cheers.

Comments:

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From:tatjna
Date:November 29th, 2012 10:27 pm (UTC)
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Your characters in a) might have something to say about c), which would kind of prove your point. And if they insisted you wear pants, as c) implies, then b) would have a whole lot more relevance.

Also, when you come up with names like that, it makes me go *squee*. And I LOL'd at 'incandescent Kiwiblog commentor'. I think I might be saying that I am currently your locus of control for humour. Or something.
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From:tatjna
Date:November 29th, 2012 11:10 pm (UTC)
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That makes it sound like they are placing the locus of control for sexualisation with the audience, while trying to obfuscate it with blatant nudity and literal objectification. But they don't seem to be seeking feedback about the result, which

a) annoys my inner researcher

b) makes me only barely avoid going into a long and virtually incomprehensible disjointed rant about the relevance of art as social commentary, the importance of internal conflict in norm formation, and why art history is actually not the most useless degree you could do.

And nobody wants that, so have this instead:



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From:t_c_da
Date:November 30th, 2012 12:00 am (UTC)
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Tweety McFucking Tweety the Thunderous Tui, who is currently thinking about nectar, loudly.

er, shouldn't that be nectar, LOUDLY!

And that Tui gets around given that he's annoying parts of Maoribank as well as Brooklyn of late...
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From:tatjna
Date:November 30th, 2012 12:36 am (UTC)
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Whereas we have Boomer McBoomy the Resonant Pigeon, who thinks mostly about chips.
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From:bekitty
Date:November 30th, 2012 01:42 am (UTC)
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And we have Screechy McWhistlewings the kaka, who from the sound of it is mostly thinking about playing Space Invaders.
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From:bekitty
Date:November 29th, 2012 10:45 pm (UTC)
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"Ironic sexism" is like "hipster racism". It's really annoying, and I would like it to stop now please, thank you very much.

Also, I believe that it's only called "ironic" because it's predominately done by hipsters, and everything they do is supposed to be ironic. Or at least, that's the excuse they tend to come up with when called out on their shit. "I was just being ironic!" No, it wasn't ironic, you were being an asshole.

Ooh, I could rant about this topic far AAAAGES. :-)

Dear weather gods, I have 40-odd sheep to shear tomorrow. Please be nice and let me get them done. Cheers.

Oh, so you're the reason for the rain and southerly gales this weekend. I wondered.
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From:tatjna
Date:November 29th, 2012 10:48 pm (UTC)
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Ssh! The forecast has changed. We don't want it to change back.
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From:thesecondcircle
Date:November 30th, 2012 06:57 pm (UTC)
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Yes.

In fact, actual "ironic sexism" wouldn't, by definition, be sexism since the point of irony is to express something in a way that makes it clear that you mean the opposite. Like when my husband joked when I was expecting "you're actually pregnant and barefoot in the kitchen" and I retorted "just the way you like it!" -- that's ironic sexism because I had a successful career at the time and he was super supportive of that (in fact, I made more money than he and he stayed home with the baby when I returned to work). So totally ironic use of a sexist trope to jokingly express the opposite idea. You can absolutely do this in order to increase awareness of sexism and to point out stereotypes. However the hot lawyer / twitter advert is, in point of fact, just plain sexist.

The thing about hipsters when they try to pull this is that they are often insufficiently ironic. No, they are actually using the tropes of sexism to express.... sexism, but in a way which is supposed to give them some kind of free pass.

Irony is difficult to get right, especially in a public venue (after all, my husband and I know he's not sexist, but a random stranger won't). I blame Alanis Morissette for the public's lack of understanding of irony -- isn't that ironic?
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From:richaarde
Date:November 30th, 2012 03:10 am (UTC)
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How much you wanna bet that Mr. Teeny Weenie from a few posts back will show up at that art exhibition?
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From:tatjna
Date:November 30th, 2012 07:14 am (UTC)
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NOOOOOOOoooooooo!!
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From:downwardlashes
Date:November 30th, 2012 03:45 am (UTC)
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I think the art exhibit is based on the fact that an exhibit with nakedness is bound to get lots of attention. :/
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From:jaelle_n_gilla
Date:November 30th, 2012 08:03 am (UTC)
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I can't yet imagine what the lady garden would look like. Personally, I can't really find a hard border between beautiful and sensual, or sexually attractive. Women's bodies are beautiful (and men's bodies are beautiful down to the waist I think) and I like to look at them, so it's hard to say if that's sexual or sexist or not. Beauty is beauty.

The FB add it simply tasteless. The only thing wrong with it is that it says "networked" instead of "slept". Funnily enough I think it would be a totally different picture if she was standing there in a neat suit, all buttoned up, and in front of a grand jury making a speech. Still a bit fishy, but a lot more towards the meaning "she is good and she got there on her own".
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From:thesecondcircle
Date:November 30th, 2012 06:58 pm (UTC)
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I wondered if there was a way to rewrite the FB ad copy to actually be ironic. I came up with:
"Her grades and hours in the library weren't enough to make her a great lawyer -- she had to network her way to the top." With a picture of a beautiful, but totally professionally dressed young woman.

My goal here would be to point out the reality that women can often work as hard as a man and still not be treated equally, poke fun at the "slept her way to the top" stereotype, and point out that networking is actually an important component to a successful career.
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From:slavezombie
Date:November 30th, 2012 04:49 pm (UTC)
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Your sheep shearing tasks would make for such a fun vlog to watch (no sexism intended.)
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From:tatjna
Date:December 1st, 2012 05:02 am (UTC)
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Not really, I'm the world's slowest shearer and you might well get bored and fall asleep. However, the people who go along with the sheep are quite interesting.
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From:Virginia Kennard
Date:December 1st, 2012 02:48 am (UTC)

The Lady Garden

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Thank you for your thought-provoking feedback. My aim with this work is primarily this - to have people engage in dialogue around nudity, sexism, objectification, sexualisation of women. There is so much here to respond to and learn. I am still investigating my reasons behind this work and where it could go.

I do not expect to answer "Yes" or "No" to whether or not the naked women in this exhibition (which may or may not translate further beyond the exhibits I present) because, as so rightly posited by happyinmotion it is up to the beholder. However, it is pretty limiting to think that one's image is only judged by who is viewing it, what happens when multiple viewers have differing opinions? And whilst I encourage viewers to recongise all forms of beauty, I am looking further to definition and description rather than just judgement on the hotness of one's arse.

Maybe jaelle_n_gilla has a point, maybe beauty can only be judged in terms of sexual attractiveness.

How much of my conditioning has been coloured by the male gaze? How much of yours? Is the naked woman herself also not a beholder of her own image? Certainly when I have presented exhibits which will be part of this exhibition in performance before, there were some audience members who could not bring themselves to accept what was being presented. That they could not or would not separate the sexualised nature of a naked woman.

It is hard to gauge whether this is ironic sexism or not, and until I have presented this work in full, I couldn't say. I certainly hope that it is not insufficiently ironic (thank you thesecondcircle) as I certainly do no want to be perpetuating sexist viewpoints, or fulfilling the role of hipster. I am annoyed at myself that I have insisted this be an exhibition of women only (though not for women only), especially since this work arose from the desexualised and objectified role of the life model for drawing class, which is the case for whatever gender the model.
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From:tatjna
Date:December 1st, 2012 05:01 am (UTC)

Re: The Lady Garden

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Hey, thank you for dropping in!

I think you've raised an interesting point here about how the models see themselves in this exhibition. I remember reading that some of the ladies may find it quite confronting. I think the audience may find it quite confronting as well, to have the 'object' to be looking back at them. I think personally, I'll find it harder to objectify a person who I am interacting with, and I'm interested in how that affects the level of sexualisation I apply to her.

Like you, I can't decide how I feel about this and feel compelled to go along to find out for myself. There is an added aspect for me in this, in that there's a good chance I'll know one or two of the ladies (hey, it's Wellington, right?). I think I'd like to go with a group of people because the likelihood of differing opinions and ensuing discussion will make it really interesting.

Ultimately, I'm intrigued. And without having seen the work, the concept has made me think about objectification, nudity and sexualisation already. I call that a win! ;-)
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From:t_c_da
Date:December 3rd, 2012 12:58 am (UTC)
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Dear weather gods, I have 40-odd sheep to shear tomorrow. Please be nice and let me get them done. Cheers.

Did you succeed? The weather out the Hutt seemed to indicate that success was a definite probability, and enquiring minds want to know...
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From:tatjna
Date:December 3rd, 2012 01:01 am (UTC)
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Yep, they got done. It was cold and windy, but no rain. There's another lot out at Tawa for tonight, then I've a few days off till the next lot on the weekend.
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From:pundigrion
Date:December 4th, 2012 02:47 am (UTC)
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You keep tempting me farther. I've been waiting for Skyrim to hit $20 before I join in the fun, but I know I am likely to cave sometime this winter.
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