?

Log in

Lesbian sheep in bikini videos - it's what's for breakfast - Tactical Ninja

Mar. 12th, 2014

10:06 am - Lesbian sheep in bikini videos - it's what's for breakfast

Previous Entry Share Next Entry

So AirNZ has a new safety video. This time they are 'celebrating 50 years of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition' by, you guessed it, having bikini models deliver the safety message from a beach in the Cook Islands. As usual, some of the sight gags were clever, but I was too busy being agog at the cleavage and belly buttons. I wasn't quite offended, but I was really gobsmacked that in this day and age, I'm being confronted with a blatant Sex Sells message in that way. I had thought (I guess mistakenly) that this kind of thing wasn't OK any more and that AirNZ knew that. I've become attuned to more subtle sexism than that, so to have it waved in my face like that was more shocking than what I was actually seeing.

Naturally there's controversy, and I've no doubt that the people who made it are lapping up the extra publicity. In fact the dude who made it's been quoted dismissing concerns of feminists out of hand because "It's not as though men and women in swimsuits don't exist." Uh.. Another quote, this time from a (male) marketing professor at Auckland University: "They have always been edgy, part of their positioning has been to push the limits."

My question to that dude is, since when has having women in bikinis selling stuff been edgy or pushing the limits? It's so old hat and cliched that the only 'edgy' thing about it is that they somehow think it's fresh and interesting to do it in 2014. The only limit they are pushing is how many Stuff comments they can get from men who don't see a problem with it because they like looking at bikini babes. And that, folks, is nothing new at all.

Oh look, cranky Tats is cranky.


I was introduced to this concept a few days ago. Prior to that, I'd never heard of the so-called 'lesbian sheep problem'. It was introduced in the context of the British Secret Service, which apparently has a rule that you can't declare your security status unless it's to someone with a higher security status than you. Of course, if neither person knows the other's security status, then nobody can tell anyone theirs, so nobody can ever tell, and nothing ever happens.

So what does that have to do with sheep? Well, apparently female sheep, when they want to have some nooky, indicate this by not moving and waiting around for someone to come mount them. And thus, while it's been shown that roughly 8% of rams are born gay, there's been no demonstration of lesbianism among sheep. The researchers are assuming that this is because they are all standing around waiting for the other sheep to make the first move and mount them. And thus, the lesbian sheep problem was born.

I have a couple of issues with this. For a start, it assumes that mounting is the only valid display of sexual behaviour. Isn't that kind of like when Queen Victoria said lesbianism doesn't exist because women can't have PIV sex with each other? It takes a pretty narrow view of what counts as sexual behaviour, especially given the broad and complex social behaviours sheep engage in generally, and I don't know about you, but if my sexual repertoire were limited to PIV sex, then I'd not be a very happy camper.

My second objection is that actually, ewes don't just stand around waiting to be mounted by some random passing ram. And I quote" "A ewe in heat (estrus) will generally seek out the ram. She will sniff and chase after him." In fact, in one experiment the rams in a flock were tethered and unable to seek out the ewes, and yet 2/3 of them got in lamb anyway. Ewes initiate half of sexual contact when both animals are free, and have been known to fight over an available ram.


Now, I understand that the way ewes behave sexually around rams doesn't prove that lesbian sheep exist, but it does place a big question mark on the basic premise of the lesbian sheep problem - that ewes supposedly stand around waiting to be mounted and have no active role in sexual behaviour. What I conclude from this is that a) if we want to prove the existence of lesbian sheep, we need to stop being so heteronormative about what counts as sexual behaviour, and b) using sheep as the example is incorrect because female sheep are not just passive receptacles for ram penises.

And the British Secret Service can get over itself.

I know nobody else cares about this, but for me it's just another incorrect assumption made about sheep, and I admit to a not entirely unfounded concern regarding the extrapolation of assumptions about animal behaviour to that of humans, and how often that leads to the support of a societal status quo that is disadvantageous to my agency as a woman.

Driving through Christchurch is weird. It's all Leafy Suburb, Leafy Suburb, Leafy Suburb, then suddenly, WHAM! CBD. Hagley Park, and across the road, factories! Everything's all mashed up together, and I find it quite disorienting. Was it always like that, or is this a product of the earthquake?

Comments:

[User Picture]
From:fbhjr
Date:March 11th, 2014 10:04 pm (UTC)
(Link)
It seems strange to me that folks would study the sexuality of sheep.
I had not considered this area of research.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:tatjna
Date:March 11th, 2014 10:08 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Apparently it started with the well-known-amongst-sheep-farmers information that some rams are naturally homosexual. I don't know why they picked sheep - there are plenty of examples in nature. But maybe it's because they are domesticated and therefore easier to observe in captivity without it altering their behaviour so much.

But I can see why naturally-occurring homosexuality would interest researchers as a field of study. And then there's the bit where the farmers were moaning about the lack of productivity among a percentage of rams, too. O.o
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:fbhjr
Date:March 11th, 2014 10:18 pm (UTC)
(Link)
As you say they probably picked sheep as they were easy to observe and there were already stories.

I guess I spent too much time around my cousin's dairy farm where it is all AI and preference doesn't enter into it.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:rivet
Date:March 11th, 2014 11:09 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I love learning random things from you :)
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:richdrich
Date:March 11th, 2014 11:53 pm (UTC)
(Link)
AirNZ, well. Maybe if they though safety was less about an allegedly cute video and more about safe operating procedures this sort of thing would not have happened.

The TL;DR of that is that they didn't plan properly and when they were refused permission to do flight tests in busy European airspace (hello?) they showed a bit of Kiwi ingenuity and did the test at low altitude, such that failing the test led to crashing in the ocean.

(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:t_c_da
Date:March 12th, 2014 12:05 am (UTC)

The sad state of CHC

(Link)
I agree with your comment about Christchurch being weird. We were down there on Monday, and the feeling in cathedral square was so eerie - almost no noise and very few people around. And walking down towards Latimer Square, I thought we'd reached it when we were between two grassed areas that had been buildings before the quake. Our last visit was in '95 so it was rather a shock to see how bad it was in the flesh.

But the GapFiller projects about the place were interesting, and a sign of the resilience of the folk down there. A friend of ours that we spent some time with said they could tell which set of faults were causing a particular aftershock by the way it felt - rolling for the Darfield faults, and jerking for the Port Hills faults - which I found intriguing.

BTW we were touristing rather than working down there, and caught up with Fishy as well.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:ferrouswheel
Date:March 12th, 2014 01:21 am (UTC)

Re: The sad state of CHC

(Link)
I found Christchurch normal. I like how there are so many trees on streets. But after the quake it changed dramatically and will be a very different place when everything is rebuilt.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:tieke
Date:March 12th, 2014 12:23 am (UTC)
(Link)
I'm prepared to bet that there is a strong gender divide, in terms of who pays attention to that video. I know I turned away within seconds when I saw it last week. Which suggests to me that they don't actually give a stuff about the safety of around half of their passengers.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:tatjna
Date:March 12th, 2014 12:26 am (UTC)
(Link)
I sat staring at it with a screwed up face until the bit where the token shirtless guys do silly stuff while ogling the women came on. Then I looked at the poor unfortunate cabin staff, who looked back at me in a pained sort of way, and then I went back to my book. Fuckem.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:ferrouswheel
Date:March 12th, 2014 01:18 am (UTC)
(Link)
I also turned away, but that was more to an learned response to tune out voices with a certain intonation/accent, because I'm used to them coming from vapid people without anything intelligent to say.

Though that's a bit unfair on my part, just because someone chooses to be a model and comes from a particular culture doesn't necessarily mean they're an idiot!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:pundigrion
Date:March 12th, 2014 12:41 am (UTC)
(Link)
Hmmm...I've seen ewes mounting other ewes. Most animal scientists seem to agree in general that mounting is often a dominance behavior though. I haven't read sheep-specific studies on that, but there are a lot of them for cows, gerbils, rats, and even guppies.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:tatjna
Date:March 12th, 2014 12:47 am (UTC)
(Link)
It wouldn't surprise me if they do, although I've never seen them do it - at least, not in the obvious thrusting way that cows and dogs do.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:pundigrion
Date:March 12th, 2014 12:50 am (UTC)
(Link)
Mostly they would just clamber on and the other would walk out of under them.

Our rams were kept well separate and had horns while the ewes were all polled types so they were super obvious even at a distance.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:labelleizzy
Date:March 12th, 2014 01:06 am (UTC)
(Link)
my girlfriend and I have been referring to ourselves as lesbian sheep in this sort of way... we, yeah, that's more information than you or anyone probably needed to have. You make a very good point. I'm glad this post is public, cos I can send it to her and we can talk more about Things and How to Get There. =D
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:tatjna
Date:March 12th, 2014 01:07 am (UTC)
(Link)
To be true to the sheep analogy, apparently there needs to be more sniffing and chasing! O.o
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:labelleizzy
Date:March 12th, 2014 01:12 am (UTC)
(Link)
*laughing* Yeah, probably that too.

*giggle*
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:meathiel
Date:March 12th, 2014 06:32 am (UTC)
(Link)
I wish they'd sticked with the Hobbit security vid ... ;-)
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:goddessofchaos
Date:March 12th, 2014 09:50 am (UTC)
(Link)
I have never previously considered the topic of lesbian sheep. LJ is so educational!
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:perseph12
Date:March 12th, 2014 01:01 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Your entries are also so thought-provoking, and as usual, you give me some food for thought with my coffee.

When I read about the women in bikinis, I was reminded of a quote from Jane Lynch:

“Can I just say that as a feminist, I am appalled by these images. And as a lesbian, I am de—light—ed.”
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:inushnu
Date:March 12th, 2014 05:43 pm (UTC)
(Link)
did you see that thingy on fb where the people were kissing strangers? turns out it's an ad for clothing. i think sex will sell for eons to come. in my absurd american culture we vilify it and yet everywhere you look.. SEX. it's dumb. but... lot's of people are dumb. they're just raised that way. it's really the rare individual who rises above all the carnal instincts to forge a new, or rarely tread, path. the cream rises as they say....

squirrel!
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:adam_0oo
Date:March 17th, 2014 01:42 am (UTC)
(Link)
I watched the video, and what I couldn't get over was how the initial flight attendant, about 9 seconds in, sounded like she said "for Dickheads we have..." I listened to it three times, getting surer and surer that that was what I was hearing before my gf said it was "For decades we have..."
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:tatjna
Date:March 17th, 2014 01:46 am (UTC)
(Link)
It would be totally better if that's what she had said. ;-)

Meanwhile, we had my partner switching off as soon as he heard the American accents, because he reckons he's been trained over the years to inherently stop listening to a particular age, gender and accent as having nothing worthwhile to say. Hmm..
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:adam_0oo
Date:March 17th, 2014 01:49 am (UTC)
(Link)
But the american bikini models are giving him safety information! I demand you don't let your partner on a plane till he listens to say, Senegalese trans children tell him where his exits are in the case of an emergency!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:tatjna
Date:March 17th, 2014 01:51 am (UTC)
(Link)
Apparently he listened to Gandalf and not to the captain of the All Blacks.

And we all listened to Richard Simmons and Betty White.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)