Monday, January 21, 2008

Station: Objectification

If you don't like blog rants, click away.

When I was around fifteen, I paid for half of an art class. When I turned twelve, my parents thought I should pay for half of every class I wanted to take. It was a live model drawing class. It wasn't the first class I had taken with a live model, but it was the first with a crazy coke-head
teacher with a long pinky nail, and I think I learned a great deal in that class.

Basically, a nude person would stand in the middle of the class, and we would draw them. It was mostly women, but there were a lot of men, too. Once, the model flaked, and we got the janitor to pose, which is funny because I think that I had the most fun drawing every wrinkle in his blue shirt than I ever did shading the curves of breasts.

Sometimes we would draw every pose in a few lines, sometimes we would only shade the forms. The thing is, what we were learning to do is objectify the human. It wasn't about the person, but the way light hits a person, about the way joints and limbs meet and curve. Sometimes we drew the model for five minutes without looking at the paper, only at the model. . . only at the shape of the model.

There is something about the human body that fascinates artists. Many have theories, and I think I agree with all of them. The female body has especially intrigued artists, and there's nothing wrong with that. Sometimes I would think about what the model thought. I realized that she, they were mostly women, zoned out. . . went to another place, much like I did in my shitty job at the time. I was born with very little to sell. I have my voice and my hands and my brain, and when I can get them all to work together, I can get a job. The model had a body and a disposition that allowed her to sell it. She objectified herself. I objectified her. I spoke a lot with one, and she cued me into much of this.

We are separate from our bodies. My body is that thing that I have to walk around and work out so that it doesn't get cumbersome and annoying. I have to wash it so that it doesn't stink. It helps my brain get around, but my brain is really just dragging it around. I have to feed it and make it feel better. I have to do all sorts of things to make sure my body does not revolt against me. I have always felt that my body is foreign. It isn't so much a part of me as it is something that I have to take care of. An obligation like a pet.

Tonight someone accused me of objectifying women. It hurt my feelings. Anyone who knows me knows that equality of every kind is extremely important to me. I grew up in a way that has left no other thought in my head. But what is wrong with finding women attractive? What is wrong with embracing that which makes me a human male? What is wrong with being a heterosexual male? Nothing beside the fact that everyone has a problem with our culture. I like being a man. I like being a heterosexual man. I like being me. If everyone else would stop having body issues, I would be happy. The women I have had long-term relationships with have all had different body types because I don't see people like they see themselves maybe.

It might sound cliché, but I have broken up with models and strippers because of their personalities, and I have broken up with women whom I thought were geniuses because of their body issues. I just think that our bodies don't matter. Mine hurts. It always hurts. I don't like my body because it demands too much attention. . . I would rather be reading or playing. I hate thinking about my body as much as I hate thinking about money.

I am an animal. Everyone is. The animal in me is interested in the physical. I am all right with that. No one else is. I kind of hate pornography because I cannot stop thinking about the people in them, , , their brains. I can't concentrate on their bodies for long enough to get any pleasure out of it. But what is wrong with concentrating on people's bodies. In the streets or at cafés I am an avid people watcher. I went to art school, and I think about colors and light and lines. I can't tell you what the person was wearing yesterday, but I could tell you about the way the light played with the texture of her coat. The way people move fascinates me. Sometimes, sometimes, sometimes, I notice beauty.

In that art class, I was never aroused. I never felt interested that way in the "beautiful" models, but I don't have a problem with looking at a Playboy centerfold and thinking "hot." Why does everyone else?

Art is objectification. Women do it to men. Men do it to women. We all do it to our emotions and out experiences by turning them into artifacts.
It upsets me very much that some people think that I am sexist. I am not. It hurts me that some people think so. In fact, I am not even going to proof read this because I am just pissed that anyone would feel that way about me.


Man Uh Tay said...


Sky Jack Morgan said...

No one who knows me thinks so, but people who know the blog do sometimes. And I don't mind that so much because by having a blog, you're opening yourself for stuff like judgment.

My problem is that people who think they are liberal free-spirits are actually just making lines in the sand and arbitrary rules for other people as if they have all the answers and know better than anyone else.

If you think looking at feet is the sexiest thing in the world, I say good for you. If you put pictures of feet on your blog, I would say hooray. But if I put lingerie girls on mine, that's somehow offensive?

Jennifer B said...

interesting...i'll have more to say soon.