Jessica Rey presents the history of the evolution of the swimsuit including the origins of its design, how it has changed overtime and the post-feminist association of the bikini symbolizing female empowerment. She refers to neuro-scientific studies revealing how male brains react to images of scantily clad women versus images of women deemed modest and what the implications of the results are for women in society.
(Note: As the OP, I disagree with Rey’s approach to putting the onus on women to alter ourselves rather than to alter the male perception of women – brain wiring has plenty to do with socialization and if we worked against the culture that fuels men’s objectification of women, women’s clothing choices would matter far less in terms of how men perceive us and determine how to interact with us).
If you watch the video, she starts talking about how we need to be changing how we dress! And while that is fine and dandy (I am all for not being objectified) she says nothing about teaching our culture to NOT objectify.
Not every culture, not every person, sees a human as an object- only those who have been socialized into ones that value dehumanization. To counter the systemic issues of intersectional female disparity, objectification, and violence, we can not only be putting bandaids on the broken bones of our society. Like a bone, it must be rebroken, and then set properly.
Agreed with the above. Even as far as the clothing/lack thereof itself as a provocation to these thought patterns— that’s dependent upon a society where there is a set point on a sliding scale of an agreed-upon “neutral” zone between excessive nakedness and being excessively covered.
One culture’s “normal” isn’t any other’s, for a vast array of reasons, and straying from “normal”— and the baggage and associations tied in with that, sexual or otherwise— and how those differ across spectra of class, age, gender, sex, sexuality, social role, space/time/weather/event, etc., etc.— will likewise vary.
We are “taught” how to respond to the world around us by our immediate surroundings and the people in them. While patriarchal sexual objectification and commodification of some women’s bodies is a real issue, it is not only not the woman’s responsibility to address that, nor a static biological reality (an incredibly ethnocentric view, for the reasons above, as well as the assumption that this gendered determinism is globally universal despite a variety of expressions of sexed/gendered cultural dynamics in the world as a baseline), but it also has literally nothing to do with the bikini itself.
The way display and covering of flesh is or is not sexualized by any person in any culture at any given time says more about those people, and their culture, than it does about the fabric; all this study is showing is that this social training does, in fact, have a measurable physioneurological effect.
Naked isn’t always naked. A bikini isn’t always a bikini.
Context is everything.
And wear whatever the fuck you want.