Freedom to Leer: It Isn’t Free, But It’s Paid For
By Alexa Day
We’re about halfway through January. A long weekend awaits many of us in the U.S.; Martin Luther King Day is this coming Monday. Still, I think of this time as that point in the year when most people have allowed the real world to overtake their pie-in-the-sky resolutions.
In other words, it’s just about the time for “gym people” to start re-entering the gym.
Or so I hear. I am not “gym people.”
This is also about the time I start seeing posts on my Facebook feed about “real” bodies.
One will plead: “I might not be a size zero, but I’m me! And I’m lovable!”
Seen that one? I think there’s a minion in it most recently.
I don’t want to send the wrong message. I am all for being confident in one’s own skin. It’s the idea that some of us are more “real” than others that bothers me a little.
So far as I can tell, the adjective “real” is applied to the more-or-less average figure. The slight paunch that comes with the privilege of age. A little roundness that speaks of good living. That sort of thing.
We live now in a resurgence of the “real.”
Sadly, men are getting more “real” by the minute.
I’ve written about the dadbod before. I think I hoped it would be a short-lived fad, but this was not to be.
My colleague Elizabeth Shore shared a link last Saturday to a sequence of fine art photography. Bare Men is all male nudes, full frontal, and all average-looking men. It’s provocative, to say the least. Go check it out here, using the single most NSFW link I have ever posted.
I really don’t mind checking out the “real” man. But I will admit to a strong preference for the unreal. I will, here on LadySmut, stand for my right to leer.
I have gawked at male ballet dancers. I am an enthusiastic supporter of the male revue. I’m all about staring at firemen and cops, clothed and otherwise. Just the other day, I was checking out a group of firemen as they closed the hydrant across the street from the office and asked my coworker what the proper collective noun for such a group might be.
As backward and politically incorrect as I’m sure it sounds, I am perfectly happy to objectify men, and a great many of them seem to enjoy being objectified, if I do say so myself.
I hear you out there.
Alexa, you’re saying, don’t you understand that the price we pay for objectifying men is that we women must also be objectified by them?
I do understand that. I need you to understand something.
I HAVE ALREADY PAID.
I can show you the receipt if you want.
I have been ogled. I have been catcalled. People have gawked as if they have never seen the human female form before. I say this not because I am some spectacular exemplar of womanhood. I say this as a woman living in present-day America.
Friends, I have been leered at, so that I may leer.
You, too, should have this freedom.
I ask not for the exclusion of our average-looking, dadbodded friends. Of course not.
But let’s make sure that inclusion of the real doesn’t squeeze all the fantasy out of life.
Also, let’s catcall a dude this week. I think firemen might actually be fond of it.
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