Whiny women of Washington

Is it just me, or do some of today's women,
who seem to have a strong presence in the pages of the Washington Post,
sound incredibly whiny,
looking for any excuse to complain?

As an example of what I am thinking about,
consider the following column
by Washington Post opinion columnist Petula Dvorak,
with some comments by me interpolated (also the images):

Better to enlighten minds than to turn heads
By Petula Dvorak, opinion columnist
Washington Post, 2013-07-04

Hundreds of folks in Bethesda are fighting the fitness company
that splashed a racy billboard across a corner of their neighborhood.

[This billboard provoked quite an Internet presence.]

The offending ad shows a skinny woman on all fours, prowling atop a pool table.
Right above the fancy new sandwich place.

It’s sexist, they say.
It degrades women.

“Our children shouldn’t be subjected to this,”
reads the petition circulating around Bethesda,
asking the CEO of Equinox gym to kill the ad.
“Our female friends and family shouldn’t be viewed like this,
nor forced to conform to it.
[How does displaying the billboard force anyone to conform to it?]
Our male partners and colleagues shouldn’t be boxed in to thinking this is normal.
[Are not ads often expected to depict ideals rather than normality?
Indeed, is not much of advertising an explicit appeal to rise above the normal?]

This is the kind of not-so-subtle sexism
that infects our culture, and degrades an entire gender.”
[How is displaying fit, physically attractive people sexism?]

I couldn’t agree more.

And I’m inspired. We need to scrub sexism from our streets.

Maybe John Ashcroft was on to something when he insisted on covering
the nudie statues at the Department of Justice.

Every day when we walk from the Metro or go on an evening stroll,
my children are subjected to a hypersexualized depiction of the human form,
idealized bodies and full-frontal nudity.

Yet no one has spoken up about the raunchiness of
that orgy known as Neptune’s Court,
the fountain right outside the Library of Congress on Capitol Hill
that looks like a scene from Hugh Hefner’s grotto.

Have you seen it?

Neptune sits high in the middle, flanked by Tritons,
escorted by writhing nymphs straddling bucking sea horses.
Everyone’s naked.

Yeah, I totally think book collections and patent archives when I see this display.

When my boys look at Neptune and his rippling Tritons,
how are they supposed to feel about the expectations for their own bodies?
What does this say about their own vision of masculinity
and what it means to be a male today?

[My opinion: Only a complete nutjob would think that statue has anything to do with
"what it means to be a male today"]

With its sexist art, the Library of Congress is telling boys
it’s not okay to wear glasses, do the dishes and respect their own nerdy pursuits.
[What a nutjob.
Only a nutjob would think that's what the Library of Congress is telling boys.
Why on earth people such as Dvorak are not considered insane,
I have no idea.]

Do they have to conform to be all cut and dominant,
rolling with a posse of equally buff dudes and surrounded by naked women?
Not only does Neptune’s muscled maleness
depict an unrealistic ideal of the male form
(hello protein powder addiction, steroid habit?),
but what about the exposed, um, nether parts on those three?

The size of those features,
on a sculpture to celebrate the nation’s literary collection,
is enough to make any male feel inadequate.

[As it happens, one sunny noontime I spent a few minutes near that fountain,
waiting for a lovely woman to join me for lunch.
I did glance at the statue, and thought
"There's another example of neoclassical sculpture."
And that was my only thought about the statue complex
(no feelings of inadequacy).

That classical sculptures, from the Greeks to the Italian Renaissance,
often depicted ideal human forms was a given, to me.
God forbid Dvorak should ever look at Michaelangelo's David.
What would she say to that?
Evidently classical sculpture was not part of Dvorak's education.
I guess that shows what matters in hiring at the Post:
political correctness, and that's about it.]

Water has been lapping at the Tritons’ exposed crotches
and spraying on the sea nymphs’ bare chests for more than a century —
and no one has uttered a word of protest.

The only controversy that accompanied
the construction of the nation’s library in the 1890s
was the type of cement used for the foundation, the style of the building
and the breadth of the nation’s literary collection.


[This really shows, ever so clearly,
how people at the Washington Post want to overthrow so much of the nation's, and indeed Western Civilization's, long-standing norms, ideals, and values.
When the Post's editorial page criticizes radicals,
that is really a joke.
The real radicals are right there at the Post.]

Maybe, for 100 years, folks have looked past that fountain
for more substantive ways to change society.
[My view:
The biggest challenge was not to "change society",
but to keep the keep the society that had produced such success for America going.]

They’ve seen it for what it is — art.
Provocative, perhaps unseemly.
But it’s not the only image their children will ever see.

My kids laugh at the Neptune fountain and feed the ducks that swim in it.
They will learn about the many facets of masculinity from lots of people,
including their father, their teacher at robotics camp,
their taekwondo instructors, the uncle who needlepoints and fishes with them,
the dads they see walking all around Capitol Hill with babies strapped to their chests.

The people who hate the Equinox billboard in Bethesda are correct —
the ad is dumb.
But the campaign is misplaced energy
that looks more like censorship than feminism.

“Our daughters and sons walk by the billboard outside Equinox Gym every day.
They see a woman in a degrading sexual position,
[How about the ballerinas of the Royal Ballet
in this ballet set to the music of Handel's Acis and Galatea
(libretto here)?
See the "writhing nymphs" at 2:25, or 3:30 (esp. at 5:05), for example.
(Note: I personally don't view the ballerinas
as entering into "degrading sexual positions".
But that is what Dvorak says the woman in the Equinox billboard is in,
and it seems hard to see how the Equinox billboard position
is any more sexual than those of the ballerinas.
And in any case, why should they be regarded as "degrading"?)
(P.S.: Ballet is normally not my thing. I wonder if those positions are standard ballet positions?
I have no idea.)]

being ‘celebrated’ for her hypersexualized and supposed dexterity,
with a pool cue and balls.
This is somehow meant to advertise for a fitness facility,”
says the petition on Change.org, signed by at least 800 people as of Thursday.

[Again, why is that position "degrading"?
The ladies at www.cosmopolitan.co.uk state
"When we asked you to vote for your most-loved sex position,
doing it down, dirty and doggy crept into pole position."
and give "10 ways to make doggy style even better".
So why do these people in Bethesda find the position "degrading"?
I think the answer is clear:
They have zero interest in acknowledging that sex between men and women can give women pleasure.
They demonstrably are interested in complaining about men,
not enjoying what they can do.
In other words, by any reasonable standard, they are bitches.]

But these daughters, if they check in on any media other than the local billboard,
will see female athletes, politicians, war veterans, pilots, scientists, artists
who are not stick-thin and compromised on a pool table.

Degrading women means
legislation that dictates what happens to their bodies and their futures
without their input.
It means less pay for equal work.
It means ignoring systemic, sexual abuse by superiors who treat offenses like a joke.
It means a Congress that represents 51 percent of the population
with less than 20 percent of its members.

A billboard? That’s the least of women’s problems.

[Clearly many women care more about power than anything else.]