Tired of the double-standards that come with topless sunbathing, Emily Maguire takes on the issue in a scathing editorial that claims women are just as "pervy" as men, but are better at controlling their urges.
"The tiresome myth that women are not as visually aroused as men is used to justify everything from sexual assault to double standards about public toplessness, and it's time to kill it dead," Maguire writes, "Sometimes women even have sex with men for no other reason than - shock horror - physical attraction. The should-be-obvious truth is that straight women love men's bodies. That it sometimes seems otherwise is only because pervy men are more acceptable in our culture than pervy women."
Maguire goes on to argue that women are just as turned on by the sight of topless sunbathing men as men are of topless sunbathing women, yet society does not allow women to express these feelings, and encourages them to hide them: "Girls get the message early on that it is not acceptable for them to want to boff a bloke just because he's buff. They learn that yearning for male bodies can be expressed only if those bodies belong to smart, funny boys who are kind to puppies and old people." Maguire brings up the notion that girls are encouraged to hide their bodies through larger clothing in order to keep the boys away or to ensure that the boys won't get the wrong idea about them; something that young boys never have to deal with.
Due to this social conditioning, Maguire writes, women are able to handle their lust, or stifle it: "That far fewer men than women are harassed or attacked by people claiming sexual provocation is not because women aren't visually aroused, but because women have learnt that their biological responses to beauty are not an excuse to commit acts of violence or discrimination."
Her point: boys need to be taught that exposed breasts aren't a dirty thing, nor are they an invitation for sexual advances. Being turned on by the female body is quite different than feeling like one has the right to act upon those feelings, based solely on the backwards notion that a woman sunbathing without her top is a woman who is "asking for" sex. Yet society still deems female breasts scandalous when exposed to the public; a topless picture of Daniel Craig can be posted without issue, yet if I added a topless photo of say, Lindsay Lohan, I'd have to add a NSFW tag and deal with a bit of controversy, I'd think. Maguire's argument makes sense, yet we most likely have a long way to go before topless women can walk around as freely as topless men.
When faced with MP Paul Gibson's question: "Do you want somebody with big knockers next to you when you're [at the beach] with the kids?" Maguire flips the script and answers: "Plenty of beach-loving mums can relate: there you are, rubbing sunscreen into your toddler's back when a delicious slab of man meat lays his towel down right beside you. What to do? How about this - remember that the person lying there is a human being whose hotness does not negate their right to bake unmolested. If the kids ask awkward questions like, oh, 'What are those?' You say, 'Nipples, we've all got them. Cool, huh?' Then you stop being a creepy perve and concentrate on the sandcastles and surf."
The Naked Truth About Lust [Sydney Morning Herald]
Image via INF.