It's been a hot summer and the temperature has hovered close to 100F for weeks. That means more and more girls and women take to the streets in skirts so short, they barely conceal the color of their panties or shorts so short, their pockets peek out from under the denim cloth. Their tops grow shorter, thinner, skimpier, showing more and more skin, and people of both sexes see it as normal, acceptable (desirable?) behavior.
Now, take a look at the guys, at what they're wearing. If it's anyone with even a little fashion sense (and born after the 1970s), he'll be wearing knee-length (or even longer) shorts and a t-shirt. Sure, you see the occasional goofball in short Björn Borg shorts and a tank top, but most people, many ladies included, think that looks ridiculous and, seriously, what guy wants to look ridiculous, especially in front of the fairer sex?
Have you ever stopped and wondered why we, as a society, think men should keep their bodies concealed? Why are men happier the less clothes the ladies around them wear, but if you flip the sexes... sure, a few more "liberated" women would grin and enjoy the sights, but the abundance of hungry, horny smiles wouldn't be nearly as uniform as when female skin is revealed. Just last Thursday K.Trian and I were at the local railway station and we saw plenty of girls (some very young, traveling with their parents) and women in outfits as skimpy as possible, some just short of underwear. We didn't see a single bare male thigh not to mention shirtless boys or men. I know a few venture about now and then, but not only are they rare, they are such exceptions that people pay more attention to them (for better or worse, usually the latter) than the girl walking by him in the shortest possible mini skirt and a string bikini top. Even those who notice both, seem to more readily approve the girl's outfit as normal while thinking the guy is a show-off (if he's muscular/good-looking) or revolting (if he's overly skinny, overweight, or old).
Speaking of people with less than ideal bodies, i.e. those who are bordering on the anorexic and those with a bit of extra, when they are girls, they can still show a lot of skin and still people, men and bi/lesbian women look at them with admiration, even desire. Now imagine an extremely scrawny or a pudgy guy going shirtless and in tiny shorts. Would they get as many admiring stares, lustful glances, admiring looks? No, they wouldn't and they don't. Why is that? Why is it that for a man to be more universally appreciated as physically attractive while shirtless, he either has to be a flat-bellied guy with otherwise normal build or a six-pack -toting athlete? Who has established these stricter demands on men that our society, as it is today, upholds? From what I've seen, many men laugh and sneer at their less perfect counterparts who dare to dress more comfortably during the year's hottest days and often women just go along with it, allowing their boyfriends, husbands, brothers, fathers, and even male friends to affect their perceptions on male beauty (or, rather, the lack thereof).
Add to all this that men generally handle heat worse than women, and men even sweat (and hence stink) a lot more, so plenty of boys and men would love nothing more than to show more skin, i.e. dress to better avoid a fucking heatstroke, but unless they want to risk looking gross or like a meatheaded show-off trying to desperately attract attention with his muscles, they must keep their thighs and guns hidden under cloth. How I missed my kilt that day (sometimes I wear one onstage with my band and let me tell you, under those hot stage lights, it's heaven-sent)!
Now, why are females so hesitant to show their appreciation of the male form? Don't they like looking at shirtless guys unless they're built like pro athletes or Johnny Depp? Are male thighs truly so revolting or embarrassing that women just don't find them sexy? It sure seems so judging by all of the above observations. To add insult to ijury, many a time I've seen and heard girls laughing at some guy in short shorts. Believe me, I can tell the difference between laughing with him and laughing at him, and they definitely weren't laughing with him.
I've seen plenty of discussion about the male gaze, how routinely men, even highly educated, "respectful" individuals so often come up with the most ridiculous/ingenious reasons (or excuses) to watch or show naked/semi-naked girls in pretty much every medium from movies to music videos, magazines to books etc.
Now I ask you, where the hell is the female gaze?
Has patriarchy truly stomped female sexuality into such a deep, inescapeable pit that women will never look at men the way men look at women? Or is there something else going on here? In any case, here's the thing: it's high time we dragged humanity, kicking and screaming if need be, to the 21st century where women are liberated and deserve the right to express their sexuality and appreciation of whichever sex they prefer openly and without the fear of things like slut-shaming. Alas, that will never happen unless some brave girls and women first pave the way for their future sisters. Unfortunately that's the way societies work; if we want change, someone has to spearhead the revolution even though there will be some "casualties," i.e. bullying, snide remarks, disgusted looks etc, but those also stem from archaic values and views that should've grown obsolete long ago.
Let's wrap this up before it turns into a novel. I'll finish with a request (I seem to be doing that a lot with my recent blog posts): if you see a man showing a bit more skin than what's visible from under long shorts and a t-shirt, don't laugh or sneer at him. If you're a guy, don't be so eager to make fun of him for daring to dress more comfortably than you: ridicule rarely leads to anything positive. If you're a man or a woman and see a girl or a woman showcasing her appreciation for male beauty in whatever way, try to contain the compulsion to call her a slut, whore, or some such, shunning her for having the guts to show her sexuality not just through her looks, but her behavior, her actions. After all, men do it all the time and most see it as something natural and normal, so why should it be any different with women? I mean, they're people too, as far as I know...
So, don't stifle your sexuality; celebrate it, and maybe someday men can walk around in skimpy outfits as well and be still seen as sexy and desirable, judging by all the positive reinforcement they get from the ladies. Let's begin a new era where the female gaze is just as normal, natural, and, most of all, abundant as the male gaze.
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