The Open Source Boob Project is demanding a round-up. I’ve tried to make this a fair portrayal of the buzz around the web.
Not everyone wants to go public with it, and what happens at the con stays at the con. But trust me. If you are, and I meet you, I will ask. And you’ll understand the beauty and simplicity of the Open-Source Boob Project for yourself.
Touch the magic, my friends. Touch the magic.
I’m not trying to be adversarial here, I’m just confused. Many people seem to be upset by this, but if you were uncomfortable with the idea wouldn’t it be refreshing to be able to just put on a red button to keep the annoying men away?
Sometimes, I like to enjoy the delusion of living in a world where what a woman has on her chest isn’t the primarily important thing about her, whether it be buttons or shirts or what-have-you. I’d like to live in a society where my bodily autonomy is the default and not something I or any other woman is required to indicate by a pin, or drive myself crazy trying to make the “right” clothing choices to indicate.
To this end, we propose a community-based Open Source Swift Kick to the Balls Project.
The best part of this idiocy is that it’s defended in the same way all patriarchal, harassing behavior is justified – when the men involved are simultaneously articulate and confused enough to feel that sexual imposition admits of or even requires justification – with the counter-slur that anyone who objects is sex-negative and even anti-woman. “You just think that sex is shameful and ugly. Whereas I think sex is beautiful and natural! Therefore, it ought to be perfectly okay to proposition whomever I want, whenever I want, for whatever activity I want; remember, the women can always say no! What, do you think women can’t stand up for themselves?”
Why is it that whenever you hear a line like this one, there’s always a libertarian or an objectivist behind it?
But of course we can’t keep patriarchy out of it; the mere attempt is a means not so much of re-inscribing patriarchy but of shoving people in front of it to be run down, as if by a rampaging elephant.
If you are a stranger, especially a man, perhaps especially in a group of other strangers who are men, and you come up to me and say, “You’re very beautiful. I’d like to touch your breasts. Would you mind if I did?”:
You will put me in fear.
Because you could be someone who will go away quietly if I say no (which I will). You could be the exiled gay prince of Farlandia, cursed to wander this Earth looking for the key to his return that can only be revealed by touching the breast of a willing stranger, and who isn’t enjoying this at all. You could, in short, not be a danger to me.
But how am I supposed to know that?
How am I supposed to distinguish you from the person who says he’s really just whatever, but is actually going to put emotional pressure on me, or make a scene, or stalk me, or rape me?
How about some buttons to pass out for men to wear, buttons that say “GROPER”, “CREEP”, or “OGLER”?
I’d love to know who to stay the hell away from.
Let’s put our male entitled view of women’s bodies as our property to use, modify, open source and otherwise interact with into a neatly closed source wrapper, bundle it in DRM, load it on an iPod and repeatedly strike our narrow minded selves in the face until the bleeding starts, and continue until the ability to stand upright stops. Then let’s have a good hard consideration of the idea that what we’re suggesting is utterly unacceptable conduct, and then let’s retrace our steps, say “Fuck, that was stupid”, apologize for the mindset that lent itself to believing that we have any rights to touch another person, or to request it of strangers, and then learn, evolve as a species and move forward.
Basically, the problem I’m having with this “Open-Source Boob Project” or at least the summary thereof is that it seems to take something that is, or at least could be, “free-as-in-speech love” and turn it into “free-as-in-beer love.”
Eeeeeew! Dudes who no doubt hate being judged on their looks, judging women’s worthiness by… their looks.
Blah I was involved with that internet drama. Everyone who wasn’t all for it was a terrible, prudish, unenlightened human being. Vomit. I am not here to fulfill your high school fantasies! His utopia is my nightmare.
In a science fiction context, I thought certainly of the WorldCon boob grab perpetrated by Harlan Ellison. I thought of the girl I met at last year’s ConQuest who wore a button saying “I’m only 14, don’t even think about it” and was heartened yet saddened by what it implied. I thought of the extreme harassment and personal assault I have experienced in role-playing games with friends and at cons.
So what we’re really talking about is simply an elaborate scheme to steal second base dressed up with copious amounts of Reichean cosmobabble. It takes a dedicated individual to create such an elaborate justification for frat boy behavior.
Personally, eh. I’m a fan of breasts, esthetically speaking, and enjoy them on a regular basis. That said, I don’t really have too much of a problem at this point in my life understanding that the way to a woman’s heart (metaphorically speaking) is not through her mammary tissue, and breasts in general are no great mystery to me at this juncture of my personal development. I like them; I’m not motivated to seek them out, even if doing so theoretically helps to make a larger social point. This is a project that doesn’t speak to me.
Do we really need more men touching women in semi-sexual ways at non-sexual events? and more fetishizing of boobs? the idea that women end up wearing buttons to make asking about boob-touching not ok repels me so strongly, i don’t even have good words for that without descending into profanity. while it may all be sunshine and rainbows for those guys who get to cop a feel, it creates a hostile environment for women who do not wish to be around groping men because they’ve had their goddamned share of it already.
Here’s my pledge: if I see somebody groping you in public, and you’re not moaning Yes! Yes! Yes!, I will break through your Somebody Else’s Problem invisibility field and come over and ask if you’re okay.
I mean, publicly the feminist message includes messages that say “enjoy your sexuality” and “don’t let the patriarchy tell you that you’re a slut for enjoying sex and going out and having it.” It is certainly not the sole message, but it seems to be a key factor. So now, enter a woman whose activity offends some of these “feminist” ladies, and miraculously the feminists start with the slut shaming.
The fact that his hetero point of view made this seem titillating is telling; it shows exactly how necessary something like this is. The women involved were empowering themselves by taking ownership of their bodies PUBLICLY, but to some degree the men involved were still seeing the titillation (no pun intended). What better representation of the problem could there be?
Hmm, it’s almost as if someone who would conceive of this brilliant master plan thought of breasts (and thereby the women attached) ass some sort of object to be posessed. Surely that couldn’t be the case.
Of course, being an open-minded person, I realize that not everyone will be open to the experience. Some people will feel that they want to vet every single person who punches them in the face. That’s fine. They have the right to their feelings. But maybe, once they see the respectful way that other people are being punched in the face, they might find themselves more amenable to the experience. And we’d have made the world a little more friendly to face punches.
And my Lord, I’d had experience in kicking crotches in my time, but having so many kicked one after another was beautiful.
And if you are into tech stuff and science fiction, check out WisCon (“world’s leading feminist science fiction convention”). I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that you will not be asked to wear a button indicating whether you’d like to be groped.
Just as I will not, WILL NOT, put up with racism or sexism when it’s seemingly not overt, I also will not put up with this skeeviness. Our community should not. And if I have to be the one to loudly proclaim “GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME” in order to get my message across, regardless of who it embarrasses, then I will just have to.
That’s my project. Don’t have a cool name for it, though.
DAMN! This is some privileged BULLSHIT! This is disgusting! This the the illusion of endorsing open sexuality by opening up bodies that aren’t your own for touch! This is a way for you to get your rocks off groping womyn in public and pretending to be deep! This is enforcing the belief that womyn are public property!
What a bunch of dicks.
Addit 29 Apr 2008:
Sajbrfem: “The Real Open Source Boob Project”
However, aside from the lechery and the inherent sexism and the cluelessness, there is something else that has been bothering me–the name of the endeavor. As someone who is rather passionate about open source culture the misappropriation of the term is annoying me a lot. My thought process went something like this: Open source boob project? Hardly. Now if they were handing out instructions on how to make your own boobs then maybe…
And thus I give you The Real Open Source Boob Project.