Feminine mystique. For some, it is a fairy tale. For others… it is a way of life. Some have no understanding at all what it actually is. Elusive are the women who possess it, and all too common are the women who don’t.
A Playboy “bunny” or “playmate” is not mysterious. Common as a waste receptacle. No empowerment. No equality. Nothing intimate. Just a simple quid pro quo:
The “Object” (that is my assessment of what a Bunny or Playmate has chosen to be) exchanges fantasy for cash. Because bodily fluids are not directly exchanged, it is not prostitution.
Flesh is not the problem here. Intent is. Consenting adults have all manner of sex, all the time. That is fine. We all have our own ideas about sex, sexuality, morality, fidelity, purity, virginity, promiscuity, depravity and many other facets of a healthy – or unhealthy – sex life.
I have no issue with art. Who can argue that Helmut Lange, Steven Meisel, Annie Leibovitz or Mario Testino have not created some truly beautiful nude images? They have. Portrayal of the human body can be iconic. As I noted recently in my column Beautiful, Successful and Hated:
Our culture makes many assumptions about beautiful girls and women. Some wars are not meant to be waged, yet women do this to each other every day.
A (naturally) symmetric face, dewy skin, full lips, and a decent metabolism is not a choice. Nor is it a personal and individual attack on ugly people. It is genetic. It is possible to be a spectacular looking woman and be a good person. What constitutes beauty differs from person to person. Simple beauty, exotic beauty, classic beauty, and timeless beauty all exist. Many of these beautiful women also possess above average intellect. Strong work ethic. They maintain high moral standards. And are lovers, mothers, friends, sisters, daughters, aunts, nieces, wives that happen to be wonderful beings as well.
Aphrodite. Nefertiti. Helen of Troy. Cleopatra. Botticelli’s beauties. Titian’s startlingly self-possessed and sexually aware Venus of Urbino. Iconic women with iconic faces. Their lives were rich and enduring. Helen, wife of Menelaus, and lover to Paris… thousands of years later her face, “the face that launched one thousand ships” continues to fascinate and bewitch us.
Beauty comes from the content of our character as well. Think of the woman you know with the laugh or smile that warms up a room. Or the woman with a smile that casts incandescent light on every face around her. Remember the mom at soccer, cross country or football? The lovely mommy toting snacks and drinks, who effortlessly generates a positive energy - boosting team spirit. She is not Halle Berry or Cindy Crawford but she is just as beautiful.
The “sisterhood” rarely functions flawlessly for every young girl, every woman, every day. What we give to each other is wisdom. Personal responsibility. Accountability. Self-worth.
As of this writing, the National Organization for Women has not issued a statement condemning the article “So Right, it’s Wrong” (see NSFW screen shots HERE, h/t Caleb Howe) that was abruptly deleted from the Playboy website – after many Republican and Conservative folks went ballistic.
From my column earlier this week, I summed up my take on Playboy thus:
1. I read the article written by Cimbalo before it was taken down by Playboy.
2. None of those women were likely to consent to being “hate f$#ked” – and yet he persisted.
3. Translation: if a woman does not giver her consent – the act is, by definition, RAPE.
4. It is not satire. Nor comic. It is a degradation of women, pure and simple.
5. Ask a rape victim her opinion. I have. She agreed with me.
6. No woman “deserves” to be “hate f$#ked” / raped. Ever.
7. None of these women “asked” for it. And of Mr. Cimbalo, I am sure no real woman ever will.
Then, one of my favorite writers, Tommy Christopher blew me away. It was not unexpected – he is the most intellectually honest Liberal man I have ever meant. He loves women. But not in a one-note way. He really does love us. He knows we are about more than the contents of our uterus, or what choices we make with regard to those contents.
He wrote, Playboy Magazine Officially Hates Women, Conservative or Otherwise. Then, Playboy Violates Bro Code with Hate F**k List. And because Politico was stupid enough to post the list without READING the totality of it first, Tommy laid the hammer down when: Politico Takes Down Light Touch Version of Playboy Hate F*** List. Being a gentleman, and true hipster, he decided to celebrate political differences and great debate with a list of his own: Top Ten Conservative Women I Love to Love. As this week continued to be driven by defining “hate f***” and what does and does not constitute rape, or consent… Twitter became a united, driving force. Tommy captured the whole movement in Twitter Community Defeats Playboy Hate List.
Christopher understands something every good man does: women are different than men. And that is a good thing. We agree on some things, not so much on others. But I have always found him to be fair, witty, and insightful. I love the guy.
Yesterday, he was fired. Fired by AOL’s Politics Daily because (in my estimation) he is simply more highly evolved than his editors at AOL, which is owned by TimeWarner – a company that has a massive distribution deal with Playboy.
Therein lies the rub. Guy Cimbalo who penned a column that advocates Rape fantasies at minimum… and incites thoughts of violent, nonconsensual sex on the face of his column… and at worst, provides permission to the crazy misogynistic bastard who will identify a virtuous woman and rape her. This is the man the corporate geniuses at AOL, Playboy, and TimeWarner are defending.
But Tommy Christopher – a committed liberal – stood for the things we ladies most revere: truth, respect, equality and fairness.
Around the print media and blogosphere, I found a few nuggets:
Mark Tapscott, Editorial Page Editor of the DC Examiner displays exception acumen in his article Is American Politics Becoming a Hate Sport? And, I am very, very grateful for his mention of my take:
Media Lizzy described the Playboy post as a manifestation of an “inner rapist,” and it is difficult to see much in the way of meaningful distrinctions between rape and a sexual act whose initiator himself links it with hate and in terms that fall just short of violence and against women because of their political views. To be sure, rape as a political weapon is not a new thing, nor is it uniquely associated with a particular portion of the ideological spectrum.
Howard Kurtz of The Washington Post said this:
I quoted a post the other day from Tommy Christopher of AOL’s Politics Daily. He rightly ripped Playboy for putting up a graphic piece about the author’s desire to have hateful sex with 10 conservative women. After that, says the conservative Newsbusters, AOL deleted the piece, fired Christopher and refused any further mention of the article (which Playboy took down by day’s end). Christopher says AOL claimed to have yanked the piece because it was too profane. No explanation so far for the firing.
Meanwhile, the same Playboy author, Guy Cimbalo, uses the B-word in attacking Michelle Malkin and says she has “mental problems.” And to think I once told people I read it for the articles.
The entire series of events was described aptly by Newsbusters’ Stephen Gutowski:
The evidence is stacking up quite high that AOL News fired liberal writer Tommy Christopher today due to his repeated attempts to get coverage of the Playboy attack list on AOL’s Politics Daily. Christopher had first attempted to post this criticism of Playboy’s sick list the day it was published on their website. However, he was surprised to find that shortly after putting his article on Politics Daily it was deleted by an editor.
His surprise stemmed from the fact that in his two years of writing for the site not one other post had ever been deleted by an editor.
This issue won’t go away. Not with a boycott. Not with canceled subscriptions to Playboy, or AOL.
There are moral absolutes. Guy Cimbalo and his ilk are free to choose how they live, write, and speak. Free to behave immorally. But that does not mean the behavior is acceptable. Or moral. It is not.
Until rape – or “hate sex” – are decried, in a real way, across the board by Establishment Democrats… they do not get to claim the high ground. From Rwanda to Darfur, on rape and Female Genital Mutilation, Democrats have done little more than pay lip service to the most heinous of crimes. They can keep their righteous indignation. They must turn to voices, in their own camp, like Tommy Christopher – and be honest with themselves about the seriousness of speech as a gateway to action.
UPDATE: Tommy Christopher goes on the record about AOL, read it HERE