Breasts on Trial (sigh… again)

I was recently tweeted a story about a girl who got expelled from her Catholic high school for “sexting”. It’s a story of  hypocrisy – one that gets to the heart of the purpose of feminism, I think. A Catholic school girl is expelled for texting a topless picture of herself, while the male athletes who passed the photo around were not punished at all.

These are the kind of stories that make my head explode. There are so many issues here: our expectations of girls, our understanding of pornography, our obsession with female nudity or nudity in general, our expectations around online behaviour. But what really jumps out at me from this article is the fact that with the possible exception of some idiotic leering by a few jocks in a locker room, the kids seem to get it. It was a dare, a joke. No big deal, at least initially.

And really, it is no big deal – or it should be no big deal. After all, it is a rather common phenomenon for women to have breasts – so common, in fact, that our unending fascination with the topic could be perceived as absurd. I wonder when we will be able to get to the point where there would be no interest in daring a girl to “flash”. In an ironic way, I think the girls who confidently take the dare have figured it out. Maybe the boys too. It’s possible that the kids all got a laugh out of the fact that she actually took the dare – that it really is “no big deal”, and that they weren’t leering over the picture simply because it depicted female nudity. Implicit in the concept of “dare” is a recognition that a standard is created by society rather than determined by nature. That’s what I like to suppose, anyway. Alas, there’s a good chance that I suppose erroneously.

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