Monday, April 28, 2008

Random Thoughts and Musings: The Bronchitis Edition

As I cruised the blogosphere yesterday and today, there were a few items of interest that stuck with me. Bear with me as I discuss, and hopefully don't digress too much.

Val at Occasional Superheroine has a great post about this month's cover of Vogue magazine. Featuring Gwyneth Paltrow in a gorgeous Oscar de la Renta gold tissue-lame' embroidered strapless dress, the cover also includes an Iron Man headpiece and said cover girl wearing bracelets that bear an eerie similarity to Wonder Woman's own set. In the "letter from the editor", Vogue Editor Anna Wintour declares the magazine to be a celebration of the superhero and compares fashion and comics as art. This is a surreal moment to be sure.

As a longtime amateur fashionista and avid reader of Vogue, this was a moment in time for me. The stars are aligned and it is a wonderful thing. I enjoyed every page of this, and feel that Val has a good point that Vogue might be trying to court a more mainstream audience. As she points out, Andy Warhol is at this moment, smiling from somewhere.

Several bloggers have taken on "The Open-Source Boob Project" post made by "theferret". Evidently, several folks were at a show and boob touching became the topic of choice. For a full rundown, read the entire post linked above. After this experiment, the gang went to Penguincon and here is the gist:

"At Penguicon, we had buttons to give away. There were two small buttons, one for each camp: A green button that said, "YES, you may" and a red button that said "NO, you may not." And anyone who had those buttons on, whether you knew them or not, was someone you could approach and ask:

"Excuse me, but may I touch your breasts?"

And if you weren't a total lout - the women retained their right to say no, of course - they would push their chests out, and you would be allowed into the sanctity of it. That exchange of happiness where one person are told with gropes and touches that they are desirable and the other is someone who's allowed to desire.

For a moment, everything that was awkward about high school would fade away and you could just say what was on your mind. It was as though parts of me were being healed whenever I did it, and I touched at least fifteen sets of boobs at Penguicon. It never got old, surprisingly.

Some women didn't want to. That was fine. We never demanded anything of anyone. And if you didn't want to put yours up for the Project but you wanted to touch, well, that was fine, too. It was simply for folks who felt like being open.

It was a raging success at Penguicon.... And there haven't been any hookups that I know of thanks to the Open-Source Boob Project. It is, as I said, a very special thing. (Though I wouldn't rule it out if two single people exchanged a moment.) And we'll probably do it at other cons, because it's strangely wholesome and sexual at the same time.

I've left off the names, because frankly, people should reveal for themselves whether they're Open-Sourcers or not. 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.

After ruminating on this subject for a few days, I am still shaking my head a bit. My initial thought was this: if someone came up to me and wanted to touch my breasts, I would be pissed and say no. I may even want to punch them or kick them in the balls. To me, my chest is pretty sacred, and it only is for that person I would choose to be intimate with or a doctor to check for medical reasons that I would allow contact to occur. I also thought that my hubby would probably try and kick their ass if they asked, so it was a no-go from second one.

After much thought, it has come down to this: why do these folks have to walk up to strangers at a show to touch a breast? Is it a power trip, or are said individuals not having a relationship and incapable of having intimacy that allows that in their normal life. It seemed pretty sad. It seemed like more of a reflection on their poor social skills then a threat to womankind. I also wondered what their mothers would say about this. Somehow I don't think she would be too happy about the whole situation.

I also think that an all-ages con is a poor choice for said social experiment. What does it teach kids if they see this? It is a poor selection of venues to say the least. Maybe at a night club this would have different connotations. Here I just think it was bad judgement.

Am I pissed? No. Am I disappointed? Most certainly. My feelings aren't just pointed at the guys involved either. I have to wonder what the ladies were thinking? It takes me back to my feminist readings, which have shown me that women are split into two groups. There are those who feel that embracing sexuality is a tool to show their power while another group finds that kind of display repugnant. Have we become so divided as a group that we will never come to terms with what we as women judge to be power and rights? It really makes me think.

Another issue that has been a bit overlooked is that there appears that alcohol was involved. How much and how intense really isn't clarified, but as a person who has drank way too much on past occasions of my life, I can say with 100% certainty that it doesn't make you any smarter. Some of the world's worst ideas come out of intoxication. This is yet another reason to watch consumption at these potential social occasions.

Bottom line here: If someone approached me at the Emerald City Comicon and asked to touch my breast, I would be offended. I would also call the person on their behavior and tell them it was inappropriate. I would also wonder if they had a boda bag and were a bit tanked. There is a time and place, and that simply isn't it.

Let me ask you: What would you do in that situation?

Enough for tonight. I am off to check out Swinebread's comprehensive report on Stumptown Comics Fest. It looks awesome!


Carl said...

My bride and her online gaming friends have been talking about this for a bit now. Basically some of the women that attended also post at the various gaming/fandom blogs. The most salient post which my bride quoted to me made the most sense: "same old male bullsh*t, disguised as enlightened male/female empowerment". Meaning, I pretend to give you some kind of so-called power and freedom, while getting a cheap grope. Some of the friends of the bride said they were going to devise buttons that said, "Yes, You May, If I Can Crack Your Nuts". No shrinking violets round these here parts...

Johnny Bacardi said...

I have never refused anyone who wishes to touch my breasts.

Not that I've had many who asked...

Unknown said...

"Why do these folks have to walk up to strangers at a show to touch a breast?"

Just part of the long and depressing decline of society, that's all. Little by little, consensus forms to lower the bar just a little bit further, then a little further still...until bewildered people like you and me start asking "What the hell happened"?

As far as the kid angle, I think the industry (and its attendant conventions and product launches) left that group behind a long time ago.

Carl said...

Update, my bride says the current fun thought is to take male gay friends and have "Sure, if my gay friend can handle your _____". Tit for tat, so to speak, ho ho!

Heidi Meeley said...

Carl, I saw that there was a couple of different women coming up with great ideas in a reciprocal fashion. I got a few good chuckles out of it.

It is a good thing that group of folks didn't go to one of your shows and try that!!

Heidi Meeley said...

Johnny, maybe now that you have advertised a bit here, your luck will change. :-)

Heidi Meeley said...

Mark, I have to agree. It isn't just a commentary on comic shows- it is a mirror to society's true face. In the face of 15 year old Miley Cyrus posing topless for Vanity Fair, I am to the point of throwing in the towel. What message does that send our youth and is it still going to save them if we intervene?

I kinda think things went from bad to worse when Britney, Christina, and that crop of singers hit the airwaves. That is just me though. I am old and cranky and I admit it.

Brett said...

I tried to avoid this whole thing, as there is really no way to explain their behavior without pissing a few people off who will jump to the conclusion that any rationalization is also an excuse. But its pretty simple from a male POV. They wanted to touch breasts and they went about it in the most direct and brutal way possible, like some sort of German engineers of second base. And I think the directness and total lack of tact made it pathetically clear that they were totally harmless, thus disarming the few who complied and offered up their racks for gropage.

It would be like a curious little pre-pubescent boy trying to grab a grown woman's breast: there is no real sexual threat there because they just don't have the intention or skills to close anything (as made obvious by the way they opened). Some (most?) would be pissed while others would shrug it off. That is my only guess as to both why they would try it, and conversely why a subsection of women would actually be willing to comply.

Swinebread said...

what? I'm at a loss for words...