Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Why #SeductionSunday is Boring (and Problematic)

First, the criteria.

I chose ten random images from three social networks.
I did not choose an image shared by the same person.  (It is possible that someone out there has shared more than one of these.  If that's the case, I probably didn't share two from your posts because, odds are, you aren't the only person who shared one or more of these images.)
I chose the first image posted by a person.  In other words, I did not cherry pick in any way.

Now, the images.  Take your time.  Enjoy them and see if you notice anything.  Maybe you'll notice what I've been noticing for months.

 





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Once upon a time, I asked everyone over on google+ to remove me from their #seductionsunday posts because, at the time I thought I might be spending more time with my granddaughter and didn't want her to see anything with which would make her parents (or me) uncomfortable.   It didn't happen.  Not sure if the people just didn't care about my concerns, willfully disrespected my wishes, or were too lazy to give a damn.  In any event, it became a moot point and, as a result, I actually started paying more attention to #seductionsunday posts.  I even looked for them on tumblr (didn't find anything) and twitter (again, not much) but it is definitely a thing on google+ so every week I could count on images like the above.  And I started noticing a pattern that I find discomfitting.  

Why so heteronormative? 

There are, of course, rare exceptions.  I actually had to fudge my above guidelines (*) for finding a second non-heterosexual image.  And of course, in both cases, what do we find?  Two women.  Why?  Probably because #seductionsunday is all about the male gaze and is not well and truly about sexual diversity or exploring the full spectrum of what is seductive.  

Why so white?

Another and equally disturbing observation is that there are no people of color in any of these images. I became a little excited when I saw a second #seductionsunday post from one person (**) that had a white man sucking on the fingers of an African-American woman.  Then I realized that the woman's hand was covered in chocolate and you can't see what her skin tone is anyway.  But do you see anyone of any color up there?  I mean, besides Caucasian which is yet another normative standard?  I don't.  In fact, I typically don't on any given #seductionsunday.  (***)

What's wrong with this picture?  Or should I say "these pictures"?

Do I even have to spell it out for you?  We live in a society that presumes white heterosexual lifestyles and standards of beauty are the norm.  On the rare occasion we see something else, it is a fetishized white male filter that is overlaid on #seductionsunday.  Two women = hot.  Two men = gross.  (***)

Insert a collective yawn here.

Seriously, I can't be the only one who sees these images as a disturbing comment on our collective societal psyche.  Surely, others have seen this pattern and consciously choose not to participate in #seductionsunday because it is tedious and cull.  Give me something anything that isn't defined by the White Male Gaze and maybe, just maybe, I'll take notice. Until then, forgive me if I don't find any of it especially intriguing let alone stimulating.  #seductionsundayfail

*  Specifically, I skipped an image posted by one person on twitter and used a second one.  The first post was of a fully clothed woman and frankly looked more like a well-placed selfie than a legitimate #seductionsunday image anyway.
**  I can bend my guidelines once, I suppose, but not twice.  
***  Honestly, if there has ever been a Person of Color in the past three months, I missed it.  Not one out of at least a dozen images week after week.
****  FYI, the solution is not to make anything or anyone a fetish.  Inserting People of Color to create something "exotic" within the erotic is merely objectifying and further complicates an already complicated issue.  Yellow/Jungle Fever is as insulting as a complete White Washing. 

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