Fri. Sep 30th, 2022

Many women no longer feel insulted by seeing themselves reduced to or thought of purely in terms of their hind quarters, their legs and their sizable breasts or fake ones made sizable. Being seen as sexy is a goal for which every advance made by women over the last half century can apparently be put on hold, toned down or rejected as outdated.

 

This obsession with a physical standard or the attention one’s body can draw crossed ethnic lines long ago, or adapted itself to bring diversity into the game so that women with some overt Africa in the gene pool could join.

The tickets were tasteless clothes or no clothes at all. It’s all good, fools would say.

Though we now suffer from a general condition of tawdriness, there is something of a special lane in which Negro American women exist because they have been seen as closer to animals for much longer than white women. Being seen as something close to primates did not stop the worst kinds of responses from white men.

Nor did it not stop American variations on the “Hottentot Venus,” an African village woman who was brought to England in the early nineteenth century and put on display as one of God’s bizarre jokes, which was thought the only way that her distinctive physical characteristics could be explained. The startling and prominent backside, the huge breasts and the strange, dangling genitalia supposedly proved she was some sort of a primate. Europeans gawked and laughed at her either in England or France, where she died at the age of 25.

A plaster cast was made of her body as a whole but her genitalia and other organs were preserved in alcohol. When Nelson Mandela became president of South Africa, a fuss was made and her remains were returned there for burial.

Things have so changed in our time that we are not supposed to be startled by a recent appearance on “The View” by Snoop Dogg, a premier symbol of urban misogyny. There to promote his album “Malice In Wonderland,” good old Snoop had changed his spots for something less offensive. He talked about Tiger Woods and used himself as an example of a retooled star in the show business shadow that now seems to loom above all, from supremely talented to untalented. If one hears him tell it, Snoop Dogg now sees himself as a family man and submits to the women in his family telling him when he has gone too far.

That got those women. They were his for the rest of the interview.

One might have imagined the rapper being treated like Larry Flynt, publisher of Hustler, or the way John McCain was contemptuously treated during the campaign, but no. Even Whoopi Goldberg did not summon up her signature obnoxious aggression and self-righteousness. The way all of these women responded, whether brilliant or simple-minded, it seemed that in earlier incarnations, they could each have been put out on the block by the pimp that Snoop Dogg has portrayed himself as for many years. That is, before he saw the light of fatherhood and the timeless value of respecting one’s family. Apologies and repudiations of the past go a long way in our country.

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