Sunday, December 12, 2010

Objectivity and Objects

Thanks for all those who have ever bugged me about not writing, keep making me feel shitty about it. You guys are baller.

Much to the chagrin of many public figures in the collegiate, Boston community, Boston University (BU) has been thrown into an unflattering spotlight of national attention and gender awareness. And of course, as most national domestic debates about privacy and sexual identity go, it all started with a really chill bro. This certain "bro" hails by the name of Justin Doody (I had all these jokes written about this guy's lastname, but let it just be noted simply, for all of you above the age of seven that it is in fact, a synonym for shit.) and is responsible for the creation of the website Now, for all of you who saw "The Social Network," do you remember that site  he makes in the beginning of the film after his girlfriend ostensibly dumps him? The one that allowed people to rate different girls on Harvard's campus by comparatively voting on them? Well, after slamming down some Nattys, this chill bro saw the film, saw that very scene within the movie and thought to himself, "Bro, that's chill," and made a site in which viewers could vote between which girl at BU was hotter, thus creating a ranking system. However, Mr. Doody (poop!) saw "The Social Network" and paid close attention to the unchillness of the bros who sued Mark Zuckerberg's ass and all the trouble he got in for being a bit of a prick. In response, Mr. Doody made many very strict, very smart guidelines and stipulations for using the site. To enter and operate the site you must be a BU student with a valid school email. Your identity will never be revealed making the voting completely anonymous. People then upload pictures of themselves or girls they know and the voting begins. The ranking does not work as a comprehensive list, so I cannot, as much as I wish I could, scroll all the way down and see who has been deemed the absolute ugliest girl at BU. Instead, there is an average score statistic and the scores and pictures of the top 25 women. In the coming weeks, the poop-master also has plans to phase in a section in which guys can be voted on as well.

Higher-ups at BU and women's rights groups have already made their bland, copy & pasted statements of opposition for the site. But I think the discourse that has generated begs for more proper analysis. People seem very quick to rush to the idea that everyone is a unique snowflake brimming with God's love and that there is no way to explore what makes them beautiful to other people. Pretending that sexual tastes and preferences exist seems very counter productive. Men, if you didn't know already, have a living, breathing barometer for sexual attraction that is nestled just past our anus and in between our thighs, (hint: penis) meaning I can only hide so well my attraction for any given person. There's no need to go galloping around telling girls that nothing makes you limper than the thought of them naked, that's simply cruel, but for a society that fills stadiums to hear Lil' Wayne talk about all the different girls he has slapped with his cock it can be disheartening to see that this where we have decided to draw the line in the sand. Objectifying women cannot be morally condoned no matter how instinctual it can be for men to do, but I think banning up-front honesty sends the wrong message to people. We are the country that gives everyone a soccer trophy at the end of the year. The team brutally lost every game and each player, including Legless Lenny, gets a golden statue. On top of that, at the other end of the spectrum where the American psyche loves to vacation, there resides an ideology within our education system and media, that girls need to be perfect. The power-point presentations in P.E. are true, society has created a false idol within skinny models. Conflicting messages for young people of all genders ricochet around many different psychological levels of our existence, and in all the confusion and hectic chaos you can become hypnotized by the whirling motion into absorbing every word of it, no matter how contradictory. Famous monologist and theatre performer, Spalding Gray in one of his pieces said, "Everyone knows they're going to die, but no one really believes it." The same can be said for body image: Everyone knows they don't have to look like a model to be beautiful, and yet they still go through expensive, time consuming measures to look like one. No one will ever find satisfaction beyond their hedonistic desire to have sex with a porn star like they will with finding someone that they love. The Taj Mahal wasn't built because emperor Shah Jahan casually had a one night stand with some slutty Indian sorority girl, it was because he wanted  to see his undying love for his deceased wife immortalized through physical manifestation. Does that mean I would have voted on his wife's photo if she went to BU? Not necessarily, in fact, from paintings I have seen, very doubtful, but there lies the genius of the entire ordeal. clearly does not promote monogamy, but my encounters with it have been enlightening and stimulating in areas whole appendages away from my crotch. When a group of guys look at the top 25 they rarely ever agree on even just one of the placements. When it comes time to vote, full on bickering can arise over the simple act of deciding whether one girl is more attractive than another. The differences in taste and style, just like a taste in any art form like music or film, are obvious. Mr. Doody's site can be viewed as a bit of a happy accident, living proof that people, just like paintings, have certain styles that will always be popular and hung in museums of varied curation, but that even the most bizarre painting, with the most off-beat composition can be hung up and cherished by an avid, loving collector. Denying a certain level of objectivity within beauty is vain and equally as ignorant as only attempting to get with with girls with straight blonde hair with big boobs who strictly wear leggings, Uggs, scarves and North Faces as a uniform. Art has inherent beauty, and the human form represents a biological masterpiece; people will continue to find essential value endlessly within each other (Stephen Hawking has had more than one wife, c'mon people). Attempting to make the artistry of yourself appeal to a broad audience might make you believe that you are receiving more love or appreciation or attention, but what if you find someone who finally wants to hang your painting on the wall, who is enamored with your beauty, only to find out that upon thorough inspection, they don't agree with the political message the piece represents at all? Through its anonymity, ratebu ensures my honesty in many ways. The few times I have voted I never have considered conforming my answer to fit in with what other people think, there's absolutely no pressure to do so. A site like ratebu only exists so long as everyone, as a broken collective brain-trust, thinks they know what it means to be good-looking and strive to achieve that hallow title. If people lived their own lives like they voted on ratebu, perhaps you would see a lot more beauty in the world, perhaps a site like this would just fade out of view. Maybe no one would care.

"So if I asked you about art, you'd probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo, you know a lot about him. Life's work, political aspirations, him and the pope, sexual orientations, the whole works, right? But I'll bet you can't tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You've never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling; seen that. If I ask you about women, you'd probably give me a syllabus about your personal favorites. You may have even been laid a few times. But you can't tell me what it feels like to wake up next to a woman and feel truly happy. You're a tough kid. And I'd ask you about war, you'd probably throw Shakespeare at me, right, "once more unto the breach dear friends." But you've never been near one. You've never held your best friend's head in your lap, watch him gasp his last breath looking to you for help. I'd ask you about love, you'd probably quote me a sonnet. But you've never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable. Known someone that could level you with her eyes, feeling like God put an angel on earth just for you. Who could rescue you from the depths of hell" -Sean (Good Will Hunting)

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