Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com, and I wasn’t going to but because this stupid Steinem outrage has died down yet:
“Hey, Gratehouse, do you think this Victoria’s Secret catalog is sexist?“, he asked me.
It was twenty some odd years ago and this was in the break room at the torpedo maintenance facility where my interlocutor, Torpedoman’s Mate Third Class Lee, and I (I was Torpedoman’s Mate Second Class Gratehouse) worked in Yokusuka, Japan. This was in the dark days before online ordering was the norm and most of the women at the torp shop subscribed to the eponymous catalog. Not because we were lingerie junkies, but because by that time Victoria’s Secret had become a purveyor of a wide range of stylish and affordable women’s clothing, from the famous undergarments to jeans and boots and coats. Basically if you wanted more options than what was on offer the Navy Exchange or at the expensive stores out in town, you ordered from VS.
Needless to say, the frequently arriving catalogs were quite popular with some of the guys in the shop, as they featured (then, as now) the top supermodels of the day in underwear and bathing suits. The guys would pass them around (often without asking permission) and remark loudly on the attributes of the women within. There was more than mere male appreciation of the (very conventionally) attractive female form going on. It was shit like “boy, my wife sure doesn’t look like this!” It was a lot of very loud and very pointed commentary directed at whatever women were within earshot, with the intention clearly to remind us that we mere mortal women had failed to be as boner-inducing as were the Victoria’s Secret goddesses. Not that any of those guys were hot shit themselves but they knew society didn’t demand the kind of physical perfection from them as it demanded from women and they were not going to let us forget it. Continue reading