Partial explanations

Miriam Gross, who writes a column in the weekend FT, writes today about the recent surge in the trend of women displaying their cleavages at academic conferences, on the floor of the House of Commons and even the US senate, where reportedly Hillary Clinton started this trend, accidentally or otherwise.

Gross cites an assertion from the famous zoologist Desmond Morris that the cleavage may be a sexual signal that imitates the image of the cleft between the buttocks. Her subsequent attempts at explaning the trend focus on the first half of this assertion and the signalling aspects of the matter.

What about a more literal interpretation?

Might it be that cleavage-revealing sisterhood, after years of having to behave and even dress like a man to fit in a man’s world, might actually be collectively mooning the male majority in their workplaces and asking them all to, using a common Americanism, kiss their a**?

Just a thought.

9 thoughts on “Partial explanations

  1. I was contemplating on leaving this as an anonymous comment, but then decided its worth owning 🙂
    Just the other day, I was at a busy college street, and a girl passed right in front of me, Its not long ago I was in college, but this girl grabbed my attention, I thought she was wearing something too revealing, and which I thought was indecent for college and for her age, and then I began to see, its not just her, it was the same with many people, the plunging neck seem to be common in colleges these days I guess.I thought I might be a little older now and dont understand the current college fashion.
    The same thing happened in the mall I visited a couple of days later, I was getting so many urges to go ask one of them, why this suddenly?

    I dont think its an attempt to grab attention, I hope this is not a part of rebel because this is definitely not the right way, or might be it might be the in fashion thing, like some saree that becomes really famous because of an actress in a movie.

    Like

  2. I was contemplating on leaving this as an anonymous comment, but then decided its worth owning 🙂
    Just the other day, I was at a busy college street, and a girl passed right in front of me, Its not long ago I was in college, but this girl grabbed my attention, I thought she was wearing something too revealing, and which I thought was indecent for college and for her age, and then I began to see, its not just her, it was the same with many people, the plunging neck seem to be common in colleges these days I guess.I thought I might be a little older now and dont understand the current college fashion.
    The same thing happened in the mall I visited a couple of days later, I was getting so many urges to go ask one of them, why this suddenly?

    I dont think its an attempt to grab attention, I hope this is not a part of rebel because this is definitely not the right way, or might be it might be the in fashion thing, like some saree that becomes really famous because of an actress in a movie.

    Like

  3. Rambler: Thanks. You offer some possible explanations – fashion, age-related rebellion, attention-seeking behaviour – but those are manifestations of yet unclear motivations, whereas Gross, by borrowing from Morris, was focusing more on the fundamental motives just as I was too.

    I am sure however it is more complicated than either of these explanations in isolation. Perhaps to be explained in another post. 🙂

    Thanks again.

    Like

  4. Rambler: Thanks. You offer some possible explanations – fashion, age-related rebellion, attention-seeking behaviour – but those are manifestations of yet unclear motivations, whereas Gross, by borrowing from Morris, was focusing more on the fundamental motives just as I was too.

    I am sure however it is more complicated than either of these explanations in isolation. Perhaps to be explained in another post. 🙂

    Thanks again.

    Like

  5. Well well well,while the explanation seems highly plausible, I fail to understand why we need to make a statement. Isn’t it possible to quietly invade the traditional male domains and just do our job well and make a statement without having to make these symbolic statements? Men never had to resort to any of these.

    Like

  6. Well well well,while the explanation seems highly plausible, I fail to understand why we need to make a statement. Isn’t it possible to quietly invade the traditional male domains and just do our job well and make a statement without having to make these symbolic statements? Men never had to resort to any of these.

    Like

  7. @ Usha: That ‘men never had to resort to any of these’ is part of the problem. The upside of being sidelined for a long time – and that of the Second World War – is that women were forced to be creative about multi-flank strategies to enhance their status to equality. Alas, so far, in mathematical terms, equality is a ‘tending to’ function rather than an ‘equal to’ function.

    Using sexual imagery is a part of some women’s tool-kit. It needn’t be everyone’s tool of choice. Whatever rocks anybody’s casbah, eh? Many are indeed quietly ‘invading’ traditional male domains – from engineering to truck-driving – although the use of war imagery in the articulation of the pursuit of this goal is sort of ironic, n’est-ce pas? 🙂

    Like

  8. @ Usha: That ‘men never had to resort to any of these’ is part of the problem. The upside of being sidelined for a long time – and that of the Second World War – is that women were forced to be creative about multi-flank strategies to enhance their status to equality. Alas, so far, in mathematical terms, equality is a ‘tending to’ function rather than an ‘equal to’ function.

    Using sexual imagery is a part of some women’s tool-kit. It needn’t be everyone’s tool of choice. Whatever rocks anybody’s casbah, eh? Many are indeed quietly ‘invading’ traditional male domains – from engineering to truck-driving – although the use of war imagery in the articulation of the pursuit of this goal is sort of ironic, n’est-ce pas? 🙂

    Like

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