Comments on: Found Feminism: Ann Summers Models /2012/02/09/found-feminism-ann-summers-models/ A feminist pop culture adventure Thu, 11 Oct 2012 05:11:21 +0000 hourly 1 By: Kalika Gold /2012/02/09/found-feminism-ann-summers-models/#comment-8783 Thu, 11 Oct 2012 05:11:21 +0000 In reply to Kirsty.

I totally get it. You explained it perfectly :)

By: Kalika Gold /2012/02/09/found-feminism-ann-summers-models/#comment-8782 Thu, 11 Oct 2012 05:10:02 +0000 In reply to Metal-eating arachnid.

Wow, that really made me think! You’re totally right. Everywhere, women enjoying sex is equated with women looking or feeling sexy – whether it’s Ann Summers, Cosmopolitan (which was the first magazine to give info on abortion and getting a divorce and, for all its faults, is the most sex-positive magazine out there) or even on some feminist blogs. Yet for men, enjoying sex is equated with looking at, desiring or having sex with women. The men act, the women are passively displaying themselves. I read a post from a psychologist once that said women, while having sex, see their performance from a third person view and try to give the porn star experience, policing their movements to compete with porn actors. Men don’t.

By: Kirsty /2012/02/09/found-feminism-ann-summers-models/#comment-2152 Thu, 09 Feb 2012 20:50:33 +0000 It’s also interesting that she *has* to represent at all (as in the Portsmouth paper link) – inspiring other ‘curvy girls’, showing that ‘sexy is all shapes’ etc. I mean, i guess it’s a positive message but why can’t she just have won and have nothing said about her weight? No-one would be chuffed about ‘representing size 0’, because it doesn’t need representation: it’s everywhere.

In a way, I find her having to be a figurehead for sexy bigger girls more obnoxious – and patronising – than having a standard skinnikin in the shop window.

(I might have explained it really badly though!)

By: Miranda /2012/02/09/found-feminism-ann-summers-models/#comment-2151 Thu, 09 Feb 2012 14:56:16 +0000 In reply to Metal-eating arachnid.

I think this is a really good bunch of points.

There’s a wider issue, I think, around the marketisation of (het) female sexual desire as what you want to be, look like, and have done *to you* rather than *who you want to do*.

By: Metal-eating arachnid /2012/02/09/found-feminism-ann-summers-models/#comment-2150 Thu, 09 Feb 2012 14:39:10 +0000 Re the sexualisation of women. I actually think that Ann Summers is one of the places where it’s *least* appropriate, and most invisible. Yes, it’s a sex shop – a sex shop aimed at women, and quite explicitly aimed at straight women. So its shopfront is full of women in sexy underwear – of course. But by that logic, shouldn’t we expect a sex shop aimed at straight men to be full of men in sexy underwear? As you say, Ann Summers is supposed to cater to female sexuality, enjoyment and participation. And the merchandise it sells is often focussed on female pleasure, which is nice. But its entire marketing/advertising strategy and image don’t say anything about female pleasure, or (hetero)sexual desire; they’re about women looking sexy. Now, the counter-argument to that is that looking sexy helps you feel sexy (hence lingerie being a positive force for women’s independent sexuality, etc). And I agree that that’s often so, and it’s not as if I think feeling/looking sexually attractive, whether that’s just by being naked, or by buying underwear, is a bad thing. But I think it also speaks to a wider issue whereby for men, sex is expected to centre around feeling desire, and for women, sex is expected to centre around feeling desired.

The now-defunct blog really made me think about this – asking why the vast majority of erotica (even in genres primarily aimed at arousing straight women) had women on the covers, and campaigning for inclusion of more men. (It’s not very SFW.)

All that said, I do think there’s a lot of good things about Ann Summers, and I too can be grateful that women with a wider variety of body shapes are getting to play the sexy game, even if I’m not sure about the game itself.

Incidentally, if anyone wants to read a study of Ann Summers parties, class, gender and sexuality, you’re in luck, as somebody wrote one. (The cover is, of course, illustrated with a headless woman in her underwear.) Warning for being kind of academic, though. I mean, I enjoyed it, but I have to wade through long words and (Cook 2012)s most days, so…

By: Jen /2012/02/09/found-feminism-ann-summers-models/#comment-2149 Thu, 09 Feb 2012 09:50:42 +0000 I think it’s possible to both love and not love Lucy at the same time.

As feminists we have ideals that we are always working towards. One of them is to live in a world where the “whole idea that there are winners and losers in a world of body standards” has become non-existent. Yet we do not live in that world and whilst we aim for it we can still cheer when a different view of what is sexy breaks through to stand beside the very homogeneous ideals we are fed daily.