Feeling like Bob Dylan's ballad, all I know is something is happening here –with women's bodies– and I don't know what it is. It's a pleasure to pay close attention to this cultural issue, though.
A few days ago I read a story in the Oregonian about the collarbone's ascension as a focus of female beauty. The piece originated in the New York Times as "The Collarbone's Connected to Slimness":
"As the rest of women's bodies recede in spring fashions, the clavicles, or collarbones, and the upper chest between them, is rising to prominence. Toned shoppers who want to show off their self-discipline in the face of dessert are choosing dresses with a low, but not plunging neckline, a look that is transforming the area above the breasts into an unlikely new subject for women to obsess over."
Well, that's fine. I think I speak for virtually every member of the opposite sex, though, when I say that men have spent somewhere between zero and a nanosecond of lust-time obsessing over the female collarbone.
It's a way station that male eyes have to cross between a woman's face and breasts. Certainly nothing to linger over when more attractive destinations await upward or downward.
Yet wise fashion minds are telling us that the collarbone is the new erogenous zone. I wonder, for who? (Or whom?)
It must be for thin women themselves, who look at their bony clavicles and smile with self-referential delight. I can pretty much guarantee that the men in their lives couldn't care less about the size and shape of their collarbone. To wit:
Suzanne Calo, an elementary school teacher in Hicksville, N.Y., is proud of her ''bony clavicles,'' especially now that she is pregnant and every other part of her body seems to have become bigger. ''That's my favorite area,'' she said.
Her husband, Anthony Calo, on the other hand, is ambivalent.
''Honey, have you ever said anything about my clavicles?'' she called out while on the phone. ''You know, my collarbones?'' There was a pause. ''He shrugged,'' she said.
I'm not sure about anything involving women, who remain a mystery to me even after being married to one (or another) for thirty-five of my fifty-eight years. But I see some sort of connection between erogenous clavicles and the increasing number of women who proudly display their fat rolls.
This was obvious to me during our vacation on Maui. The number of bikini-clad seriously-overweight women on the beach increases every year. Women used to cover up fat. Now they flaunt it.
Both extreme skinniness and extreme fatness are being embraced with a "I am Woman! Deal with it!" attitude. I'm fine with that, philosophically.
However, experientially I resonate with a Funny Times piece by Janet Periat, "On Vacation With My Fat Roll."
"In Hawaii, I saw more fat bisected by small layers of spandex than I've ever seen in my life. Women and men jiggled and bounced and wiggled their way down the beach, seemingly unaware that there was anything out-of-place about showing off their gargantuan middles, thighs and buttocks.
Large women cavorted about, their enormous breasts barely constrained by the small scraps of spandex; each breast acting like its own rebellious animal, itching to be free of its small elastic prison. Many breasts seemed to be in revolt and actually managed to free themselves of their brightly patterned holders, which was fully enjoyed by the male spectators. And the lesbians.
Since I am neither, I politely looked away. And inwardly wondered if the roly-polys actually checked themselves out in the mirror before they went to the beach. Again, I have no problem with overweight people sunbathing or swimming; I have problems with overweight people in DENIAL.
Bikinis are for skinny people. Period. And no amount of equal-rights-for-the-weight-challenged BS is going to convince me otherwise."
Agreed. One of these photos is so right, the other so wrong.
I'll end by taking a big jump up the intellectual ladder. The most recent issue of What is Enlightenment? magazine focuses on "Woman: a cultural, philosophical, and spiritual exploration."
I read a couple of articles this morning, hoping to gain some insights into prominently displayed erogenous collarbones and fat rolls. This passage by Sofia Diaz seemed to say something significant. Ordinarily I'd analyze it further, but my mind is still on the so right photo.
And it is important to make the distinction between the terms feminine, woman, and female. The Feminine is an aspect of existence that is independent of women.
A more absolute definition would be that, relative to the Masculine Principle of absolute infinity, the Feminine Principle is everything that appears, everything that is noticed, even the noticer himself or herself.
However, in terms of human embodiment, it is expressed as a woman's body, because the Feminine is the receptive principle and the masculine is the penetrative principle. Our relationship to the Feminine is our relationship to embodiment.