Teachers and librarians have no stereotypical dress these days. But mostly, I think the icons still exist because they crystallize dominating male sexuality around them. Second, nurses, teachers, and librarians are women we have a great deal of contact with in our childhood and less in our adulthoods, so they may well be strongly associated with our emerging sexualities in a way that bears little relation to our adult reality. The reasoning behind this symbolism varies. She is a prize to be taken, a treasure to be captured, an exotic animal barely tamed beneath her bun and shapeless cardigan. The married Orthodox Jewish woman hides her hair from all but her husband, as do many Muslim women. Monks in both the West and East shave their heads or part of their heads as they embrace celibacy; in other cultures, sexual asceticism is expressed through the growth of matted locks or wild unkempt hair. Unlike factory workers, actresses, store clerks, secretaries, and farm workers, who dwelled in the working classes or in the bohemian demimonde of the arts, librarians, nurses, and schoolteachers moved among the middle and upper classes.
Consider, for example, the French colonial officer in North Africa. And, of course, blondes have more fun. Only a great prize would be hidden away so thoroughly — and it was incumbent on the French conqueror, enraged and aroused by what was withheld from him, to claim that prize. Given the association of loose, flowing hair with open sexuality in our culture, it is no coincidence that the librarian, the nurse, and the schoolteacher all share a hairstyle in the popular imagination: But mostly, I think the icons still exist because they crystallize dominating male sexuality around them. No hint of disrepute could be endured, and their respectability was secured by thoroughly de-sexing themselves through clothing, behavior, and hairstyle. As reported by CBS New York last year, the year-old New Rochelle High School librarian exchanged sexually charged texts and emails with a year-old male student for months before she was arrested. In the police report, the student said that he'd initially "wanted to see how far [he] could take" his flirting with Anton, but that things got increasingly intense. Ironically, it is through the very act of desexualization. Under the conquering gaze of the man-as-dominator, though, this desexualization only serves to highlight the sexuality thus contained. To move in public spaces and do their jobs, librarians — along with schoolteachers and nurses — had to wrap themselves in an aura of absolute respectability. But the sexy librarian is still very much with us. Actors, dancers, mill workers, field hands — all took on the aura of the prostitute. However, Anton did try to cover her tracks. Just as it is no coincidence that the fantasy of the sexy librarian begins with her pulling the pin from her tight, tight bun and letting her hair cascade down. The image of the sexy librarian reminds us that, regardless of their appearance or accomplishments, women are first and foremost sexual objects. An icon endures Along with the librarian, the nurse and schoolteacher also occupy a central place in the erotic imagination of contemporary Americans — hardly surprising considering their emergence into public life at roughly the same time and their similar strategies of disappearing into the background of respectable public society. Dewey was a strong advocate for the use of women as librarians, not out of any sense of gender justice but because, as proprietor of a company that sold a system of receiving, cataloguing, shelving, finding, and checking out books that promised to transform the library into a hyper-efficient book-lending machine, he felt that men would chafe under the monotony of the job. Although media outlets like the New York Daily News flaunted the sexual nature of Anton's misconduct, branding her a "naughty" librarian who "bombarded" the student with explicit photos and requests for intercourse, a police spokesman told Talk of the Sound, a New Rochelle, N. He said he'd felt threatened when Anton discussed sexually "slaughtering" him. So I was quite interested to see what this J. First, as representations of the earliest female professionals to enter the public sphere, these images may well just have become so embedded in our sexual psyches and our cultural collection of stock imagery that they are hard to shake off. This was made quite clear during the Uprising of 20,, when factory owners hired prostitutes to taunt the female garment workers on strike with offers of better-paying jobs — the implication being, they were already whoring themselves. Women, he felt, were ideally suited to the mindless task of working in a modern, Dewey-ized library. Monks in both the West and East shave their heads or part of their heads as they embrace celibacy; in other cultures, sexual asceticism is expressed through the growth of matted locks or wild unkempt hair. Blog post femininity , Gender , icon , Labor , librarian , masculinity , Sexuality , sexy librarian , symbol , women Post navigation. The married Orthodox Jewish woman hides her hair from all but her husband, as do many Muslim women.
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