Ann Althouse makes a powerful claim that isn’t obviously false: women’s bodies “might be the most interesting thing in the world”. The larger context of her post isn’t that relevant to us — paparazzi photographing celebrities — so let’s focus on the quoted claim.
Althouse is responding to a Scaachi Koul in Buzzfeed who says that:
The truth about Eilish’s body in those paparazzi photos — the truth about most women and their bodies — is really boring: It’s just a body, and you get the one you get.
… I’ll say that women’s bodies are not boring. They might be the most interesting thing in the world. Stop trying to tell people to be bored and dulled by the sight of human bodies. The message should be about etiquette — how to act around women’s bodies, how to speak in a way that brings credit to you and gets you more of what you’d love in this world. Etiquette… and love! Isn’t that what you want more of?
When I first read this paragraph it stuck me as hyperbole, but is it? Let’s stipulate that the phrase “in the world” excludes God and a few other very interesting things. With that understanding, what’s more interesting than the human female body?
First of all, the human body (male or female) is extremely interesting, both to us and to God.
- Humans are made in God’s image.
- Humans can differentiate between good and evil.
- Humans can choose their course of action.
- Humans can be responsible for their choices.
- Humans can speak.
- Humans can create and use tools.
- Humans can stand upright and throw.
- Humans can create art and music.
- Humans can think and reason using abstract symbols.
- Humans can build social and physical structures.
- Humans can tell stories.
- Humans can contemplate their place in the universe.
- Humans know that they’re mortal.
I’d argue that the qualities and capabilities listed above are enough to substantiate the belief that humans are “the most interesting thing in the world”.
But wait! In addition to everything above, the female human body can do several things that the male cannot. The story of God creating woman out of man aligns with the idea that God wanted to keep all the good stuff while adding a few extra features to her.
- Human females can gestate a human baby.
- Human females can nurse a human baby.
- Human females can have multiple orgasms.
- Human females can get aroused in public without visibility.
Finally, I can’t think of anything a male body can do that a female can’t. The male body exceeds the female body in some areas, like strength and size, but those are quantitative differences, not qualitative. You might say that the male body can impregnate the female, but I’d argue that’s equivalent to the female body’s contribution to conception; gestation is wholly different and the male body has no equivalent.
So it seems to me that Althouse’s claim is reasonable: despite being relatively common, women’s bodies are the most interesting thing in the world. No wonder we see them depicted everywhere.