The Desexualization Of The Female Wrist

When I was fifteen I asked this girl to the movies and we saw something with Brendan Fraser. It was real hot outside and I can’t remember what I was wearing but she was wearing a tank top that stopped at her belly button and some tight jeans. I asked her because she had kissed lots of boys and I hadn’t kissed anyone and I thought, “Well, what the hell? Maybe she’ll kiss me.” When we sat down it was dark and my hand gently brushed her wrist, which was thin and beautiful and uncovered. I said sorry and she asked what for and I said for touching your wrist and she said it’s just a wrist. Then she touched my wrist, playfully, like it was a joke and I came in my pants.

I recently bought Steve Roggenbuck’s latest eBook Crunkjuice and there is poem that goes:

i call you, the phone clicks i thought it was your mother
i guess not, she is dead
rain clouds hitting a brick library

While on the surface it appears Roggenbuck comes to terms with the loss of his or someone’s mother, applying critical analysis it becomes obvious that, at least thematically, Roggenbuck provides the definitive commentary into the desexualization of the female wrist.

Now as a boy with two wrists who wears shirts, singlets or occasionally neither, who sometimes bares the entire upper torso, who walks around and observes girls in tank tops, dresses and skirts that are sometimes salacious, it is important to remember that such frivolities were not always the norm. One need only look to Slade who argues that — in Japanese culture — where once the wrist had been wrapped and hidden by the Kimono, the advent of modernity, both in and out of the sporting arena, saw the West encourage an alternative clothing that instantly attracted, instantly showed itself off.

This is reflected in Roggenbuck’s first two lines. The words ‘i call you’ refer to an invitation — where, in the sporting arena, the Western wrist literally revealed itself to a then covered Japanese wrist. This segues neatly into the ensuing cultural globalization and desexualization of the wrist as voiced by Roggenbuck who says ‘the phone clicks i thought it was your mother.’ The phone clicking represents the Japanese acceptance of a then racy ideal while the mother is an allegory for the Japanese public who, unaccustomed to such liberality, mistook the wrist for something else, a blinding, confronting sexualized piece of flesh.

The desexualization of the female wrist was, however, inversely related to the sexualization of women’s clothes as witnessed during industrialization by western culture. Roggenbuck comments on this with the line ‘i guess not, she is dead’ which clearly refers not only the death of the (hidden) wrist as a body part to be covered, but also — paradoxically, for through death comes birth — the arrival of the more revealed forearm, shoulder and breast.

Like Roggenbuck, I too noticed the inverse relationship between the covering and uncovering of skin, the sexualization and desexualization of a body part. Before the incident with the girl and the movie that had Brendan Fraser, during the previews there was an advertisement for the 1983 TV miniseries of Jane Eyre that depicted girls wearing modest dresses covering until the wrist with the ladies usually wearing gloves. I remember I looked to my left and saw, with stark contrast, the hugging, revealing, pink material that clung to my ‘dates’ breasts, stopping midway up the bosom to reveal a generous amount of cleavage. Now, given my familiarity with shopping malls, MTV and the Internet this was not the first pair of breasts I had seen. Even so, sitting there I wondered what difference it would have made to my excitement levels had she been wearing a modest top with no cleavage at all. As we discovered earlier, probably not a great deal.

Depending on ones interpretation of Roggenbuck’s last line ‘rain clouds hitting a brick library,’ there is room to wiggle either side of the wrist desexualization line. If taken negatively ? as in a violent storm that thrashes a quaint old library where maybe the library loses several bricks and this causes the recently donated computers to become damaged — it could be argued that the wrist has lost its place on the sexual front line due to over exposure and newer, more exciting developments. However, assuming such an interpretation is narrow and shortsighted. After all, one need only type “wrist-y” into Urban Dictionary — the absolute dictionary for the online pop cultured youth ? in order to discover its modern day sexual relevance. So if taken positively — like gentle spring showers that water the roses that line the library recently built through volunteer and community coexistence — it could be argued that the wrist is still a very exciting, sexual body part that should not be over looked.

Ultimately, despite the constraints/discourses society places upon the wrist, we must each make our own mind up as to it sexual overtones. I, for one, still feel a slight tingle at the sight of the dainty body part. TC mark

image – mast3r


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  • Greg Doesn't Get It


    • Greg

      my name is also greg and i also dont get it.

      • Katie

        My name’s Katie and I don’t get it.

  • Anonymous

    How nice it would be for a man to be turned on at the sight of my wrists. :)

  • peet

    what a contrived metaphor

  • Guest

    “Then she touched my wrist, playfully, like it was a joke and I came in my pants.” Laughed inappropriately loud in public. Thank you?

  • Ava

    I really enjoyed this. When I was with my first serious boyfriend, I found his wrists really sexy. I loved looking at them next to mine when we were holding hands. I had completely forgotten about it until now, probably because I got so used seeing guy’s wrists! Thanks for reminding me :)

  • Sarah Voisey

    Bravo! I also would like a man to be turned on by my wrists >.<

  • peachy

    What an analysis. My english teacher would love you.

  • MondayMonday

    DGAF. my body isn’t on display for your pleasure. unless i want it to be.

    • Anonymous

      So brave.

  • Guiseppe

    I’d say I don’t get it, but I really don’t think there’s anything to get. 

  • Anonymous

    I remember holding hands with the first boy I loved, in Disneyland on the Haunted Mansion ride. He fiddled with the thin beaded bracelets on my wrist, and I think that was the first time I felt turned on. 

  • jess

    I felt like I was reading one of my high school critical analysis english papers

  • Guest


  • Jordana Bevan

    i stared at my wrist bone for an entire subway ride today. self indulgent, but it’s the first time i’ve ever had not pudgy wrists. i think they are the sexiest. i like boy wrists more though because they’re one of the only male parts that appear delicate.

  • Anonymous

    Love it.  Could we maybe get more of this and less Ryan O’Connell tripe?  Thanks.

  • Oli Rob Ver

    we had to write about a body part for this class i have called non fiction writing and i wrote this piece and my teacher just almost failed me and said it had to be more personal and maybe moving. i am glad you people like it.

  • LOL

    Oh my god this sucks.

    I wish I was more verbose.

    Hey, thats a Haiku.

  • Marian Hernandez

    After the first paragraph, everything became soup-y. I guess that’s when you lit up a joint.

  • Lolatmylife

     “When I was fifteen I asked this girl to the movies and we saw something with Brendan Fraser”…

    Hahaahah it’s like 10.30 am in London and that no-nonsense ‘real talk’ opening line cheered me up whilst trying to do an History essay.

  • Josh

    Wild genius!

  • Sesamesnaps

    Dat wrist.

  • Maiasaura

    How do you get desexualization of the wrist out of those three lines?  Unless there’s something about wrists in the longer poem that you’re not excerpting, this interpretation makes no sense.

    • Oli Rob Ver

      i thought i explained it pretty clearly…

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