I typically don’t get too involved in arguments about feminism and, quite frankly, that horse has been all but beaten to death. If you spend only two minutes researching that topic on the internet, it’s pretty clear that neither side has any idea how they define feminism anymore anyway, to the point that I hardly think there are clear “sides”. But I do want to start a discussion about something that I feel women need to start taking more responsibility for.
What I’d like to propose, is that we start giving some thought to how we portray ourselves, and become more aware of the environment that has been co-created by men and women alike (take a look at Miley Cyrus’ videos, or listen to her song lyrics, this was not done to her by a man, she did it all on her own).
I don’t care for pop music, but being the mother of a preteen girl, I hear it all the time. And if you watch any amount of television, or spend any time online, you’ll catch enough to know who the big stars are, and what songs are at the top of the charts. What gives me pause, is not just that the singers have sold-out so that they can use sex to sell records (that’s been done for decades and for every product), it’s that they’re devaluing themselves to a such a degree it’s shocking (search the lyrics for Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” if you’re not easily offended), or in the case of male singers, devaluing women (check out Jason Derulo’s hit “Talk Dirty”), while trying to convince us that they’re just “freely expressing their sexuality”, or that this is somehow art.
Let me give you another example. Search for the lyrics to, “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke, considered the “song of the summer” by many in 2013, and in 2014 was nominated for countless awards including three Grammy nominations, two American Music Association nominations, and seven Billboard Music Award nominations (winning four of them) just to name a few.
Someone let me know where the “artistic bent” is in this song (and why are women okay with being called “bi*ches”? I don’t want to hear that it’s meant in jest, it’s demeaning and it’s crap).
Let’s look outside of the entertainment industry for a second. Women argue about how they’re not treated equally or fairly in the workplace, that they’re not respected like their male counterparts, or that they’re not promoted as quickly. To those women who insist on wearing low-cut shirts, short skirts, tight jeans, stiletto heels, too much make-up and flirting with senior management instead of working your butt off; why do you feel like throwing it at everyone should earn you respect? Why are you surprised that you’re not fast tracking your way to the C-suite when you spend your lunch hour leaning your boobs over the table giggling at the GM’s stupid jokes instead of back in the office earning your way to the top with your brain?
Mothers of young children are increasingly concerned with their physical appearance; having to “lose the baby weight” as quickly as possible, have six pack abs after having 3 children, getting Botox and plastic surgery before they’re even 30. Young mother’s of today are pressured to “stay sexy” so they don’t “lose their man” (I’m of the opinion that if “your man” only loved you because of how sexy you were, and doesn’t love you anymore because you put on twenty pounds after having a few of his children, you have bigger problems than dieting). The message this sends to our kids, especially our young girls, is that “being sexy” is very important.
I’m certainly not suggesting that we should abandon our femininity to be taken more seriously. I’m suggesting that we give some thought to the part we play.
Women, we cannot be dangling our goods in front of men and in the same breath call them pigs and demand that they respect us and treat us equally. We own this. We teach people how to treat us by what we’re allowing or disallowing. If we’re going to act like sex objects, why do we get angry when we’re treated as such?