Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Thongs, crop tops, sexiness and feminism

Last night, I rediscovered this article from the "Guardian" and thought it really does have a point. There seems to be a controversy, sparked by the publication of Ariel Levy's "Female Chauvinist Pigs", among feminists and "ordinary" women about whether dressing sexy, acting sexy, being sexy empowers a woman or not. Hardline feminists argue that this is degrading to women, who are selling themselves short and succumbing to the male ideal of the woman as a mere sex object, while other women say they no longer have much need for "empowerment".

Kate Taylor, the article's author, says:

We're not trying to be empowered. The twentysomething women I know don't care about old-style feminism. Partly this is because they already see themselves as equal to men: they can work, they can vote, they can bonk on the first date. For younger women, raunch is not about feminism, it's just about fashion.

Another reason for the rise of raunch is that women are rediscovering the joy of being loved for their bodies, not just their minds. Today sexes mix a lot more than they used to, so boys grow up having girls as friends. They tend to listen to what women have to say, and when they marry they don't consider sharing the housework to be castrating. Instead of desperately longing for the right to be seen as human beings, today's girls are playing with the old-fashioned notion of being seen as sex objects.
She really does have a point. Having lived my teens in the '90s, I was educated, as is the case with all women my age, in a mixed-gender school, I had both girls and boys as friends, I shared many precious childhood and teenage moments with both sexes. I remember that, when there was something that caused me great grief and I needed to talk about it to a friend I really could trust, I chose to talk about it to a boy who was my best friend. In my relationships, I've never had a single boyfriend who thought that helping with the housework was degrading to his "male power" or "sissyfying".

In the real world, which Ariel Levy clearly fails to see, because she's too busy yelling at everyone about how degrading sexuality is to women, things have changed a lot since the days of Nixon. Is this really a man's world we live in? I'm not quite sure about it. We've got tons of lads' magazines, many more than you could find in the '60s - and with far more revealing ads. But, really, who's the one that gets exploited here? Nowadays, women get paid a lot of cash to take their kit off and pose for the camera. Nude or sexy photoshoots can do a lot to launch a career or bring someone back from oblivion. So, really, who's getting exploited? Is it the women that pose nude or scantily dressed or the guys who, with their reaction to the display of pink, pour cash into a woman's bank account (and also bring revenue to the mag's publishing company)?

And, furthermore, what if, according to Taylor, a woman's "own, specific self" is a thong-wearing, Playboy-T-shirted specific self who thinks lap-dancing is a laugh and likes getting wolf-whistled at by builders? What if a woman spends hours in the gym to create a body she is proud of? Is that a waste of time, time she should have spent in a university library? No.

She's got a point, you know. And let's talk seriously now about "castrating" men. Maybe this whole lecturing, pedantic, anti-sexual feministic ideal with the hardline feminists (or feminazis, as I think they should be called) did a lot more damage to relationships between men and women. We keep complaining about men having become wimps, not taking the initiative to approach a woman, to flirt and everything, for fear that they might get chewed out for being "chauvinist pigs". Now, this is NOT feminism. This is NOT my idea of a balanced, fair and equal relationship between men and women. I want men to respect me, not fear me. With their hysteria, hardline feminists have made men fear women.

Taylor continues by saying - and I wholeheartedly agree:

It has always been like this, and it always will be, because men's achilles heel is that they go to pieces when a woman drops her top. Old-style feminists never understood this, but their way is not the only way to achieve equality with men. The world is different now, and we should follow the trends instead of waving the banners of 20 years ago.

That version of feminism will never regain its popularity as long as its proponents insist on lecturing, instead of leading. We should be working together to support women in this country and across the world whose rights are still ignored, instead of squabbling and catfighting. Men are great at working together; they are self-congratulatory and supportive. We are not. That is our true weakness, and feminism exemplifies this flaw - witness the countless factions, all fighting for different things, from sex-positive feminists, who believe nudity is OK, to third-wave feminists, who think eyeliner is misogynistic.

The final blow to Levy's, Bell's and other hardline feminists' rants is kept for last, as is always the case with the best part:
If a thong makes you feel fabulous, wear it. For one thing, men in the office waste whole afternoons staring at your bottom, placing bets on whether you're wearing underwear. Let them. Use that time to take over the company. But even if you wear naughty lingerie for you, for no other reason than it makes you feel good, that is reason enough to keep it on. True feminism should celebrate femininity, and make you feel wonderful to be born a woman. It's a shame some feminists today can't do the same.
Amen to that, sister!

Now, is this related to microkinis and thonging? Yes, it is! I've had some hardline feminists at work try to lecture me about the fact I wear thongs and microkinis on the beach - the same old, past their sell-by date, arguments about how I succumb to the chauvinistic ideal that sees women as sex objects and not as human beings. Of course, these hardline feminists haven't done a single thing to help a female colleague and protect her against discrimination of any kind. They never will; they're only good at being pedantic, sex-fearing, idiotic little dictators that also "happen" to be fat, unwashed, hairy and rude to everyone that has the misfortune of crossing their path with theirs. They don't celebrate or promote femininity, they don't feel good about being women. In reality, they'd like to be (and have become) the female equivalent of the rude, vulgar, dirty and violent bumpkin that beats his wife to a pulp everytime he gets home from work.

So, girls, don't listen to the preaching of the sex-fearing slobs. Celebrate your femininity; love your bodies, take care of your health and your beauty and, if wearing a thong or a microkini makes you feel sexy, go ahead and do so.

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