01 Feb Our Own Worst Enemies
This is not a feminist post. Yes, I believe that women should be paid the same as men for performing the same jobs. I believe women should become more interested in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) fields (and I just spent nearly an entire class period talking with my 9th graders about this issue). I would love to see a female become President, and I would readily admit that many women I know are much more intellectual than many men I know. But a feminist? I wouldn’t lump myself in that category.
I believe that if a woman wants to forego a career and remain home with her children, then not only can she, but she should. I would without hesitation say that the greatest part of my own life takes place after the hours I am paid, when I am home with my children. I am forever grateful for the women in previous generations who have made it possible for me to participate as a first-rate citizen in society doing things like, oh – I don’t know, voting and getting a job. A feminist, though? Probably not.
That being said, I’d like to take a minute to share my thoughts on a disturbing trend via celebrities in our culture. What is it, you ask? Simply this. The depiction of women as nothing more than sexual objects to be flaunted, dissected, and plastered on every screen available. It’s so disheartening. The worst part, though, is that many are doing it to themselves. For attention. And ratings. And record sales.
Case in point – Beyonce at the Grammys. (Allow me to say right here that I did not watch this awards show. I was probably reading a book or grading papers or doing some other nerdy thing that I, in typical Jennie fashion, would do on a Sunday night. However. I have seen numerous replays and articles and dissertations on the subject since then, hence my incredible amount of knowledge on the event. Ahem.)
Beyonce is an incredibly talented and incredibly beautiful woman. She is the type of woman who makes awkward females like me resolve to take singing lessons and do more lunges. She’s just pretty awesome. But instead of using her talent to leverage more respect and prestige for the females of the world, she chose to flaunt around in black lingerie, nothing left to the imagination, while her husband sang a song making light of an incident of domestic abuse. Why? For the ratings? For the shock value? I feel like her actions (and those of many other celebs who just want attention) are undoing the hard work it took for the women of previous generations to garner equality and respect for women. We are, it seems, sliding back down the slope towards sexual objects, and it scares me for the world my seven year old daughter will live in.
I saw an interview with Beyonce where she explained where the idea came from for the performance. A strip club. She said that she was with her husband at this strip club and wished that she could do that for her man. Well, then. My thoughts are that she could have – at home. In private. Not in a music video, and certainly not on a stage. She says that she doesn’t “at all have any shame about being sexual.” To that, I say good. You shouldn’t. God make us as sexual beings – but that sexuality is to be shared with a spouse, not with the world on an awards show.
(For the sake of argument, let me say that I am not, as a Christian, condemning Beyonce for acting like an unbeliever. That is to be expected. If she does not follow Christ, then I will not hold her to Christ’s standards. My concern is with her actions as a female in 2014 and the implications for our society as a whole.)
I don’t want to slam Beyonce but to question why she – and other females – feel that being intelligent and articulate and talented is not enough. I’m sure in their field it’s partially because of the pressure. Looks and weight and hairstyles are constantly critiqued. Joan Rivers will torment you mercilessly on her show if your red carpet look is not flawless. I get that. It must be incredibly difficult.
I guess my point here is that we females are our own worst enemies. We want equality and respect and opportunity – but then some of us sabotage it all to get a guy’s attention or a greater rating or higher sales. And it’s not just celebrities. I know of a female who is quite intelligent and successful, but turns into a silly coquette whenever she is around men. It drives me nuts. I just want women to be ok with being intelligent. Why do we feel the need to overcompensate for our intellect with tight clothing and high-pitched giggles and batting eyelashes? As my Mama has been known to say, I will knock my daughter into next week if I ever catch her acting like that. If we want to be respected, we must act worthy of respect.
Celebrity or commoner, we women need to metaphorically link arms and remind this world that we are more than just pretty faces. Our worth is not just found in the swing of our hips and the clothing we fill out. We are talented. We are smart. And we will not stand for the trend of degradation that is so prevalent today.