We find ourselves in a time of change. Same-sex marriages are being allowed in more and more states and women are pushing for even more equality. Equal pay, equal representation, and a change in how women are viewed and used to advertise products.
That last is where I have an issue. I’ve read a ton of articles and talked with people about how women are sexualized in the media. How scantily clad women in sexually suggestive positions frequently bombard viewers on the television, in movies, in ads. I’m not disagreeing with the fact. My problem is women blaming men for sexualizing women. We, as women, are just as much to blame.
I’m sure a few people just clicked away and a few others felt a bump in blood pressure at that last statement. Hear me out. I’ve never been on a casting call, but I would bet that there is a least some description of the job when a person shows up for an audition. If not, then the wardrobe would be a definite clue to what’s expected. As women, we have the power to say no.
We have the power. The power at the theater. Women are scantily clad or serve a minimal role in the overall story? Don’t buy a ticket. Women are shown in bikinis rubbing up against a music artist in a video? Don’t buy the song on iTunes or buy the album. Tired of seeing women prancing around in leotard on stage that run the risk of exposing more skin than a bikini? Don’t buy a concert ticket. I have to admit, the thought of being bombarded with someone’s thighs and well-groomed crotch for two hours has kept me away from concerts for over a decade. I can honestly say, there hasn’t been a female group or artist I’ve wanted to see in concert since I saw Reba McEntire back in ’95.
I don’t know if its because I’m a romance writer, but it seems to me there are plenty of women represented in the writing field. 90% of editors and agents I’ve contacted or talked with have been female. Women’s roles seem to be shifting in books too. Think of the last three Young Adult novels that have been made into movies. Bella Thorne from Twilight. Katniss from Hunger Games. Tris from Divergent. I’m sure you’re thinking about Harry Potter but even though Harry was the main character, Hermoine, Ginny, Lily, Mrs. Weasley, Bellatrix LaStrange (no matter how deranged she was), Prof. McGonagall. So many strong women had equal parts, especially if you read the books. Heck, even the last three video games my husband has played have had female lead characters.
Where my real problem lies is in the fact that men are now being made to look like the idiots in order for the women to look strong, smart, what have you. Why do we feel the need to make light of the men in order to lift ourselves up? Isn’t that just completely flipping the circumstance? Speaking of flipping circumstances – Magic Mike. Chippendales. Thunder from Down Under. See where I’m going with this? Why is it okay for us to ogle men and post naked or near naked pictures and call them “writing inspiration”? Isn’t that doing the EXACT. SAME. THING. that we accuse men of doing? Granted, I appreciate a nice looking man, but truthfully I think guys fully clothed are so much sexier. So much more is left to the imagination.
I’m not denying that there’s an imbalance in things. Try being a woman in the South working with a bunch of men, raised to be “men” who believe women should be in the home raising the kids instead of bring their hormones and mood swings to the office. They still make disparaging remarks about me being a woman, but I’ve worked my way up and am a person that people come to for information regarding past jobs and where to find the details and they know I’m reliable because I’ve worked hard. I’ve proven my worth in the scheme of the company and have been compensated accordingly. I’ve called them out on some of the comments they’ve made and some comments, they’ve apologized for. It’s all I can ask for. A willingness to think about what they said and maybe not say it the next time. If they do? That’s up to them.
Since I’m on the subject. Working hard. To me, taking off your clothes is not working hard. That’s fighting dirty. If a woman dresses in a way that is guaranteed to elicit a specific response from a man (attraction, a natural sexual response) don’t turn around and accuse the man of acting like a pig or treating you as a sexual object. If your lady parts are easily visible, guys, and some girls, will look…and comment…and possibly touch. Its a DNA deep response to propagating the species. I’m not saying it’s the victim’s fault if they’re raped or assaulted because they’re ” dressed a certain way”. Men need to curb their responses in those instances. But we as a sex need to admit that we play into the system. With the clothes we buy, with what we read, with how we spend our dollars, how we convey ourselves to the world. I’ve never been one to dress in tight or revealing clothes. Mine is a self esteem thing, but if you see my boob hanging out, then something broke.
It’s up to all of us; men and women. Be the instrument of change instead of blaming others.