Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Feminism & exhibitionism: where's the limit?
Here are a few definitons that I found in the Longman dictionary:
Feminism: Act in support of the principle that women should have the same rights and chances as men.
Women's movement: All the women who join in making a united effort to improve the social and political position of women and to end sexual discrimination.
Exhibitionism: Often derogatory behaviour intended to attract attention to oneself and often to shock people. Forms of exhibitionism including taking your clothes off in public or dressing in a way that most people find odd.
To womanize: is to habitually pay attention to many women for sexual purposes.
Now what do these definitions have in common? They all concern women. The two first could easily be labelled as "good ones" and the other two as "bad ones". And when you add up the three first ones who get the last one: Feminism and the Women's movement, when misinterpreted, are thought of as being the reason for exhibitionism, which itself generally leads to womanization. Oversimplifying much? YES! But I think this sums up quite well the trend of our present society. Women who show their body tend to claim they do it because of this grand idea that every woman is free to do whatever she likes with her body. Huh? Yes, we have the right to do whatever it is that we want with our body, but we also live in a society, or community if you prefer, and we are bound to respect some of its principles, and this has nothing to do with feminism. So, basically, what I'm saying, isn't that nakedness bothers me, what do I care. But exhibitionism yes. Because exhibitionism is not just the fact to take your clothes off, it is the act of taking our clothes off for some purpose that is to shock people or attract attention. Well, again, if that is what you need to do, do it, why should I care? BUT please don't you're a feminist while practicing exhibitionism, because you're implying that it is a feminist's duty/right to reveal every inch of her body in order to prove the depth of her freedom, when the two shouldn't really have anything in common in the present society.
I believe that women's exhibitionism is based on how our society sees women. And the way our society generally sees women is as sexual objects. Well, of course we are sexual beings, just like men, but not objects. You might think I'm overreacting or that I'm being conservative. I am not. I don't care for nudity, if it isn't done in a way that screams aggressive sexuality. They aren't the same thing. Of course, there is a society's problem that needs to be dealt with as to what a woman can wear, and how it is perceived, for example, how many women who were wearing "too short skirts" and who were raped were not only victims of sexual harassment but of shame and blame, as if it were they who provoked rapists into doing what they did. But it shouldn't be mixed up with women automatically showing their body... Don't we have a mind too to show? Is it really necessary to show that much skin? I mean, do men walk in underwear? So where's the equality in practicing exhibitionism? Shouldn't we either all, both men and women, wear the same type of clothes, be it beachwear or clothes you wear at the office? How does it empower women to show their whole body all the time, and it doesn't empower men?
My point is, that exhibitionism finds an excuse in consciously misinterpreting feminism and its ideals in order to perpetuate women's objectivization and womanization. There, I've said it. I understand that in the 1960s, it was revolutionary for a woman to show her body and her sexuality, but aren't we past this point? The aim of these exhibitions at the time were to show that women had the SAME rights than men for anything, including sexuality. But now, what is the point in Beyoncé dancing in a tanga singing "I just want to be the girl you like" in her song "Partition" and then mimicking all sorts of sexual moves, and have a whole statement made in the background music about how feminists like their sexuality... Or Miley Cyrrus singing an incredibly beautiful and serious song called "Wrecking Ball", which lyrics actually have a meaning that has nothing to do with sexuality, to then make sexual gestures on a ball? Do you see my point here? What does feminism or women's emancipation have to do with this? I feel like this is just reinforcing women's image of being ONLY a sexual being at men's disposal, and this is very wrong... We've been fighting (obviously not me since I'm only in my 20s) for 50 years to have a general image of the woman that would be equal of that of the man, and we've fallen from one extreme to the other on the surface, but basically we're still, in the aspect of sexuality, at men's mercy and still try to please men... Doesn't all this sexualization revolve around men's fantasies and desires? How is that better than women knowing sexuality only by how their husbands wanted them to? Oh wait, maybe, in the general meaning of sexuality now, it has even grown worse, with the "aggressive towards women" image of sexuality becoming normal, and with women having now the illusion of being sexually free... Aren't women supposed to act in certain ways in their sexuality in order to fit the collective ideal that is communicated? How is that freedom and not an illusion of freedom?
P.S: I won't post any of the two videos I've mentioned before because I confirmed that my blog wasn't just for adults, and it's not my intention to divulge content that might or might not be appropriate for non-adult to see... But you can surely find them on Youtube anyway!
Have a great day and keep your mind sharp!