You’ve Come a Long Way, Maybe

It’s not easy to be a feminist these days.

When you try to have a serious conversation about it people think you are a crank or stick-in-the-mud or a prude. The word itself is becoming obsolete and you certainly don’t hear it associated with women anymore, like Michelle Obama, feminist and president’s wife. Or Ellen DeGeneres, feminist and funny lesbian talk show host. Or Mariam Mortaza, feminist and Lingerie Football League star.

Yes, Lingerie Football, that has the motto, “The more T&A, the more we pay.” And currently they are interested in opening a league for youth and younger girls. I am raising girls, and this bothers me. It bothers me that women are objectified in commercials, television, movies, and professional sports. It bothers me that people rarely use the word objectify anymore, and think it’s not relevant, or worse, just plain puzzling. But I’m willing to bet most women (and teenage girls) have felt objectified, even if they never dared use the word. And I’m also willing to bet they know the difference between this feeling and physical attraction, admiration, flirtation, appreciation.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I know we have made some gains. There are the Dove commercials and girl power and women’s business associations and reading groups. We have sexual harassment policies in the work place, but unfortunately are still getting paid less than men for the same jobs. We aren’t burning our bras, but instead watching what we should look like in them in Victoria Secret ads. I feel like I’ll be viewed as a sour old biddy for not liking the Sex in the City movies. I’m afraid to tell people I find these movies stupid and offensive. And I don’t really like that there is a new genre called Chick Lit. I even have a hard time saying the words out loud.

I think it really boils down to not wanting my daughters to ever feel less than because they are female. I want them to believe they will be loved because they are kind, smart, funny, creative, independent, warm, wise, giving, strong women. I want them to feel beautiful through and through. I want this for all of us, really. So we can stop battling with ourselves. So we can grow old with grace and serenity. So we can stop buying shoes.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “You’ve Come a Long Way, Maybe

  1. Susan

    Right on, sister… seriously.

  2. marybeth

    I don’t disagree with anything you are saying…and raising two daughters myself, we have endless discussions about objectification, which may be a dying word for others but will never be so for me. The toughest negotiation for me, though, is helping them find a way to celebrate and be “at home” with their sexuality. No, I don’t want my daughters running around in lingerie on a football field, but I do want them to be comfortable and enjoy the sexual sides of themselves when they are older, whether that’s lingerie that makes them feel good about themselves (and not just to appeal to someone else) or some other form of self-expression…

  3. Sally

    Oh, Marie, you hit it right on the head! If you haven’t seen this video (Miss Representation), you may want to watch it — it will make you angrier and more scared. I can remember laughing with friends years ago that we used to worry about the “L” word, but now the “F” word had become more dangerous…still true.
    Link for the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5pM1fW6hNs

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