Breast Implants, Miley Cyrus, and Girls Gone Wild all Show Us How Far Women Still Have to Go.

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Red Tape advertisement
  • Posting a plethora of carefully crafted selfies online routinely, of your perfectly made-up face or sexy, scantily clad body.
  • Stripping and strippers being claimed as “empowerment” and “an expression of her sexuality.” (I wonder if no men were around to watch, would women still partake…? In which case, who is it really for?)
  • Female celebrities becoming increasingly less clothed and dialing up the raunch factor with their behavior in order to get attention and claim a sense of “freedom” and “rebellion” (think Miley Cyrus).
  • Charlie’s Angels being called “strong, empowering women” when the focus is almost completely on their bodies, looks, and sexuality, including the three of them dressing in alternating pornographic-styles, from massage parlor geishas to dominatrixes to yodeling Heidi's in alpine bustiers.
  • Lad magazines like Maxim and Stuff featuring greased celebrities in little scraps of fabric humping the floor.
  • Teens, young women, and even older women dressing in jeans so low their buttcracks are on display, or shorts so tiny that the bottoms of their butts hang out, or tops so scant their breasts are all but busting out, or skirts so short that when they bend over you can see their butts.
  • Breast implants and pierced navels on abundant display.
  • T-shirts emblazoned with a Playboy bunny emblem or with words across it like “pornstar” or “hottie.”
  • Little girls encouraged to start wearing makeup or dressing in sexy fashion styles.

Raunch culture supposedly indicates freedom and rebellion, we say.

Going along with the idea (aka, conforming to it) that women attain attention with their bodies, their looks, and their sex makes them “bad-asses,” we believe.

We’re all so liberated now.

No need for feminist criticism of the depiction of women in the sex industry.

No need to maintain distance from T.V. shows which show young women eager to display their boobs and more to the world for a lousy T-shirt.

Yay for us, women who can go to a strip joint, watch, and have fun. And if we’re in the mood, why not hook up with the next guy and go home with him?

This seems to be a common stance taken in today’s culture, not only in the U.S. But have we really gained much?

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How is resurrecting every stereotype of female sexuality, and going along with the age-old toxic value that women need to get attention and approval for their looks and their bodies, and how is conforming and going along with making oneself into a sexy object, how is any of it good for women?

Why is laboring to look akin to someone like Pamela Anderson, a sexed-up, scary-looking stripper, supposedly empowering?

How is still working (as women have for ages) to craft one’s looks in a narrow, sexualized way and using their bodies/looks to gain fame and attention considered ground-breaking, confident, or novel? If one considers this logically, it is the opposite of those things. It is conformist (going along with how culture tells women they should or need to be), oppressive, and in reality, a concept that is as old as the hills.

How does imitating a stripper or a porn star, someone who gets paid to have sex, render us as “sexually liberated” women who have come “so far”?

And though there is nothing inherently wrong with selfies, they are a clear reflection of exactly what girls and women have been taught to be their entire lives: images to be looked at. Carefully posed, styled, and edited images of otherwise dynamic human beings for others to gaze upon and comment on.

A tarty, cheap, homogenized, tawdry cartoon-like version of female sexuality has become so commonplace, it no longer seems peculiar. And somehow, women have decided this is progressive.

Many women think that because we live in a world that has been accelerated by a feminist movement, that now everything women do is automatically feminist and empowered. The reality is far from this.

Women still being defined by their looks, by their bodies, and by their sex is not an empowering thing. Instead, it shows how far women still have left to go.

Women using their sex and looks to get famous or cultivate status falls under the same idea.

Women spending money and time and dieting and undergoing surgery to craft, slice, and dice their bodies into what our culture tells them it should be are falling under the toxic demands and spell of our culture. They are going along with it.

This is not liberation. It is oppression and conformity to the max. And it hurts all women.

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by the American Psychological Association

Girls learn early on in their lives how (supposedly) important appearance is in defining their social acceptability. Magazines emphasize diet, fashion, and makeup. All of it revolving around the theme of how to attract and “keep” a man, as though this is a woman’s sole purpose in life. The main messages are on looking good, while the inner character of a woman is almost entirely ignored.

There is a pornization spreading throughout our culture. A sea of scantily clad, Stepford women, breasts stuffed and sewn tight with bags of fluid, dressed like hookers, post softcore pornographic photos online, and who claim all of this is empowerment.

And to be clear, the crux of the issue here is not that there is anything inherently wrong with stripping in and of itself. The problem is that there is something wrong with a culture that equates the selling of sex with liberation. There is something deeply unhealthy, degrading, sad, and oppressive with this picture (Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture by Ariel Levy).

You can love men.

You can revel in sex.

You can have a healthy and comfortable sense of your own sexuality.

You can feel happy with your body and your looks.

All while not making yourself into a sex object.

All while not buying into our culture’s toxic pressure to claim it can define women by how they look.

All while not going along with cramped conformity to try and meet our toxic culture’s unhealthy, unrealistic body standards.

All while not buying into it when the slogan “Girl Power” is used to market things like makeup, diets, or making oneself into a sex object (all of which is, of course, the opposite of girl power).

All while not going under the knife, or starving yourself, or spending hours of your day worrying over and tirelessly trying to craft your looks in order to feel “hot” enough, “good” enough, “sexy” enough for our culture’s narrow, toxic, harmful, oppressive standards for women.

While we are women have made significant progress in many veins, we still have a very long way to go. And things like the rise in plastic surgery among women, celebrities like Miley Cyrus, and behaviors like posting half-naked selfies make obvious just how far we still have to go.

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Written by

Fervent writer. Ravenous reader. Impassioned with words. Relationship researcher. Social Scientist. Social Justice Advocate. Author. www.brookeenglish.com

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