Also, just because a woman says she finds it empowering, that’s all too easy to take at face value. Plenty of women will say they feel liberated or empowered, and even will believe themselves while saying it, that this is why they act in certain ways. Yet, in their deepest heart of hearts, and possibly conscious (though probably more likely unconscious) thought, will know that it’s a double edged sword.
For example, many women feel a momentary surge and boost inside on posting highly sexualized photos online and then getting responses about the photos (about how hot they are and such, which they find validating and self-esteem boosting). All while, many of these very same women, deep inside of themselves struggle with depressive issues, anxiety, disordered eating and such, which is related to living in a culture where our appearance is every under scrutiny, where the way our bodies look is in where most of our value lies (via our culture’s values).
Because esteem and feelings of worth based on the outer responses of others is a false, perpetual up and down, precarious self esteem to be sure.
Check out the term choice feminism. This lends credence to my line of thought, in that plenty of women do things (wear makeup, shave their legs, dress sexily) and claim its “empowering” or “for themselves”, yet, would women really be doing those things in a world where women’s worth wasnt so weighted in their appearance and sexuality as being molded for and catered to men…? Not so sure.
I even do this myself. Most women do.
Living in a culture as patriarchal and horrible to women as it is, in which women are demeaned, degraded, harassed, and are victims of violence every day, and in which our worth is highly dependent on our looks, weight, and bodies, the choice of opting out of behaviors which feed into this moral and value becomes more difficult or even impossible. And thus, when women do act in self objectifying ways, they are far more inclined towards rationalizing it and selling it as confidence and empowerment.
All insights to consider and ruminate on in depth, from their varying angles and facets, when you write an article like this.
It’s a super complex, multi-faceted, complicated topic. As I’m sure you’ve also found and considered!