Thursday, May 5, 2016

A Long-winded Opinion on Women's Sexuality and The Dress Code

Cher, Madonna, Beyonce, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Miley Cyrus … all obvious example of extreme ‘sexual presence’.  Both adored and hated by many. Argued over in nearly every type of social group, because they are examples of extreme behavior.

They shouldn’t dress like that. They are too young to be sexual (or, even better) they are too old. What kind of role models are they for our children?

Ladies, we need them. Like it or not.

Do you know why most little girls want two-piece bathing suits? Because it’s easier to go to the bathroom in them! You ladies know exactly what I’m talking about.  If they are told they can’t have one, the reason is usually something along the lines of “you’re too young for a bikini.” Too young for what? Too young to have others see that she's a girl? Are you going to tell her that?

My older daughter grew at a faster pace than most girls her age. Because of this, she was sent home from school more than once because of an outfit of hers that was deemed ‘inappropriate’ – even though all of the wardrobe guidelines in the school handbook were followed to the letter. Why? The answer I got from the vice principal was that her outfit “looked different on her” than it did on other girls in her class.

I guess that depends on your perspective, doesn’t it? Just how was her teacher looking at her? Is that her fault?

The bottom line is that anything can be taken as sexual, by anyone, at any time. And that is solely the responsibility of the observer, and not what he or she is looking at. It is time to stop giving girls the mixed signals about sexuality and sex, and the blame (and shame) for being female.

Let me tell you a secret: I happen to think that men's forearms can be sexy. Since I may or may not be a sexual deviant, and because I may not be the only one who thinks like this, wouldn't it be wise now to make sure all boys start wearing long-sleeved shirts?

The same people that told us that only women had to protect their own sexuality are the same ones who applaud Hollywood’s sexiest – that is, of course, if they are the right age. The boyfriend or husband who doesn’t want ‘his woman’ to dress a certain way is the same one ogling the girl in the tight skirt. The “gentlemen” of old, who would lay down their jackets over a puddle for a woman had wives and mistresses. The two men who would duel over a woman’s virtue were the two who were interested in getting a chance at taking it – duels were never fought over the honor of a woman the men didn’t know, or just women in general. The fact that we were never told to ‘sow our wild oats’ says a lot. Even in the 50’s, when a man stepped out on his wife, it was her fault. Alcoholism and abuse were not allowed to be spoken about. If a girl was raped, someone always said ‘she asked for it.’ A woman should go to her husband a virgin. If you terrorize people, you will win many virgins. Was a man ever told to worry about keeping his woman happy at home to make sure she didn’t stray?

Sexuality wasn’t something you were supposed to reveal, and sex wasn’t something you were supposed to like (unless you were a slut, of course); it was something you had to keep carefully guarded until the time was right to ‘gift’ it to someone who didn’t need to reciprocate in the same manner. For a long time we weren’t allowed any powers, voices, or freedoms – yet our sexuality would be used against us in justification of the thoughts and actions of others. “Women’s Issues” are now in politics, yet the majority of politicians are men. Birth control is a woman’s concern. The list goes on and on …

Social norms and religions make a big deal about it on one hand, and with the other hand they diminish it.

Nice rack, baby! How’d you like some fries to go with that shake? She’s just a woman. Plays like a girl. Is too emotional. She’s bossy. Penis envy, anyone? Women can’t lead churches.

Or be president … yet … unless she tries to play the “Woman Card” – wait! How many women presidents have we had?

(Silly Hill, The Donald only responds to a certain ‘woman card’!)


No. Not sorry. :)

Hell, the only reason any of us would even think to use sex as a weapon is because we grew up being told that it was an effective one.

In ‘The First Wives Club’ Goldie Hawn plays an actress in her mid-40’s, who is facing the end of her career due to her age. When her plastic surgeon suggests she play parts her own age she says, “There are only three ages for women in Hollywood – Babe, District Attorney, and Driving Miss Daisy.” That movie was made only 20 years ago in 1996, and that line was an apt summation.

It’s kind of ironic that Hollywood is the one place where women had the best opportunity to step out of the shadows and assume any kind of power, yet even there the battle for equality is still strong - and the first way a woman gets noticed is for her sexuality.

What this has done to us is to make us afraid for our daughters, attempting to curb their own exploration of body-consciousness and self-esteem by instilling in them that girls always have to worry about what and how other people are going to think about them. Only a mother would understand the torment of trying not to come out and say, “You can’t wear that because men might look at you the wrong way.” How do we raise girls that are brave, with a strong sense of self and positive self-esteem, if we instill the fears on them that we were brought up with that other people’s thoughts and actions are allowed to dictate their lives?

The worst of the fallout over women’s sexuality is the in-fighting that is happening between women. The social, familial, and religious imprinting of what is ‘proper’ for a woman is so generationally ingrained that many of us are unaware of how much we’ve bought what was sold to us. We then attack each other for breaking the unwritten laws of others that should have no bearing on how we live our lives. You aren’t beautiful unless you are a certain size and look a certain way. Self-expression, self-confidence, and self-esteem are not as important as what others think about you.

Sex and sexuality is a natural part of us, Ladies. We should be giving ourselves the permissions and respect of honoring what we were born with, however that may be, and give other women that same permission and respect as well. Many times that we criticize another woman’s outfit it is because:

·         We were sold a vision of how it was supposed to look and who was supposed to wear it, and how dare she attempt something that Macy’s says she’s not qualified for?
·         We are jealous – not because she ‘looks better’, but because we don’t have appreciation for our own body type. We envy her confidence more than her visual appearance.
·         We worry that she in that outfit could steal our man. (Forget that you are blaming her for the fact that your relationship is not stable.)

I hope you all noticed that none of these reasons had anything to do with why she should or shouldn’t have dressed like that.

Ladies, do you remember when you were younger and thought everything was possible for you? Even if your childhood was not rosy, didn’t you believe deep down inside that you would still win out in the end? Do you remember the joy in wearing an outfit you felt really good/beautiful/confident in?

Do you remember, too, if you were made to feel any shame in it? What did that do to you? If that happened to you, then you must be totally aware of the power you have over your own daughter’s self-view.

Every single group that has been under a forced oppression of any kind will usually reach a point where they fight back, and the weapons they use are those qualities or aspects of theirs that had been specifically denigrated.  And they will do so in a big way. How many jokes had there been many years ago about how easy Catholic school girls were outside of school? Or divorced women?

Why do women call each other ‘Bitches’? Part of any fight against being marginalized is to first take over the language and wording. A woman was called a bitch as an insult. Now, we have taken that word, mocked it, and made it our own. There is no power to it anymore. (Think about that; there are other words that have been appropriated for the same reason. It’s quite effective.)

The best way to fight anyone is to use their own words and weapons against them.

Another method is to take the unwanted thoughts, behaviors, and speech to the extreme. You may not want to be as overtly sexual as Beyonce, but she’s doing you a great favor by helping to desensitize the stigma against you being as sexual as you want to be.

I’m not condoning the fighting, either, I’m just pointing out the obvious. Race and gender rights … human rights … are being fought for. That really is a shame.  It would be nice to live in a world where we are all accepted for who we are, and allowed to shine as bright as we were meant to, however we feel we were meant to, without being told we were wrong for it. These battles are signs of people’s desire for that change to occur. Eventually, we will work our way back into love. I do believe that.

I'm sorry; I know you are a girl, but people mustn't be allowed to see you as a girl. Hey, Lady! Aren't you a little old to try to look like a girl?

Which is it? When is it okay to look like a girl, boobies and all?

Miley Cyrus and her dyed armpit hair. (That still kills me!). Cher and Madonna, daring to look sexy when they are old. Beyonce, making sexuality look like a normal trait of a strong woman. My goodness!

You go, girls! You've given us all a little more room to move freely around in.

You, too, ladies. Be who you are, who you want to be. Dress how you like. Enjoy sex. Know that other people’s opinions about you are their own problems, and their actions are their own responsibility.

I know of a few who would immediately argue the fact that there are bad people out there. Yes, there are people who operate out of negative thinking. However, we can acknowledge the existence of the negative without marginalizing ourselves and our actions in deference to them. Remember that by validating the thoughts and actions of others, we are feeding their power over us. In any area.

I’m sitting here drinking a delicious cup of coffee while I write this. I can name five people off the top of my head who disagree with the way I think, the way I act, the way I dress, and my views on sex.

And I still love them.

And my coffee still tastes delicious.