We’ve come a long way since burning bras. We’ve got the vote; can sue our husbands for marital rape, and we have the liberty to wear either pants or dresses. Boys can’t even say that for themselves. While advancements still need to happen for women, there is a fine line between getting what we deserve compared to asking for special treatment. The whole idea of equality is that we get to decide how we act and behave. What seems to be happening instead is that when women rightfully make decisions to act in certain ways, they expose themselves to criticism.
From a woman who is living a post-modern world seeping with feminist sentiment; I reflect upon striving for equality. This is done in a context where heterosexual girls have grown accustomed to looking at girls with as much desire as straight men do.
Sexuality is normal, and isn’t something we should be ashamed of. Dusting it under the rug will only lead to teenage pregnancy, and the only time that was endearing was in Juno. Whilst a lot of people are frustrated with the media taking advantage of women just for the sake of possessing a shock factor; the matter remains that equality is what we asked for. This means women being permitted to act in any way they wish; their sexual appeal in all its glory.
My standpoint is completely disputed when referring to the author Ariel Levy. In ‘Female Chauvinist Pigs,’ a seemingly feminist book written by the author in 2005, girls are slut shamed for 236 pages. Whilst I take it that there are some good points to be made about women being more focused on being perceived as sexy rather than the desire to enjoy a healthy sex life; there are problematic implications of such a book. Many audiences applauded Levy’s efforts to confront the objectification of women. This was done in such a manner as to demonstrate that it isn’t cool to be trying to be seen as one of the boys. As Levy so righteously points out, being a tomboy doesn’t exclude a woman from being considered a female. Similarly, it is argued that viewing other women in a sexualised manner doesn’t mean that liberation has occurred.
I would argue that there are far more heterosexual women kissing each other than is the case for heterosexual males. Whilst women engage in this experimental behaviour in order to get in touch with their own sexual identity; negative connotations have been put on women acting in an attention-seeking manner. Girls kissing girls at nightclubs is the obvious modern example. This behaviour has served to negatively serve women in the invention of the term slut shaming. The abuse falls from the lips of both males and females.
Girls wanting equality only to then point the finger at women who engage in sexually provocative behaviour creates an injustice to feminism. This concept relates directly to Levy’s arguments of women becoming concerned with not wanting to be perceived as a girly girls or prissy princesses. From the will to be perceived as one of the boys, women have become accustomed to viewing women in a sexualised and objectified manner. This being similar and somewhat parallel to how men do. This is not necessarily a bad thing as women have opened up to become liberated sexually after an age where hysteria was once commonplace; a condition undoubtedly arising from horniness amidst domesticated boredom.
What has to be noticed is the matter of physical desire now happening from both gender parties meaning that the media now caters for female audiences. Prime examples of this are the most recent James Bond films exhibiting beachside displays of Daniel Craig’s outrageous figure. Whilst being heterosexual for a man is an inherently masculine trait; this isn’t the case with women. It has come to be seen that lesbian tendencies amidst an otherwise heterosexual woman is perceived as undoubtedly feminine. What is interesting to note is the traditions in Ancient Greece where heterosexual activities/relationships were the norm. As women were seen as passive and inferior, social status was to be gained for the Ancient Greeks by indulging in homosexual relations. This was most commonly pederasty. Whilst it is disturbing to think of what was commonplace to occur between a man and a pre-pubescent boy; it is historically noted that these relationships offered beneficial outcomes for both parties. For the young boy the interaction offered education, protection, love and a role model. For the older man it offered youth, beauty and inspiration. This type of relationship was not formed upon a premise of manipulation and coercion. Older gentlemen would court the boys they were interested in by giving them gifts and the pre-pubescent boy would choose a suitor based on the male who offered the highest nobility. In saying this, I have hope that in the future males will be able to appreciate other males for their appearance and sexual charisma in the same way females do of each other. I’m excited that just like when we sit around and watch the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion show with awe, men in the future will want to watch (and appreciate watching) a parade of half naked men strut down a runway for the sake of being doted on.
Being a slut is tricky, as there is a divide between acting slovenly and acting promiscuous. Samantha Jones is a character who epitomises the idea of slutiness, and those familiar with Sex and the City will know that this character suffered multiple setbacks as a result of her promiscuous behaviour. What is a woman to do if she enjoys casual sex but has to remain perceived as untouched and untainted in order to be attractive to other men? The notion of being a lady is tied inherently within virginal qualities. This gives rise to numerous complications as social media has intended to make it virtually impossible to escape the likes of ex’s. A woman could potentially be a perfectly respectable young lady yet be deemed as slutty purely because the men she has had relationships with in the past all have big mouths. This is becoming more and more likely with online social forums, but I have faith. Faith that feminism will take a turn to not critique, but to stand up for women who have had this happen to them.
I hold the opinion that this matter takes a different stance if women’s chosen promiscuous behaviour contradicts morals held by society, such be the case when Samantha enjoys having sex with married men for the sake of there being no potential future commitments. Ethically, I cannot write that I advocate a stance of knowledgeable partaking in matters of infidelity.
Additionally, these cases take a different stance whereby girls enjoy promiscuous behaviour in order to fill some inner void or feelings of emotional insecurity. If the word slut is going to remain as a negative stigma, then it should be in relation to when women choose to have sex continuously as means to cure some deep set insecurities. This only then serves to surmount to feelings of self-worthlessness. Casual sex could be fantastic, but it isn’t for everybody, and it should most definitely not be seen as the means of solving inner turmoil.
The ideas here have become convoluted because gender is such a complex issue. Feminism has become too overtly sensitive to the point where a lot of men are stepping on egg shells. No, I am not going to date the truck driver that honks his horn at me when I am walking down the street. However, this doesn’t mean that it doesn’t brighten my day a little. As shallow as that might seem, I still remain to be a person that enjoys being appreciated for whatever personality and enchantress qualities I may possess.
Your point about men appreciating men is an interesting one, and I think it has already shifted that way. For example, the body building culture is based around the admiration of each other's bodies. The term ''mirin'' (short for admiring) was coined by this culture, and is used to tell another man that they look good, in other words, 'I am admiring your body'. Of course, from time to time, the other phrase 'no homo' is added for good measure.