I’ve had quite a few conversations lately about the status of women in society- ranging from street harassment to body image. It seems that the internet has helped launch a campaign to showcase all the terrible things women face daily. From death threats for refusing advances to hateful comments being posted under Instagram pictures, women are facing the biggest battle of the century.
It comes as no surprise to my friends and social circles that I am an advocate for women’s rights. I abhor anything that resembles objectification of women. Women are not commodities, so for men to feel that they have the right to harass them verbally or physically builds a rage in me so strong that any objection to my view can result in a very severe tongue-lashing, no matter who you are. I actually have been in many heated debates with my best friend, who has the view that women should be objectified if they so desire. She thinks that if women have the assets and men find them attractive, that we should feel pride and accept it. Which obviously doesn’t sit well with me. She also claims that women who push for feminism shouldn’t be hypocritical and allow women who want to pose nude to do so, as it is ultimately their choice. I can understand that part, but from MY perspective, WHY does a woman feel she should be nude at all?
So the purpose of today’s post- while it can go many ways- is going to focus on the much talked-about picture of Kim K and what it means for feminism.
I, of course, am disgusted by her display of her body in such a classless way. Forget that she is a mother. Forget that she is clearly photoshopped and covered in oil (gag). The first emotion that rose in my chest was shame. I was embarrassed for her.
How desperate must a female feel to be accepted by society to stoop so low as to bare it all in a magazine. And before everyone jumps down my throat to claim “it’s her choice, her body,” let’s discuss that. Is it REALLY her choice? Did she dream of growing up and posing naked for magazines, or was it just a product of her fame? And while we are on that subject, what is she famous for exactly? Being naked and engaging in sexual acts on camera. I’m not saying she can’t have sex, but to have a video released for all to see? Classless.
So, back to the objectification of women. Yes, Kim K is an adult. Yes, it was “her choice.” But why is this even a choice for women? Why is it that we view nudity as empowering? Is it because society has taught us that as women we should embrace our bodies and not be ashamed? I can contend to that idea, however, I feel that most women who flaunt their bodies (and IG is FULL of them) are really just seeking for approval from society, and from men specifically. I’ve read the comments under some of these pictures, and they are so degrading they make me cringe. What woman with any self-respect would allow a man to say those things to her? And on top of that, claim she ENJOYS it?
The women who are standing up defending Kim K and these other women are contributing to the larger issue at hand, which is allowing men to continue to see women as objects. Although many women object to it, there are some who approve of it. So men are not seeing this as being a real issue since some women are accepting it.
This doesn’t only stop at the nudity issue, although it is a big part of it. The other part of objectification includes women who are fully clothed as well, yet are still seen as an object. Take the street harassment video that was recently released. I don’t know how many guys I personally know who saw nothing wrong with the video. According to them, women should take those comments as a compliment as it means they are beautiful enough to be noticed. Which is a load of crap.
It doesn’t matter if I am beautiful; that does not give anyone the right to harass me. And YES, it IS harassment. Because most often, it is unwanted attention. I don’t leave my house every day wishing for men to notice and compliment me. Yet I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had comments directed at me that are unwanted and uncomfortably inappropriate. Don’t tell me God gave me these looks so I should embrace it. Don’t tell me to feel flattered. Don’t presume that I want the attention- THAT I SHOULD EXPECT IT- because I’m wearing heels, makeup, skinny jeans, etc. What I wear and how I look give you NO RIGHT to comment. NONE.
So to all the guys who think it’s funny or cute, let me just say this: the more you continue to act this way, the more women as a whole will continue to be guarded. Guys wonder why women act so defensive when they first meet; well, how am I supposed to let my guard down when there are guys out there making a living on teaching men to emotionally and mentally manipulate women to sleep with them, degrade them, harass them? You want us women to stop being so “bitchy” and “prudish?” Teach your fellow brothers to respect women, and to give us the space we deserve while out walking the streets.
I know many think feminism means women being treated better than men. It’s not. It means women receiving the rights that are due to them. But feminism is not just for women. Men who also want to fight for the respectful treatment of women are also feminists. That doesn’t make you less of a man. In fact, I feel it’d make you MORE of a man, to help stop the mistreatment of women. I know there are plenty of guys out there who have started this campaign, but in truth, we need so many more.
So before you argue that women need to stop acting or dressing a certain way to receive respect, know that this mentally is what is ultimately holding back feminism. We aren’t looking for special treatment; in fact, it’s quite the opposite.