You may have noticed that many young women wear less, and more sexually provocative, clothing in public than they did a generation, or even 10 years, ago.
It is easier to notice, however, than to explain.
But explaining it is crucial to understanding what has happened to men and women in the last 40 years and where male-female relations are headed. Women exposing their bodies in public is a big deal. Playing with the sex drive, the most powerful force in nature, is far more dangerous than playing with fire. Even if one welcomes this development -- and for the record, as a male I am turned on, while as a man I am turned off -- it begs for explanation.
I will offer at least five reasons that may be less obvious but more important than the valid ones usually given -- peer pressure, women buy what stores sell and the sexual revolution.
The first is "equality."
By equality, I do not mean the belief that men and women are equal human beings, a belief that all decent people hold. Rather, I mean the feminist and politically correct definition of equality: sameness. Men and women have come to be regarded as the same, not simply as equals.
Thanks to feminist doctrines that pervade education from kindergarten through graduate school, men and women increasingly believe that the sexes are largely identical. Therefore, the arenas wherein women can feel and demonstrate their feminine distinctiveness have narrowed appreciably.
By showing more of their bodies, women can announce that they are women. There are other ways young women can publicly demonstrate their distinct female identity -- for example, by wearing feminine clothing and other feminine behavior, being a wife, being pregnant and being a mother.
But those ways are increasingly ignored, deferred and discredited. Among egalitarians, being a wife is no different a role than that of husband, and motherhood is no longer regarded as distinctively female. Husbands and fathers are supposed to play identical roles, and because of the movement for gay equality, mothers have been declared unnecessary -- two fathers, most well educated people now contend, are every bit as good for a child as a mother and a father.
So, for the young woman for whom marriage, pregnancy and motherhood are remote or even undesirable given the anti-traditional education she has received, her primary vehicle of proclaiming she is a woman is literally to expose the fact.
A second, related, reason is the death of femininity.
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