There was a time, or so I’m told, when “feminism” was about equality for women. Women had been treated as second-class citizens in many well-documented ways, and it was not right.
No need to rehash all the ways in which they weren’t treated fairly, they’re well documented. But somewhere along the way they won, if not every battle, at least the war.
In my lifetime, women have been able to do whatever they want and go as far as their ambition and talent will take them. But, like the union and civil rights movements, winning was the biggest threat to the movement’s leaders’ existence.
So, rather than accept victory, they continued to fight for the sake of fighting and, to no small degree, the money and power that comes along with instilling victim status on people they claim to want to help. By not accepting victory, they have become the problem, not the solution.
On Sunday night, after watching the last episode of True Blood (which was awful) and the season finale of The Last Ship (which was great), I watched the MTV Video Music Awards. And, as it turns out, I learned the new definition of “Feminist.”
Silly me for not realizing the word needed a new definition, but apparently it did. What used to be a fight for equality is now a fight to wear as little as possible and dry-hump everything in sight. What was once decried as sexist in music videos – the objectification of women – is now celebrated as the essence of feminism. I’m sure all those ‘80s hair bands are waiting by their phone for their National Organization of Women award for being heroes for women’s rights.
But before Warrant or Mötley Crüe answer those calls, let us look at what started all this. Beyoncé, the current queen pop music (she can sing, but her actual music is about 90 percent garbage to me since I prefer instruments) gave a 20-minute
commercial medley from her latest album at the end of the show. She was surrounded by attractive women who were barely dressed and gyrating their butts on stage to the point that audience members were sent scrambling for dollar bills. Little did I realize that behind those, er, well, behinds, I was witnessing true feminism. Or so I’m told.
After the performance, the blogger SooperMexican tweeted a picture of Beyoncé standing in front of the word “FEMINIST” juxtaposed with a picture of her and 9 dancer’s butts. I retweeted it, adding the comment, “Silly me, I thought Feminism would involve more clothes.”
Silly me indeed. Soon after, and ever since, we were sent messages of how we were the problem with the world. We were oppressors. Not the radial Islamo-fascists who would kill every single one of those women in that picture – probably after raping them repeatedly – but those of us who didn’t understand the empowering nature of ass-showing and shaking for money.
As Time magazine put it in a piece entitled, “This Year’s VMA’s Were All About Empowered Women:” “The word “feminist” then flashed on the screen and lingered long enough for Beyonce’s silhouette to pull into the frame—and for her to be photographed with the words behind her a few thousand times.”
But they weren’t done. It continued, “Think about that: feminist sat written in huge letters on a screen behind the most popular pop star in the world on an awards show whose main demographic is tweens and teens.”
And those “tweens and teens” were watching, and learning … what exactly? After I raised this question on my radio show the next day, a 16-year-old girl called in to passionately and breathlessly explain how I couldn’t possible understand the importance of what I saw because I was part of the “patriarchy” and the problem. After a woman in her late 20s with a master’s degree called up to dispute that girl’s take, she called back to say that woman was “too old” to get it. But get what?
It seems feminism is now about “reclaiming women’s sexuality.” I didn’t realize it had been stolen, didn’t realize that before Beyoncé that MTV, and society as a whole, forced women to wear burqas and not speak unless spoken to, but they’re taking “feminism” back. It appears to now mean, as I’ve read several thousand times on Twitter, the ability to do whatever they want with their bodies, whenever they want, with whomever they want.
Strippers and porn stars, who used to be attacked by feminists, are now heroes. While no doubt shocking to women who considered themselves feminists at the time, it’s not really that surprising in a culture that elevates to celebrity status people whose only talent or claim to fame is a sex tape posted to the Internet.
Sadly, sex anytime with anyone is what these girls were talking about as “empowering.” Never mentioned by any of the discussants was the word “responsibility.” That’s for suckers and society, I guess.
It’s as if the concept of feminism has been turned over to 15-year-old boys – no-consequence sex with little to no effort made in its pursuit.
It has to be an awful time to be a teenager, especially a teenage girl. It’s an age when you’re rebelling against your parents, but bad haircuts and going Goth no longer cut it. You’re told repeatedly that sex is the ultimate rebellion, the ultimate empowerment at a time when you can barely spell the word, let along define it.
You’re also told that, as a woman, sex is the definitive expression of your womanhood. If you aren’t having sex you aren’t really a woman. But you’re a teenager, so you aren’t a woman yet. Any girl can have sex, and get pregnant, but it takes a woman to raise a child, and you aren’t there yet.
Beyoncé is a woman. She’s also worth tens of millions of dollars and is married to a man worth hundreds of millions of dollars. She can do whatever the hell she wants, not without consequences, but with the ability to afford the consequences. The girls who admire and emulate her don’t have that luxury. Beyoncé can hire as large of a staff as she wants to fulfill her responsibilities; her emulators can’t.
Thanks to the advances made by feminists of old, there’s never been a better time to be a woman. Women have unlimited opportunities and are constrained only by how far they can go according to their drive and talent. And thanks to modern feminism and pop culture, it’s never been a better time to be a hormone-raging teenage boy too. There seems to be a disconnect in there somewhere, but I’m “too old” and the “wrong gender” to be able to point it out.