Click above to watch Hollie McNish’s spoken word recital about the appropriateness of breastfeeding and the inappropriate stupidity of the western world for having a problem with it.
Recently I’ve become more and more annoyed with the fact that women continue to be presented as eye-candy for men, while legitimate explorations of the body in art are consistently challenged. Writer Amy Wilder interviewed me a few weeks ago about this very issue.
These issues won’t go away. It’s happening right now in our culture. A few months after Robin Thicke’s idiotic and misogynistic music video went viral, Justin Timberlake entered the fray with his own. Both of these videos pair the fragmented display of women’s bodies with the rape-language of “you/i know you want it”. No, I won’t link you to the material I’m talking about. You’ve probably already seen it.
What it amounts to is millions of people apparently buying into the lifestyle and vision of the likes of Thicke and Timberlake (fully-clothed men who parade the bodies of women just to make a buck, who parade the bodies of women around for the delectation of and consumption of other men, who parade the purposely fragmented and de-individualized bodies of women around and pretend like it’s just a matter of “blurring lines”) while simultaneously shaming women for nursing their children in public.
It’s pathetic. It’s frustrating. It’s wrong. It’s wrong for specific profit-producing demographics (be they people or industries) to drive the cultural position and presentation of women’s bodies in this world. That’s exactly what’s happening here. It’s been happening for generations.
Part of what is playing into my anger about this is that I watched the documentary Girl Model, which really disturbed me. If you haven’t watched it, do it. It’s streaming on Netflix right now and is eye-opening.
On top of this, going through the adoption process over the last year really disabused me of the rose-colored-glasses ideas I had about the progress of women in the last couple of decades. Globally, it’s dangerous to be born female. In the west, where we think we can rest on the laurels of our “progressive” progress, it’s hard to make people understand this. I won’t recount the horrific stories that have been in the news recently. But it’s in THIS STUFF – where women are asked to APPEAR but not to ACT – that we continue to fail as societies. Our media continues to present a vision of women as young and as tight and as coquettish as men want them to be. The second their bodies resist the classification of appearance (for instance, when a woman breastfeeds her child or becomes too old to fulfill the wish-fantasies of 18 year old boys) they are simply denied. Hidden. Disappeared.
This is a major problem, and more people need to get angry about it.
I think about the world my two daughters are living in…