My blog contains a large number of posts. A few are included in various other publications, or as attached stories and chronicles in my emails; many more are found on loose leaves, while some are written carelessly in margins and blank spaces of my notebooks. Of the last sort most are nonsense, now often unintelligible even when legible, or half-remembered fragments. Enjoy responsibly.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Modern Female Empowerment is Bullshit

Standing in a bookstore I overhear two well dressed, mid-thirties, successful looking, short haired, long-skirt laden ladies standing in the fitness isle perusing a book called The Art of Pole Dancing: A Spin-by-Spin Guide and heard the following conversation (we’ll call one of them Tiffany and the Christi):

Christi: Yeah, so I’ve been doing it for Jeff for a couple of weeks now.

Tiffany: Oh my God, REALLY?

Christi: Absolutely, its sooooo empowering. I’ve never felt more in control of our relationship. It’s like, when I start dancing, I’m the one who is the boss and he has to sit there and pay full attention.

Tiffany Wow, so if I pole dance for Steve you think that I could take control of him? Do you think it would empower me too?

Christi: Oh yeah, I was watching TV, I think it was on Oprah or something, and they were talking about how we need to empower ourselves more in life. And I think that my dancing empowers me because I feel beautiful and strong when I do it and because Jeff does whatever I say!

Tiffany: I never really know what people mean when talk about empowerment.

Christi: I think it means when a women feels powerful and can do whatever she wants.

Tiffany: Thank God for women’s lib, my mother and grandmother were awesome. Ok, I’m buying the book. Mom, here comes Tiffany's empowerment!

That is when I realized that the feminism of the 60’s and 70’s has been co-opted by the newly redefined female empowerment of today. Empowerment is now being marketed as anything that makes a woman feel good or gets her noticed by others. New shampoos brag about how strong and shiny they make your hair, good makeup gives you confidence, and the vehicle that you drive gives you recognition as an important person with money. All of this pseudo-empowerment is done while constantly bombarding women with juxtaposing and equally persuasive advertisements about body image to reinforce the notion that the females primary role is as a passive sex object to be gazed upon by whoever chooses. Not only did the two women I overheard in the bookstore actually believe that empowerment means getting control over whoever you want by making yourself a pretty piece of meat, but they also thought that it was what their foremothers had intended when they fought for equality.

So please humor me for a minute and let me explain something to all of the women out there who are not still shaking your head in abject disbelief over those two individual’s comments:

True feminism is about absolute equality between the sexes. Empowerment is that ability to act upon that equality. Yes, that means that you can dance around a poll if you so choose, but it also means that you knowingly are taking a subservient position to please someone else at your own expense. You are nothing more then an amusement for someone else. Your power exists only because they give it you. If you forget that part, or choose to ignore it, you will no longer have the power to choose whether or not you want to be submissive because it will be automatically assigned to you.

So please, for the love of my mother’s and her mother’s generation, do not throw out everything they worked so hard for because your man shuts up for a moment and makes you feel pretty.

1 comment:

L Kururugi said...

That conversation they had has to be the most pretentious, obnoxious thing i've ever seen. So sorry you had to overhear that.