My mother, sister and I are a trio of tough-talking, opinionated broads. The topic on the table this weekend was the behavior of our fellow women and it got a little rough, I must admit.
By now, we all have seen - and heard endless commentary about -- Miley Cyrus’ performance on the MTV Video Music Awards; she has gotten enough attention, so I’m not going to rip into her behavior.
I will, however, rip into the behavior of young women in general, who seem to be auditioning for porn films and saucy Maxim covers with every pose they strike and outfit they wear.
But let me back up, just for a moment, to women’s lib.
Our fore-mothers of the 1960s fought to give women the freedom to enjoy sex and do so without being treated like a harlot. They fought to give us birth control and the option, finally, to choose: our partners, whether or not to bear children, to work, and to live our lives outside the control of men.
The sexual revolution did not give young women license to be vulgar and display their bodies for men’s arousal. Our fore-mothers fought against that! But women have collectively turned back the clock, preferring compliments on our beauty rather than our brains. (I’m looking at you Miley)
Add to this frustration an article by Kay Hymowitz in Time this week, in which she argues that maybe women don’t want to be equal. Do the majority of us want equal pay? To join men in the board room? Hymowitz argues no. Most women, apparently, would rather work part-time or not at all.
And every time I see young women (and sometimes not that young) exposing their breasts, twerking or dancing on stripper poles, I begin to wonder if Hymowitz has a point.
Women’s lib is really just about choice. A young woman in the developed world today has a million options available to her. If she wants to be a sex object, she can (although I don’t think she should). If she wants to be a stay-at-home mom, she can. And if she wants to be a combat troop, she can do that, too. Rewind the clock 50 years, or hop over to a third-world country, and those options just aren’t there.
What should a young woman choose? She should choose modesty and integrity, to beautify her mind, to do whatever gets her respect. But it should be her choice.
But what does a girl today choose to do with her freedom? To wear nude bikinis and gyrate on married men.
I wish young women could understand what they are throwing away when they choose to be sex objects. Generations of women before us were considered property and required to obey father and husband. Even today, women are stoned for being raped; kidnapped and forced into prostitution; burned with acid by jealous husbands; and eight-year-old girls married to grown men for family profit. Or shot just for going to school.
Think about that the next time you twerk, girls.
JH Mae is a Banner columnist.