October 26, 2014

On "Sex Appeal"

     Over the last 16 years, I have been raised in a culture where modesty is important.  Because of being a "Mormon" I am almost hyper aware of how I dress or come across.  My parents raised me to see that my body was something sacred and not to be flaunted before the world.

     Now something I find hard, in this world that I grow up in, is that modesty is something that is not taken for granted, or expected.  This I understand.  Most of the time cultures lacking my standards is fine.  The world may be what it will, I will still be me.  However, something I do take issue with and find offensive is the prevalence of online images made to be immodest and sensual.  I am not talking necessarily about pornography, or explicit images.  I am simply talking about all the fandom made images, video game characters, genera models, advertising in general, and media in which the woman are obviously there for sex appeal.

     I find it hard to be barraged constantly by pictures of singers, actresses, models and "sexy" video game characters.  Through these pictures woman are told many different things.  When a friend says, "I just love playing this character!" and proceeds to show you pictures of a tall looking woman who has large breasts, an abnormally thin waist, and a large... rump, I can't help wincing. Then to see this character, with the body proportions that men seem to want, fighting battles and doing it while in a skin tight dress is more then disheartening.

     The problem for me is that even if you aren't viewing porn you see women being objectified online ALL the time.  This leads me to wonder how a real relationship will ever work in the future.  As a Mormon, I am who I am, people may objectify me in their own minds, but I shall never let myself be used as an object.  However, I still feel a pang knowing I can never measure up to what is portrayed online and in our larger American culture.  I am a real girl, and as such I have hair that doesn't look silky, and when the wind blows it all wants to go into my mouth.  I am average height exactly, my curves aren't even in the range of online gaming characters curves, I wear normal clothes,  and I don't fight monsters... and the thing is it hurts.  Through these images I see what many males would consider the "ideal" woman, and I am far from it body wise, activity wise, and not to mention dress wise.

     I have nothing against gaming (in moderation).  I have nothing against woman being allowed to dress how they will.  I do take issue with the fact that I can see how easily it would be to "undress" many video game characters.  I find it hard to believe that any man will seek for a worthwhile, and meaningful relationship in the future, because why should he?  Why should you go for the real thing, when the fake thing has everything you'd like to see and is so much less work?  Because of media and gaming I at least feel a layer of distress, and stress added to my life as I watch my friends spend hours playing with these "perfectly" formed and appealing characters.

     No woman is just her body, and I find it unfortunate that inadvertently boys and men put such stress on the physical.

October 21, 2014

Being a Feminine Feminist

     The other day I was asked if I am a feminist.  It was one of those odd questions that I'm not even sure there was context for.  It just sort of came up and I honestly didn't have a response.  Thus, I have been thinking about it a good deal since then.

     What I have decided is that yes I am a feminist.  To be a feminist, according to the dictionary, means to believe in social, political, and economical equality between men and woman.  I most certainly do believe in equality between genders.  I think it is important that all men and women are taken seriously, and have equal rights in all matters.

     So, what was my hesitation in saying, "Yes, I am a feminist"?  Well, I think my hesitation came not because of the principle ideology of feminism, but rather because of how feminists go about seeking what they desire.  When I look at feminism, at least in America, I often find myself seeing women who are gaining mans rights for themselves.

     Most feminists are not making it so a women staying at home is equal to a man working to provide.  They are saying that women who work are equal to men that work.  Yes, I believe that a women should be payed the same as a man at any job.  Yes I think that women should have the choice to stay at home, or go into a career other then motherhood.  However, I think that the true change is one which doesn't involve women becoming more like men in order to be equal.
     I see a world in which the mother is valued as much as the providing father; where the stay-at-home dad is equal to his lawyer wife; and where women and men are equally respected, no matter their chosen paths in life.  I see a world where a Jane Austin loving, dress wearing, flower gathering, and desirous mother-to-be is as respected and safe as the bearded, tattooed, and motorcycling man.

     Am I a feminist? Yes.

     But perhaps I am not an average one.