“Sexy” Can Be Empowering or Disempowering
“Women dress sexy to gain power over men!” Or so I’ve heard guys complain.
Yet, some men sexualize women to disempower them.
Not so long ago the conservative Breitbart News placed Democratic House Leader, Nancy Pelosi’s face atop twerking Miley Cyrus’ body. Around the same time, a conservative super PAC registered themselves as “Boats ‘N Hoes.” Hoes being sexualized women who are demeaned. It’s all in the tradition of painting a nude mural of feminist leader, Gloria Steinem, on the front of a building in an attempt to discredit and disempower her.
So which is it? Does “sexy” empower or disempower women?
At the least, it depends on context.
Like whose choice is it? And what’s being accomplished?
Nancy, Gloria, and women-at-large (aka, “hoes”) did not choose to be sexualized, and had no part in the decision-making.
Additionally, the messages aimed at Nancy, Gloria, and the rest of us seems to be: Your ideas don’t matter. You are nothing but sex. You exist to serve my desires. And, you have no power over how I portray you.
On the other hand, Miley Cyrus — sans Leader Pelosi’s face — did make a career move with her controversial moves, and was subsequently dubbed a “marketing genius.” More empowering. And since she is also known as a singer/entertainer, she is not entirely about sex.
But even when Miley makes her choice, or when a porn star chooses to play a woman who goes from “no, no, no” to “yes, yes, yes,” they risk creating a sense that women are all about sex and submission to men – which the rest of us might not wish to choose.
It’s one thing to be sexy, and to have *sexy* be a part of your persona. But if that’s all you are about — and if you’re pushing a message that that is all women are about — that’s a problem.
Posted on July 16, 2014, in feminism, objectification, psychology, sexism, women and tagged Boats 'N Hoes, empowerment, feminism, Gloria Steinem, Miley Cyrus, objectification, psychology, sexism, twerk, women. Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.