Sunday, July 27, 2008

Fear of the F-Word

I thought watching Hillary finally get her time in the spotlight would be such a relief; the panacea for the parade of female role models who truly believe the only thing they should develop is an ass with no tan lines and pole-dancing thigh muscles.

And I’m not just talking about the twenty-something celebs and trust fund babies whose idea of an opinion is saying “That’s hot.” Gen-Xers are not to be left out. The generation that first set out to defy categorization has borne a species of grown women who shop for tight baby Tees that say “Princess” and aspire to be MILF’s.

Then there’s Hillary; a reminder of a time when women wanted to show they’re so much more than Brazilian wax jobs. Hillary, the first woman since Eleanor Roosevelt to show us that a First Lady could bring more to the White House than decorating sense.

Now she’s Hillary, the first woman candidate to be accepted so openly in a Presidential race. The game is set: She tours, she talks and then come the polls. She’s not feminine enough. What does Hillary do: she cries. Damn. Et tu, Hillary? You never publicly cried when even the toughest chick would’ve: in the midst of all that Monica Mess. And you cry for the cameras to please a stupid poll? To quote text messaging sisters: WTF?!!!

Talk of feminism’s demise has abounded since the dawn of this new millennium. I’ve been in the camp that it isn’t dead; as a movement it did what movements are supposed to do. It moved beyond the stereotype of the angry woman to reflect a diverse range of viewpoints. And that’s just how it should be.

But it’s time to admit it: while trying to run away from earlier philosophies so preoccupied with keeping pace with men that it adapted their harsher qualities, some of us have gone to a whole other dark side. Some of us--dare I say it--have become content with being nothing more than pussies.

Why are some of us so scared of showing our true strengths? At a time when change is not only inevitable but essential to the survival of American life, it seems like a good time to take stock at ourselves and all we’ve accomplished because of and since the women’s movement. When Gloria Steinem put on that bunny suit and infiltrated the Playboy Mansion, she proved a feminist can look pretty damn hot and be pretty damn smart—gasp—at the same time.

Women before that and since have done incredible things. Today we can be mothers and CFOs; models who compete in triathlons; even a billionaire who can turn any book into a bestseller simply by pointing at it. And maybe, someday, a woman will run this country.

Women are emergency service workers, doctors and nurses, teachers, police officers and now war veterans who have always been there; underpaid but unwavering in their mission to do their best to maintain a solid community. And let’s not forget the mothers of them all: the stay-at-home moms.

So with all this inspiration, why is it that we see 7 and 8 year old girls eating only carrots because they think they’re too fat? Why do so many tween Halloween costumes look like hooker versions of what they’re really supposed to be? (I don’t remember Strawberry Shortcake's skirt being that short or her ever wearing thigh-high striped stockings!) Why are so many college women making sleazy men rich by “Going Wild” in front a video camera?

Something has gone awry. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with showing off your femininity, but when did it become wrong to show some I.Q. along with the flesh? In our quest to be proud of our woman-ness, have we abandoned the quest to develop our character and intelligence? I’d like to believe this isn’t true, but you can’t help but wonder how else can girls and young women growing up in an age with more life options than ever seem to worry more about how skinny they are and how sexy they look to boys.

And when a female candidate for President feels compelled to put on a waterworks display to prove she’s a woman, then maybe it’s time to shake the dust off of Feminism and prove that it’s more relevant than ever in our 21st century lives.

So as a starting gesture in the cause of Neo-Feminism, find yourselves an empowering goal and make it happen. I’ve already got mine: Like any girl, I would love to be in a music video; except I want to be surrounded by male video hotties and I want be the one slapping some ass for a change. Viva la revolucion!!

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