I'm so disappointed.
I keep seeing Nicki Minaj screenshots of the music video for Anaconda and her album cover where she dons nothing more than converses and floss, her airbrushed ass-ets for current and future generations to see...and I get really disappointed.
To be clear, I understand that Ms Minaj has never claimed to be a bastion of modesty.
But even she is better than her new album cover suggests. She's got actual talent, a unique perspective, and a creative way to say it, unlike the "artists" who usually pose naked to detract attention from their lack of actual ability. Even in a pink wig and 1inch long falsies.
But this is the easy way to get attention.
Being naked is easy. Self objectification is easy. It makes you popular. It makes you seen.
It's actually more difficult to be gifted and maintain something called standards. Self respect is not sexy. Neither is class and modesty for that matter. So we shake, girrate, twerk, and call it self expression, and even self empowerment, when it's really nothing more than making us glorified pleasure objects.
I mean think about it, we use the female physique to sell everything from cars to soda (and Lord don't let it be a fragrance commercial). There is nothing that has been so quickly cheapened as the body of woman.
Yet, we as women get so indignant when guys "harass" us on the street. Over the past few weeks I have seen a dozen, if not more, posts by women ranting, raving, and foaming at the mouth about how some guy some where said something tasteless to them, making them feel violated and just all around icky. As a person who experiences this weekly (if not daily) I completely understand and empathize with them. Street harassment SUCKS.
So don't get me wrong, guys who perpetuate that behavior are jerks. Yes, most of the problem is their bad behavior.
But could another part of the problem be that we as women do not teach them how to respect us... because often times, a lot of us do not respect ourselves. Maybe when we stop seeing and promoting ourselves as pleasure objects for men and start seeing ourselves as men's equals and complements, then so will they.
We cheapen ourselves. We wear all kinds of tight, short, low cut, see through, lingerie like things out in the street, that instantly takes a man's mind some place (and it's not a church house, ladies) We treat our bodies, the sacred miracles of our bodies, as if they were public toilets, just out there for everyone to see, use and leave when they are done. We glorify women who in my grandmother's time we would have considered "loose" or "fast", and call that same woman "sexually liberated." There was a time where we wore clothes, as Marilyn Monroe said "...tight enough to let him know you're a woman but lose enough to let him know you're a lady."
Too many of us are willing to devalue ourselves...just so we can be seen, for the illusion of feeling like we matter, which shows that we really have no comprehension of who we are.
Right now, a former Disney star and once example for positive growth from girlhood to young womanhood, Miley Cyrus, is making more videos and taking more pictures practically naked than clothed. (It was actually a breath of fresh air to see Miley wearing actual clothes with her tongue in her mouth most of the night at the VMAs.) And we applaud her for this? Where were the great voices in her life to tell her she didn't have to go this way? To tell her that she was better than this?
And what does her example, or ours, say to our daughters?
What does this say about us?
We cannot present men with one thing and expect them to treat us like another. If you want to be treated like a lady, you have to act like one first. Think about it a bit...If every single woman took a stand to push her humanity, her spirituality, her intelligence, her value and worth, and "left a little to the imagination", no man in his right mind would dare to disrespect her.
Womenhood, femininity, what it means to be female is way more than the size of our chest or what's between our legs. It has very little to do with sex and sexuality. Being a woman is strength coupled with mercy, kindness linked with clarity, intuition and humility all wrapped into one. It is the essence of what it means to be beautiful. We are beautiful, not from how we look, but from who we are.
Let's discover who we are. Let's get back to that...