I wasn’t planning on writing any more today but I just had to get my thoughts out about this.
After reading an article in The Huffington Post entitled “He Does Us Dirty: How Magic Mike Is Redefining Feminism” I have to put my hand up and say, “No. Absolutely not. I disagree.”
The author starts out by comparing girls to women in a way that diminishes girls’ validity and importance. She compares them to “one-toned paint” as if they’re completely one-dimensional and lack any sort of character or complexity. Then goes onto say, “but women can’t be ignored.” Yes they can. I’ve seen it happen!
She goes on to congratulate filmmakers for finally cluing in to what women want which apparently is scantily clad men gyrating for a couple of hours on the big screen. Perhaps the most telling phrase in her article is, “But if guys are always getting what they really want, why aren’t we?” So…guys want to reduce women to sexual objects, not think about them as thinking feeling people and exert control over them in any way they can and THIS is what WOMEN WANT TO DO TO MEN?
The author seems to suggest that the new face of feminism is to take the objectification of women by men and turn it around. They can do it, so why can’t we? Because it was never right in the first place! People should not objectify other people and just because men have been doing it for hundreds of years does not mean the goal of feminism should be for women return the favor!
To me, feminism is and always has been about respect and equal treatment. Feminism is about being seen and valued as a human being. Women have been oppressed and dominated by men for centuries–anger about this is warranted and understandable but simply reversing the discourse is not equality! It’s not even a reversal, it’s women falling into the trap of a patriarchal mode of thought based on devaluing a group of people to gain power and control over them.
The system that reinforces male domination is one in which sex is used as a way to objectify and devalue others. In this system, sex is not part of a complex web of physical and emotional needs nor is it part of a mutual and loving relationship (monogamous or not) based on the valuing of human beings and their bodies, it is a one-dimensional, power-driven act, completely disconnected from any feeling whatsoever and unconcerned with any sort of physical or emotional consequences for the less powerful person.
Well I am not going to fall into this trap. Objectifying people does not make me feel more powerful and it is not what I want. As far as film goes, I’d like to see more women in leading roles doing something other than trying to find a romantic relationship. I want to see complex female characters who think and feel and express themselves in a variety of ways. I want to see more movies by women which the aforementioned movie is but does nothing to empower women. I want to see women break out of societal stereotypes. I do not need a bigger woman to be funny to find her palatable, I do not need female characters to be beautiful so that they’re “allowed” to be quirky, and I do not need a woman to act like a sexist, disgusting man to find her powerful!
The whole point of feminism is not for women to “be more like men” or “do what men do,” it’s to do what we want and say what we feel and not apologize for it and still be treated like human beings! It’s not to stop slut-shaming, it’s to get to a place where we value ourselves and each other for being alive and not for looking a certain way.
I’m tired of our culture putting sex and looks and success above everything else! We are so much more than that and THAT is what feminism is to me–truly seeing and respecting the value of every living thing, being so connected that we cannot harm the world or its inhabitants without harming ourselves. If we believe that feminism is a simple reversal of roles while still buying into patriarchal values of objectification and domination, we have missed the mark. No, this is not it — not at all.