Is Feminism Dead?

I recently came across this article and it left me feeling troubled.  The article is, in short, the response of an escort-turned-blogger to the numerous envious e-mails she gets from young women.  It fed my curiosity, enough that I clicked on the link over to the author’s blog, Nightmare Brunette.  (WARNING: The writing is often wonderful and heart-wrenching, but is at times moderately to very explicit).

What’s interesting is that Charlotte’s (a pen-name) account of the call girl life doesn’t sound at all like what I would generally imagine.  I’ve probably seen too many TV specials about girls forced into sex slavery, or drug addicts who have to sell their bodies so they can afford their vices.  Neither does it remind me of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, where she’s rescued and lives the fairy tale happily ever after life.  It appears, as is often the case, that Hollywood and the media in general have taken a very broad spectrum of experiences and lumped them all into one of two polarized caricatures.

Is this fantasy what causes young women to envy Charlotte?  Certainly, they don’t want to be sex slaves or destitute, infected drug addicts.  So, they must want the happily ever after experience.  Charlotte, disagrees, saying that it’s the pressure that society places on women to be pretty and slim and sexually attractive to earn their place, and that in being an escort, you are gaining confirmation that those things are true.  Reading it right after this older story about how girls, starting at a very young age, are playing up the “Girls Gone Wild” cliche of the drunken slut, paints a very disturbing picture.

First off, do girls really think this?  That a man, in saying he will pay you to sleep with him, is validating your existence as a woman?  That’s ridiculous.  In saying he will pay you, he’s saying he’s DESPERATE.  Sure, if he’s paying a lot of money, he’s going to want somebody better looking, but really?  It’s not that he finds you the most stunning, lust-worthy woman ever, and that’s why he has to pay you to sleep with him, it’s that YOU’RE AVAILABLE provided he pays a fee.  That’s not to say that I don’t think there are people who could find sex work enjoyable and rewarding.  But I think people are confused about what’s being implied when a man (or women) hires an escort.

Here’s an example.  If a man came up to me and told me he thought I was beautiful, sexy, whatever, and that he would pay money to sleep with me, if he could (let’s assume in a non-creepy manner) that’s one thing.  He’s simply saying that if he could, he would want me.  Let’s contrast that with the man who actually tries to buy sex from me.  The first guy is assuming my sexual activities aren’t on the market, it can’t be bought, it’s worth more than money.  The second guy thinks that if he gives me enough money, he can buy me.  Which scenario do you think would make you feel better about yourself?

But girls aren’t realizing this, instead, they’re getting more plastic surgery than ever before, developing more eating disorders, and consuming more alcohol.  That’s right, the number of girls who binge drink now surpasses the number of guys.  Tell me, where does that lead to happily ever after?

That brings back the question of where did feminism go?  What happened to the right to be valued for more than your face and body or abilities to have children and put dinner on the table?  Why is it that while girls are graduating from college than boys, that we still feel the need to sell our bodies to them?  Clearly, a woman no longer needs a man to support her.  Yet here we are.

Starting today, I challenge you to think about how people see you, and then ignore it.  What are you proud of that you’re accomplished?  What do you like most about yourself?  Figure that out, and rock it.  You’ll be happy.

you are the one that you want

image from SummerPierre

 

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One response to “Is Feminism Dead?

  • Danny

    The question of the ethics of prostitution has always been an unresolved topic for me.
    If someone chooses to do sex for work, and that is itemizing that person, if I choose to do programming for work, is that itemizing me? I say the answer is yes, but the followup question is: “are either of those cases wrong?” And I have a lot of difficulty deciding that. But, the closest I can come to a conclusion is: I enjoy programming, therefore I am fine with being exploited as a programmer. I am not a sex-worker or well versed in the topic though, so my thoughts here fall pretty short of anything valid. However, a glimmer of a possible conclusion for me might come from: don’t use other people to prove something about yourself to yourself. Balance your introverted and extroverted actions tenderly so as they make your life feel most valuable. i.e. I’m not using programming to validate my utility, I’m doing it because I enjoy it.

    The snippet about women drinking more than men made me yearn for a citation: Women, Girls and Alcohol. I was against drinking alcohol until last semester of school, which I binge drank twice. Which was enough for me to call it quits. Impairment isn’t my cup of tea.
    The tremendous weight social expectations have on people is unfathomable. The amount many people rely on others to define who they are is disconcerting. What does a social norm matter if it is illogical and unforgiving?

    And finally, this might be detracting from the original concept of your article, feminism, a little too much, but I would just like to point out the concept of humanism: Humanism, for those of you whom are unaware, is the concept that humans are all important and get to decide what matters and what is moral in life without the supernatural. Once you base your ethics and life values on logic and reason, it is not hard to figure out all humans should be revered greatly. Well, at least that has been my experience.

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