Three 20-something women trying to figure out what it means to be lay, Catholic, and modern all at once.

April 3, 2009

From Bra-Burning to Breast Implants: Feminism and the Hook-Up Culture

Just picture this scene. It's 1973. It's night time, and you are joining one of the protests. You can hear the intoxicating song rising from the droves of women around you: "I am woman, hear me roar In numbers too big to ignore, and I know too much to go back to pretend...and I've heard it all before, and I've been down there on the floor, no one's ever gonna keep me down again......" You look around you in solidarity with all these brave women, casting off the yokes of the burdens keeping them down for so many centuries. The song continues, "Oh, yes, I am wise, but it's wisdom born of pain. Yes, I've paid the price but look how much I've gained. If I had to, I can do anything... I am strong, I am invincible...I am WOMANNNNN...." Suddenly you must join all the women around you. You throw your bras, make-up, high-heels and all other imprisoning objects into the large bonfire--and--join these amazing women in their protest, chant the theme song, and take up the cause with them...

Now imagine a very different scene. It's say 2009 and you are graduating high school soon. Your best friend is Jana J., who is the richest and prettiest girl in school. You are both so excited about college; you just cannot wait!! Jana J. is seriously in love with Johnny G. Like he's the guy for her. But Johnny G. likes with Suzie Q. and might even ask her to prom, omg! Jana J. is so jealous! "It's only because she has big boobs, that's it. And everyone knows what kind of girl she is. I mean, come on, she's sooooo not even pretty." But Jana J. has the perfect solution!! She's asked her daddy to get her breast implants for her graduation gift, and Jana J. always gets what she asks her daddy for. I mean, then Johnny G. will notice her, and he'll be sooooooo jealous when he sees how great she looks. And plus, every guy at the university will totally want her. I mean, omg.....totally perfect!!!!!!!

Do either one of these scenes resonate with you? I mean, sure they might be exaggerated, but how did we women get from bra-burning to breast implants?? Does the feminist movement make anyone else's head just spin?? I see the feminist impetus really taking off with the women's lib of the 1960's and 1970's. Equality in the workplace! Equal pay, equal rights, and most importantly -- equal in sexuality!! Women no longer need to adhere to traditional roles of wife and mother! A woman can work outside the home, do whatever a man can do, and have it all. And that means--most importantly of course--she too, can have sex with no strings like a man. Right??

Now, there are some things about this women's lib movement that I admit, I totally find attractive (I have a little radical lurking inside me who screams out sometimes unexpectedly). Who's not for equal rights, equal pay, and the ability to work outside the home? Yet, there's something in me that really wants to make a home too. I am starting to like home decorating magazines way more than even fashion magazines--and I cannot get enough HGTV. And I admit, when I see a pregnant woman, I can't stop staring in awe of the miracle in her belly. But I digress...

Doesn't it seem to anyone else that the women who were engaging in the radical women's lib movement of the 60's and 70's would just keel over by today's women (well, young girls actually) who feel that they need the perfect sized chest just to get men to notice them and to feel good about themselves? Or, do you think that somehow the radical movement might be responsible for the obsession with perfectly feminine bodies? I personally know two women who had perfectly lovely bodies who got implants, and several others who would if they just had the money. I have a hankering that the radical movement somehow contributed to the hook-up culture mentality we see today, even though that is precisely what it claims it sought to escape.

Does anyone else find this mind-boggling and quite ironic? If the more radical forms of women's liberation do not give us the answer, what does? Is the logical conclusion of radical feminism simply...hyper-sexualization?? Are we just doomed to being over-sexualized with poor body-images? Help!


Shannon said...

GREAT GREAT POST!! i just love it!

j'aime o'gorman said...

i assume you've read Return to Modesty? it explores this issue very in depth; i read one review describing it as "preachy," but i did not get that sense, not at all.

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