“If you dress like a slut, you will be treated like one.” You may be surprised to learn that this critique of the photo above came from the fingertips of a woman. As mentioned in my previous post Roar of Rebellion it seems as though the topic of sexuality that most unhinges the masses is that of feminine empowerment.
Popular media spits oversexualized images of women at the rate of an industrial photo copier. From beer commercials to razor advertisements, semi nude women dominate visual consumption. So accustomed to the objectification of women have we grown, that these stratifying messages of subjugation become diminished and normalized.
When a woman intentionally expresses her own sexuality, however, the reproachful response flames. Perhaps even more interesting than the ardent incrimination of women purposefully baring their own flesh, is that the fervent castigation usually comes from women. Why might this be? Wouldn’t it only seem natural for those of the female persuasion to laud each other in the name of female empowerment?
Several possible explanations might include jealousy, a severe detour in gender expression and sexuality, perceived threats to the patriarchal status quo, or something completely different. The power of an ideology is that its illustrations seem only natural. When a woman is believed to be naturally uninterested in sexual behavior, society is quick to defend that assumption as correct. Any evidence to the contrary will be refuted in order to maintain the status quo.
The price of resistance, therefore, may likely include demeaning commentary. The cost of adhering to subjugating roles for women, though, is most definitely far more detrimental for us all.