Thursday, April 27, 2017

Bullet Style

I apologize for ranting on at length about this, but I have an exhaustively analytical mind that sometimes has a tendency to attach itself to things like a hungry Metroid, sucking out all the life until there's nothing left but a hollow shell.

And it's just, this note - it seems all over the place. If it weren't so poorly constructed, I'd think it was a deliberate plant to raise awareness. (Hell, it could even have been designed to make feminism look bad). But my belief is that if something is worth doing, it's worth doing right. So I'm going to tear it apart piece by piece.

"I am sixteen."

Establishing a fact (I can only presume) that is relevant to the author's argument - fine.

"The sexualization of my body is not my problem; it's yours."

The issue of "sexualization" is problematic, but the placement of blame here is sound. Any actions that result from another perceiving this girl in a sexual light is their issue to deal with, and not the girl's responsibility to remedy.

"You should not be sexualizing a sixteen-year-old."

Alright, you lost me. This is where the "sexualization" angle falls utterly apart. If the girl were not sixteen but eight, it might hold a little more water. Like it or not, biology ensures that the vast majority of sixteen year old human females are sexually mature. Exploiting the modern hysteria around youthful sexuality is not productive - it's a low blow, and it opens up a whole different can of worms. It's a discussion worth having, but it detracts (and distracts) from the point being made, and is on the wrong side of the issue anyway. But even if the girl in question were only eight years old, making this issue about the appropriateness of sexuality completely destroys its credibility. If eight year old girls are allowed to wear shorts because they're too young for their bodies to be viewed sexually, then what excuse do 24 year old women who wear skirts have? Saying "I can wear what I want because I'm sexless" is not only problematic, it's not even true!

"You should not be teaching young girls their bodies are inherently sexual."

As above, I hate to break it to you, but Homo sapiens is a sexual organism, and, politically correct or not, biology has seen to it (and history bears out) that most females are ready to procreate before age 16 (whether they should in our modern society or not). We should be teaching young girls about the inherently sexual nature of their bodies (and all of our bodies), so that they will be prepared to deal with the attention they are inevitably going to receive once they start puberty (if not before). This is an unavoidable fact of life. But it doesn't have to be unpleasant. We should prepare girls for it (as we simultaneously teach boys how to deal with the feelings they'll be having), not bury our heads in the sand and naively hope that things will work themselves out on their own.

"...or inappropriate."

On this count I agree wholeheartedly, although many might not. There is an argument to be made about what level of decorum is "appropriate" in certain situations - such as school. Very few people would argue that exposing your genitals in a school atmosphere is "appropriate" (although I might be one of them). How, then, does telling a girl that her genitals are inappropriate send a significantly different message than saying the same thing about her legs? If this is a feminist issue, there has been no mention whatsoever about how the rules may or may not differ for girls than they do for boys. That would have been pertinent information.

"We are people, not objects."

This is more feminist rhetoric that suggests the specious concept of "objectification". Yes, girls are people. People have bodies. Bodies are objects. We can talk about people's bodies without forgetting that they belong to people. There is no description given here to lend evidence to the claim that the author is being treated more like an unthinking, unfeeling object than a conscious human being (who must, therefore, follow the rules of society).

"Stop policing my wardrobe."

Although I would agree with this imperative - as I believe in the concept of radical freedom of dress - it rather undermines the author's argument. Although it is not clear from the limited context (I can't find a news source for the image), if the conflict has taken place in school, we come to the issue of whether the school has the right to impose a dress code. The general consensus is that yes, it does. If this were a protest of that right, I'm not sure what all this talk about "sexualization" and "objectification" has to do with it. Furthermore, there is not much of an argument being made about why the school should not have this right. If the conflict had not taken place at school, it either occurred somewhere else where a dress code is in effect (e.g., a church); otherwise, the argument becomes even flimsier, as I am not aware of any situation where a girl is not permitted to wear shorts in public (in this or any free country). In that case, the girl would not be responding to a restriction of her liberties, but merely railing against some actual or perceived criticism against her freely made choices. Although less serious, I would support her in this endeavor, if only she were making a better argument, instead of falling back on feminist buzz words to garner hollow sympathy.

"It's warm out. I'm wearing shorts."

Amen. I find myself a little surprised to be spending so much time refuting a young girl's defense of her decision to wear shorts. I love it when young girls wear shorts. And I think they should not only have the freedom, but be socially encouraged to do so. But that's why I wish she'd made a stronger argument. By equating the controversy surrounding her decision to wear shorts with the shaming of men and the "objectification" of her body, she's associating it with the worst aspects of feminism. How about, "It's a free country, and I'm perfectly capable of making my own decisions. If I want to wear shorts, I'll wear shorts. After all, boys can wear shorts. What you think of my body is your business, not mine. I like my body just fine, and that's all there is to it." Now that is a positive, liberating message I could get behind!

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