Million Dollar Babies
Madonna was the risk taker in my youth with her book Sex in 1992 but even at the time, despite the controversy over its silver foil wrapping, the majority of my village rolled their eyes and asked for The Daily Telegraph.
You see, it’s whom you surround yourself by that creates the influence, not necessarily the female power houses that take jaunts on demolition balls in their music videos whilst wearing their dad’s underpants. Miley Cyrus? She’s a teenager, going through a phase; and instead of sharing it like the rest of us did with our best friend in the attic of our three bed semi-detached house, she does it to stadiums filled with girls just seven years younger, possibly confused as to why she is gallivanting around a giant statue of Bill Clinton. I hold no judgment on Miley, for the music execs, as long as profit maintains, see no need to change. My question is: what was the real dream?
Jameela Jamil’s interview for The Guardian with John Plunkett flew viral after many shared her viewpoint on the sabotage of female empowerment:
You have women using their sexuality themselves… marketing it themselves… and they’re calling it an empowerment because they’re taking back the ownership of their bodies. But they’re not, they’re just further perpetuating something that was created by men in this industry, and these men aren’t thinking, ‘Wow, they’re really powerful’; they’re thinking, ‘Hah. I don’t even have to take responsibility for this, everything I’ve wanted is now happening, freely, all the time…’ We are literally sabotaging ourselves… This overt and almost obsessive use of body parts… doesn’t help.
When a female’s music plummets, because she’s void of the exquisite tones of Adele, add risqué to the décolletage and hike up the skirt, because if we can get males buying her stuff, then she’s the next million dollar baby. Sex sells, much more than a well-crafted lyric or chord rift. Meanwhile, we’re selling ourselves short – of original thought.
Where does this leave our ever so sweet pre-teenagers, victim now to daylight MTV robbery of their own innocence? Between 2000 and 2010, depression doubled in women. More teenagers are committing suicide and the more we self-objectify ourselves, the lower our ambition becomes. It’s a sad state of science. And it’s not what the Suffragettes fought for. Whilst tubes were being forced fed down their throats, were they really fighting for us to take ownership of our own sexuality, or so that we could dream again, without having to be seen as the ditzy, label-hugging codependents, so often surreptitiously humiliated on US reality shows? Female empowerment wasn’t about creating the walking sex object; it was so that women could have no limits. Overt sexuality causes competition, judgment and misunderstanding – good luck with the dreaming.
This isn’t about being prudish. Trust me. I love the sound of my boyfriend’s wolf whistles; but that’s not where my validation comes from, and I’m not a victim, never have been, to what women exhibit in entertainment. No one is victim to another’s expression, unless they’re easily influenced or believe that they have no value.
This need to be shockingly sexual is not satiating our desires, it’s threatening our intellect. It comes and goes with youth and it’s the youthful artists – Britney, Christina Aguilera, Avril Lavigne – who will confess that sexuality doesn’t hold respect, it sells fantasy. Their music skyrocketed for a bum-exposure moment, then it came crashing down. Spending most of our days trying to keep our skin tone tight will not help us emulate my real heroes: Aung San Suu Kyi, Condoleezza Rice, the real power women with legacies that will outlive their own century.
The buck has to stop here. Yes, embrace your desirability, embrace your sexuality, but don’t seek attention in the moguls who play on controversy, teenager rebellion and twerking. Don’t seek to be nothing but sexual for men. You’re likely to attract the ones that won’t really take care of your heart. You’re bigger, better than that. The only people who last are the ones who follow their dreams. The ones who rise and fall are the ones who take on other people’s dreams.
Women today live in the finest generation to date because people before you fought for decades to give you the freedom you so desperately deserved. They worked for the land so that you could build on it. It’s a good time to be alive, so use life wisely, put down the endless selfies of your stunning face and pick up your soul. Pick up your dreams and stop hoping your destiny will finally be discovered in the approval of another. Become proud of your own significance, by encouraging each other and going boldly where no Victoria’s Secret bra has ever been before.
Words by Carrie Grace Lloyd