Oh how I wish I wasn't writing this, and yet here I sit, swaying between sheer disbelief and plain old nausea.
There's a chance that you might have come across the following video over the last few days; 'Virtue Makes You Beautiful', which I am hereby re-naming "Sl*t-Shaming Makes You A C*ck." (Excuse the language; that's the aforementioned nausea talking...)
To be fair, these young Mormons really aren't to blame. They are doing what they believe to be right, but they are working within some pretty confining parameters; the patriarchal iron fence that keeps the c*ck (whoops, I mean clock) ticking and the status-quo untouched. The status-quo being that women must look and act a specific way in order to be viewed as acceptable and (if we are really "lucky") "beautiful."
Beautiful to others.
You see, in a song supposedly about "self-respect," there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of the female "self" at play here. The virtuous and beautiful girl that these boys are dreaming about is obviously hiding away her sense of self with her cleavage and upper thighs... because the female form is something to be ashamed of, right?
Unsurprisingly, I want more for my daughter. More self-belief. More self-respect. More...self. I want my daughter growing up to believe that she is valued and loved for exactly who she chooses to be and for exactly how she chooses to express herself. Whether she wears low cut shirts, buttoned-up blouses, or football jerseys, I want her to have the freedom to live life on her own terms and not in answer to another person's fairytale modesty code.
Some reading this will likely be asking, what's the big deal? After all, it's just a bunch of kids trying to get the message out that a girl is worth more than her chest, isn't it?
Because this video (sadly) does not exist inside a vacuum. The "Sl*t-Shaming Makes You A C*ck" video is just a product of a bigger problem.
Here's the Big Deal.
Your lack of maternity leave.
Your lower earning potential as a woman.
Your "bossy" daughter who sucks at math, versus your "driven" son who has a real handle on his pocket money.
Your friend-of-a-friend who was sexually assaulted but is unable and unwilling to prosecute because she must have been 'asking for it' in those stilettos and that mini.
Your knowledge of at least 10 adjectives to describe sexually promiscuous women, versus just one or two to describe sexually promiscuous men.
Your fear of breastfeeding in public.
Your distaste at your own body... your breasts, your ass, your belly.
Your fight for birth control.
As I watch these young men in grey suits jump for glee, I'm reminded of the fact that it's 2014 and there is still a huge need for (dare I say it?) feminisim. My ears are ringing with the line "I need your modesty"... why, young man? To further control and define another human as your property and sexual right?
I am a woman... a mother... a person. I do not accept this "norm" as being OK. This norm of sl*t-shaming; this norm of assuming anything and everything about a person based on the clothes that he or she chooses to wear (or not). Where does it stop, exactly? Does exposing my thighs make me worthless? How about my knees? My ankles? My toes? And what are the deciding factors? Geography? Religion? Social class?
If we are forever shaping ourselves according to other people's values and controls, we will loose our sense of self to actually shape.
So yes, my language hasn't been particularly polite, but I'm saying "no" to this norm. Here's hoping that the "Sl*t-Shaming Makes You A C*ck" video will open just a few eyes to the inequalities still festering. Here's to drawing light to the Big Deal.
This post originally appeared on Mama Bean Parenting.
Start here, with the latest stories and news in progressive parenting. Learn more