Friday, July 15, 2011

Sex Appeal: Not Woman Enough

In this patriarchal world, it seems that any woman who hones and focuses on anything more than having sex appeal is dismissed as immature, boring, less female and unattractive. The very basis of this form of female subjugation demands the display of skin for the purpose of enticing a male gaze.

This kind of attitude is not hard to miss and I see poor teenage girls falling prey to this shoddy ideology, dressing in ways that do not fit their age and spending more time being attractive for boys than channeling energy into excelling at sports and academics, thinking about what potential career paths are fitting for their particular personality types.

The world we inhabit encourages girls to grow believing that their worth is measured by their appearance and, of course, ideological state apparatus' such as the media, family, and even religion has women thinking that they should work over-time at improving their looks. Once for wearing loose jeans, I had someone inform me that I was "selling myself short". Imagine that. Really? Not reaching my full potential is not achieving my goals. The last time I checked. My goals did not include wearing life-sapping skinny jeans that cause itching, sweat and blocked follicles that may result in rash for the sake of looking good.

These pressures put on women is one reason I was compelled to read 'The Beauty Myth' by Naomi Wolf last year which, though exaggerated and focused more on the plight of white, middle-class women in North America, struck a major chord in my mind.

The lack of coverage of female sports is, without surprise, also a consequence of this line of thinking. Without a sexist gender binary in place, women's sports would be taken just as seriously as males. This article at Gender Across Borders explains the link between this phenomenon and sexism quite well.

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