What Are They Thinking?

Before I begin, I want to set the record straight. Despite claims by my husband who is convinced that I was the topless girl on the roof of a car in the movie “Woodstock” (he wasn’t there by the way, I was), I’ve never been topless anywhere in public in my entire life.

That being said, few things disgust me more than seeing young women debase themselves in clubs, on beaches, in schools, or just about anywhere else there’s a camera.  I never knew, until very recently, this type of behavior has a name and is now part of what’s known as the “raunch culture,” according to Ariel Levy.

I started noticing this behavior during reports about Spring break where hundreds of young women, wearing next to nothing, grind up against other women or men, act vulgar, chug-a-lug beer, or expose themselves in front of a camera.  If asked, I don’t think any one of these women could give me the definition of “modesty.”

I then read that Joe Francis, founder of “Girls Gone Wild,” won a lawsuit brought by a woman who claimed that GGW had damaged her reputation when it distributed a video of her dancing provocatively in a local bar.  The jury found that, although she hadn’t signed a release, she had no expectation of privacy when playing up to the camera.

Let me say that I believe Joe Francis is an absolutely despicable character who has made millions exploiting women.  But, if women chose not to behave in such a slutty fashion, Joe Francis, Hugh Hefner, Larry Flynt and Bob Guccione would not have made their fortunes.  Let me repeat that, if women stopped exposing their breasts allowing themselves to be filmed doing it, or photographed for their 15-minutes of fame in men’s magazines, these guys would not have jobs.

Apparently, women are not pursuing “the confident, self-determined, powerful, free ideal the women’s liberation movement dreamed for its daughters.” You’d think that the feminists would be up in arms about this type of behavior and exploitation.

Instead, I found a disturbing article entitled “My Sluthood, Myself” (which may not reflect the attitude of hard-line feminists, but is worth mentioning here).  The author writes about her recent break-up and choosing to embark on a lifestyle of sexual empowerment.  “Sluthood …is a choice we should all have access to because it has the potential to be liberating. Healing. Soul-fulfilling… [S]luthood saved me,… and I want it to be available to you if you ever think it could save you, too.”   Thank you, but I’d rather set myself on fire.

How this behavior will ever enable someone to achieve their goal of actually finding a stable, loving relationship is beyond me.  It sounds great for the men who benefit from this behavior, but it doesn’t sound very liberating or empowering for women.  It sounds harmful and denigrating which reminds me of a case I had when I did trial work.

The court ordered a psychological evaluation of a young woman who worked as a stripper and who was trying to regain custody of her young daughter.  When asked by the psychologist to discuss her lifestyle, she admitted abusing alcohol and responded, “Do you think I could do this (stripping) if I was sober?”  Nothing in that report hinted of liberation or empowerment to me – only a deep sense of sadness.

Probably the worst thing I’ve read recently is about Montana Fishburne, who decided to make a porno DVD to advance her non-existent career.  She considered the “success” achieved by Kim Kardashian after the release of her sex tape.  “I’m impatient about getting well-known and having more opportunities and this seemed like a great way to get started on it.”  This girl is 19 years old and she’s impatient about her career?  I couldn’t even begin to figure out what’s going on in her head.  I’m sure her father, Lawrence, is very proud.

Why do women, in 2010, behave like this and deliberately allow themselves to be objectified and subjugated for pocket change or 15 minutes of fame?  Ms. Levy suggests part of it may have to do with the adulation of porn stars, strippers and prostitutes who flaunt their seemingly successful lives.  For some women, “raunchy” equates to liberation and empowerment.

I think it stems from their upbringing or lack thereof.  Have they not been taught the meaning of modesty or the value of self-respect?  How screwed up and misguided is someone who thinks exposing themselves on Spring break or making a porn movie is the right thing to do?

I’m not a psychologist but common sense dictates that this type of behavior can come to no good.  My guess is that a lot of it stems from drug and/or alcohol abuse.  From what I’ve seen, it also looks as if these young women crave attention.  Judge Judy (“I want to be Judge Judy when I grow up”) often tells young people on her show they should get an education and seek attention by achieving something positive and worthwhile in their lives, not by having multi-colored hair, tattoos or piercings.  In other words, young people should say “look at me” for the right reasons.

What I see instead is behavior devoid of any dignity or self-discipline resulting in a distorted view of one’s self and worth.  We’re seeing very destructive behavior which, I believe, will have long term negative effects.  I don’t get why it has increased so dramatically and is so pervasive in our culture, and, if you do, God bless you.

Author Bio:

For over twenty years, Leona has tried to heed her husband’s advice, “you don’t have to say everything you think.” She’s failed miserably. Licensed to practice law in California and Washington, she works exclusively in the area of child abuse and neglect. She considers herself a news junkie and writes about people and events on her website, “I Don’t Get It,” which she describes as the “musings of an almost 60-year old conservative woman on political, social and cultural life in America.” It’s not her intention to offend anyone who “gets it.” She just doesn’t. Originally from Brooklyn, and later Los Angeles, she now lives with her husband, Michael, on a beautiful island in the Pacific Northwest, which she describes as a bastion of liberalism.
Author website: http://www.idontgetit.us
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  • Teddi

    It is complex when you look at the reasons women may behave in such a fashion. Despite those reasons, women are still making choices and are keeping this kind of industry going. You are right, Leona, without them, the people exploiting them do not have a job.

  • A. D. HENDRICKS

    Somewhere along the way (maybe it began with the ‘greatest generation': The WWII bunch) we stopped disciplining the young and instead we adopted the permissive teachings of people like Dr. Spock and the multitudes of experts on the subject that have followed ever since. No one wanted to grow old, everyone wanted
    to keep their own private party going and junior was given enough money to stay
    out of the way for weeks at a time. What can you expect from that?

    If we don’t bring SHAME back into this picture there will never be change for the
    better. It will only get worse. Like some talking head said recently: “If God doesn’t destroy Hollywood he owes Sodom and Gomorah an apology!”

  • Roger Ward

    Of course, you’re right, Leona. It’s a sad commentary … but I don’t know that this behavior is new. I’ve heard similar hand-wringing stories about the flapper girls of the ’20s, the big-band groupies of the ’40s, the “devil without a cause” girls of the ’50s, the stoned-out flower girls of the ’60s, the casual drugs and sex disco girls of the ’70s, the coke-wired girls of the ’80s, and the beer-chugging, crotch-grinding, spring break girls of the ’90s. (Strangely, I’ve not heard about such behavior from girls of the ’30s.)

    I think what is new is the sheer numbers of girls who for the last twenty years or so, are so willing to debase themselves so completely and so publicly. There have always been a number of lost girls over whom we can just shake our heads sadly … but now I see such behavior everywhere. Is it just that with the internet and its Facebook promise of fifteen minutes of fame, as well as all the other forms of media and communication, that we are so aware of their behavior? Has the number of such participants actually increased … or just our awareness of their self destructive behavior?

    I don’t know what the answer is, but I do know that there are a lot of girls and women who “age out” of such excess … but can they really leave behind such lives? Can they just walk away from such libertine excess, without personal penalty? Do they become the same wonderful wives and mothers they would have been? Or have they damaged themselves forever? I wonder if they can ever look back on their lives with anything but profound regret. (Sigh.)

  • C, Lowe

    “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, TO DO THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE NOT FITTING; being filled with all unrighteousness, SEXUAL IMMORALITY, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, PROUD, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, UNDISCERNING, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful;. . .”
    Romans 1: 28-31

  • C, Lowe

    “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, TO DO THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE NOT FITTING; being filled with all unrighteousness, SEXUAL IMMORALITY, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, PROUD, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobediet to parents, UNDISCERNING, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful;. . .”
    Romans 1: 28-31

  • Candace

    I agree with this, as well. I see too many young people looking for attention, any attention, by the way they present themselves. I hear that it is their way of “expressing their creativity and originality.” I have yet to discover how behaving promiscuously is creative or original. I think it’s far more appropriate to express creativity in a way that actually IS creative and original.

  • Carolyn

    I completely agree. We also have this notion of instant fame for no talent. That is what reality T.V. has given us. With this instant fame comes free stuff, high paychecks, for doing absolutley nothing of value. This generation doesn’t want to work for the money so they figure they can behave poorly and still have a payout. This is all that has been modeled for them. If we change this, perhaps there is some hope for this generation to pick themselves up and be productive, thoughtful, and clothed citizens.

  • Ron

    I think the behavior is the exception, not the norm. We are not constantly exposed to the norm. When I was in the Army in Korea, 99% of the soldiers went to the bars with prostitutes when they got a day off. There was a bowl of condoms at the desk where we signed to get our passes. It might be that we are seeing more of the behavior because the media’s fascination with it. I would not like to be judged by my behavior between 18 and 25. The big difference is, I did not do anything such as piercings, tatoos, etc. that are not reversible.

    • http://www.idontgetit.us Leona Salazar

      I think the vulgarity exhibited by young people is far more prevalent than we’d like to admit. The language, alone, used by young people today in public is disgraceful. I’ve heard seemingly nice kids use the “F” word in just about every sentence when talking with one another in public as if no one else was around. For most of us, our behavior during our adolescent/teen/young adult years has not been indelibly recorded on videotape and on the internet. I can’t believe any of these young women in twenty years will say, “Boy, I’m sure glad I did that on Spring break back in 2010.”

      • Ron

        I don’t know if the vulgarity is more or less prevalent today. I think the exposure to it is greater. In addition, all of our indiscretions were not recorded and posted on the internet. We also, for the most part, did not have tatoos and body piercings that we would have to live with forever. On the other hand, I don’t know what previous generations thought of our behavior. Our generation popularized the use of drugs, introduced free sex and made pornography readily available.

  • CCNV

    “What Are They Thinking?” They’re not…because they have never been taught HOW. My opinion of why teens/young adults act the way they do (both male and female) is because of three things: 1) There was no discipline in the home, b) a television was their teacher, and c) availability of meds.

    Children want/need discipline and guidance from their parents, not a friend to ‘hang’ with. Propping a child in front of a television is not the same as spending one-on-one time with them. ADD meds are too often thrown at children behaving like children…and they become zombies sitting in front of a television.

    When these children become teens, they start seeking approval and attention from the wrong people for the wrong reasons. They have not been taught to respect themselves; thus, the behavior we witness today. Remember: These are the people who will be taking care of us in our ‘golden years’.

  • http://bernardgoldberg.com Scarlett

    The article is so correct. If I had done the things some of the young women do now days, my parent’s would have committed me to a insane ward, and been right to do it. I can not understand for the life of me , why? the young women feels it is necessary to expose them self and act like skanks, to get attention. Are they so in love with themself or braindamaged. I think it is the latter. Where are the ladies now days, the ones that respect them self and dress like one. Sex does not sell everything, example is self respect.