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.