A few weeks ago I read an interesting piece in the Guardian that was written by the wonderful Hadley Freeman, written in after Robin Thicke had just defended his ridiculous song and video. In the piece, Freeman was discussing the use of the word “empower” and how, due to its use by topless models and the like, it has lost its true meaning. In her piece she argued that women should abandon the word and inside find another word with a similar meaning.
As someone that despises topless magazines, it has long angered me that glamour models believe that posing naked and conforming to the “lad” culture, believe that they are empowering fellow women, genuinely believing that posing topless is pushing against the boundaries that culture places upon us, but in my opinion they are wrong. In order for the act to be empowering in the grand scheme of the world, it must do something to better the life of women on this planet, to advance our stance toward equality. In the same way that many argue Thatcher was the ultimate feminist icon (she didn’t, it was all-women shortlists that did), many believe that bearing flesh in public is a step towards equality; they are simply believing what the media want us to believe. Next time you go into your local supermarket, take a look at the magazines around you and tell me where you see topless men, but I know what the answer will be. Yes there will be topless men there, but not the covers of the women’s glossy magazines but on the front of the health magazines, hardly being sexualised. A good rule of them when it comes to these sorts of issues, is to ask yourself one question – would men ever be put in this situation?
Anyway back onto the article at hand, I completely disagree with Hadley on one small thing, we should not abandon the word that perfectly explains exactly what women need because ultimately that is another win for misogyny. Instead let’s reclaim the words, lets take back control of our own lives and show these idiots exactly how fantastic and diverse that us women are!
So from here on in, I propose that we use these words as much as possible and insert them back into our vocabulary.
- Feminism- obviously
- Sexism- I hate it so much when men use this!