Miley Cyrus, Kim Kardashian, and even Beyonce have done women a terrible disservice. As much as I love them all, they have taken self respect and self worth away from women for the sake of money, fame, etc… They have made it acceptable if not desirable to act like a worthless, sex symbol, incapable of reaching success with their clothes on. *I am being a bit harsh, but stay with me.* How have they done this? Well, first let’s define what having self-respect is, then we can begin to touch on just how badly these three ladies, society, and other Hollywood celebs have butchered the “perfect” modern woman.
The way you speak: Does your mouth represent who you really are?
“I haven’t really seen one bad comment about my twerk video. This is the first thing! All right, I can’t sing, I can’t act, I’m dumb, I’m a hillbilly, but I can twerk, so whatever!”
Part 1: Publicly
I’m sure we can all guess who said that… which is exactly my point. Although I’m sure she meant it as a joke… Her parents, her siblings, her future spouse, and even her future children, will know she said that about herself. Miley was and still is an icon for young girls that are just now learning what is right and wrong to say… having a population of girls thinking that it is okay to act like a mindless “hillbilly” that isn’t capable of much outside of twerking, is dangerous, and terribly sad.
Don’t get me wrong, I have my moments where I lack grace and act a bit ridiculous, everyone does. However, what you say and how you say it reflects who you are and how much you really respect yourself.
Part 2: Privately
Along with the things you say publicly, the way you you speak to yourself also shows a great deal of self-respect or lack thereof. The sad part is, what Miley said about herself in public, a lot of girls say about themselves, to themselves. Speaking from experience, I would never tell a friend she was fat, ugly, talentless, stupid, undesirable, unmotivated, etc… but I never stopped to think about how often I would tell myself those things on a daily basis with not an ounce of mercy.
Being your worst enemy is a huge hit to your self esteem, which in turn affects your self-respect (they are very different).
Solution: Listen to what you say
Before you speak, know who your audience is, know that what you say holds meaning whether you want it to or not, and eventually your words will catch up with you. People will reflect what you think and say about yourself, make sure it is worth seeing.
The way you carry yourself: What do people think when they see you?
In this day an age, what you do has the potential to follow you for much longer than one drunken party, one moment of weakness, or in this case, one performance at the VMAs. As a society we have learned that making a sex tape can make you famous, twerking on a MARRIED man will make your music skyrocket, and grinding on your husband at the Grammys will make you the talk of the decade.
There is no class, no boundaries, no morals, no nothing really… A woman’s body, her actions, her sexuality, and even the relationship between her and her spouse hold very little meaning anymore. People may disagree with me on this, but I feel that once you put it all out there, you have lost of piece of yourself you can never get back. You just gave intimate parts of yourself (or your relationship) to some bozo that can afford access to the internet.
Solution: Protect who you are and who you want to be. With the touch of a finger, anything you do has the potential to follow you for years. Keep that in mind. Be the person you want people to see right now, and the person you’d want your children/parents/religious leader to stumble upon, because chances are…They will.
The way you dress
*Now, before I continue, let’s just clear up that I am NOT talking about sexual harassment, abuse, or rape… this strictly concerns modesty and self-image. It is NEVER okay to demean a woman or take advantage of her regardless of how she is dressed.*
However, that does not change that our society has set standards for what a respectable person should wear/do/say/etc… and if you mindfully breach them, you’re argument for said respect is pretty much over. My biggest pet peeve is a woman that dresses like a “skank” (aka against societies ideals for a respectable woman) and flips out when men stare at her or give her the attention her appearance calls for. I think the female body is incredible. It is curvaceous, strong, delicate, and so able (Two words: Child birth). It is meant to be treated like the precious thing that it is, not a slab of beef meant for the common Joe to have access to. Go ahead and tell me what an awful woman I am for not being “liberated” enough to embrace my body.
While you do that, I will cover my body up, and not because I am ashamed of it. On the contrary, I love my body so much that I think it deserves the right to be sacred. No man or woman should have free access to see parts of me, because I want the attention that comes with being a sex symbol/”expressing my sexuality.” I want my body to be a symbol of beauty and elegance, not an easy lay. Do I think that it is totally right for people to label a woman based on how she is dressed? Not completely. But you know what? I know society’s boundaries for classy, I know its boundaries for an easy lay/good time/ other highly sexist comment, and I play well within the boundaries of classy, educated, and respectable.
How to you play within the boundaries of easy, sleazy, or “skanky”? There are so many ways I see this happening….
Part 1: In public
I have seen shorts that look like underwear, cleavage that looks like two bald children fighting in someone’s shirt, and a few weeks ago, Rhianna just straight up showed us everything but her lady bit. There is literally nothing left to the imagination. It is a terrible image. Do you look at Miley Cyrus and think, ‘wow, she must have done so well in school?’ Have you ever looked at Kim Kardashian and thought ‘I’d love to get her opinion on current events?’ No? Didn’t think so.
Part 2: Online
It pains me to see girls posing online with their bodies exposed.
My favourite is when I see a picture with a beautiful woman, posing like a porn star, with a quote from The Notebook as a caption (don’t lie, we all have that friend). Because when I see your breast pushed up to your chin and your butt cheeks holding on to your shorts for dear life, I definitely think about falling in love with you, stealing you away from some rich guy, building you a house, marrying you, and dancing with you when we are old. JK, I was just looking at your boobs, like the person who might have offered you a real love probably was, key word: was.
Is that necessarily the best way for people to go about it? No, probably not. But if you want someone to get to know you, and love who you are, instead of what you look like…put.it.away.
Trust me, I have pictures that make my butt look like it was sculpted by the gods, but I choose to keep that under wraps until a deserving man comes along and falls in love with my mind, before I give him the opportunity to fall in love with my killer back side. I’m not saying you have to be that extreme, but PLEASE make people work a bit harder than an Instagram follow to see your intimate bits. Make them want more than just your body.
Shorts do not make you skanky, a little skin doesn’t make you a terrible person..but there are boundaries put in by society (whether we like it or not) and if you push those boundaries too hard (i.e. Rhianna’s naked dress) you cannot lose your mind when society reacts harshly.
You want friends? You want someone to love you and think you’re beautiful?
Put it away, and let the person that does fall in love with WHO you are on the inside, reap the benefits of what you are on the outside. If you don’t respect your body, who will? This all goes back to what people see when they look at you. As a society we have an idea of what respectable people should look like. Right or wrong, we do. You can express yourself however you choose to, but please understand what you are getting yourself in to. Dress accordingly, dress in a way that inspires people to get to know you instead of just looking at you, and PLEASE don’t judge or make the more modest girls feel inadequate for not following suit.
Moral of the story:
I decided to write this after I personally lost respect for Beyonce. She was my role model, and the thing I loved most about her was the fact that she was THE Queen B. Her powerful personality and class made her sexy.
That was until she released those fourteen soft-core movies, otherwise known as music videos. She became just another object all of my male friends were drooling over. She degraded herself and some how put all of her power right back into the hands of men. Her raunchy lyrics, her undignified behavior (those insane dance moves), and the total disrespect to her body, just stunned me. Where is the girl power? What respect does that command? You just handed men the power you just worked so hard to gain.
“Who run the world?” Not you Beyoncé, and at this rate, you never will.
So I’m sorry if I came off like a bit of a judgmental douche bag. I am just sick and tired of seeing woman (especially in Hollywood) undo everything that strong, dignified women, are working so hard to create for us, by making it trendy to be a mindless, piece of meat, not good for much more than “grinding on that wood” like a “surfboard.”
I would like to see my generation of women be stronger and more respectful of themselves than what has been touted as acceptable. I, like other women, have a mind, an opinion, talents, and a wonderful personality…and that is what I want people to see. Not my heinous acts at a party, not how awesome my butt looks in a bathing suit, but my heart and my mind. The image that women in Hollywood give off as “successful” and “desirable” makes it difficult for woman like me who chose to cover up and be seen for my inner beauty before revealing my outer beauty.
I will be writing a post about the flip side of this, because men are not blameless…but for now, I hope you enjoyed this, and I hope I didn’t step on too many toes. I wrote this as a girl that sometimes feels insecure about my desire to cover up and behave in a modest fashion. I sometimes feel alone in my efforts to keep my self respect. I don’t mean this as hate, I’m not saying that our boundaries and/or stereotypes are completely okay, I am simply asking women (especially like me) to exam their behavior/fashion and make sure it represents who they want to be, not who Beyonce, Kim Kardashian, or Miley Cyrus tells them is desirable.