Friday, January 18, 2013

A Striking Contrast: Beyonce vs. Albania’s ‘Sworn Virgins’

Yesterday, I somehow got into a conversation with my new officemate about feminism and whether I considered myself one or not.

I answered truthfully: That it depends on how you define the word.

If feminism is defined as demanding the subjection of the male gender, then no, I am not a feminist. Nor do I believe in the “right” to behave abominably and suffer no consequences. I believe in equality and reality, not superiority and continuous levels of irresponsibility.

But I do like to consider myself a feminist all the same. Just not the man-hating, self-loathing kind. The intelligent, classy kind who expects to be respected and works hard to earn it.

I know a lot of women who fit that brand of feminism. But it seems like the ones making the news today are the ones who talk the strong, independent talk and walk a very different walk.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but when Beyonce is posing on the front cover of GQ with the bottom of her breasts hanging out of a super-cropped sports top and a gold chain construction that, rather like a harness, wraps around her naked waist and trails up her cleavage… Well?

She makes it easy to criticize. And not just her. Beyonce makes it easy to criticize her gender.

She’s putting it on display. Making herself obtainable.

Not attainable: something that men can strive for if they only put their best foot forward. Obtainable: something that little boys with oversized egos and undersized talents can have in their bedroom for $5. Maybe less. I honestly have no idea what a GQ goes for these days.

And even Beyonce’s sex-for-sale persona aside, the fairer sex isn’t acting so fair anymore. Cheating on significant others, forming gangs and physically attacking people, and forming gangs and physically attacking people… Yes, I know I wrote that twice, but there are multiple such stories to report these days. It’s hard to keep up without being repetitive now and again.

Ladylike behavior is no longer in vogue. Easy sorority girls like Beyonce; uneducated, uncaring thugs like the teenagers in the last two links; the type of women desperate to blame men for all of their problems: It’s all thrown under the tattered, slashed and filthy cover of feminism, a word that could mean something if we only allowed it to.

The Western world’s tiredly hypocritical or inaccurate mantra of ‘gender equality’ stands in striking contrast to Albania’s ‘Sworn Virgins,’ women who swear to stay celibate for life, dressing up as men in order to enjoy the protection, rights and abilities afforded to men. “Why live like a man?” One such Virgin asks the obvious question. “Because I value my freedom.”

It’s a sad commentary. On both cultures.

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