I’m going to use mainstream music videos as a reference point, as it happens there more than anywhere else I can think of.
The most amazingly talented women, with voices that send shivers up and down your spine, decide to use provocative clothing that show more than they conceal, dance moves that look like they were taken directly from a striptease club, and facial expressions that seem like they are about to either have an orgasm or give someone else an orgasm.
I just don’t get it.
Their talent is such an asset yet they choose to devalue it by accompanying it with subconscious sexual suggestions. They probably attract more men to watch their videos this way. But the message they bring to all their viewers, men and women, young and old, is clear. A woman’s body is a tool to be used. To manipulate other people with.
You probably hate me by now, thinking that I’m some sort of puritanical preacher who thinks women should hide their body. Which is quite the opposite of what I believe in.
I will never argue that women should cover themselves for fear of making men lust them, or that modesty is some kind of virtue we need to pursue. I know it is their right and their choice, there is no doubt about it. Any person that finds it offensive, disturbing, or “inviting” need to look within themselves and get over it. Women are allowed to wear whatever they fucking want. No questions asked. But understanding that what we wear is an expression of what we represent and how we want everyone to see us as is imperative, especially if millions of people are watching. The question I’m asking is, what is the message that these women promote.
When women choose to deliberately display their body in a way that is undeniably interpreted as arousing — I have to ask myself why. The most obvious answer is, they want to attract attention. And not just any kind of attention — being overtly sexual, the attention they attract is of a sexual nature. It says my body is to be used for sex by someone else.
Your body is to be used for sex.
Everyone that enjoys sex uses their body for sex. It’s one of the most enjoyable things adults can do with their bodies. But contrary to what we have been conditioned to believe, truly, wholeheartedly savoring the pleasure of sex does not come from looking a certain way. It has nothing to do with how you look, how you move, or how you perform.
The distinction here is between using your body a certain way in order to elicit arousal in someone else, vs. using your body a certain way in order to allow yourself to be who you are in the moment, and maximizing your own unique experience of pleasure. This does not necessarily look anything like you think it should. Real, authentic sex does not look like porn, magazines, popular movies. Or video clips.
In some cases, using your body sexually is very relevant.
Sometimes it’s appropriate and makes lots of sense.
Like, when using your body to get your partner on board when you want to have sex.
When you are a model of sexy lingerie.
Or if you are a striptease artist and using your sex moves are your way to earn a decent living.
When you do that in a safe place, from an empowered place, I would say that’s marvelous. You are the master of your own body and you get to decide what to do with it, when, and with whom.
But I don’t see how using your body to attract someone else in order to promote your music video is empowering.
I see it as manipulative.
I don’t like it when people use manipulation in order to achieve something.
And as influencers, famous female singers who use their bodies this way might want to believe they’re saying “I am strong and I can use my body any way I like”. But what they’re really saying is “this body is going to gain me more popularity and I need to use it because my singing talent won’t do it all by itself”.
Women have been using their bodies to manipulate men since the dawn of humanity. It used to be their most readily available tool to control men through ages that women had no say and no rights in pretty much anything. In those contexts, using their bodies was an excellent strategy to adopt.
Luckily for us, Western society has given women enough liberties to be able to show off our real talent. To achieve nearly anything men can. Although we are still not equal, we have the capacity to work toward true equality without using manipulations. Just by using our voices and our straightforward sense of justice.
We are powerful enough as human beings, as women. We don’t need to use our bodies to prove that we are talented.
Sex is not something we give men. Sex is not something we seduce men into. Sex is a loving act that we enjoy when we choose to enjoy it.
Please, let’s all stop using our bodies to perpetuate a message that keeps us in the dark ages of patriarchy.