“She's got no charisma of any kind [but] I can imagine her being mildly useful to a low-rank porn director.”
― Christopher Hitchens
According to a quick internet search, Christopher Hitchens is known for his scathing "wit". This is wit? This is what we've come to as a country for humor? So fueled into anti Puritanism, that we've succumbed to classlessness? Would it make any difference if you knew he made this comment about Sarah Palin? Now, I'm no fan of Palin's and I claim no political affiliation but this was said purely because of her gender, her sex and nothing more. I'm no dummy but I've certainly not attained the ranks of being elected as the United States Vice-President running mate. It is incredulous to claim that the only job suitable to this human being, this woman, is to lie on her back (or otherwise!) objectified and/or ridiculed for the mastubatory purposes of males.
The new backlash for any woman that claims objection to the objectification of women is that somehow we're not "cool". The new "cool", the new women's rights, seems to be a disconnection between our femininity and pride. Somehow, to be "cool" we have to prove ourselves as one of the guys, be open to objectifying ourselves and our female peers. We are either "haters" or "prudes" if we dissent from the common opinion that women are objects and can begun being seen as so, as soon as we enter puberty. After all, it is ingrained in our DNA, it is natural, isn't it?
No! It is not. As a matter of fact, I know because I am a female! It is not natural for a man to look or covet a female as soon as she hits puberty. It is unnatural and can make a young female feel this way as well, making her believe she is unnatural. With the amount of hormones in our food and the lack of natural light and air that our ancestors experienced, it is even more unnatural to claim some sort of sanctuary in the "fact" that our ancestors did it.
I recently did a genealogy search on my family. My great-grandmother grew up in an abusive household and married my 29 year old great-grandmother at 13 years old. I'm told this seemed like a blessing to my great-great grandmother, who bore my great grandmother as the product of an affair during a failed attempt to leave my step-great-great grandfather. After going through census records of the late 1800s and early 1900s, I see this was not normal. This did not characterize the times. There were "normal" age differences of 2 - 6 years but by no means was marrying 13 year olds commonplace.
What brings this up? I've excitedly waited for the premiere of "Hell on Wheels" for weeks now. I get into the second hour of the show and Buchanan (the lead character), visits a Mormon's house to gain additional land for the railroad (the show is about pushing the Railroad West in a post-Civil War America). As Buchanan eats dinner, the camera focuses on a young girl, maybe 13-15 years old. I could tell the director was getting ready to sexualize her by the lighting and the low shy gaze on her face (because you know, that's hot- quiet, underage and ready to be victimized) and I thought, "No, really? I want to enjoy this show and keep my dinner down". No sooner than I thought that than the next scene cuts to him having sex with her in a barn while her brother watches. With that I turned off the show and according to the feed on their website, so did a lot of other women.
Hyper-sensitive? Don't I know this is a historical show? I call BULLSHIT> Yep! I cursed. I use it for emphasis because there is nothing else to describe the pervasive attitude that has crept into us as a common humanity since the influx of internet media. As a 33 year old, I've grown up with the internet and Facebook was part of my college years. I would never post photos of me naked online or such. I'm just too private. I value my body and its privacy.
I first noticed the pervasive attitude of misogyny toward women, as a waitress at a national restaurant chain in college. As I brought a group of white males their food and drinks, they were loudly bragging to one another about how they "raped" a video game, yeah dude they like totally racked up in points and "raped" this video game. Do you get it? Do you see the problem of this? When we lessen the meaning of words, when we lessen the hate they bring and belittle this real occurrence to women; we take away their power. The word "rape" needs to be a horrible word that is rarely uttered. We need to be shocked over the amount of rapes that happen in this country and not wait to be horrified at the actions that take place in other countries, unaware of what happens in our own figurative backyard. The problem is us, the problem is here, we are responsible.
(Even though this image was placed in Vogue magazine, I edited the photo. The real photo is here: sharifhamza.com It should be obvious I do not endorse this.)
When we allow these images to sell to us, we are as much to blame- there is no market if there is no demand. Recently, someone said to me, "Well, the photos already exist. If someone uses them, how is that providing more demand?". My answer, "Because you are providing documentation for the need for a product. Your actions are part of a bigger piece of society that promotes the victimization of others. "
I seriously do not think men would feel the same if women did the same to them. Ugghhhh! I could go on about this forever but I think I'm going to put some of this anger into a letter to AMC. I'd really hate to have to permanently boycott the show and miss my Elam and Eva fix (Common and Robin McLeavy). Think about what I've said though, public, it is the small day-to-day decisions that we make that make the bigger differences in others' lives.