30 Days of Truth: Day Seventeen

A book you’ve read that changed your views on something.

I’m not sure how to narrow this down to one book, as I read regularly and different perspectives change our consciousness.

The most relevant book I’ve read lately, one that definitely triggered a light-bulb has been Enlightened Sexism by Susan Douglas.

I’ve always felt that a woman’s value was somehow determined by her sexuality (or lack thereof). And all those girls who claimed to “like” dressing in revealing clothes because they like feeling sexy… I just couldn’t put my finger on what left me feeling uneasy about it all. I mean, sure feeling sexy is great, I’m not anti-sex or sexuality (sex is an important and wonderful aspect of life), but… weren’t they kind of programmed to feel that way? Weren’t they just a link in the chain of exploited women with some sort-of messed up Stockholm Syndrome? But what’s different about a celebrity’s blatant sexuality than mine (although mine is on an infinitely lesser scale – the “sexiest” thing I own is an uncomfortable push-up bra that I’ll occasionally squeeze into to get Steve’s heart racing)?

I could never put my finger on the problem, or explain exactly what it is that left me feeling unsettled… but Douglas did. She nailed it all and went into intricate detail about it all.

Basically, her view is that the portrayal of men as bumbling idiots (you listening, generic sitcom Dad?) is detrimental to women. Those men guffaw over bouncing breasts, the women roll their eyes because of course he’d guffaw, he’s an idiot! It’s nothing to be offended by! So we laugh at men, because men are idiots, or at least their stereotype is, put up with being ogled or evaluated by them and their interpretation of our bodies (because they just can’t help themselves). Long story short, we become used to being “graded”, they get used to doing so, and every body’s happy! (Or at least sexually exploited.)

If you want a more coherent or in-depth explanation, I really recommend this read. It’s funny and while a little long in the tooth at times (I didn’t really need to learn that much about Melrose Place), definitely worth the time and money.

So while this book didn’t necessarily change my views, it helped legitimize what I’ve been trying to articulate for almost a decade.

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