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“TITS. TITS EVERYWHERE!” is what I shouted when I first saw the unrated video for Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke. Four minutes and thirty-two seconds of well-dressed men dancing around with women clad only in thongs and heels.
‘What is feminism?’ I thought. ‘Was that a dream I had?’ Following this enraging titty video, this week’s tabloid-storm involving Nigella Lawson being the recipient of domestic violence, and a subsequent chauvinistic tweet from MEP Nick Griffin (‘If I had the opportunity to squeeze Nigella Lawson, her throat wouldn’t be my first choice’), I took to Twitter with a feminist rant. I won’t regurgitate everything I said, but it involved a lot of interrobangs and zingers like ‘Apparently the penal law in America bans women from walking topless in public. PENILE law, more like.’
Feminism is simply the desire for women to have the same rights as men. As a gender egalitarian, my main hunger for humanity is equal rights for both sexes and all genders. Feminism, therefore, is something of sincere importance to me, since women are largely under-represented in many fields, and yet they are a majority. And the reason they are so under-represented, as far as I’m aware, is because of insane backlash. Like the backlash classicist Mary Beard got after she appeared on Question Time which won her a ‘Twat of the Week’ award on a website called ‘Don’t Start Me Off’ and endless Twitter abuse.
What was more concerning about my Twitter rant RE: the Robin Thicke video was some of the response I got from it. “Those women aren’t MADE to get naked in music videos.” “That Marina [and the Diamonds] video had lots of near-naked guys in it. Is that not similar?” My response was “NO IT’S NOT COCKING SIMILAR”. And here’s why – the entire second Marina and the Diamonds album was a satire about things like celebrity culture and the power men have over women in relationships and society. The video the respondent was referring to is for ‘How To Be A Heartbreaker’ – the title itself already suggesting some sort of irony. The pop world is full of women being paraded around with their clothes off, and Marina’s intention was to satirise that by having men parade around in communal showers in PVC underwear.
Saying the women in the Robin Thicke video aren’t ‘made’ to get naked in music videos is technically accurate – but it’s the fact that it seems to be required of women to get naked if they want to be in a music video. You don’t see many men paid for getting into skimpy underwear and prancing around in a video – unless it’s a satire. My patience went completely when I saw Thicke’s comment about the women in his video – “People say, ‘Hey, do you think this is degrading to women?’ I’m like, ‘Of course it is. What a pleasure it is to degrade a woman. I’ve never gotten to do that before. I’ve always respected women.'”
A pleasure to degrade women? Pleasure out of suggesting it’s the done thing for women to need to get their tits out to be in a music video? This is where equality goes haywire – in the pop world, there seems to be a requirement for women to be sex objects to get anywhere. It’s not that the women are naked, though. The human form is a wonderful thing, and there is no shame whatsoever in showing it off. The issue is that the men aren’t required to be naked, Robin Thicke claiming that it’s a ‘pleasure’ to degrade women, and singing a song about how he’s got a massive cock and clearly all women are GAGGING FOR IT. I wouldn’t touch Robin Thicke’s bargepole with a… Well, you know.
I’ve previously written about the fact that no entity chooses what form they were born into. Ergo, nobody has a choice in their personality traits, intelligence potential, physical form and many other things. However, there still seem to be different standards for the male human body and the female human body. I watched a programme last year about nudism in England, and two people – one male, one female – were trying to publicise a nudist event. Both bare-chested. The woman was stopped by a police officer and threatened with arrest lest she put on a shirt.
Nudity in public is technically not illegal in England and Wales, as long as the intent is not to ‘harass, alarm or distress others’ – so why was this woman told to cover herself up? A similar thing happened to artist Holly Van Voast in 2012 – she was arrested several times in New York for being topless in public (where it has been legal for more than two decades), and on one account she was taken to a hospital to have a psychiatric evaluation. Because a woman MUST be crazy for thinking she has the same right to be topless in public as a man, right?
There is still a reinforcement that women should be ashamed of their bodies. That there’s some sort of ‘virginity’ lost. That they need to hide their ‘shame’. Bollocks to that. I saw a sweaty overweight middle aged man walk down my local high street in a net vest the other week. I don’t know how that is supposed to be any less ‘shameful’ than women baring their breasts in public. Breasts are GREAT. Male OR female. They’re part of our intricate human form, and I’ll die before I let a woman that I care about feel that she should have to hide any part of herself because of the body or society she was born into.