Tuesday, 21 August 2012

The Way I See It

If there is one thing in this world that makes me feel like building a time machine and travelling to another century, it is the way women are presenting and portraying themselves in today's society. You may not know this about me but I am a very old fashioned girl. I love watching old black and white films starring Doris Day, Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Katherine Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, and James Stewart (to name a few). I listen to jazz music. Some of my favourite artists are Miles Davis, Nat King Cole, John Coltrane, Diana Krall, and Julia Keefe. To me, this music and these actors are symbols of a time when American and Canadian society was respectable. Looking back to the 1950s and 60s I find inspiration not only from the fashion and music, but from the women who were portrayed in films as strong, independent, secure, and confident women. They knew exactly what they wanted, and they knew how to get it. I find that one of the biggest problems I face today, is finding adequate role models who were born within the past 30 years. Take a look at most women in the spotlight right now and you'll find little worth admiring. So today, my blog will explore some of the problems that women face in the twenty first century and how we can overcome these roadblocks and be strong like our mothers and grandmothers were during the feminist movements of the early 1960s.

Before MTV, men were falling at women's feet to propose to them, and why? Because they were strong, independent, and fierce; empowered by things like the feminist movement. In fact I know of several women in their 50s and 60s who said they had been proposed to about 10 times in their life. Now some women I know have proposed to men. Somehow, after the '90s and early 2000s these roles have reversed. Now, because of the media and other factors, men can treat women however they want. Walking down the street, I've heard several men refer to women as b*tches. I was completely shocked and appalled. How many guys do you see lined up to ask the floozy girls to marry them? None. Do you know why? They want a women who can challenge them. They want a woman who is independent, not needy and desperate.

I feel enraged and frustrated when I read headlines like, "Rihanna: 'The Slightest Things' Remind Me of Chris Brown." Here is a young girl who is undeniably beautiful. She could have any man in the world who would treat her like a queen, yet somehow she has let this man (Brown) brainwash her into thinking that love means beating the crap out of someone. Rihanna is a terrible role models for young girls in society today, if not the worst. She uses only sex to become famous, and is surrounded by people who continue to bring her down. By far the most terrible song, S&M, shows just how insecure and weak Rihanna is.

With lyrics like, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but chains and whips excited me" Rihanna is practically a spokesperson for domestic violence but is disguising it as "love" and affection. She is hiding behind a mask of sex and drugs and acts as if this gives her power over others when in fact it does not.  If we were to take away these things that have shaped her identity and role as a sexual symbol, she would have to be more powerful than ever because her wisdom and intelligence would be all she has to hide behind. When I look at Rihanna I feel sorry for her. She is immature, and acts like a child screaming out for attention from the opposite sex.

Now take a look at this picture of Doris Day and Rock Hudson in the 1959 film Pillow Talk. What do you see? First, Rock Hudson's character, Brad Allen, is looking at Doris Day's character, Jan Morrow. She is not looking at him, wondering if he likes her, planning their wedding and all three of their children's names in her head. In fact, she doesn't even really notice he's there. She looks concerned about something else. The lack of a desperate expression on her face is in fact what draws Brad to Jan. She's confident, classy, has her own career, and she's beautiful; everything a man could want in a woman. This, among other factors, is what makes Brad go after Jan. Because she isn't all over him, asking him on dates, wearing promiscuous clothing, or dying for attention. Jan stands apart from all the other women in the film, because she is not smothering him with attention like so many other women are. Somewhere along the line, women have lost this control over men, and have become desperate, clingy, dare-I-say floozies, and it's because we no longer have these strong independent role models in our day-to-day lives. (If you have a chance to watch Pillow Talk I highly recommend it)

Now let's take a look at this clip from the 1989 film, When Harry Met Sally (notice how the title does not say "When Sally met Harry," but refers to the man meeting the woman and falling in love, not the other way around)
Sally represents a strong career woman who is focused on her business trip, and wants nothing to do with Harry at this point in time. In this way, she sets herself apart from all the desperate women who are practically dying for a man's attention based on the way they dress and the way they speak to a man. Sally exudes confidence and poise, and this not only is what makes her attractive, but also what makes her an admirable candidate for the position of a female role model. Throughout the film, Harry and Sally are obviously attracted to each other, but Harry is the one who ultimately decides that he wants to marry Sally and be with her for the rest of her life. (See full movie here)

Now please do not get me wrong.  In no way am I saying that we women should just sit around doing nothing and wait for a man to propose to us. In fact that is the opposite of what I am saying. I'm saying we should go out there, get an amazing job that we love, live our own lives, be independent and strong and go after what we want. We have to love ourselves first before we can expect anyone else to love us, and when the man proposes it is the woman who has control. She has the power to say yes or no. Like I said I'm old fashioned and just don't understand why women feel like they need to act like lunatics to get a man's attention. In the twenty first century, the way women go about getting what they want has changed dramatically. So many young girls are getting pregnant, and are being glamorized and celebrated for this. Yet they still end up with no job, no stable career, and are unhappy. Of course there are exceptions to this rule, but just take a look at what has happened.

During the feminist movement of the 1960s do you think that women fought for our ability to go out in public half naked, swear like a sailor, have babies at 17, and live off of men for the rest of our lives? An emphatic "Hell NO" response is justified if you ask me. They fought for women to have equal pay, to choose abortion or contraception if necessary, to own their own property, and to have access to a good University education. Women rose up, to become equal to men in both the business world and at home.  They did not do this so that women could dance half-naked around a man in a rap video. So what the heck are we doing? We owe it to our mothers, grandmothers, aunts, cousins, and those women and men who have come before us and fought for our right to be equal. We have to at least try to be the best that we can be and be confident while doing it. I'm just so sick of what's become of women in the eye of pop culture today and I think that we can still change it. There's still time to fix what's gone wrong. I don't see these people (Nicki Minaj, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, etc.) as role models, and I never will.

I know this is a controversial topic and there are those who may not agree. I would love to hear your arguments in support of the way women are represented in today's society. I will listen with open ears (or read with open eyes) and take what you have to say to heart. Again let me just say that of course there are exceptions to what I have said. Many women have children at a young age and go on to finish University, get a great job, and live what I like to call a "leading-lady life." Also there are some promiscuous women who get married before the leading ladies but these are all exceptions to the rule. I'm for restoring the strength that I know every woman has inside of them. We need to find that courage, go after what we really want in life, and do so with poise.

It all comes down to this. Who would you rather be? Audrey Hepburn on that bicycle, or Britney Spears?

Here are 5 things that you can start doing RIGHT NOW, to help restore your confidence and the image that you present to the world.

1) Stop dressing like you're 12, and start dressing appropriately for your age.

2) Stop swearing in public (or in private for that matter) because it makes you look like you're compensating for something.

3) Do something that you are passionate about. If you love to bike, go for a bike ride. If you love to paint, take an art class. If you want to learn how to cook, take a cooking class. Always wanted to know how to speak Spanish? Pick up Rosetta Stone on your way home from work.

4) Take care of yourself. Eat right, and exercise. You'll start to feel better and your confidence level will rocket sky high.

5) Learn to love being with yourself. I find people who always have to be with friends, or family, or their boyfriend, just can't stand being by themselves because maybe they don't love themselves. Find time to be by yourself, even if it's just for an hour everyday, and each day write down one thing that you love about yourself. This could be that you are always compassionate, or even that you always have perfectly manicured nails. But each day try to find one thing that you love about yourself. If you can love yourself, then other people will love you too!

I hope this blog helped some of you. Talk to you real soon and have a nice day

- ctj

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