Who knew four words could be so subversive, so controversial? With those four words, Ariana Grande changed her career, probably forever. These words show us that when it comes to power, especially the extreme power of a deity, gender matters. Gender really matters. You can’t just ignore gender when it comes to gods, artists, or U.S. presidents. Those roles are reserved for men, and when you dare to say otherwise, there will be backlash.
Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam”
Ariana Grande’s version
If you have yet to see the music video for “God is a Woman” by Ariana Grande, I would recommend taking a moment to view it at this link before you continue to read. This video is filled with imagery empowering to women. In my personal favorite part of the music video, Grande literally breaks the glass ceiling with a giant metal hammer. The video also alludes to many classic artworks, recreating them with Grande at the helm instead of a man. For example, the last shot of the video shows a new version of Michaelangelo’s The Creation of Adam. There is also a depiction of The Thinker by Rodin, in which Grande sits in the same posture as the thinking man while men throw gendered slurs at her, trying to tear her down. It is through these gender-reversed images that the viewer begins the realize how infrequently women are shown in positions of power historically. It is almost difficult to recognize how little representation there is until you are confronted with images that you have, amazingly, never seen before.
She is perched at the top of a steep, concrete step, the curve of her calf accentuated by the strain of her pose. There are her legs, tan and endless; a flip of a sleek ponytail; the seductive pucker of her lips as she peeks over her shoulder and leers at the camera; the strip of her flat belly, framed by her tight black crop top and the Daisy Dukes clinging to her waist; then, finally, her perfect butt, like two crescent suns emerging from the clouds of denim.
I am almost salivating, wanting to shout, “Damn, look at her butt!” but I keep my thoughts to myself.
By Sierra Rothermich A son and his father are in a horrible car accident. The father dies on impact and the son is rushed to the hospital with severe injuries. The surgeon looks at the son when he arrives at the hospital and says “I can’t operate on him, he’s my son.”
Before we can talk about the resources of Planned Parenthood, I think it is important to understand the history of Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood started at a time when sex education and birth control was not permitted in the USA. A woman by the name of Margaret Sanger would soon change all that. She was raised in Corning, New York in 1916. After seeing her mother suffer from seven miscarriages, Margaret Sanger decided to study birth control. She later traveled to Europe where she would learn about not only birth control but sex education. As a huge advocate for Women’s rights, she would soon see restrictions from opponents.
Her first birth control clinic was shut down by police. (However, the clinic was still able to offer information about birth control.) Margaret Sanger spent 30 days in jail for refusing to pay the fine. This experience led her to travel the country and talk about birth control. Eventually, two organizations named Birth Control Clinical Bureau and American Birth Control League, joined to become Planned Parenthood Federation of America. A 1936 court ruling established that birth control and the information given about it would not be seen as immoral. This was one of many barriers birth control and its education has broken through to reach the public prominence it has today.
What are the resources of Planned Parenthood?
When looking at the website of Planned Parenthood, I found it to have easy to find tabs and info for women or anyone wanting resources. Topics cover: Pregnancy Prevention, to Health and Wellness, Sex and Relationships, and Sexually Transmitted
Infections (STDs). Additionally, there are guides for high school students and information about sex education. All this I believe is vital to not only women but men as well. In Idaho, there are three centers of Planned Parenthood: Boise Health Center, Meridian Health Center, and Twin Falls Health Center. Therefore, if you wanted to go to one in Idaho from Moscow, it would be about a six-hour drive. That is a long distance. Luckily, there is one across the border in Pullman, Washington.
As I write this article, I want to make it known that the sex industry is not always positive for women and girls. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, sex workers around the world have a 45 to 75 percent chance of experiencing violence during their careers.
When sex workers do experience violence, they are not protected by rape shield laws and are not eligible for compensation funds.
Many see sex workers as objects, non-human, and second-rate members of society. This makes sex workers even more prone to being victims of violence.
Women are forced into sex work without their consent, others are forced into sex work because of financial situations, and some choose sex work as their profession.
Amber Rose, blonde with a buzz-cut, single mother, all in one entrepreneur and feminist icon, speaks about the term “slut” and says, “If I hang out with guys they always thought that I was having sex with them. So now I take the bullying, the derogatory labeling and I refer to myself as a slut.” Slut: (noun) \ˈslət \ a lewd, dissolute, or promiscuous woman. Otherwise known as a derogatory term for a woman who is sexually active. Slut, a four-letter word that is used to make women feel inferior. The term “slut” is thrown around carelessly and daily. Women and men alike chase the band wagon to let women know that a women’s sexual activity is somehow dirty and bad. But women, like Amber Rose, are taking back the name. Reappropriation is the next step for many women participating in the fight to end the misogynistic use of language.
Reappropriation is a relatively new concept is claiming a derogatory term so the term loses its rhetorical effect as a weapon. The word “slut” is used against women to make them feel guilty for expressing sexual desires and needs. When people do this, it can be referred to as “slut-shaming.” I’ve witnessed it, you’ve probably witnessed it, and so have your friends and family. It’s an epidemic!
Feminism is defined by Merriam Webster Dictionary as, “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” The simplest definition of feminism is truly just the idea of equality. If that is what feminism is, why is it controversial? Why do so many people find the idea of feminism inherently discriminatory? There are two main reasons that seem to stand out.
Many assume that the 21st century is a time where women are not discriminated against. That feminism has already done its job and is no longer necessary. Many do not consider what women face in America to be sexism.
Others find no issue with feminism, but with “radical feminism.” They don’t agree with man-hating and violence. Some still mention the notorious bra-burning that characterized second wave feminism as a descriptor of “radical feminism.”
To address the first issue, it is important to consider the treatment of women across the globe, not just in the United States. There are women suffering from extreme discrimination in all walks of life. For example, the World Health Organization conducted a study about violence against women that concluded that around 15% of women in Japan and a staggering 71% of women in Ethiopia reported some sort of violence by an intimate partner. They also found that worldwide, almost one third of women who have been in a relationship experienced either physical or sexual violence by their intimate partner. Women around the globe residing in countries such as India, Africa, Pakistan, and even some Eastern European Countries also experience discrimination in the form of honor killings, acid attacks, child marriage and forced prostitution. In 155 countries, it is still legal to discriminate based on sex, according to a recent World Bank survey. Within the US, violence such as mutilation and honor killings are less common, but women experience discrimination in many other ways. Women still are subjected to harassment, rape and pay discrimination.
Last year this video in which YouTuber Nikkie puts makeup on half of her face to show the power of makeup became viral. Nikkie originally created this video to show why she loves to wear makeup and why women shouldn’t be shamed for wearing makeup.
I loved this video and still do because anytime I tell someone how much time I spend doing my makeup every day, I always get comments like, “Why would you do that?” or “You look fine without it.” It’s irritating because I wear it for myself and not the opinions of others. I wear makeup because I enjoy applying it, finding my favorite products, and trying new beauty trends.
However, I also know that I feel terrible about myself when I don’t wear makeup and get told that I look tired. I have an immense amount of respect for women who regularly don’t wear makeup. When I go without makeup I’m constantly worried about the criticisms of other people whether they voice them or not. Take For example Alicia Keys is now going without makeup as a rejection of our society’s beauty standards. It’s a beautiful and empowering act of rebellion but with all the backlash she’s received, it’s not welcoming territory to wander into if you’re thinking about not wearing makeup.
I started becoming dependent on makeup around the age of 13 when I had severe acne. I now have a decent amount of scaring that I still prefer to cover up. Given that, I spend an average of 30 minutes every morning applying makeup and I still feel pretty dependent upon it. Realizing my dependence on external beauty, I took it upon myself to challenge my ideas about my own beauty and go one week without makeup.
At the top of a hill on the south side of Florence, Piazza Michelangelo is covered in cigarette butts and empty wine bottles rolled into corners. No matter its cracked pavement or endless uphill climb, tourists gather here, lean over the cement railing like they could almost touch the big, wide beauty of this orange-roofed city. Continue reading “On Beauty”→
Would you ever be willing to let strangers cut or shave your hair to support the message that beauty is more than a person’s external appearance? I’m not sure if I could. In this video from The Liberators International, co-founder Jae West does just that.
This video was particularly powerful to me simply because I realized that I, like many women, have a strong attachment to my hair. Most of my confidence comes from feeling beautiful and feminine and my hair is a huge part of that. I spend time washing, cutting, dying, straightening, drying, and curling my hair to make it look just right. As much as I hate to say it, if I didn’t have my hair, I don’t know how I would carry myself with the same confidence I have today. As much as I hate that my confidence comes from my external appearance, it should be acknowledged that for many women, hair is a form of expression.