Saturday, August 10, 2013

Kate Upton, Just Stop

I have posted several times over the past few months about girls demeaning themselves and dressing like tiny, little tramps and making absolutely horrible decisions.  I know I am just one small voice in a sea of internet know-it-alls.  But today I will try again to get my point across, because clearly the people who should be taking notes are not reading my blog.

I'm standing tall on this soapbox yet again because of an article I haven't even read yet.  The Elle interview with the very beautiful Kate Upton. It would probably be smart to read it first and get all the details, but truly, just the highlights make me nauseous.  So let me just say this:  Kate Upton, just stop.  Please.

I have never thought of myself as a feminist.  That's not to say that I didn't love the Spice Girls.  I owned 2 copies of Spice World.  It's not that I think that women should be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, or speak only when spoken to.  I never thought of myself as a feminist because I never needed a label.

As far as I'm concerned, If a woman wants to stay home, and have a litter of babies, and bake cookies every day that's great.  (Especially if she gives me some of the cookies.)  And she can. Not because she's a woman, but because she is a patient, caring, determined person.  If a woman wants to work 15 hour days, climb a corporate ladder, and smash a glass ceiling that's great too.  And she can.  Not because she is a woman, but because she is a smart, qualified, determined person.

I never felt the need to be a feminist,  because I think women are smart and powerful enough to fight their own battles.  But now I'm thinking maybe we need a new kind of feminist.  An honest feminist.  So here goes.

The older I get, or more accurately the older my daughter gets, the more I see all the negative ways that women are treated and portrayed.  It scares the hell out of me.

We are belittled.  We are discounted.  We are judged by the shoes we wear, instead of the brains in our heads.  And sometimes, we invite people to value us by our bra sizes, not our IQs.  It's not only men who are the problem.  We are guilty of doing it to each other.  We hold a lot of the responsibility here.  And it's time we're called on it.  People will treat you exactly as you allow them to.

For example, right now I'm discounting Kate Upton a little bit.  Only I'm not discounting her because of her looks like she thinks I am...I'm discounting her because she's acting like an idiot. 

Honestly, I have absolutely nothing against the modeling profession.  I might wish models would eat a cheeseburger now and again so the rest of us wouldn't feel like shit for being normal.  Overall though, I've got no issue.  If that's your thing, do it.  But know, if that's the profession you choose, you will be judged solely on your looks, and not your ability to broker shrewd business deals.  It's the nature of the thing.

I understand Kate Upton's complaints.  I really do.  I don't want to be objectified either.  I am also not a toy.  So to illustrate that, I keep my posing in body paint and barely-there swimsuits in national perv mags to a minimum.  That's the only reason I haven't graced the pages of Sports Illustrated.  Really.  It's definitely not because I've had 2 children who left me with stretch marks that resemble a topographic map of the Rockies.  (Full disclosure: If I had Kate Upton's body, I probably wouldn't feel this way. I would probably walk around naked all the time. And if people wanted to pay me for it, that would be ok.  But I definitely wouldn't whine about it after.)

If she truly felt terrible about the way she was treated after her first SI swimsuit edition, why on earth would she do it again?  Twice.   If she really didn't want to be objectified, why would she do this and allow it to be posted for all the internet to ogle?  (Gentlemen, eyes back in your head please.)  Asking men not to objectify you after that is like asking fish not to swim. 

It's not their fault. (Well, it's not only their fault.)  They are guys. That's what they do. We need to own up to the fact that we are responsible for the way we're perceived. We need to put a little more importance on what books we read than what labels we wear. We need to teach our daughters that stupid isn't cute.  That smart is sexy. That their intellect has value. 

I worry about the way the world will view my own daughter.  I also worry about the way she views herself.  When I compliment her, I always tell her she's smart and kind.  Not just beautiful.  She is capable of much more than being beautiful.  Though she is absolutely, breathtakingly gorgeous.  (I may be a little biased.)  Kate Upton is capable of much more too.  But, as unfair as it may seem, she might have to put on some clothes and take her self seriously for people to realize it. 

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