Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Not Buying It.

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” Alice Walker

I’ve never really considered myself a feminist – probably because the term has always conjured up images of hairy, bra-less women spending all their time ranting insanely on the steps of the Capitol. As I’ve gotten older, though, the term has taken on a different meaning for me and I’ve discovered that I have the opportunity to teach young people (and young women in particular) that they have a voice. They don’t have to put up with what society throws at them as acceptable. I’ve encouraged the young people I work with to familiarize themselves with the Miss Representation movement and to have a voice by letting people know “I’m not buying it!”

Here are some current issues that cause my blood to boil and would have me crafting signs for a march in front of the Capitol if I thought it would do any good. At the very least, I’ve decided I’m not buying it.

·         The music industry. The fact that rapper Rick Ross’ newest track “U.O.E.N.O” glorifies rape with the lyrics “Put molly all in her champagne, she ain’t even know it / I took her home and I enjoyed that, she ain’t even know it” is astonishing but more amazing is the fact that we have a music industry that supports such nonsense.  Then there are more well-known songs like “Whistle” by Flo Rider and “S & M” by Rihanna (don’t even get me started on “Bow Down” by Beyonce) that either objectify or be-little women. And have you heard the newest 98 Degrees single “Microphone?” They aren’t talking about a girl singing in a mic any more than Flo Rider is really into whistles. #notbuyingit
Victoria’s Secret.
While the brand made famous for lacy under-things has pulled back on their recent “Bright Young Things” line promoted through their Pink extension, the reality of what they were marketing to teens remains. From a thong printed with the words “Feeling lucky?” to the “date panty,” the continued over-sexualization of girls and young women is disheartening. Is it necessary for undergarments geared towards teenagers to be “flirty?” #notbuyingit
·         Hardee’s & Carl Jr’s commercials. How anyone came up with a concept for making hamburgers something sexy is beyond me but I continue to be disgusted by every commercial these chains air. From half-dressed girls at a barbeque with ogling males sweating over grills to celebrities licking sauce off their fingers, the tendency to use sex to sell anything – even a quarter pound of beef covered in some bourbon concoction – both amazes and infuriates me. Enough is enough. #notbuyingit

Show your power by putting a voice to your beliefs. Encourage young people to use their voice – and their dollars – to show the music industry, the fashion industry, and - yes - even the food industry that they won’t continue to accept what is being thrown at them. Whether feminists or not, we do not have to be okay with everything society says is okay. You’re invited to join me and thousands of others in letting society know that we’re not buying it!

by Dana Becker, Spartanburg Community Specialist, SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy

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