What continues to interest me in the women’s rights debate is the vast diversity in definitions and justifications people come up with when asserting that they feel something “empowers women” or something is “damaging to women”. For instance, in the music video Oh my Dear, an interesting detail was the fact that the video did not make the women out to be overtly submissive through her body language and movement. She appeared to us as happy, fulfilled, and capable of making her own decisions; it “just so happened” that those decisions aligned with the family values the government wanted to support. However they are careful in this message in that they make sure it does not seem like anyone is forcing the women to do anything. Is it damaging to women to portray a women happy with a traditional role?
This is a topic with a lot of controversy and differing opinions, even within ideological groups such as feminism. For instance, some feminists look at overly sexualized poses in media and insist that they are objectification intended for a male audience, or otherwise insist that it is damaging to how a women views herself. Of the opposite opinion are people, including other feminists, who insist that the message is that females can choose to highlight their sexuality as they so wish, and it is a power move. These same two sides show up in the debate over whether or not females should be constantly portrayed in a traditional, domestic role.
My issue is not with the values supported in the video Oh My Dear, but rather the censorship of the second music video we viewed, Are You a Virgin or Not? I am against most forms of censorship for many different reasons, one of them being that selective censorship of media pushes one dominant narrative or opinion. Referring to the debate mentioned above, who’s to say that ALL women find sexuality empowering and a domestic life demeaning, or vice versa? Different women, different people, find power and fulfillment in different things (really shocking, I know). The video Oh My Dear ceases to be propaganda the moment you allow media alongside of it that challenges its ideologies–and all ideologies should be challenged on a regular basis.
Therefore, I do not take issue with submissive portrayals of women, and I do not take issue with lewd or strong/heroic portrayals of women, so long as that every opinion is allowed to exist on social media and media sharing platforms, allowing all people to seek out media that supports whatever lifestyle they have chosen. If someone is of the opinion that myself or other young ladies cannot see a sexualized women and then make the independent choice to continue being conservative in how we dress, or that I cannot comfortably hear about a women in an open relationship and then continue to be monogamous, then I find their patronizing attitude much more sexist than the media from which they are supposedly protecting us.