I refused to call myself a feminist anymore. I can’t take the popularized, media-driven and brain-washed masses. I am really tired of watching the after effects of reverse psychology work its way through the movement like some virus. The latest disease, er, trend is the #ArchThatBackChallenge, which, much as the name insinuates is a challenge that has been issued all over twitter for women to take pictures to show how far they can arch their backs. While this trend has quickly picked up momentum, it has also picked up alot of backlash from conservatives, concerned citizens, feminists and has earned the ever thirsty eye of the chauvinistic male. As this week concludes, the online feminist society is torn.
Some believe that the challenge is degrading to women and that those who participate should be ashamed of themselves. Others believe that those people are just scolding women for being sexual. I believe that both sides of crazy. First off, I don’t claim to be an expert on feminism or women’s issues but this isn’t the first time that the movement has been divided by something like this. And it won’t be the last. We are all people just trying to get on in the world and with our lives. We all want a little fun every once in awhile, right? I think this was the initially purpose of the challenge but like everything it has it’s down side. The right wingers are right to some extent, women are being degraded. They are being examined, dissected and treated like pieces of meat but they are not merely victims but also perpetuators of a larger cultural norm that keeps women oppressed.
This goes beyond slut-shaming, body-shaming or anything like that. By participating in a challenge like this, people ignore the larger social implications for self-gratification. Everyone must have their five seconds of fame but I wonder if those women who accepted the challenge contemplated the impact that you have left on future generations of women. With one picture, just like with one word, or one comment, you can change the projection of someone else’s life, wether you mean to or not. Don’t get me wrong, I think that every woman should be proud of her body but as a self-proclaimed feminist, you took on the mission to stand for choice and to support other women, including the future generations of women. People are using your pictures to shame others, to tell others that this is what they should be trying to be. You posted a picture, enjoyed the likes and the views and thought nothing of the little girls who may one day come across this. You let the media play you for a fool. Bravo.
This is why, I am letting go of the title feminist. I can[‘t accept partnership with women who are quick to get behind slut-shaming hastags and Miley Cyrus but won’t picket Capitol Hill for affordable birth control and appropriate sex education classes. I’m tired of going to rallies that quickly turn into conversations about sexual promiscuity (your sex life is your business, I don’t need to know) but we never talk about the negative side of the makeup industry. I am so sick of women talking about all this shit but when you ask them about pornstars they wrinkle their noses and clench the arm of their significant other. I’m ready to talk about inclusion, and how to make sure that young women or women in general world wide are being treated fairly. Let’s have that discussion.
I want to encourage other women to be proud of their bodies AND their accomplishments. I want women to know that you don’t have to accept such a challenge to be considered popular. I want them to know that their beauty and the magnificence of their souls can be found in more than just the arch of their backs or the sizes of their asses.
Real women stay strong!