I have another guest post up today at Convergent Books! I’d love to know what you all think of the argument I make here.
As a teenager and young woman I avoided looking in the mirror because I didn’t want to see my breasts, or my thighs, or my butt. I was ashamed of them. In the church culture of my childhood, those parts of my body were sexual, so I had to make sure no one could see them. My sexuality was to be hidden and feared.
Now I am learning to love my body and my sexuality, and I’m beginning to understand all the damage done to me by the shame I inherited for simply being a woman with a woman’s body.
So I get it. I understand the urge to throw off the shame and celebrate our sexuality. I can see why some women get a thrill from stuffing dollar bills into a stripper’s G-string, or the attraction of competing in a wet T-shirt contest. I can understand why women flash onlookers in the French Quarter during Mardi Gras, why it’s “liberating” to be a Bunny, why more and more women read Maxim and Playboy.
But is this “raunch culture” that Ariel Levy describes really liberating? Is Miley Cyrus “embracing her sexuality” when she straddles an eight-foot inflatable penis? Does any of this truly empower women?