Posts Tagged ‘ Lady Gaga ’

How Beyonce’s Feminism is Degrading to Women

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

Nine months.

Sex sells; so does the idea of empowerment to women.

As the author of The Dadabase, I have made it clear that my mission is to positively re-brand fatherhood.  In part, what that means is that I am attempting to undo the negative imaging of dads due to both A) lousy, absent, abusive dads throughout history and B) idiotic bozo examples of fathers in sitcoms and other media particularly during the 1980′s and 1990′s.  It means I focus on the good dads out there and that I choose not to paint men in a negative light.

I am equally passionate about women not being degraded in society, as well. Admittedly, that’s a harder subject to address, for the fact I am a guy writing a blog that is primarily read by women- I have to be careful not to be seen  as a bigot or a sexist.

The way I am wired causes me to see the world differently than women and I’ve been noticing something I just have to point out. Sure, I am putting myself in a vulnerable situation today, but I am choosing to be brave enough to acknowledge the irony in what is often viewed as empowerment to women.

Therefore, the best and most popular example I can think of is the beautiful, talented, and very intelligent artist, Beyonce. I invite you to watch her latest hit video on YouTube by clicking the pink link below; you may remember this video from when it premiered world-wide on the most recent season of American Idol:

Run the World (Girls)

From a man’s perspective, here’s how I interpret the meaning of the video:

Beyonce and a bunch of her scantily clad friends are in a battle with a group of dudes armed in riot gear. In the style of classic Michael Jackson, Beyonce and her crew stun and defeat the men simply because of their hip dance moves, plus a whole lot of sexual imagery.  In the end, Beyonce removes the badge from the leader of the dudes, signifying that the girls beat the boys in the battle.

So ultimately, in my skewed perspective, the lesson learned from the video is that women can be more powerful than men by influencing them through sexuality; in particular, by wearing little clothing and doing plenty of body thrusts. (Cleavage shaking is a must!) As for women using their intellect, well, it’s not really about that. It’s actually about overpowering violent, sexually frustrated men by seducing them with the female body.

Challenge my analysis, please. Show me how this sort of imagery is empowering to women. Because in my testosterone triggered perception, this attempt of empowerment to women is actually degrading to women instead.

The way a woman dresses obviously sends a message to a man. I invite you to go to Google Images and type in “Beyonce 4″ and try to imagine what message is received by men when they see the album cover of her newest release, which contains “Run the World (Girls).”

I’ll give you a hint: It’s not, “Wow, I have a new respect for women now, but not at all in a sexual way. Women are strong, intelligent, and deserve the respect of men.”

So why am I singling out Beyonce, arguably America’s most influential pop star among young women right now? Why not point out the obvious “sex sells” marketing strategies of Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, or Ke$ha?

Because people actually take Beyonce seriously. By far, Beyonce truly influences people beyond her music. She herself encompasses the idea of empowerment to women.

Notice I used the phrase “the idea of.”

For me, this is the wrong kind of feminism; it’s ineffective and damaging. Using sexuality to promote the independence of women is simply self-defeating.

Believe it or not, I am a huge supporter of empowerment to women. Knowing that across the world, there are girls and women who are sold into the sex trade, forced into abusive marriages, and deprived of education, I simply see that as hell on earth. Meanwhile in America, young girls are being taught through example by their pop star role models that flaunting sexuality is the key to having power in this world.

Call me a sexist, but I say that true empowerment to women has nothing to do with enticing men through sexuality. In fact, I say that’s the greatest threat.

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Effectively Communicating in Marriage: The Jack Tripper Version

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Nine months.

For certain, I am overly aware of all the things I’m not good at; a few of which include math and anything involving numbers, all home repairs, anything to do with cars, anything requiring athletic talent, navigating without getting completely lost, knowing when to say “my wife and I” versus “my wife and me,” and pretending to care about the newest “shocking” thing that Lady Gaga did, said, or wore.

But I do think one of my strengths is communicating and empathizing with other people; or at least it’s something I’ve gotten a lot better at in recent years. I keep in mind that when it comes to relating to others, it’s not a matter of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Instead, the rule is “do unto others as they would want you to do to them.” Because I can’t assume the other person is inspired by the same things I am. Instead, I have to put myself in their shoes.

It’s a matter of knowing what motivates and discourages other people.  It’s a matter of reminding myself that listening is typically more effective than speaking. People often need to be and feel understood before they will want to receive advice or instruction.

Despite me being hard-wired to always want to “fix the problem,” I have definitely improved my ability to sincerely listen to my wife when she airs out what is going through her head, without trying to save the day by providing a reasonable and logical solution; or even asking “what can I do to help?”  But I still have to remind myself that 99.987% of the time, listening itself is the best way to fix the problem.

But there are certain times where there actually is a legitimate issue that needs to be handled and my wife actually does need my help to fix it. She is keen and conspicuously clued in enough to know how to present the problem to me in a way that doesn’t come across as “nagging.” Instead, she knows that the best way to effectively communicate with me, in that instance, is to literally ask for my help. Because I always want to help her.  It makes me feel good as her husband.

We are not manipulating each other but instead are simply acutely aware of the way we need to be communicated with. And this concept doesn’t just apply to my marriage; it works for all relationships in my life: friends, family, coworkers, and even people I don’t even know that well.

Do I need to issue an obligatory disclaimer admitting that my wife and I have only been married for three years and therefore I have not earned the right to give out marriage advice? Am I only triggering some readers to respond with, “Well you just wait until you’ve been married longer…”?

I admit; I have far to go and much to learn. If I am an expert of any kind, it’s in not being an expert.

So I am just a normal guy having to figure out these things as I go, especially when it comes to marriage and fatherhood. Constantly I am realizing that if I only knew yesterday what I just learned today, things would be a lot less complicated and frustrating.

As a husband and father, I have a tendency to be as clumsy and misunderstood as Jack Tripper from Three’s Company. Similarly, I also unintentionally make a habit of stumbling my way out of the current crisis within 30 minutes, right before “Come and knock on my door…” starts playing again for the closing credits. Maybe my life is just one big sitcom!

(Cue the laugh tracks.)

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