Ask Aggie: Feminism and the Modern Woman

Agnessa Kasumyan, Managing Editor

When my male friend casually dismissed feminism as an ideal only “ugly” and insecure girls buy into, I was disturbed at the ignorance of the statement yet not entirely surprised.

What I found particularly disheartening, however, was the fact that many of my female friends viewed feminism in a negative light, often rolling their eyes when the topic of feminism came up.

Curious as to why they held such an attitude toward a movement that helped make them equal to men in the eyes of the law, I asked what they found so annoying about feminists.

It soon became evident that people have a tendency to associate the movement with the more extreme views of some feminists and the negative stereotypes associated with it, including the promotion of abortion and the very Freudian belief of penis envy.

A feminist myself, I do not find it insulting when a man holds the door open for me. It’s just common courtesy, though not only reserved for women. I support a woman’s right to choose, not what some may callously term “the murder of babies.” Nor do I envy my male friends their genitilia.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record due to the constant debate on the topic, the stereotypes placed on feminists are heavily emphasized in the media. As Miley Cyrus channels Lady Godiva while swinging on a wrecking ball, she and other popular female artists of her caliber demolish the values of feminism.

In recent music videos, women either display excessive sexuality or extreme violence toward men, as if one or the other is supposed to somehow prove that they are either equal or superior. However, being violent or excessively sexual does not necessarily equate to being modern and liberated.

To some, promiscuity and nudity may be a symbol of female and sexual liberation. In reality, they are often only used as nothing other than marketing tools for the debutantes of popular culture—and their patrons (or matrons), the marketing and studio executives that rake in the profits.

As I watch Christina Aguilera violently blow up her love interest in a car or beat up another one of her male conquests with a baseball bat after luring him into sex in the music video for “Your Body,” I cannot help but reel over the nauseating message swinging its way to men and women everywhere.

This is not meant to slut-shame women who like sex or dress provocatively. If someone wants to bare it all to attract a suitor or stir mayhem in the media world, they can knock themselves out. It becomes a problem when they disguise it as a form of feminism or art and inadvertently encourage young girls and women to behave the same way.

Neither is this meant to serve as another critique on pop-culture Alecia Moore, famously known as “Pink,” is another popular female artist who is not shy about her body; however, her actions don’t attempt to stimulate shallow attention but instead poke fun at the ridiculous standards set up for women in media.

In her video “Stupid Girls,” Pink mocks sexed up celebrities. As she ponders whether flipping her blonde hair or wearing a push-bra will get a guy to like her while “girls with ambition” are demonized and ostracized, Pink begs the question we should all be asking: “where, oh where, have the smart people gone?”