Tag Archives: Feminism

Pole-Dancing and the Link Between Sexiness and Self-Esteem

The pole-dancing fitness craze has hit my gym, planting one more stumbling block on the road to healthy body images for local women.

Learning to dance like strippers is just one more way women and girls succumb to the pressure to be sexually desirable. It is hard to

underestimate how powerful this pressure is in our society, and how tightly it pegs many girls’ and women’s self-esteem to their perceived sexiness. Girls record images of themselves stripteasing and send them to boys (who often broadcast them) just for “the validation of getting seen as sexy.” Writing in Jezebel, gender studies professor Hugo Schwyzer quotes experts on the phenomenon, who explain that teen girls “just want to be affirmed as hot.” (Tongue in cheek, The Huffington Post described a pole dancing doll — yes, really — as having “low self esteem.”)

Sadly the same is true for many adult women. They don’t exercise just to look and feel healthy; they want to look and feel sexy. So they learn to dance like strippers, whom men pay to be sexy. In one example of the connection between trying to look sexy and self-esteem, Rihanna found that “the more flesh she bared the more confident she became.” Kate Hudson has recommended pole-dancing to women “because it’s great for your self-esteem.”

I don’t dispute that pole-dancing could be a great workout, and I don’t think “women should be ashamed of their bodies or their sexuality.” The problem is when women consider their sexuality their most important asset: the sexier men think they are, the more valuable women believe they are. The pole-dancing trend reinforces this association. Exercise can be emotionally empowering, but not when it comes with the mental image of oneself slithering around the stage at a strip joint.



The Gender Pay Gap Got Smaller – and That’s A Bad Thing

The pay gap between women and men shrank by 1% in 2011 – that’s the good news. The bad news: it’s not because women’s pay increased – it dropped. But men’s pay dropped more. Lowering everyone’s earning power to close the gender gap echoes the story of Midas, who wished for wealth and wound up turning everything he touched (like, say, food, or his daughter) into gold. The price for his wish was too high. Women’s wish is pay equality, but not at the price of lower incomes for everyone.

Actually, everyone should wish for pay equality. TIME Magazine’s latest cover story, “The Richer Sex,” announces that “by the next generation, more families will be supported by women than by men.” Put that together with the pay gap and you find more families getting by on less income than before. It behooves men and children, as well as women, for employers to pay women what they pay men.

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Men Still Earn More Than Women

Men still earn more than women. Men with the same level of education, doing the same job, earn more than their female counterparts. Add to this the pricing discrimination against women that requires them to pay more to get their hair cut and their clothes dry-cleaned, and it’s no wonder that households headed by single women are more vulnerable to poverty than other families.

I often hear that this is a post-feminist age. I disagree, but if it is, feminism wimped out way too early.

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