I recall back to my childhood years where my dad still wore dress slacks, a shirt, and a tie or the mod green harlequin knit polo shirt when company came, and my mom wore a dress, heels, and a strand of pearls, with hair was coiffed in a beehive, shopping at the mall. In fact, I can still see all of us in that sort of fuzzy, black and white, old television image as the family gathered in the backyard on a Sunday afternoon before dinner at the grandparents. My grandma in her dress and stockings and my grandpa in a crisp white shirt and jacket. And of course there were the kids; the cousins. The six of us, girls in dresses and boys in dress slacks and those stiff, black Red Wing shoes that left massive scuffs on my grandma's black and white checkered, linoleum kitchen floor. On those lazy Sundays at our house, we played Lost in Space under the pool table in our basement. They always made me play Judy...... the chimp. So nice of them.
Growing up, girls didn't get their first bra until somewhere about fifth grade when their breasts started to sprout. To be honest, I resisted until they really started to get a mind of their own as they awkwardly bobbled around under my shirts. Frankly I'm surprised my mom, ever the prude, even giving me a good dress down at age 19 when she saw me kissing a date goodnight, didn't say anything about it. Perhaps I was her little girl, the youngest of three, and she didn't want me to grow up. Either way, it was a far cry from walking through the local Target to see miniature lacy, padded bras hanging up. I don't blame the manufacturers. I blame the parents for purchasing them and creating a sick and twisted market for it. Imagine your local pedophile browsing through the racks?
In two generations we went from Kewpie Doll to American Girl where the only importance is matching her shoes to her handbag and designer pet's necklace.
Walking through that same Target, you don't see G-strings for the little boys. You see modestly cut boxers with cutesy images on them. Aside from skinny jeans, men's clothing has pretty much stayed the same as it always was, but women's, now there is something that has changed. These societal changes can be blamed on the 70s women's liberation movement.
I was there, a young girl seeing images of women burning their bras. I could never quite correlate bra burning with the desire to improve jobs, but to each his, or shall I say her, own.
Hindsight is 20/20 and as men stood by hoping to see a pair of naked bewbs or two at a bonfire, women claimed they were doing it for equal pay and opportunity. Decades later, our pay is still not equal, though women do hold increasing numbers of positions with authority. They have also become something else, well, sexy. When I go about in my working world, I am amazed at how many women toddle around in their 5 inch heels and short, tight skirts with equally tight blouses. Designers have had to come up with the molded bra cup in order to hide the nips from view under all that clingy clothing.
The sad truth is, women's liberation hasn't been about equal pay for equal work as much as it's been about the sexualization of women.
Oh women were sexy back in the day, for sure. Marilyn Monroe and a host of other scantily clad pin-up girls kept the guys whistling. Yet 50s scantily clad is a far cry from today's scantily clad. Today we see Miley Cyrus humping a massive foam finger onstage. Today we see Beyoncé bouncing her big hips and butt cheeks onstage as she growls that men must submit to her.
All the while I'm wondering, is that empowerment? Spending two hours in the morning to look like a tart and flashing your lady kibbles and bits in front of men is more a form of torture than a statement that that you possess the brainpower to do the same job as him, worthy of getting the same pay. The pressure for young girls to look perfect is so incredibly unhealthy.
It is a vastly different world we live in from those younger years where we worried about our first kiss and practiced French kissing the snow. Today's girls have far greater worries than that as they are pressured into perfection. I blame the sexual liberation for putting woman-created pressure on girls to excel no matter the consequences. Be the best in school, join every club you can, get the best grades, get as many scholarships as you can, get a high paying job, look the best you can, have the prettiest hair and makeup and clothes, enhance the boobs with sexy padded bras, be the skinniest you can, be the best at sex, know everything, be better than men, all men, and be bossy, just like those neat little campaigns told you not to be.
What a sexual mess to be forced to sort through as the barrage of sexual images float past them from the time they are wee bit of girls onward for the rest of their lives. I blame the women's lib movement for the sexualization of our girls and the undue pressure it has place on the idea of perfection.