What is feminism? More often than not, in popular culture, the term feminism carries with it a stigma that underscores the stereotypical plaid shirt wearing female brick house. One who always sees the connection between injustice and members of the male persuasion. One that knows that there is a glass ceiling that prevents women from realizing their potential in the workplace. One that sees the double standards in place in society when it comes to acceptable practices for men and women.
The scales are definitely tipped toward men insofar as social justice is concerned but there is a movement of women, especially in popular culture, who are showing me that disruptive forces are at work now more than ever. The new brand of feminism that we see now is underscored by women who exude strength, but also embrace their femininity and the traditional stereotypical role of the porceline doll.
So does this sexy brand of feminism work? Is it really shattering conventional gender roles? It is difficult to say. This is because the effect of such a movement is not quantifiable. All we can do is postulate on said effects by taking educated guesses. However, it is my contention that this brand of feminism is the face of the new feminist movement and one that is a welcome change to the now more traditional forms of feminism that are well… just not as fun.
The question we all should be asking ourselves is how does the hypersexualized image of these neo-feminists compare with the traditional model? Well, the traditional feminist is not interested in leveraging her beauty and sexuality to gain the upper hand. For me, the traditional feminist would much rather a world wherein everyone wore masks and snuggies. This way, aesthetics and gender would not color anyone’s experience in society. I know, it may be an oversimplification, but I’m writing for a blog, not putting out an academic paper, right?
The new feminist sees any advantage that she could take as one that she should take. She embraces her nature and pushes herself to be stronger and to take on more aggressive traits (like those traditionally linked to males). She also who flaunts what she has and is unapologetic about it. Popular culture sees figures like this all the time now. The Beyonce’s of the world portray a woman that is strong, beautiful, sexual and classy. One who is just as happy by herself as she could be with a man. Of course her man, treats her like an equal, not like in the good ol’ days a la Mad Men.
Personally, I welcome this shift. It isn’t easy to break centuries of patriarchal social conditioning and anything we can do to undermine this system, we need to do. And there is nothing that says that you can’t look hot doing it, right? Am I just another in a long line of male writers that loves the movement, not for its message, but for its aesthetics? Maybe. But as long as at the end of the day, women have more power than they did before, does it matter? I don’t know, but I do know that the next time a young, empowered woman starts shaking her moneymaker, I will be there to cheer her on.