We are wo(men)
Invited by a girlfriend, I recently found myself sitting through the opening night performance of a musical — one so well-etched into popular culture that I bet you, and you, and you, could sing along to the standout hits. The kind of theatre where actors break into song and dance, seemingly at whim, isn’t really my thing. But there I was, awed, when mid-song, one of the leads dropped her eye-high leg kick into an impressive front split, while maintaining a smile and perfect pitch.
Then I did the horrible — I judged the size of her thighs. And then I did it again with another female dancer. It was so swift and unconscious the way the thoughts ran through my mind. Actually, I objectified the men too. If you’re going to be shallow, at least have some consistency, I say.
“We are all conditioned to view the female form as a certain level of perfection,” my friend says to help ease my guilt. “And you were blown away by their talents and confidence. Anyway, they need no validation and are proud of their bodies.”
Not that it really matters, but this friend of mine is one of those pint-sized dynamos with perfect hair and red lips who click-clacks into meetings in four-to-five inch pumps. She works hard and often reminds me to be a more assertive go-getter.
“Toast to female empowerment in your editor’s note,” she suggests.
Here’s the thing. I like equal opportunity (and meritocracy). If I’m going to toast to female empowerment, then I’m going to have to do the same for male empowerment at some point. But I find the terminology strange, let’s not even talk about whether it’s politically correct — though, yes, regardless of gender, a person should be able to feel empowered. Anyway, what do I really know about female empowerment aside from the opportunities at my disposal? I haven’t had to fight for my rights and voice as a woman. The women before me did it so I could go about my day comfortably thinking that women’s rights ought to be simply human rights and vice versa.
I’m not suggesting misogyny does not exist.
I will say though that this magazine has always celebrated women. In these pages have been women who’ve steered businesses, championed causes, advanced science and technology, followed their passions and supported husbands and children who have steered businesses, championed causes, advanced science and technology and followed their passions.
We also celebrate women for their keen fashion sense. How often do we do a fashion shoot with men? Rarely. They usually just get put in three dierent suits — same same, but dierent — for what’s invariably a piece about their professional clout. Perhaps we really do have to correct this clear gender bias and put them in summer shorts.
Rather than meander and rumble on some more, let me wish everyone a happy International Women’s Day. And to the men, thank you for supporting and respecting the females around you.