Opinion: Men can’t justify arguments about female immorality
Free Press Opinion Columnist
On the same day that I read a letter to the editor in the Free Press suggesting that I condone immoral behavior among girls and women, a friend and local drag queen shared a photo of himself dressed to resemble Miley Cyrus. Since, as a woman, it could be illegal and definitely “immoral” for him to bare his breasts, his nipples were x’d out with electrical tape.
I had to pause for a moment to get my head around all of this.
On the one hand, there was a letter describing girls as addicted to idolatry and pornography. Apparently, “teen girls’ idols are morally depraved divas in music, and soft-porn Cosmo Magazine is like their ‘Bible …’”
On the other hand, there were signs of a culture evolving to tolerate all sorts of differences between individuals but where sexism is still required. To be feminine, even a person whose nipple is biologically male, must learn to be ashamed of it and to shield others from it.
The letter-writer concluded, “We do our youth no favors by congratulating them for thinking and acting as though all shame is to be despised rather than a unique God-given human gift which, when properly discerned and embraced, keeps our consciences alive and reminds us that we, and others, are more than mere advanced slime from an ancient swamp.”
If a women’s advice and entertainment magazine can be called pornography, then one must surely wonder what women and girls are supposed to be ashamed of. There’s an article this month about grilled cheese sandwiches made with chocolate chip cookies and some decent coverage of current events. The only common thing throughout the magazine is hundreds of images of women, all of whom are wearing clothing which covers their breasts and other unmentionable female body parts.
With no regard for the ever-persistent threat of women turning us back into the slime of ancient swamps, women have been upsetting people lately all over the country by using their breasts to feed their children. Could this be the moral depravity people are talking about?
In Grand Junction, Big League Haircuts fired a woman for expressing breast milk to feed her baby in 2013. A court ruled last month that the business had violated the Workplace Accommodations for Nursing Mothers Act and that a mother does, indeed, have the right to express milk to feed her baby every four hours.
Also, within the last couple weeks, an Indiana man shared all over social media a photo he’d snapped of a woman feeding her baby in public. His intent was to shame her and to generate discussion about the dirtiness of feeding babies in public. He pointed out in his rant that there were “little kids” present for this spectacle. People all over the country responded with hateful comments about this woman and her family.
It’s never difficult to find a story about a woman being asked to leave a business or cover her child’s head during meal time. Last week, a mother was asked to leave an Alabama water park for attempting to feed her child. The park manager explained that human milk is a bodily fluid and therefore is as gross and potentially dangerous to swimmers as urine or feces.
None of this gets me any closer to understanding what’s so offensive about women’s bodies or why we’re supposed to be ashamed of them. I support the right of women to feed their children; I support the right of children to be well-nourished; and I support the right of women to have female body parts.
Day after day, I am subjected to views of my male neighbor’s bare, sagging torso with cleavage much more defined than my own. Even more dramatic is the “cleavage” his saggy shorts reveal on his other end. I won’t see him in pants or a shirt until temperatures drop close to freezing.
As much as I might personally appreciate a law or moral code of conduct requiring that this man’s body to be covered, he is not hurting anyone. If I am bothered by his behavior, then the problem is mine, and it’s my right to look away anytime I choose.
A fourth generation Coloradan, Free Press columnist Robyn Parker is the former host of the progressive community radio show, Grand Valley Live. She is a stay-at-home mom, active community volunteer and board member for local environmental and social justice organizations. Robyn may be reached at email@example.com.
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