Survival Tip for Girls

Question: Which of these very “hot” women is the actual female human being and how can you tell? Which seems to believe she’s “empowered?”

afghan womanBeckham




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6 thoughts on “Survival Tip for Girls

  1. Brilliant and funny, as always.

    I think it’s a trick question. They are the same woman. She’s in a Halloween costume on the left 🙂

  2. Thanks, Metro Attorney, for the excellent (and funny) comment. On a more serious note, this photo is of an Afghan woman, but I just finished reading a nice little memoir, “In the Land of Invisible Women,” in which an American doctor goes to work in Saudi Arabia, and notes that plastic surgery is ALSO now pervasive there, usually undertaken when men are about to take a second wife. So much for surgery as “empowerment.”

  3. It seems to me that women will not be genuinely empowered until they devote at least as much time and effort to developing and fostering their “inland empires” as they do altering their faces and physiques in order to conform to some arbitrary, culturally dictated standard of physical attractiveness. After all, only a fully-formed human being can truly be empowered, if we define empowerment as the capacity to make reasoned, insightful decisions about one’s life. The problem of false empowerment, of course, is more pervasive in patriarchal cultures, such as our own, wherein earning a man’s approval and love is generally considered the apotheosis of accomplishment.

    Instead of looking inward, the source of our true humanity and beauty, women have been taught to focus their attention on what has traditionally been valued by most cultures, i.e., their physical selves. Even more sadly, however, most women never bother to challenge the notion that their value as a human being is directly proportional to the degree to which they conform to certain societal standards of beauty; in fact, it is much easier to have plastic surgery or to lose weight than to do the REALLY hard work of rigorous self-analysis and devoting oneself to independence and personal growth. Even more than contempt for women, our fixation with appearances and superficialities has bred laziness and complacency.

  4. Thanks, Enola, for the great comment, which I find quite thoughtful and profound, and with which I actually do agree, even though if each person must engage in “rigorous self-analysis and devotion to independence and personal growth” to be truly empowered, I’d say few are. But with the two photos, I was making a much more superficial point about what I consider a planetary war on women that wraps up ever narrowing, ever more unrealistic choices in the guise of “empowerment,” thereby making women self-deluding parties to their own exploitation. Perhaps I erred in using a celebrity as an example, because I also want to make the point that our coarse, pornographic advertising saturated, all-spun-all-the-time American culture is depriving average women (and children) of many of the protections formerly afforded them. When young men from Yale are shouting, “Yes means yes, no means anal” (and without action from those in authority), Houston, we have a problem. When twelve year old girls are dressing like hookers and servicing boys with oral sex, we have a problem. When the “baby-daddy” culture is celebrated and accepted, we have a very serious problem.

  5. Thank you, Fran, for acknowledging my comment. You have no idea how much it pains me that women are so willing to be complicit in their own exploitation! I couldn’t agree with you more that “we have a problem.” Our culture has glamorized and trivialized sex to such a degree that “hooking up” is the new normal, and many young women perceive being a stripper as a viable and even desirable choice of “profession.” I know these things to be true because I taught in Detroit and neighboring public high schools for over eighteen years. I am astounded by the number of young women who aspire to have a man “take care” of them financially, because they think that’s easier than making their own way through life…

    Your point about this battle being part of a “planetary” war on women could not be more apt; the June 6th New Yorker magazine features a scathing article by Ariel Levy about the attack waged against women’s dignity by none other than Italy’s Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, whose culture of total sexual hedonism has seems to affirm that women should aspire to be either sexual playthings or 1950’s style homemakers. According to this article, Italy ranks seventy-fourth in women’s rights, world-wide, between the Dominican Republic and Gambia. Yikes!

    The idea that women are second class citizens is both pervasive and perverse. Perhaps the first women’s movement did not go far enough??? As a woman, an educator, and a human being, I am so dispirited by this continuing trend…

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