Choice For Women: Page 3, The Burka & Miley Cyrus

19 Nov

First of all, let me make this clear. I am not a misogynistic gay man. But I do feel that I need to write about several issues which have been hitting the headlines lately, both concerning the attire of women and the portrayal of women in the media.

Let’s start with the Page 3 Girls. Now, most people, mainly men from of various ages and backgrounds, buy The Sun newspaper to “ogle the boobs on Page 3” apparently. In the early 80’s there was a campaign to try and stop The Sun newspaper from publishing such images as women, and some men, felt it was demeaning, degrading and objectifying women. The campaign trail failed. The women who were anti “Page 3 Girls” were vilified, ridiculed and mocked mercilessly.

IN the 1990’s, women who had such “glamorous” career  paths were repackaged and redefined. CHOICE became the buzz word and most women who paraded on TV, Videos or magazines in bikinis, in porn, on Page 3 and other such media went around proclaiming it was “their choice” and choice became a word we had to learn to RESPECT. The whole “Choice” issue was embodied  by the likes of The Spice Girls as “Girl Power”. But lets not forget that the management behind these “girls” were all men. So, the issue of “Girl Power!” and Female Empowerment is a bit lost on me here because it certainly did not redefine women as being liberating, independent or strong. The strings were still being controlled by men.

Some women loved the whole glamorous package. Other women loathed and despised it. Most men appeared to love it. Even gay men adored the likes of The Spice Girls and Page 3 Model/businesswoman Jordan/Katie Price for being so feisty, in-your-face and ballsy.  I mean, which gay men doesn’t love a Diva?

But then, “Girl Power” appeared to fall on hard times. 9/11 occurred, the recession came and escapism came in the form of music videos and the internet, mainly YouTube and Social Media. Sex was beginning to sell and be downloaded on the small screen a billion times over.

Hand in hand with this was the rise of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim sentiments. Women of a certain background appeared more and more in the public eye. In the streets of London, Birmingham and other major cities, women in Burkas, Niqabs and Hijabs appeared. People felt intimidated, others wearing said attire were harassed or bullied, some threatened with violence. Debates were and are struck up time and time again. Is it culture, tradition, faith or a form of oppression?  Whatever we say, the more educated women who covers her face would say it is her “choice” to wear the Burka or Niqab, whether we like it or not.

Personally, I don’t agree with it as I believe most communication is from facial expression and body language. I see enough women in Burka/Niqab who have deliberately made up their eyes with mascara, eye shadow and liner in an attempt to flirt with men. I’ve seen  women in  Burka shoplifting in charity/thrift shops and other local stores, women in Burka smoking, swearing, wearing what is deemed to be “items of a more masculine attire” like adidas trainers, hoodies, and such like. Which, to me, defies what wearing a burka is all about. But nowhere in the Koran does it say that a woman should wear a burka. It states that a woman should be covered to retain her modesty. Don’t forget, even here in the Western World it was once shocking for a woman to show her ankle, then not to have her skirt above the knee…but with the invention of the mini-skirt in the sexual revolution of the 60s, it all changed…

In France, they banned the Burka for not being in line with French culture or the law of their land. In the UK, similar calls have been introduced and debated but has so far, failed  miserably. The Metropolitan College in Birmingham called for a ban but it proved very unsuccessful as students complained and there was a protest outside the grounds with lots of media coverage. Again, young women said it was freedom of choice, liberating, an expression of sisterhood and identity.

The female dress or costume worn is about identity and the image you either wish to portray or the moral values you wish to maintain. Keep in mind, women talk about those special words “Choice & Respect”. Most educated women or those of a more fortunate status  choose to do what they want, wear what they want, demand and have to be respected. Equal Opportunities and all that…

But now, we also have yet another campaign led by Gender equality groups UK Feminista and Object who joined forces with lawyers to launch the Lose the Lads’ Mags campaign earlier this year. They have successfully, encouraged the Co-op convenience store, to remove “Nuts” and “Loaded” off their shelves. The group in question cites “exploitation, objectifying women, pornographic, sexualisation, embarrassing for children to ask what that magazine is all about and why is she showing her boobs, mommy?” and so on.


Where is the Choice, Respect and “Girl Power” when it comes to magazines?

Then, we have another hot topic which is Miley Cyrus and her “twerking” antics and behaviour on stage. If she wants to dance and parade around semi-naked, is that not her choice? I don’t think she is naïve to the music industry as some people claim. Let’s get this straight. She started off very young with Disney Studios portraying a very squeaky clean character, yet another product of Disney Studios. She had a few minor hits with a young audience. But as Miley Cyrus, how do we know what sort of person Miley is or was behind the scenes? She could be very mature beyond her years. She could be a very spoilt brat. She could be highly sexed…She could be a number of things or labelled in a certain way. We’re not to know for now. All we have is an impression of a 20 year old young woman cavorting on stage  in practically next to nothing. She probably grew up watching Madonna singing “Like A Virgin”, Britney singing at the age of 16 “Hit Me Baby One More Time”, saw Rihanna and Beyoncé, Kylie Minogue and Lady Gaga. Like most young women, as a singer/actor she is probably emulating and  searching to find her own identity. Maybe she has found it. Either way, she has gone from relative obscure starlet to overnight global superstar. And who is either downloading her songs or watching her videos? I should imagine the demographics covers a lot of ground, and has risen into billions.

As an aside, when Nicki Minaj, a black woman cavorts in her bikini on stage and in her videos no-one seems to complain. It almost sends out a bizarre racial message that “White Women don’t” or “Nice white girls like Miley don’t twerk or shouldn’t”.

I’d more than likely offend by saying this but to me, it all seems to amount to either office gossip, insecure jealousies and rivalries…

But I digress. Remember the Choice and Respect words? That leaves me in a quandary right now. Why? Because there a calls to ban page 3 girls, magazines which “objectify women/make them look pornographic” numerous discussions on Miley Cyrus and her behaviour, burkas and hijabs…banning campaigns from one extreme to another. I have to think who is making all these calls to ban? Mainly Women, who are inclined to say we are fighting for the Sisterhood, Women uniting, Choice & Respect. Would these women who want to ban all these items rather have quaint images of women serving food in the kitchen for publications such as Homes & Gardens, Ideal Homes or OK! magazines? Those magazines are in huge demand of late and sales are increasing…If the Campaigners do, then it says a lot about how far the Women’s Liberation Movement has come…


The Learned Kat


2 Responses to “Choice For Women: Page 3, The Burka & Miley Cyrus”

  1. emergingnorthener June 19, 2014 at 11:16 pm #

    Hey, cheers for like. I enjoyed this post and look forward to more. Bobby

    • thelearnedkat June 20, 2014 at 7:44 pm #

      Thank you! Actually, I’m highly honoured as I read your tweets and admire what you have achieved 🙂

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