Tisinger: Take back the day

Sarah Tisinger

I almost cried in class the last week. Seriously. My media class discussed women and misogyny in the media and how it is affecting young girls. The video we watched flashed pictures of female celebrities. The pictures were provocative and dirty. You know the ones.

They’re not just pictures that were “leaked” in a magazine or a scandalous sex tape. They’re advertisements, movie posters, CD covers – pictures we see on a daily basis. I know we live in a sex-hyped nation, but everything was now right there, right in front of my face. The biggest female stars I can name have all used this type of “sex sells” advertising. Even Miley Cyrus’ “art” photos were sexual and scandalous.

In fact, as I looked these photos, I typed her name in my Google search bar. Google’s suggestions for me included “Miley Cyrus lap dance video,” “Miley Cyrus crotch” and “Miley Cyrus Playboy.” Seriously? Who has been searching those?

Female celebs have been showing boobs at the Super Bowl, giving nip slips and crotch shots to paparazzi and posing sexually. It’s so often it has become the norm. How twisted is that?

The video talked to girls who wanted plastic surgery and had eating disorders because of the pressure they felt to fit in and look like the girls on the runway or on the big screen. Megan Fox is a good example. Everyone thinks she’s friggin’ hot. So other girls want to be like her. But her 2009 interview with Rolling Stone doesn’t sound like her hotness and popularity has made her very happy.

“I’m really insecure about everything. I never think I’m worthy of anything,” she revealed in the interview. “I have a sick feeling of being mocked all the time. I have a lot of self-loathing. Self-loathing doesn’t keep me from being happy. But that doesn’t mean I don’t struggle. I am very vulnerable.”

Self-loathing doesn’t keep you from being happy, Megan? Then why did you say you don’t think you’re worth anything?

The video from class also showed young girls that were getting ready to go to the mall. The girls took about two hours to do their hair, apply makeup and feel ready enough to go out into the world. When I was 12 I was a little more worried about whether the weather was nice enough to go out bike riding with my friends.

But then again, can the younger generation really help the way they are? The media doesn’t help. We’ve known that for decades now. But the next class my professor showed us a newspaper clipping about Walmart’s new teen line, geoGirl, that is cheap and specifically targeted and bottled for teen girls. They’re cheap and bottled to attract teens and pre-teens.

Mariah Carey’s fragrance line is only $14 and even comes with a small plush toy. Who do you think that’s targeted for? Why are we telling pre-teen girls they need to use perfume? Maybe some deodorant would be nice, but perfume is slightly overboard.

I know that every feminist has heard of the “Take back the night” slogan. But ladies, I say we take back the day. Take back what we want to be thought of by men. Take back the words you say when you call your friends a bitch or a whore. Take back using sex as a tool against men to get what you want. Take down the racy photos of you on Facebook and MySpace. There’s a big difference between owning your sexuality and your sexuality owning you.

You can’t have it both ways, friends. You can’t post pictures like that and take two hours to get ready for shopping and expect men – and other women – to think of you as anything but a product. You can’t wear shirts that show cleavage and then get upset when a guy stares. You were kind of asking him to. Wasn’t that the point?

Let your younger sisters, and eventually your daughters, know that they need to be wise of what they wear, of how they allow men to treat them, how they allow their girlfriends to tell them they’re not fashionable enough.

I suppose I wanted to cry in class that day because I’m sad for all the women who think they’re not good enough, but that an eating disorder or cutting up your body will make you good enough. How can you possibly hate yourself that much? You’re amazing!

Take back the day, ladies. Maybe one day, one day, we’ll all grow some lady balls and let Hollywood know what real women look like, and be proud of what we were born with.