I had a discussion today with a father of two 20 something daughters. He felt that parenting teens today doesn’t seem to be a big deal. He didn’t seem to see that the changes in technology and the sexually saturated culture make it harder for parents. In fact, he felt the lyrics of sexually aggressive songs sung by women showed that the singers are “empowered.” His logic is that the women singing about wanting just sex from guys shows that they are in control and can have who they want. “They are empowered to say yes or no,” he said.
It was all I could do not to giggle. I guess he didn’t get the memo that women have always had the power to say yes or no to sex, unless they were raped or otherwise assaulted. Frankly, I don’t get how sexual promiscuity equals “empowerment.” I can understand how guys think it’s great that it is so easy these days to have sex. Women don’t say no like they used to. But empowerment? I don’t see how it’s empowering that a man can have a zillion sex partners. That isn’t power to me. That’s being a slave to biological urges.When did feminism get confused with taking on the worst of men’s behavior and wearing it as a badge of honor? For years, women have tried to dodge being “just used” by men. Why is it that women using men is somehow now “empowerment?” I asked him if his daughters were thirteen or fourteen again, how he would feel if they had multiple sex partners. He said he would be OK with that as long as they knew the consequences of their actions. But what young teen does?
As I sat talking to him, my cell phone was next to me as a fifteen year old girl was bereft over her boyfriend and talking about ending her life. I was being texted about the drama unfolding.
I go back to what my message to teen girls has always been about. It’s about learning how to respect yourself and others. If you feel that jumping on a bunch of guys disco sticks is self-respectful and respectful to the guys, I won’t dismiss your truth. But it’s not my truth. My sexuality is not the summation of my value. It is not the measurement of my empowerment. Earning a living in a man’s world, having a loving heart and living my own truth, is where I measure my worth. When did we all begin to believe that loveable equals “f-able?