Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Eye of the Beholder

The value of a naked woman diminishes everyday unless the woman monetizes it. Before you jump all down my throat let me explain myself. When I was a kid I remember having to put in legitimate effort to see a naked woman. I remember having to manipulate search engines to bypass restrictions and filters. I remember having to stay up late at night and watch scrambled softcore porn quietly so no one knew what I was doing. I remember when the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition was a big thing, because it didn’t carry the same stigma as Playboy or other magazines of that category. Nowadays the Swimsuit Edition comes and goes without as much as a peep, and that’s because the value of a naked woman has diminished so much.

I was listening to Raheem DeVaughn’s most recent album “A Place Called Love Land” and I was struggling trying to decide my thoughts on the album. It’s a pretty enjoyable album, but the music I was listening to felt so strange and I didn’t know why at first. Then I realized it: it was pure R&B music. There are no rap breakdowns. There are no songs about sipping lean with strippers. The only feature is legendary jazz musician Boney James. How did we get to the point where singing songs that didn’t degrade women became the exception and not the norm?

I’m sure all of you have heard of the social media platform Vine, but if not I’ll give a quick synopsis of it for you. Vine is basically a stop-motion camera app where users can upload videos that are 7 seconds or under. There are some pretty dumb vines, there are some ones that are absolutely hilarious, and now I’m realizing there are a lot of videos that feature a ton of nudity. I know that Instagram, YouTube and Facebook have rules in their terms and conditions that don’t allow anything graphic in nature, but apparently no such restriction exists for Vine. As a result in a matter of seconds you can find everything from young women (of possibly illegal ages) disrobing all the way to 7 second clips of people going to Pound Town. With so much nudity at your fingertips it loses the sacredness, the taboo nature, the redeeming factor of having to search for it.

I can’t help but wonder if somehow the decline of relationships is related to the diminishing value of a naked woman. This has nothing to do with strip clubs or prostitution either, as those two establishments have been in existence since the beginning of time. Even with those things at our disposal there wasn’t anywhere near the gender inequality that we have today, even with women being able to do more occupationally than ever before. I’m referring to the seemingly omnipresence of nudity everywhere I turn. It’s almost like with each celebrity sextape we’re less and less surprised. Miley Cyrus goes out of her way to be “ratchet” and it’s almost like we collectively yawn at her attempts to be risqué. Is the term risqué even viable anymore when shows like Teen Mom air on basic cable? How did it get this way? What happened in our society that led to this diminishing of value? How did it reach a point where sending SMS nude images became a requirement for all new relationships? How did it reach a point where it’s not enough to be intimate with someone? It’s almost a rite of passage to record the intimate encounter and share it with as many people as possible via the World Wide Web.

It seems that the diminishing value has coincided with a lack of privacy, decency and tact in regards to a number of topics. Is this from specific factors or just a byproduct of our society striving to become as open as possible? To be honest I don’t have an answer to any of the questions I posed in this article, and that’s the point. The answers can’t come from me and be passed down like the monarch of some kingdom. The answers must come from within our society. We have to take a reflective look at how we’ve allowed ourselves to reach this point of banality, and decide if we’re okay with the downward spiral that we’re currently on or whether we need to adjust course. That won’t happen in a day, in a week, in a month, in a year, but people will need to decide if it happens and then strive to restore the value of women in our society. That is of course unless you enjoy Basketball Wives of LA, then I apologize for wasting your time reading this.

No comments:

Post a Comment