1. It was compared to a chastity belt which restricts and sexually represses women. When a woman's curves and bumps bounced in suggestive ways and a woman could be easily fondled, it was considered immodest and improper. After all, a woman's sexuality is something to fear and lock up. This somehow goes hand-in-hand with a man's view of women as sluts or sexual objects but don't think about this contradiction too hard or you'll get a headache. I suppose the theory goes that men both fear and desire the sex monster so they want women to dress like sluts until they become theirs, when they must be locked up. Which makes no sense when you consider the fact that unmarried women had to wear corsets and girdles as well, but I digress...
There's also a fine line between unshackling external repressions and going wild. In which category does this one fall? Read on.
2. Girdles became 'embarrassingly' visible when mini-skirts became fashionable. Mini-skirts and bouncy female butts became all the rage yet somehow this was part of a feminist revolution to stop women being treated as sex objects. Huh?
3. Girdles were seen as forcing women to appear in rigid, forced and unnatural shapes to conform with men's ideals about a woman's beauty. Nature was in, artificiality was out.
4. Girdles, bras and heels were seen as female torture objects and were thrown into the trash and burned.
30 years later, let's see where we stand:
First of all, obviously heels and bras came back pretty fast. In fact, push-up bras are even used to show off cleavage and breast size. Of course, women are wearing push-up bras for themselves and not for us chauvinist pigs.
And then there is plastic surgery:
"The number of women electing to have their breasts enlarged through implant surgery is increasing rapidly. A record 220,000 American women chose to undergo breast augmentation in 2001, and the industry projects an almost 10 percent increase this year."
"That is twice the number of women who were getting cosmetic breast implants a decade ago, before the Food and Drug Administration strictly limited use of the most popular type of implant -- the kind filled with silicone gel -- after reports that it might cause debilitating illnesses."
This trend shows a 472% increase in boob jo... pardon me: breast augmentations in the last decade and it's still growing. Some TV shows seem to be exclusively hiring women with fake breasts:
"Many young people growing up never see what normal natural breasts look like. Women are caused to think that the pert big breasts are ideal and so many women (about 334,000 in the year 2004 according to American Society of Plastic Surgeons) opt for breast implants to 'correct' their breasts. Most teenage girls worry and fret over their breast development, some even to the point of suicide."
I couldn't find an authoritative figure for the amount of women in the USA with boob jobs, but according to my calculations I estimate 2.5-3 million.
And this is just breast surgery. In 2003 alone, 7 million US women chose plastic surgery.
And these are only the women who go through with it. Surveys consistently show that most women aren't happy with their breasts and many of them wish for a boob job but don't do it for various reasons.
So women switched from 'torturous' girdles to dangerous surgical procedures, from unnatural rigid panels under their clothing to cement breasts that sometimes don't even bounce, and from flattening their stomachs and butts with lycra to cutting open their bodies and sticking dangerous substances under their flesh so that their cleavage will be appreciated. Now that's what I call progress.
And then there are the radical feminists who want to abolish marriage (AKA patriarchical repression and slavery), and give women their 'sexual freedom' to sleep around with whomever they want and still collect child-raising taxes from men.
And, of course, there is the controversial fight for abortion rights. Ah, the freedom to have sex without consequences and have the choice to not be tied down by unwanted pregnancies.
So adding this all up together, what with women fighting for bouncy butts, huge boobs, consequence-free sex, and no marriage commitments while wearing mini-skirts, heels and push-up bras, would I be wrong to conclude that bottom-line Feminism (pardon the pun) is about converting women into sex objects?