It's essential to look at the discussions surrounding female sexuality, its representation in the media, and the tremendous amount of controversiality that goes with it.
The Woman Post | Carolina Rodríguez Monclou
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The ambivalence of female sexual empowerment in the music industry or on social media and the good amount of objectification that goes with it, it's very concerning.
It is a controversial conversation to have because most of us are speaking from a place of privilege. Especially for someone who has never struggled financially.
The first step is to understand the discussion around this topic is reflecting on the following questions: Why are we so focused on ethics? And why do some people see it as an anti-feminist while others see it as a form of female empowerment?
Let's examine two cases within the industry: Cardi B, a rapper, and Emily Ratajkowski, a model and influencer.
Here's an essential distinction between the two of them. Cardi B is an artist and a singer, which means that she has a specific power over her image. Whereas Emily Ratajkowski is often used as a medium between a brand and a consumer, which means she usually has to take on the brand's message. There's an essential difference between these two women in terms of agency and independence.
Throughout history, female sexuality went from something that is regulated to something more personal that can be shared or expressed publicly.
In the case of Cardi B's successful but also very controversial song WAP, some words have been censored, but listeners still get the message. It's easy to get what she is talking about.
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In recent years, female sexuality and the attention it gets from the male gaze has become so powerful that it gave some women access to money, capital, and privilege.
Some might find it very inspiring from a viewer's position, while others will think it is completely disgusting and unacceptable.
Here are some reasons why Emily and Cardi B decided to express their sexuality so openly.
In an autobiographical essay in The Cut, Emily said, "I dropped out of UCLA to pursue modeling and was working quite regularly," then, she adds that although she wasn't doing anything fancy, she got better paid than her friends. Emily got financial security and freedom.
Now, let's take a look at Cardi B. Before becoming a singer, she worked at a strip club. The artist has said that becoming a stripper was favorable for her life in many ways. She became a stripper to escape poverty and domestic violence.
As it was the case with Emily, it seems that Cardi B has a very positive outlook on her career choice, what she's doing, and especially what it brought her, including education and financial stability.
The concept of choice in feminist movements used to be way simpler. It was about the choice of marriage, divorce, career, and the choice over bodies. Nevertheless, some feminists see the situation right now as a reversal of those gains and a subversion of what choice really means. That implies that we need to act in a way that there is not even a choice.
Regulate self-objectification or regulate how female sexuality is represented in the media would be very challenging. The problem of not letting other women make money off the male gaze perpetuates this idea that women can't decide for themselves. If it's sexist imagery or female empowerment, it's a decision of each of us. For the moment, sorority and empathy is the best path to move forward.