Why women dress skimpily in the cold

The degradation of women should be a political issue.

By
September 2, 2007 21:34
Why women dress skimpily in the cold

model 88. (photo credit: )

 
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Dublin, where I visited with my wife last week for a TV appearance, has just had its coldest and rainiest summer in 50 years. But you'd hardly know it given how the women dress at night. The lively city center, with its myriad pubs and clubs, is filled with guys standing with their pints of Guinness, and women walking around as if they were at the beach. Why, when the men dress with jackets and long sleeves to shelter themselves from the cold do the women wear skirts and blouses that expose almost every inch of flesh? Well, it's all about advertising. A shop's windows will display its most attractive wares. Women, likewise, put on display what they believe the men will most value: their bodies. And since it is she who shows the most product who will attract the most customers, it is no wonder that women in our time are fast becoming all cover and no book. THE MANNER of dress chosen by the women of Dublin is, of course, common throughout the Western world. It only came as a surprise to me because Ireland was once the most Catholic and socially conservative of all Western countries. An even bigger surprise, however, was the loutish behavior of many women as they ran around in packs like loud hooligans, trying to attract as much attention as possible. I saw a bride out on her bachelorette night walking on the city streets with her friends, an obscene male blow-up doll tied to her body as she readied herself for the spiritual commitment of marriage. Across Europe there is now a movement to ban or limit Islamic women wearing full-face and full-body covering. This is done, ostensibly, to protect women from being treated as dangerous sexual seducers who must therefore be hidden away. Curiously, there is no similar movement to try and impart even a semblance of dignity to young Western women, to get them to value themselves as something other than a man's plaything. IT GROWS worse by the day. I was disappointed at TLC, a quality network and my television home of the past two years, recently announcing that they had acquired the rights to broadcast the Miss America beauty pageant. Beauty competitions, one would have thought, should have died the ignominious death of so many other sexist institutions which portray a woman's highest calling as serving as male entertainment. Is it really possible that 60 years after feminism rightly said women have a brain and not just a bust, we still have international competitions wherein judges rate a woman for her ability to fill a bathing suit and the length of her legs? And yes, I know that nowadays these competitions are given the thin veneer of respectability by making the women speak nobly of a charitable enterprise that is central to their lives. But the fact that there aren't many women looking like Mother Theresa who are allowed to compete gives the lie to this farcical attempt to give respectability to lechery. The greatest social story of our time is the second fall of Eve, the utter loss of feminine dignity and the complicity of an educated generation of women in their own degradation and denigration. MEN HAVE, sadly, always taken advantage of women, exploiting their softer nature as vulnerability and weakness. But one would have thought that with 60 percent of all college students in America being women, a new coalition of powerful voices would put a stop to the male tendency to treat women as a means to their own ends and demand some much-deserved respect. Instead, remarkably, the situation has gotten much worse. For every Hillary Clinton running for president, there are millions of women who will endure almost any form of sexual exploitation to get on TV. For every Condoleezza Rice serving in an important government role, there are thousands of female coeds who will rip off their T-shirts for Girls Gone Wild. And the most astonishing thing as all this takes place is the deafening silence. I do not know of a single important female voice decrying the tsunami of porn and the denigration of women in our time. This would actually be an important campaign for Clinton, one with which she could potentially win over many social conservatives, without whose support she cannot be elected president. Say what you want about Hillary, but the one thing she has always been is a woman who got ahead using her brains rather than her body. Should she not be encouraging a lost generation of American women to follow suit? AN ASTONISHING thing happened here in Ireland while I visited. The female president of the country, Mary McAleese, addressed an international convention on suicide and, in a country where it is not uncommon to enjoy a drink, condemned the culture of binge drinking on the part of youth, linking it to suicide. "When the research shows us the very strong correlation between alcohol abuse and youth suicide, we are morally obliged to take this issue very seriously," she said. As I read her courageous remarks, I unfavorably contrasted my country, where not a single presidential candidate has had the courage to speak out on serious social and cultural issues like this one. We hear a lot about Iraq, immigration, and health care, as well we should. But social issues like the breakdown of families and the state of our youth are scarcely ever mentioned. A few years ago a similar US study, based on the government-funded National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health, linked adolescent female depression and suicide with adolescent sexuality. The study found that about 25% of sexually active girls say they are depressed all, most or a lot of the time, while only 8% of girls who are not sexually active feel the same. While 14% of girls who have had intercourse have attempted suicide, only 5% of sexually inactive girls have. Tragically, it turns out that our silence on the need for feminine dignity is indeed deadly. The writer is the author of Hating Women: America's Hostile Campaign Against the Fairer Sex. His upcoming book, The Broken American Male and How to Heal Him, will be published shortly.

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