By Jennie Bishop, founder of PurityWorks
I consider myself a feminist.
I love womanhood. I support diverse expressions of womanhood (I like machines, my husband cooks; I worked, my husband stayed home with our two girls, and vice versa). I also celebrate femininity as a unique expression, different from and separate from masculinity, although there are subtle gray areas.
But I find the f**H8 video heartbreakingly exploitative.
To supply little girls in princess costumes with such a vulgar script is a rape of childhood in itself. This is not “girl power.” In fact, it is exploitation of little girls in order to help grown women feel powerful. The valid points of the message are invalidated by the method of expression.
I understand anger. I understand that a woman might feel the desire to get back at those who have exploited them. I understand that some men have acted heinously in their objectification of women—and that there are honorable men out there who respect and value women greatly.
A friend of mine commented on this video so eloquently, saying, “I’m so disappointed by this. I get what they’re saying. I have men I want to get back at, too. Some things are so unfair. But they’re exploiting those girls just as they feel exploited.”
Destroying little girls’ innocence in an effort to illuminate gender inequities or abuses is unacceptable and ridiculous. How can exploiting women stop the exploitation of women?
Although I find the F-word vulgar and cheapening, I knows that it is powerful because sex is powerful. But sex is also beautiful. Our children have a powerful, beautiful, innocent, budding sexuality. This innocent beauty has been put to death in the little women in this video.
These girls will be celebrated because of their video debut. They will get extra attention from their peers. Their peers will no doubt use the F-word readily as well—because these girls did and they are now YouTube heroes.
All this before any one of these children has experienced their first true sexual, physical desire. They don’t even know the meaning of sex beyond the factual, medical definition.
Not that their parents don’t have the right to train them as they choose. They most certainly do. But these are not the feminine citizens that I look forward to see forming our nation or mother our children in the future. Women are smart. Women can use gentleness as well as strength. And many women (even those who don’t watch Downtown Abbey) realize that “vulgarity is no substitute for wit.”
When we are unwilling or incapable of coming up with better language to express ourselves, we do not present ourselves as intelligent, but simply emotional. Simply angry. Simply throwing tantrums.
This video is a tantrum. When children throw them, they often hurt themselves. But when adults do, they hurt others. Especially innocent children. True feminism would not risk exploiting young women just to throw a fit.
Jennie Bishop is the founder of PurityWorks, a not-for-profit organization that provides resources and training to raise virtuous citizens who value sexual integrity. She is also widely known as the best-selling author of the children’s storybook The Princess and the Kiss. Read more about Bishop and PurityWorks at www.purityworks.org.