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A WOMAN DOES NOT HAVE TO BE MODEST IN ORDER TO BE RESPECTED

Let me say that a little louder for the people who feel the need to discuss/shame the choices of women all over the world. For the past few years I have sat silent, letting everyones negative perceptions and comments go in one ear and out the other. But I’m refusing to bite my tongue this time.

It is time to STOP lecturing other women about what they wear, what their career choices are, what kind of art they create, and how they CHOOSE to show the world who they are. It is time to STOP policing a woman’s preferences under the guise that what they do is “disempowering” simply because it doesn’t align with what YOUR beliefs, preferences, or opinions are. Just as you have your right to express yourself, so do the women that you shame, judge, belittle and speak of behind their backs – all while they are out there fearlessly loving themselves. AND DON’T TELL ME IT’S BECAUSE YOU CARE, because true empowerment is respecting the right of every woman to make her own choices, and to love themselves however they see fit. It’s time for you to realize that what you are truly doing is trying to equate modesty with character and respect. And what you should be doing is taking a closer look at yourself.

In a world where your everyday woman is dealing with absurd beauty standards, being criticized for goals/passions that are outside of societal norms, and STILL fighting for control over our bodies and basic human rights – WHY are you making it more difficult? Shaming other women for being confident, for following their dreams, for living or thinking outside of the box is only holding us back further. Every second that you have spent worrying about, speaking of, or taking action on what someone else does, you could have spent taking the steps to become a better version of yourself. And that having been said…I truly feel sorry for you. Because as humans we are an everlasting source of abundance and great opportunity. Every single being on this earth deserves to become the brightest light that they can, but some just choose to stay dark and attempt to suck the light out of everyone else.

As a vibrant and innovative woman I have heard it all. Sometimes when I was struggling, others when I felt that I had reached the top. In some instances, I was far too young for those slurs, and other times I had just reached a new milestone. I have spent far too many moments that urged celebration worrying about what others would think, or hearing backlash from those who don’t understand. Either way, we have all fallen victim to our own silence. But it is time to stand up and shout it from the rooftops. It is time to brace our backbones and speak out against this abuse. I can already hear the comments from those who are ready to combat everything I have just stated. So, let me just leave these answers…

“women are objectifying themselves, or being objectified” – As women, we are objectified every single day. A woman completely covered can walk down the street and get cat-called, just as easy as a woman rocking more revealing clothing. How women CHOOSE to express themselves to the world is none of your concern. Comments like this too closely resemble the rape cases that are closed, because the VICTIM was “wearing revealing clothing”. Comments like this dismantle a healthy enviroment.

“It’s against my religious beliefs” – Pay close attention to the “my” in that statement. These are your own personal beliefs. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution states that every individual has the right to practice his or her own religion, or no religion at all. And the Free Excercise Clause of the First Amendment gives you the right to worship or not as you choose. Based on these rights you are both free and justified to think this when you are judging a woman’s choices. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. However, you have NO RIGHT to shame another individual for practicing their own belief system; no matter how different it may be from your own.

“You can’t take back photos you post on the internet” – I completely agree with you here. This is an excellent lesson for adolescents who are not aware of the true consequences of their actions, even at a young age. But on the contrary, if someone felt confident enough to endorse, present or create something enticing past their teens it should be seen as beautiful. It is beautiful and empowering to see women of all ages, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and religions feeling strong and confident in their own skin. You have no say in what a grown adult promotes. Could it negatively effect them in one way or another? Absolutely. Is that your business? Absolutely not. Let individuals live their lives, the way that they want to. Sometimes people need to discover life on their own terms, not on yours.

“You’re sending the wrong message/You’re doing this for attention” – As human beings, every single choice we make is a direct reflection of how we want the outside world to view us. From our external appearance to our internal passions, thoughts, and expressions. So when you are judging someone based on how they are expressing themselves to others you are doing exactly what they want you to do. You are NOTICING them. You are trying to figure them out. And whether you are perceiving them negatively, or positively – you’re still thinking about them. And they’ve just won.

“Youth shouldn’t be exposed to certain behaviors, appearances, or content” – We live in a digital age. Our younger generations are getting exposed to sexual content, crime, and other adult materials younger and younger each year. From what they see on social media and television to their video games and their friends in school. You can monitor what you do in your own home, but outside of your four little walls – you have no control. Let me say that again….YOU HAVE NO CONTROL. Stop trying to monitor and censor someone else’s life. It is best to remember that we are all entirely in control of only ourselves.

“All nudity is sexual” – Nudity and sex are NOT the same things. Clearly, you haven’t studied art, philosophy, or any subject in the medical field. Because the study of human anatomy is essential in so many different educational backgrounds. Did you know that almost all art training programs include nude figure drawing in their curriculum – dating back to the ancient greeks? And that it would be nearly impossible to properly re-create a human form, without stripping it down to the basic essentials? And if you’ve never explored a country in Europe, let me tell you as someone who has lived/studied there – you would see a naked statue, painting or work of art on every other corner. There are so many places where this is accepted, appreciated and admired.  YET, it is far too often deemed shamable. The moment someone takes photos of someone nude or is the muse for a photo with the basis on nudity or even lingerie – they get shamed for being “inappropriate”. We see artwork being removed for censorship, degrading comments being posted and women left devastated over work that they were proud of. But we don’t see those same people shaming the famous artists, whose work has been hung in churches and museums all over the world, for creating with those aspects. Michelangelo once said, “What spirit is so empty and blind, that it cannot recognize the fact that the foot is more noble than the shoe, and the skin more beautiful than the garment with which it is clothed?” To put it simply, you wouldn’t buy a ticket to an art exhibit if you did not want to see art style being displayed. You just wouldn’t look, correct? This can be applied to women’s choices as well. If you don’t like it DON’T LOOK.

In conclusion, to all of my girls out there who are confidently living their lives and constantly hearing the backlash/opinions of others…. please remember that your life can not be dictated by the perceptions of others. Their opinions don’t pay your bills, they don’t fulfill you…hell they don’t even make you happy. So you continue doing what makes you YOU and what makes you happy. Because you are surrounded by more than enough amazing people who support you, love you and accept you for all that you are and all that you do. And to those who still think that I should be burned at the stake for thinking the way that I do just remember… A WOMAN DOES NOT HAVE TO BE MODEST IN ORDER TO BE RESPECTED.

Photo Taken By: Alex Weyer

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by HeyEmmaJaye

Born in Colorado Springs, Colorado and raised in Youngstown, Ohio - adventure had been instilled in my soul at an extremely young age. Being raised by a big Italian family provided me with the unconditional love and support that taught me that I could do anything I truly put my mind to.

During my junior year at Kent State University I took a leap of faith and changed my major to photojournalism. Hands down, this is the best decision that I have ever made for myself. This was where I discovered my passion for visual storytelling and found affirmation that I am doing exactly what I was meant to do.

I finished out my senior year studying my craft and living in Florence, Italy - where I firmly believe I began to develop into the best possible version of myself as an artist. My love for lifestyle, music and documentary photography has taken me to places I had never anticipated and has introduced me to people that have changed my life forever.


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