Women#039;s rights: A step back

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Clothing makes the man. Or the woman. What we wear can be construed as professional, dignified, or reserved. On the other hand, our clothing can be viewed as distasteful, crass or downright risqu\u00E9. But, let's face it. Some folks just don't seem to care what they wear.

Today's clothing styles vary from the 1980s Madonna look, with the underwear worn as outerwear to Janet Jackson's mechanical failure that revealed a little more of her than most of us ever wanted to see. Yep, I saw it live.

In actuality, I'm being very conservative with those examples. It's one thing to wear revealing clothing; however, it is quite another to purposely and knowingly wear T-shirts with logos on them that make you, the wearer, look like a self-loathing idiot.

You may have heard about the 25 or so teenaged girls in Pittsburgh who have started a &#8220girlcott” against the popular youth retailer Abercrombie and Fitch because of their offensive T-shirt logos.

They are part of the &#8220attitude T-shirts” which the girls say are demeaning to young women. These young girls are absolutely correct, and it seems that many more across the country are agreeing with them.

Demeaning? Have you seen or heard of some of these logos?

&#8220Blondes are adored, Brunettes are ignored,” or &#8220Do I make you look fat?” and my personal favorite, &#8220Who needs brains when you have these?”

I might be able to snicker along with the crowd at first glance, but the sad truth is that too many teenaged girls are wearing these shirts and developing the mindset that their physical attractiveness and body shape is the number one thing they have to offer to the world in general.

Forget about intelligence; forget about sense of humor or kindness or honesty or loyalty. None of these abstract attributes hold any real worth in the eyes of those who would wear these T-shirts. True love and respect for yourself would not let you wear a shirt like any of these.

Our young girls are bombarded with reality shows that glamorize and popularize young women like Paris Hilton, who, by the way, is on the list of author Bernard Goldberg's book, &#8220100 People Who are Screwing up America.” Somebody please tell me if Paris Hilton has ever mopped a floor or cleaned her own toilet before, and I'll gladly back off. Of course, it's not all her fault; her parents factor into that equation somewhere.

In most rap or hip-hop music videos, the women/girls are just like trophies on the singer's shelf. It is as if the only self-respect these girls have comes completely from the amount of attention they get from the men surrounding them. This is sad.

We are supposed to live in an age where women's rights run rampant, but I look around me, and I see today's young women being bombarded with music videos and commercials and advertisements that display women as mere objects, items to be desired or discarded on a whim.

The worst part is today's young women are willing participants; they knowingly put themselves on display for others to determine their worthiness as a human being based solely on their physical appearance. Somehow, I don't think Susan B. Anthony would understand.

Regina Grayson is a reporter with the Greenville Advocate.

She can be reached at 334-383-9302, ext. 126 or via e-mail at regina.grayson@greenvilleadvocate.com.