Special to WorldTribune.com
The year 2014 in popular culture was filled with female celebrities behaving badly. Women now have a multitude of opportunities to express themselves and to succeed based on their unique talents. Yet, many powerful women instead chose to be degraded. This is feminism in reverse.
Reality star Kim Kardashian posed naked in a photo shoot for Paper Magazine, attempting to “break the Internet.” Her sister, Kourtney, also bared her flesh for Dujour.com, while pregnant with her third child. Yet, the siblings fail to realize that this behavior is no longer groundbreaking but is rather boring. Female nudity on the Internet abounds; another image of breasts, buttocks or any other female body part makes little difference. The Kardashians rendered themselves merely common.
The fixation with body parts plagued singers like Jennifer Lopez and rising rap sensation Iggy Izalea. They collaborated on a song called “Booty” with a video that focuses on their respective buttocks. Jennifer Lopez showed more of that booty on The American Music Awards in which her dance number was better suited for a strip club than a major awards show. In a defensive Entertainment Tonight interview, the singer said she refuses to be put “in a box.” She can still be sexy regardless of being 45 years old and a mom, she insisted.
But Ms. Lopez fails to grasp that an established star diminishes her prestige by revealing too much of her body; it is not sexy but grotesque. She thus appears insecure and desperate for attention. How about just singing a good song like she used to do? With her extensive experience and connections in the music industry, now is the time for her to make memorable music rather than acting nineteen, while shaking a 45 year-old booty.
Females on top-rated talent programs such as America’s Got Talent and The Voice had a golden opportunity to demonstrate their savvy and skill while mentoring the young. Instead, they chose to repeatedly flirt with men half their age—boys barely out of puberty. Mel B. and Heidi Klum gushed over young male contestants, leading co-host Howard Stern to express discomfort with their behavior. Even Gwen Stefani, a seasoned singer and coach on The Voice, lost control of herself while mentoring the blue-eyed 20 year-old college student Ryan Sill. She broke out in a sweat in his presence and could barely string two sentences together. After his performances, she sat open-mouthed and in awe. Someone should have stepped forward and slapped her in the face, calling her to regain her composure.
Swedish singer and songwriter, Tove Lo, also piled on with more images of weakness. She broke into the American market in 2014 with her hit song “Habits.” The accompanying video went all the way to number one on the VH1 Top Twenty Countdown. The pop song is one long lament at the loss of love; to numb the pain the protagonist drowns herself in alcohol, drugs and promiscuity. The video features images of debauchery, including scenes of Tove Lo kissing men and women, and both at the same time. In other words, the song presents a woman destroying herself because she cannot cope with the loss of love. Lady, get a grip.
Another leading female who lost herself this year is Beyonce, otherwise known as Queen Bee. She made headlines with “Drunk in Love,” a song and video with her husband Jay Z, that has raunchy lyrics and features sexual gestures. Despite her remarkable vocals, beauty and dance skills, Beyonce plunged into the darkness with this number, degrading her body and talents. She is desperately trying to hang on to a crumbling marriage with her philandering husband. The singer even changed the lyrics and cried on stage a few times this year during the blockbuster On Run Tour, alluding to the troubles with her spouse. Instead of kicking him to the curb and continuing to shine the spotlight on her outstanding skills, she is wallowing in self-pity and self-destruction.
Beyonce should follow her sister Solange’s example when she kicked Jay Z in an elevator in a video that went viral. Queen Bee should kick Jay Z in the shin, kick him out and be herself rather than the tramp she thinks he wants her to be.
Veteran journalist Barbara Walters also dove off the feminist ledge this year. The champion of female empowerment in television journalism had a brain meltdown over the marriage of long-time bachelor, actor George Clooney. The Ten Most Fascinating People of 2014 culminated with Walters declaring Amal Alamuddin, the human rights lawyer who finally got Clooney to the altar, as the most fascinating person of the year. In fact, getting Clooney to be married was “really one of the greatest acts in human history,” said Walters. Walters thereby defined Amal as worthy of being most fascinating due to her stellar wardrobe and her choice of man to marry. Are we back in the nineteenth century? Ms. Walters should have retired last year when she said she would.
Many men said for decades that women are only ‘good for one thing,’ can’t keep their emotions in check in the workplace, are overly-emotional, fall apart without men and should simply bask in their husband’s glory. In 2014, too many powerful women momentarily threw away their talents, achievements, inner strength and good sense—and validated these misogynistic notions.
Here is hoping 2015 brings women back to their better selves: Let us use the opportunities in this age of freedom to be independent ladies of great dignity and grace, thus allowing our individual talents to truly shine and have a lasting, benevolent impact.
Grace Vuoto is the Editor of Politics and Culture at World Tribune, host of American Heartland with Dr. Grace on WTSB Radio and is the founder of the Edmund Burke Institute for American Renewal.