creators.com opinion web
Conservative Opinion General Opinion
Connie Schultz icon
Connie Schultz
15 Oct 2014
Whoa to Our Runaway Tongues

In May 1997, I was a reporter assigned to interview spiritual author Deepak Chopra, who upon meeting me asked … Read More.

8 Oct 2014
At Last, Kate and Jackie Are Married

Last Sunday, shortly after they exchanged their wedding vows, I witnessed something I'd never before seen in … Read More.

1 Oct 2014
May a Million Umbrellas Bloom

So many seemingly small moments reveal the heart of the protest unfolding in Hong Kong. Thousands of citizens,… Read More.

Twerk On, Sisters

Comment

The first time I saw the video of Miley Cyrus twerking with Robin Thicke...

Let's start over.

I can't bring myself even to go there again. Doddering old feminist that I am, I think a woman should save her groin-grinding for the guy who loves her, and I don't need to be a witness to the tryst.

Even if I were in my 20s, I wouldn't be twerking. To me, feminism has always meant that any guy who wanted to be that close to me was going to have to work for it. At the very least, he was not going to be dressed like an umpire and singing about a predatory version of love.

It was this attitude, by the way, that bought me a lot of lonely nights in college and beyond, but I have to tell you, I've never regretted that. Party girl that I wasn't, I did teach human sexuality right out of college through the women's studies department. I made students craft the reproductive system of the opposite sex. Wish I'd kept some of those masterpieces of fiction.

Anyway, back to twerking, which legendary singer Annie Lennox recently harpooned in an interview to promote her new album, "Nostalgia."

In September, Lennox responded to a question about fellow singer Beyonce's performance at the MTV Video Music Awards, during which Beyonce stood in front of the giant illuminated word "FEMINIST."

"I would call that feminist lite," Lennox said.

Whoa. Right?

Except here is the rest of her response:

"I'm sorry. It's tokenistic to me. I mean, I think she's a phenomenal artist — I just love her performances — but I'd like to sit down (with her). I think I'd like to sit down with quite a few artists and talk to them. I'd like to listen to them; I'd like to hear what they truly think."

She kept going.

"I see a lot of it as them taking the word hostage and using it to promote themselves, but I don't think they necessarily represent wholeheartedly the depths of feminism — no, I don't. I think for many it's very convenient and it looks great and it looks radical, but I have some issues with it. I have issues with it. Of course I do. I think it's a cheap shot. I think what they do with it is cheap and ... yeah. What can I tell you? Sex always (sells). And there's nothing wrong with sex selling, but it depends on your audience. If they're 7-year-old kids, I have issues with it."

A lot more thoughtful, not to mention open to a discussion, which makes for a lousy sound bite.

Headline shorthand: Annie Hates Beyonce.

Earlier this week, Lennox was at it again, if by "it" we mean expressing her opinion about what feminism means to her. The nerve of this woman to insist on defining who she is.

"Listen," she told Steve Inskeep. "Twerking is not feminism."

I should have mentioned this sooner: If you don't know what twerking is, well, God bless you. I hope you're recovering from whatever has kept you in isolation all these months. If you're curious, skip right past Miley Cyrus and head straight to Nicki Minaj's "Anaconda" music video, which has more than 263 million hits on YouTube. You won't need caffeine for days.

More of Lennox's interview with Inskeep: "The reason why I've commented is because I think that this overt sexuality thrust — literally — at particular audiences, when very often performers have a very, very young audience, like 7 years old, I find it disturbing, and I think its exploitative. It's troubling. I'm coming from a perspective of a woman that's had children. ... It's not liberating. It's not empowering. It's a sexual thing that you're doing on a stage. It doesn't empower you. That's my feeling about it."

When I heard Lennox's interview Monday morning, I breathed a sigh of relief. Until she said it out loud, I'd never even considered sharing how twerking makes me wince. It's not that I don't want young women to feel sexy and in charge of their lives. It's just not my definition of power or how I would ever have wanted to express it. My grown children are glad to know that, I'm sure, which makes me want to write an entire column titled "How Do You Think You Got Here?" — but let's move on.

After showing my solidarity with Lennox online, I've gotten an earful from bright young women who want me to know they don't care what I think about twerking or Beyonce or anything else.

This thrills me.

It does, I swear, because it confirms that 80-year-old Gloria Steinem is right when she insists we don't need any one person to replace her after she's gone.

They're everywhere, these strong women, and they're right to define feminism for themselves.

Time to retire "You go, girl."

Twerk on, my sisters. Twerk on.

Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and an essayist for Parade magazine. She is the author of two books, including "...and His Lovely Wife," which chronicled the successful race of her husband, Sherrod Brown, for the U.S. Senate. To find out more about Connie Schultz (con.schultz@yahoo.com) and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2014 CREATORS.COM



Comments

0 Comments | Post Comment
Already have an account? Log in.
New Account  
Your Name:
Your E-mail:
Your Password:
Confirm Your Password:

Please allow a few minutes for your comment to be posted.

Enter the numbers to the right:  
Creators.com comments policy
More
Connie Schultz
Oct. `14
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
28 29 30 1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31 1
About the author About the author
Write the author Write the author
Printer friendly format Printer friendly format
Email to friend Email to friend
View by Month
Authorís Podcast
Marc Dion
Marc DionUpdated 27 Oct 2014
Mark Shields
Mark ShieldsUpdated 25 Oct 2014
Ted Rall
Ted RallUpdated 24 Oct 2014

3 Aug 2008 Michelle Obama: I'm Still Me

18 Jul 2012 One American, One Vote, Every Time

7 May 2014 Hope in a Headdress