A letter to ASU women

Published On:
Thursday, September 24, 2009
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Maybe our mothers didn’t tell us. Maybe we learned it from Playboy, from music videos or from our friends. We learned it, nonetheless: Sex sells.

At ASU we know this fact well. The Arizona heat has become an excuse for us to shed our clothes, and Palm Walk has become the runway for us to strut our stuff.

But unlike, say, the 25th Anniversary London Fashion Week that ends on Friday, this runway is not a typical venue for the appreciation of innovative designs. Actually, Palm Walk resembles something closer to a clearance sale rack … with women’s bodies as the merchandise.

In the “old days,” effort was the currency of winning a woman’s affection. Most men like to chase. When men had to invest their time and effort in wooing a young woman’s heart, it made them appreciate the value of the woman.

Today, however, women consistently communicate a different message to men: Effort is on CLEARANCE! With each inch of curvaceous skin peeking out on top or at bottom, it’s as if we’ve taken a red markdown pen to our bodies to show how much effort the guys can save by picking “us.”

Liberal feminists say the problem lies with the men and we, as women, should have the freedom to wear whatever we want. Although men are responsible for how they look at women, we, as women, need to realize that if we dress as sexual objects just to be sexually desirable to men, we are hurting ourselves. When we do this, we are putting our bodies up for sale under the heading of being “sexually free.”

We do have the freedom to wear what we want these days. The clothes we wear — or don’t wear — define the first impression of who we are to the men we meet. If the message communicated is, “Here’s a peek at everything I’ve got — NO EFFORT REQUIRED,” what do you think the stereotypical, visually stimulated guy will do?

When we don low-cut shirts and dresses barely covering our booties, there will be a reaction. Leaving nothing to the imagination, we will provoke and elicit sexual reactions that we never intended. The rise in reported rapes near campus offers some credence to this, as The State Press reported last week.

Again, this “liberation” has been marketed to us as power and freedom.

Being freer and more powerful, we should also be happier, right?

Wrong. According to Arianna Huffington in The Huffington Post, “Women’s happiness has been on a downward trend since the early 1970s.”

We know that sex sells — it goes as fast as an Oscar de la Renta on a clearance rack. Designers and marketers, of course, also know this — just as they know that sex becomes boring fast. It makes you notice and then finally not care after its purpose (to elicit sexual reactions) has been fulfilled.

Women of ASU, if we want to be fulfilled, rather than just dumped to the side after being used, let’s require true love and affection from the men of ASU. To win our affection, time and effort will be a requirement.

Make them wonder, make them pursue.

If we want lasting relationships rather than one-night stands, we need to return to modesty and gain some self-respect. Author and publicist
Jordan Christy put it this way: “Keep your chin up and your skirt down.”

It can start on our very own Palm Walk.

Reach Catherine at catherine.e.smith@asu.edu.