Normally, I don’t speak to controversial topics like this. I believe a conversation is much more valuable than a fight and topics like these tend to ignite people’s passions, which is a good thing, but I think sometimes instead of these issues sparking dialogue, we tend to lobby for positions of who’s right and who’s wrong, and that sometimes leaves the real topic dangling.
But when I saw Lily Allen’s new video and all the controversy that surrounds it, I was moved to share my thoughts. If you haven’t seen or heard, it’s a new video that is a parody or a satire of the treatment of women in media. The words are poignant; it speaks to the current industry assault on women, reducing them to a mere sexual commodity, not worthy of being respected or valued.
A few clicks of the TV channels and anyone can see the need for someone to speak out. Reality TV, music videos, even the football cheerleaders who stand on the sidelines half naked in freezing cold temperatures basically to be ignored, all speak to the collective notion of the worth and value of women. Be seen and not heard, if you are heard be really loud so that you can be classified as ignorant and your primary value is relegated to sex—leaving the fact that women are sacred beings who bring life into the world, protect and maintain that life so that the species continues, as well as the contributions we make to society in the world of business, politics, and humanitarian efforts to be completely ignored.
Granted, her video is shocking. It’s lewd. Vulgar. (Please don’t search for it if you offend easily). But that’s who we are as a human beings. In a society where “rude” is the new black, it sometimes takes shock to get people’s attention. I think she intended to use shock to draw attention to her cause. The controversy comes in to play because she used black women, a la rapper video, to get her message across. As an African American female I can see where some might feel the video was racially offensive, insensitive at the least. But, I couldn’t help but wonder, if we could be angry at her, why aren’t we just as angry at the music industry amongst other industries for perpetuating these images of women? Should we be upset with Allen because she was unwittingly insensitive to the cause of black women when we let everyone else off the hook as they disrespect women in general? What about when it’s our favorite T.V. show or our favorite song? Perhaps even our favorite lingerie store?
What about our own participation in the continuation of degrading imagery? As women, what is our level of responsibility? At the same time we are declaring that we are sexually empowered, are we still objectifying ourselves? Have men just handed the baton to us and now we are doing to ourselves what they’ve always done?
I may not have chosen the route Ms. Allen did, but I agree with her on the need to speak out. Whether she missed the mark, harmed the cause or helped it is a matter of personal preference and not my concern. There are enough people debating about that. The real issue for me is that this conversation is long overdue. Let’s band together, all of us, for the betterment not only of women in society but for society as a whole.
Here is Lily Allen’s response to the criticism if you are interested. http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1rrk3og
To Your Journey,
Tonya Lampley is a fiction author. She writes about life, love and the journey. Her debut novel was titled A Taste of Love and was a 2012 NIEA finalist. Her second book is titled Indiscretion and is currently available on Amazon. For more information about Tonya and her works please visit http://www.TonyaLampley.com.