The Madonna – Whore Dichotomy

Everyone, especially every parent, should read and reflect on this. This is one of the premier issues of the last twenty years and will become mor acute and dangerous in the next twenty unless we find a solution.

Women are being allowed to participate fully in life in the US and other modern nations, and we hope for other nations to join us in this foundational advance. Many men, and some women, who’ve benefited from the long reign of patriarchy, are fighting to retain their power over the mass of women by putting in place social barriers (such as the Madonna/Whore dichotomy) that are every bit as real and damaging as the more formal barriers of the past. These modern barriers play on most women’s natural needs to be loved and accepted by men and to have a strong social network of women, and by placing almost impossible demands on women to be simultaneously sexual and chaste, desirable and accessible, and presenting this as a zero sum game in which a woman becoming more desirable makes others less so and is therefore a threat, divides women from their potential friends and creates almost universal competition where there should be support and understanding.

The keys to resolving this situation involve a refusal of both women and men to participate in this losing game. For men, this means first that we acknowledge that physical and emotional desirability is a primary part of how we judge women as mates, but that we are careful not to reduce a woman to her desirability, or to allow others to do so unchallenged. For women, this involves refusing to enter this game except on heir own terms, with confidence in their self worth, understanding of the game’s absurdity, and refusal to be made a pawn and separated from her friends by competition for approval and affection.

This is not a complete solution, but I think it’s a good start. It certainly would help my 16 year old daughter navigate the treacherous world of her teen years and allow her to hopefully emerge as a healthy young adult with the understanding of self and empathy for others she’ll need to succeed in today’s world.

http://o.canada.com/2012/11/07/instragram-and-facebook-sexualize-minors-then-punish-them-for-being-sexual/

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