A couple of weeks ago I commented on a blog post from someone that I follow who was discussing the misinterpretation of people’s perceptions of the Robin Thicke track, blurred lines. My positive comment regarding my agreement with the blogger’s opinion was based on my own perception of the video and song alone, without the need for the in-depth analysis of the lyrics. I read the body language, I took note of the expressions, I could see beyond the obviously sensationalised film direction to the teasing working both ways but with the women having the ultimate power over the situation. This was met with a vitriolic reply accusing me of being brainwashed and ignorant by seeing any form of empowerment using your sexuality. I may be many things in this world but ignorant or brainwashed certainly aren’t things I am afflicted with. There is the argument that any body language represented is based on the fact that the girls in the video are models/actors so will portray whatever they are paid to but, as the argument is based on the content of both the video and song, even if they are faked expressions then they were what was intended in the first place. Also, the argument exists that the girls have to be scantily clad while the men remain fully clothed, therefore expressing a position of power. This, again, is where the subtlety of the girls’ reactions then take effect.
To try and say that thinking you can gain empowerment by using your sexuality is brainwashing is just ridiculous. I have experienced vulnerability by the use of sexuality from both sides and with that also the power. It’s not specific to fetish play, it’s just more obvious when it’s expressed that way, but the subtlety of empowerment is everywhere we look. Obviously, this is only my personal experience and, from being in a situation where that has been open to abuse, I can see past any kind of baggage connected to the psychology involved. Some people just don’t seem to have the fortunate experience of being able to see past the thick brick wall of their past.
Where I am aware that every opinion you express is open to criticism or argument, there are ways and means of conveying a difference of opinion without it having to be scathing. For me, the only thing that left me feeling was pity for the person who has so much poison and negativity in their world that they feel the need to act superior to somebody else. I have been brought up with parents whose major teaching was to always think for myself. I automatically shy away from propaganda and have never bowed down to social pressures. I’m fat and happy (so not bitter about the girls confidence in showing off their bodies), have a solid sense of self worth, don’t smoke, don’t drink, don’t take drugs (unless prescribed for valid reasons), don’t follow any kind of religion (other than my own solid moral code), choose to work for less money than I could to continue learning life lessons, only surround myself with friends who are brutally honest towards me, question my opinions to see things from other perspectives and always try to understand people who live their lives in different ways from me. Surely that, in itself, shows that I’m not exactly the kind of person who would bow down to peer pressure.
Brainwashing is one of those things that happens everywhere in our society and is, by design, something that nobody notices. All you can do to try and spot if it has happened is to question any opinions you may have, speak to as many people as possible to see if their view varies from yours and actually put thought into any beliefs you may have. If there is no logical path or any kind of moral code connected to it then the chances are that decision was influenced externally. I have found lots of those throughout my life and mostly just turned away from anything that isn’t something i have learned through actual life experience. The most flexible beliefs that I have are the ones that I haven’t explored consciously for myself. How I think, or who I am is certainly not one of those so something that I will always disagree fervently with if an assumption is made on me based on someone else’s negative view point.
Swimming against the tide is controversial but is proof, in itself, that you’re not one of society’s sheep. I am happy for people to disagree with me, I am happy for people to debate with me and I am happy to deal with any justification required to get my point across. What I am not prepared to deal with is people who will ram their opinion down your throat, see no other argument other than their own and turn to personal insult to try and get theirs heard. It is not necessary, and something that is designed to cause someone’s day to be a little bit worse than it was before. There is never a need for that.