That's why when the Freep's style columnist Georgea Kovanis' article 'I know why she's showing her booty' appeared in my Twitter feed, I was like HELL YES, an ode to ass!
I should've known better.
This isn't the only time a column by Kovanis captured our attention, though the first time around, it was a male feminist (what a concept!) on staff who took the writer to task. He criticized her for offering what he characterized as superficial advice, saying, "Confident women are confident because they've done something greater than buy a slinky dress or get a pricey chop."
Which is not untrue.
However, I've worn plenty of dresses that make me feel un-fuckwithable and my hair stylist has been worth every hard-earned penny I spent with him, not just because he gave me a haircut that changed my life (yes, that's a thing), but because he listened, he offered advice, he gave me encouragement to be the bad bitch that I am. (Shout out to you, Elliot!)
No offense to my dear colleague, but I'm not sure this is something men understand.
But back to Georgea.
It didn't take much longer than the opening paragraph to understand Kovanis' latest piece was not in support of all people's right to bare ass, it was a public shaming for one woman's decision to do so.
I was chatting with a friend over dinner at a low-key bar when I was stunned into silence by a woman who passed our table; she was wearing shorts so short they revealed her tattooed underbutt.
After collecting my wits, I sputtered about how much pain the young woman must have endured, getting what appeared to be some sort of script inked onto the area where her buttocks connect with her thighs. I marveled at her apparent lack of modesty — can you believe she's perfectly comfortable prancing around the bar with half her butt hanging out of her shorts? People are eating! What is she thinking? Why? Why? Why?
She goes on to suggest that the underbutt was indicative of the woman's need to overcompensate. For what? Well, she doesn't say, rather she explains, "While I understand the psychology behind wanting to make the very most of our short warm weather season, the problem with overcompensating — besides the fact that it sometimes borders on obscene — is that it makes one look desperate. Which is never a good look. For anyone."
Kovanis often uses her column to uplift women and has openly discussed what feminism means, even stating herself that "these days, I think the biggest enemies of women are other women, judging and dismissing each other's choices," and in the wake of Kim Kardashian's first nude selfie, she defended a person's right to do what they want with their body.
"These days, I think the biggest enemies of women are other women, judging and dismissing each other's choices."tweet this
"Younger feminists have already spent a great deal of time defending and trashing Kardashian for her decision to post her latest selfie — and trashing each other for their opinions on Kardashian's decision. Is Kardashian exploiting her body? Or is she promoting herself as someone who is confident and comfortable in her own skin? In the end, it just doesn't matter — she's doing what she wants to do with her body. And that's not only her choice, it's her right."
So what gives? How come Kim K. can show off one of her favorite assets and the woman in the "low-key bar" is cause for people to lose their appetite? Is it because the woman had butt tatts? Because she isn't a white celebrity? Isn't whatever notion of ideal beauty society's agreed upon lately? Why is this woman an example of desperation while Kimberly has the "right" to show some skin whenever and however she wants?
Isn't feminism about equal rights for all women?
Now, I'm not sure what made Kovanis pick this woman as a jumping off point to then advise women not to wear flip-flops, which are "just a half step up from going barefoot," and to avoid the "ticky ticky tacky" shirts that reveal your bra straps (gasp!), and it really doesn't matter.
What does matter is underlying notion that for some reason, according to Kovinas, skin is ok for some people to show and not others, that feeling liberated to wear less is a luxury only afforded to some and only in particular ways.
It's not like I expect the Free Press to be a pinnacle of feminist journalism, and
I understand that women, myself included, have a lot to learn about how to not unintentionally co-sign these tiresome patriarchal narratives, but come on Georgea.
Maybe the woman in the bar really likes hers, maybe her tattoos empower her, maybe she loves her legs or wants to stand in solidarity for a woman's "right" to show off her body however she wants. Or hey, here's a novel concept: MAYBE THERE IS NO REASON, or better yet, maybe the reason is simply:
Because is there really a better reason for anything? I think not.
<sashays away with my ass hanging out>