As any man will testify, women can be a fickle bunch. However, it really shouldn’t be like this. A recent survey found that 63% of women would rather be a glamour model than a doctor, nurse or teacher- surely insurmountable evidence that the female population is devoted to the pleasure our male compatriots. Fulfilling the fantasies of men has become something that women are more than adept at, but what we don’t realise is that through these aspirations, we’re not emancipating anyone or anything other than the libido of the guy who has turned with brooding anticipation to page three.
It’s a very sad, sorry situation when young women make efforts to distort their bodies and personalities into a male fantasy. What’s worse is that the media perpetuate this sordid image of what women should find inspirational. Let’s take a closer look at the very paradigm of what we shamefully call a modern feminist icon: Katie Price. A woman who gallops around on horses that she transports in a pink bus, with enough filler in her face to prevent even the vaguest of genuine emotions. A woman who made her name by undressing for the satisfaction of men and spending more money on plastic surgery than most people earn in a lifetime. ‘Inspiration’, they say, ‘girl power’. Girl power invoked by a pseudo-celebrity who spends more time splashing her children and personal life over the cover of cheap magazines. But ‘she’s making it in a man’s world’, I hear you cry, ‘she’s a modern businesswoman’. Yes, Price is shrewd, cocky and irrevocably canny, but the bravado isn’t even her own. Her management team are the brains behind the money making, Price herself is a mere puppet.
Contemporary celebrity cheapens what spirited women fought for years before silicon was even invented and the feminist fantasies of today are creating a disappointing culture of pseudo-empowerment. But we’ve become so good at artificially creating the male fantasy that it’s more of a commodity now than it ever has been. Women today seem to think that empowerment can be derived from enslaving men. But we need to learn that reducing men to their base instincts does not constitute power or intelligence, nor does it produce a society based on equality. Sadly, Price’s female fans worship her for being ‘real’, yet I am irretrievably led to ask what is so real about her? A life devoted to the camera lenses of ageing paparazzi? A body that needs continuous maintenance to keep the pennies coming in? This is a female selling herself, and the image that is purveyed only makes any money because it succeeds in gratifying males.
Purely for the purpose of investigative research, I found myself repeatedly watching What Katie Did Next, the addictively trashy reality TV show that documents Price’s life with her new husband, cage fighter Alex Reid. Watching her attempt to fathom the location of Dublin whilst attempting to remain in a state of concentration for the duration of her online IQ test exemplified the profound despair that I feel whenever I hear anyone deeming a plastic, processed, overly-lacquered female an icon. You don’t have to be a staunch feminist to see that Price manifests a mainstream culture sodden with pornographic values. Other, though not quite so explicit, members of this proud 21st century version of the Women’s Institute include Kelly Brook, The Saturdays and tirades of footballers’ wives and soap ‘stars’.
As a society we must ensure that young women start to believe that their futures rest on the talents of their brains and not their bodies. Women like Camila Batmanghelidjh, founder of support charity Kids Company or Carol Bartz, Chief Executive of Yahoo need to be celebrated because they embody the sentiment that flesh should not and need not equal success. They don’t need anyone to leer at them to ensure their salary and they use their talents to give back to society and provide important services worldwide. Satisfying the domestic and sexual appetites of males has too long been the aspiration of women, it’s time for empowerment to mean more than a plastic fantasy