The Female Perspective: Women Baring It All For a Reason…But Is The Message Lost?

Welcome! This is a Tri-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

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*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.

Yesterday, a group of women decided to bare their breasts for a cause. They wanted to protest the lack of coverage over deaths of women at the hands of police. Their argument being that ALL lives matter, not just male lives.

About a dozen topless protesters stopped traffic on Market Street this morning, as part of a National Day of Action for Black Women and Girls. Using the hashtag #SayHerName, protesters sought to draw attention to black women victims of police violence, such as Rekia Boyd and Kayla Moore. ~SFWeekly 

If you read this and thought, who is Rekia Boyd or Kayla Moore, you wouldn’t be alone. I only recently heard of the Rekia Boyd shooting and it broke my heart to realize for the first time that these shootings are happening at a rapid rate and I sadly know very little about them. It’s a sign of nothing more than a willingness to put blinders on. I don’t watch the news because it’s “too depressing” and while I see some stories in my Facebook newsfeed, I never saw anything about Boyd or Moore. This article was, to me, a sign that I need to get my head out of the sand and really pay attention.

#SayHerName protest group on May 25th.
#SayHerName protest group on May 25th.

The fact is, not all police officers are bad and I want that said right up front so anyone reading this understands that I am in no way railing against the police. There are good officers out there, good men and women doing their best in a corrupt system. There are also quite a few bad ones and sadly, the bad ones make the news.

Rekia Boyd was killed accidentally by a police officer who was then let go because the "wrong" charges were brought against him. #Blacklivesmatter
Rekia Boyd was killed accidentally by a police officer who was then let go because the “wrong” charges were brought against him. #Blacklivesmatter

I digress though, this post is about the women who decided to take a stand, bare it all and say “enough is enough.” My question is this, by baring your breasts you get attention, it’s true, but is your point lost in the shock of seeing half naked women marching? Is your message lost amidst the sensationalism of the act? All I know is what I see and what I see is people not responding to what the women are trying to say but what the women look like or I see juvenile men getting all weirded out by the breasts in front of them.

Firstly, grow up.

Secondly, please listen to the message. Realize that what these women want people to know is that there are more victims of police violence than Freddie Gray or Michael Brown or Trevon Martin. There are countless other nameless faces being killed for no reason and we as a people need to see it and realize that something needs to be done.

Recently, a clothing company called PacSun was under fire for selling a t-shirt that had an upside down American flag on it. The upside down flag represents an America in distress and is deeply insulting to Veterans, active military and other patriotic people. The thing is, when I read the article and learned exactly what an upside down flag meant I wondered to myself- but isn’t America IN distress right now? Aren’t we fighting a quiet “war” with the police force? Aren’t we troubled by racism, homophobia and sexism every day? Maybe this t-shirt is more relevant than what PacSun thought it would be. I don’t mean to be disrespectful of any America-loving (being an America lover myself) person but the truth is, America is in distress.

PacSun recently removed this shirt from their stores due to protests.
PacSun recently removed this shirt from their stores due to protests.

But who will save us if the problem IS us?

Many will tell you that an upside down American flag means “the country is in distress.” The US Flag Code allows this use of the flag in situations of “dire distress,” but the intention was distress as in immediate danger to life and limb, such as your ship is sinking at sea, an SoS signal.

I write in this blog a lot about feminism in terms of pop culture, movies and comics. I am a proud feminist and I get very tired of the subtle and not-so-subtle sexism that is prevalent in the world today. I get excited when I see progress, such as Ireland allowing for same-sex marriages. I get angry when I see people being hurt or brutalized by others. Not only am I a feminist but I am also a humanist. I want equality for everyone, not just women or homosexuals or various ethnicities.

So you might be asking yourself, what point is she trying to make today? I suppose my point is this, women baring their breasts to try and raise awareness around the female deaths at the hands of police; a clothing company selling an insulting t-shirt but accidentally also making a valid point about the state of America today; the need to realize that we are all one people and should act like it, are all part of what makes America such a beautiful and wonderful place. All of these arguments, protests and discord are part of what makes humans human.

But that doesn’t make it right.

The #SayHerName protest should be treated with respect, not jokes and breast humor or ogling. It’s sad to me that PacSun had to remove the t-shirt from their stores because of the uproar it caused (what happened to #FreeSpeech?) but I also understand it, it is disrespectful and the upside down flag should not be used to sell clothing. The fact is, the truth is hard for many to face but face it we must. The truth is, America is hurting, we are all making mistakes and I am fearful of the boiling point, the point where it all falls apart. What will we do then?

Let’s hope that before that happens, we find our way towards peace and equality.


What do you think about the state of America today? Are you fearful or confidence we will fix it? Sound off in the comments.

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