I would like to think I am pretty progressive when it comes to equality in general and feminism in particular. I certainly find myself getting more and more annoyed when I see media stories about female athletes that focus on the looks of the athlete rather than their skill and performance in their sport.But sometimes things happen that I just don't understand. And when I don't understand, I want to know why.
Which brings me to Cleavegegate.
Last week, Susan Sarandon appeared at the Screen Actors Guild awards, where she presented a speech for In Memoriam section of the show. Here is what she wore:
Piers Morgan (former newspaper editor, former US talk show host, current UK breakfast TV host) tweeted, calling her outfit "tacky". Outrage ensued. And I understood at this point. But then he clarified what he meant, saying that he didn't think her outfit was appropriate for an In Memoriam segment. But the outrage continues.
Morgan has been accused of ageism (though he has made no reference to Sarandon's age), and sexism. This has come in two forms: that he is somehow telling women what they can and can not wear; and body shaming. This is despite the fact that at no point has he said that Sarandon shouldn't wear this outfit, or that she isn't attractive enough for such an outfit, or anything of like.
Morgan's entire argument centres around his belief that "you wouldn't go to a funeral dressed like that, so why wear it for an In Memoriam segment".
This is what I don't understand about the whole story. As far as I can tell, Morgan is not guilty of what he has been accused of. He's not saying anything about Sarandon's age, he has actively supported her freedom to wear what she wants and described her as beautiful. His only issue is with the appropriateness given the situation (for comparison, would it be appropriate for a man to deliver such a segment wearing an open vest showing his chest?).
Further, yesterday Sarandon tweeted a picture of herself from The Rocky Horror Picture Show wearing just a bra, and saying it was aimed at Morgan. This then led to many women sending pictures of their cleavage to Morgan via Twitter.
So here are my questions:
1. What is wrong with saying an outfit is inappropriate for an In Memoriam segment?
2. What is sending pictures of your cleavage to a middle aged man supposed to achieve?
I am serious about wanting answers. I want to learn and I want to grow. I want to be a better person. And if I am missing something with this (and I feel I must be), understanding the reasons will help me.