Last week I was sat in a restaurant with my daughters celebrating my youngest daughters 13th birthday. Behind me sat a family, three women, one man. The women were of two different generations and they were discussing the recent grid girl’s debacle. Rudely, I had one ear on their conversation and could hear the consensus. They couldn’t understand why the grid girls had been forced out of a job they enjoy. To my horror they began to discuss why feminism is a bad thing.
Three women, spanning two generations sat discussing how a movement to emancipate women was a bad thing. My heart sank as they talked about women forcing other women out of careers they love. Is this what feminism has become?
I am a feminist. I don’t care what other people might think. I’m equal to any man on the planet and god help the person who tries to treat me differently. The grid girls issue has left me torn. I wasn’t going to write about it. Primarily because there has been so much uproar and I couldn’t be bothered wading into so much controversy. However, I can’t decide where I sit on this.
I totally understand that the role grid girls and walk on girl’s play is window decoration. They are there to look good and please the crowd and yes this bothers me. Women are capable of so much more than being valued for their appearance.
Freedom to Choose
However, for me feminism is about allowing women the freedom to choose what they do with their lives. To suggest grid girls are forced into this path is ridiculous. It’s a much sought-after position and the girls earn great money and have glamorous lives.
For me the argument that they aren’t good role models is the self-same one levelled at sex workers. My response to this is fuck off, a woman has the right to earn her money in any way she chooses to. The critical issue there is choice. Surely this is the foundations of feminism?
I Don’t Feel Demeaned
I accept it can be seen as demeaning, especially given the nature of the way the girls are dressed. But I regularly post pictures of myself wearing very little. I’m not stupid enough to think my male readers are looking at those thinking “look at the wit on her” of course they aren’t. But should we be demonising someone for acknowledging a woman is attractive? Attraction is part of life. I don’t feel demeaned, it’s my body and my right to show it off.
I’ve got into plenty of debates over grid girls, my personal opinion is scrapping them is unnecessary. They’re certainly not victims who need protecting. How is this feminist? These girls are independent and making their own way in the world, carving their own niche. Just because they do it using their looks doesn’t make their right to do it any less valid. Does this same outrage apply to models? They are in the same position.
During my discussions over this someone asked me how I’d feel if one of my girls became a grid girl when they’re older. My answer is if it made them happy it would make me happy. It’s not my life, its theirs and I’d support them no matter what. I can honestly say it wouldn’t bother me. Often the grid girls use the position as a platform to go on to other things, but it gives them a much higher profile than without.
Feminism is NOT a Bad Thing
I’m mortified that thanks to this kind of heavy handed response to things, feminism is seen as a pantomime villain by some of the very people it was intended to elevate. Feminism is NOT a bad thing. Yesterday was the 100th anniversary of the Female right to vote. Without feminism and suffrage women wouldn’t have the equality we take for granted today. Yes, we aren’t there yet, this has been highlighted by the recent Me-Too campaign, but we are getting there.
What I think has bothered me most over the whole grid girl’s thing is seeing the girls themselves so upset over the decision. They clearly love their jobs, so what exactly is the feminist issue here? Does this all boil down to attractive girls making money from how they look? In that case the damaging modelling industry needs to be looked at first surely? If it’s an issue of objectification then it’s down to the individual as to whether they’re happy to be objectified. If that’s something that bothers you then grid girl isn’t a job for you.
Thinking about it I decided perhaps the way forward is to change the role of the grid girl. Give her a greater role and perhaps this will reduce the feeling from certain sections that she’s being objectified. I certainly can’t accept scrapping grid girls all together as a solution. It feels kneejerk and heavy handed.