The Problem with Britt McHenry’s “Moral Employment” Opinions
Last year, I was in arguably the best shape of my life. I took a picture of me in a sports bra and a pair of boyshorts and posted it on Instagram.
I was so incredibly proud of how I looked. I was so much healthier, stronger and confident than I had been in years. I looked fucking great. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the compliments and congratulations I received from my modest IG following. I loved it, in fact. Who doesn’t like positive attention?
I write for a living. I graduated from The University of Maryland with my degree in English, and I sold my first TV show this year after a ten year stint in food and bev. I’m well read, moderately good at understanding world issues, I love to debate and argue, and I try as hard as possible to see both sides of any issue (an imperative as the lone liberal-leaning person in a Republican leaning-family). I am vocal about LGBT rights, women’s rights, animal rights, and work ethic. I participate in Any Soldier. I have two adopted pitbulls. I feel empowered by all of that.
But I also feel empowered by my body. When I’m in shape, when I’m healthy, when I take control of how people view my body by creating the image the way I want it to be. I will never be ashamed of being nude, and usually joke that if any guy I ever sent a nude selfie to leaked it, I’d be thrilled — I looked damn good in my 20’s. I wrote a blog about my sex life for years, and learned that it doesn’t matter what others think of your experiences, it matters about how you allow those experiences to impact and effect you. I learned how to control my experiences impact on my life, rather than letting people’s opinions impact my life. THAT was empowering.
Sexuality and nudity can be just as empowering as education and civic involvement. Owning your body and being proud of it, owning your sexuality rather than being ashamed of it, is a form of empowerment I treasure as much as I do my ability to argue and volunteer work.
So Britt McHenry’s assertion that women who take their clothes off for jobs — referencing the models who posed for this year’s SI Swimsuit edition — do so only because they are “desperate for male attention” and disavowing their stories of empowerment and beauty, is typical McHenry bullshit.
Britt McHenry and I share a few similar opinions. The ironic part when her white knights on Twitter come at me accusing me of being a “left wing liberal” who “hates her because she’s a conservative”. While I disagree with many of her viewpoints (specifically on Trump, someone she supports ironically while calling SI’s reference of #MeToo into question as if she has any authority on that) I don’t disagree with them all. I’m not one who plays party politics. I play logic politics. To me, this has nothing to do with politics and everythign to do with self awareness that she seems to be lacking in spades.
I don’t think she’s uneducated, but I find her assertion that she does nothing because she is “desperate for male attention” hilarious. All one need do is look through her IG to see tons of sexy pictures of herself in a tight dress or a bikini, face full of makeup and hair perfectly quaffed. Are those incredibly attractive pictures making a statement about the current situation in Syria? Is her little black dress a silent protest on the way veterans are treated? Is her form fitting outfit and picture of her against a blank wall in a bar some major theory on welfare reform? That coy smile over the shoulder with her butt firmly in screen a hot take about Obamacare? Is every person who follows Britt on IG and Twitter a blind man or straight woman who is solely interested in her political outlooks and opinions?
Of course not. And I post similar pictures. Why? Because I like the attention, and so does Britt. No one is “liking” those pictures because they’re impressed by her thoughts on military support or transgendered bathrooms. And she’s not posting them for any other reason than the positive attention it brings her and the feeling that attention gives her. And that’s totally okay, because while Britt may deny it, it’s okay to be empowered by confidence and beauty. I don’t know one person who doesn’t enjoy an ego boost. It’s why Instagram was invented, let’s be real. But apparently, in Britt’s mind, being desperate for male attention is totally fine as long as you have all your clothes on.
Much like Britt belittled a woman she once deemed “beneath her” for being a tow truck employee, Britt demeans the women of SI simply because SHE herself would never pose nude. To her, that’s “beneath her” and so it MUST be the sign of a woman who doesn’t respect herself. It doesn’t matter that these models have successful careers, brands, charities, families, or goals. It doesn’t matter that many are college educated with net worths far beyond anything McHenry could dream of. All Britt sees is a chance to raise her own stock by asserting these women demean themselves by doing something she would “never”. She claims that they aren’t empowered because they aren’t in a classroom or an office, like her.
Britt McHenry is empowered, y’all. These women who take their clothes off? Desperate for male attention. And those ugly, toothless women who work in tow truck companies late at night? Desperate to be like Britt McHenry. There is no winning in Britt McHenry’s mind unless you’re Britt McHenry.
Forgetting the fact that Britt panders to the conservative right wing media — a majority of which is comprised of older white men — and that she is an incredibly attractive woman, would she have the same opportunities in that world if she didn’t wear a face full of makeup? Have a nice chest, tiny waist, blonde hair? Is Britt McHenry’s image not pandering to the desire of being admired by men, specifically white, conservative men?
If you ask Britt, I’m sure she says her image empowers her and exists for no one else. And that’s fine.
So why can’t Paige Spiranac?
Why can’t the women who are bold enough to be nude and confident be empowered by that? Why can’t they be successful and proud of their minds and bodies?
Because Britt McHenry would never do it. And if she wouldn’t do it, well then, we all know that means it’s nothing good.
Britt McHenry had to share an unsolicited opinion about a woman’s choice to pose for a picture in order to demean the woman and attempt to elevate her own morality. And now she’s pissed she’s getting heat for it?
Personally, I’d rather be known as a humble, beautiful, confident, successful woman who takes her clothes off sometimes for their job, than a snide, catty, cruel, better than thou wench who degrades women who are in positions of employment she sees as “beneath” her, while remaining modestly clothed at all times. And that’s McHenry’s biggest problem. She puts too much stock in the unimportant features of a woman — their clothing, their jobs, their weight, their level of higher education, what men think of them — than she does the important features, like their work ethic, their success, their self confidence, their humility and charity. But maybe, just maybe, it’s because Britt McHenry’s own life has so little of the latter. Who knows.
At the end of the day, who would you rather be friends with? Women like Chrissy Teigen, Paige Spiranac, Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer, and Ashley Graham — all of whom had no problem being empowered in limited to no clothing — or a woman like Britt McHenry, who would never get nude but who lost her job because she was a horrid bitch to another person and jumped on board the right wing media machine as a result of being a classic mean girl?