I found this quote on Facebook this morning, it´s taken from the book More Than A Hero: Muhammad Ali’s Life Lessons Through His Daughter’s Eyes, and yes, it´s exactly just that, a “life lesson” taught by Muhammad Ali to his daughters on a day when they were apparently wearing clothes a bit too revealing for his liking.
“When we finally arrived, the chauffeur escorted my younger sister, Laila, and me up to my father’s suite. As usual, he was hiding behind the door waiting to scare us. We exchanged many hugs and kisses as we could possibly give in one day.
My father took a good look at us. Then he sat me down on his lap and said something that I will never forget. He looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Hana, everything that God made valuable in the world is covered and hard to get to.
Where do you find diamonds? Deep down in the ground, covered and protected.
Where do you find pearls? Deep down at the bottom of the ocean, covered up and protected in a beautiful shell.
Where do you find gold? Way down in the mine, covered over with layers and layers of rock. You’ve got to work hard to get to them.”
He looked at me with serious eyes. “Your body is sacred. You’re far more precious than diamonds and pearls, and you should be covered too.”
This is the foundation of what we today refer to as slut shaming, that a woman who is sexually liberated (or just happens to be wearing a skirt that´s a little too short) should be ashamed of her behavior and that she´s not respecting her body. See that´s what I don´t quite understand, how is restricting what you wear in order to please someone else respecting yourself? To me respecting my body is maintaining the control to do whatever I want with it. I respect my body in the sense that I keep it happy and healthy by eating healthy, giving it sunlight, fresh air and exercise, if I´m cold I put more clothes on, if I´m hot I take some clothes off, if I´m thirsty I drink water, and if my body feels like putting on something slutty and sleep with every guy within a mile radius, then you can be sure I will let it! I respect myself enough not to be constrained and judged by the opinions of a slut shaming society.
I find it sad that we live in such a man hating culture, reducing men to testosterone driven animals who are triggered by only the sight of a woman’s legs or cleavage. Personally I think men are better than that, I think you are intelligent enough to constrain yourselves and act respectfully towards women in spite of how much of their skin you see. Don´t let sexist opinions get you down, I have faith in you men of the world!
As a final thought, a question; how many parents would have a conversation like this with their son? Telling them to dress less sexy, and to hide their “diamonds” in “the mountain”?? Why does this rule only apply to women? Shouldn´t men “respect” their bodies as well?
As with every situation in life there is a Sex and the City quote to go with it: