PTSD Awareness Month

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PTSD Awareness Month

It was recently brought to my attention that I was doing a lot of talking about my opinions and beliefs but had shown no action. Well, that just won’t fly. So, here it is.

I saw an article entitled, “Military Wives Strip Down to Raise Awareness About PTSD: Battling Bare” in which it was stated that military wives were part of a campaign called Battling Bare, in which they posed topless (bare backs, not fronts) with a poem written on their backs. You can click the link to see the article and the pictures.

Now while I feel the photos were tastefully done, I am of the mindset that there are more modest  ways to advocate a cause.

In a profession such as the military, in which a woman’s husband can be gone 75% of the year, is this really the best way to combat stress? Yes, I understand the symbolism of the images- an attempt to capture the feelings of the suffering soldier, or marine, or airman, or sailor; stripped bare, and feeling empty, and alone.

My problem is not with the cause they’re advocating, nor with the pictures themselves. My issue lies in the fact that women have decided that the only way to bring attention to a subject or cause is to show skin, or pose nude. Why not take the same pictures of an ACTUAL soldier, marine, airman, or sailor? Because the media has figured out that sex appeal sells an issue, and they’re exploiting that. But what comfort can a husband possibly gain from his wife willingly posing nude, tastefully or otherwise? It’s okay if it’s for PTSD and there are sunflowers and a clever poem written on her back, but under any other circumstances it would be frowned upon! There’s a point at which you have to ask yourself, “okay, it’s for a good cause- what are the limits?” Like the commercials advocating breast cancer awareness a few years ago… People were outraged that the busty woman in a bikini was the vehicle of choice to convey the message, and they were all about “preserving the dignity of women.” That’s great, but either you believe that, or you don’t. There seems to be a double standard; as long as your nipples, butt crack, or other unmentionables aren’t showing, it’s okay! Newsflash- nudity is nudity whether it’s full frontal, or partial. My problem lies in the fact that it’s okay, but just as long as you don’t go too far. Why test the boundaries? Why risk injury to your reputation or dignity? It goes back to my belief that one should remain above reproach.

My husband and I had an interesting conversation along these lines yesterday while we were watching the Today Show… They were interviewing an actor who stars in the movie, Magic Mike. Mitch watched the clips they showed from the movie and the following (paraphrased/condensed version) conversation ensued:

Mitch: “Now… I assume this movie has to have some kind of plot to back up the fact that it’s basically just a stripper movie for chicks to get their jollies fantasizing… But why isn’t it getting the controversy of like, Coyote Ugly?”

Me: “You think I’m at all interested in this movie? First off, to answer that question, no. Second, I have no idea. Coyote Ugly got reamed for bar-top dancing in “scant clothing” so I don’t understand the lack of issue people are taking with this movie.”

Mitch: It’s just that if the same movie were made featuring female strippers as opposed to men, it would be unthinkable and women everywhere would be appalled! Why isn’t this movie condemned in the same way?”

While that conversation was somewhat off topic, I believe there is a central theme, being that women can’t in one breath want chivalry and respect from men and in the very next condone or support the exploitation of their bodies or sexuality. They are conflicting ideals!  If you want to be seen as having self-respect, dignity, grace, and honor, your behavior must reflect those qualities. Until you demand those things for yourself, you will continue to be denied them by society.

The issue with the article in question is that the problem of PTSD being advocated by nude women is that in so doing, you risk the message getting lost among the sensuality, sexuality, and the like. Why not instead maintain modesty and become advocates in a more direct way? To this question, I say “Challenge Accepted.” I haven’t figured out how yet, but I will raise awareness for PTSD. I will raise money for the National Center for PTSD, and I will do it with my shirt on.

I feel like people are misunderstanding my opinion of the whole thing. It’s not that I found the pictures to be pornographic, or offensive. It’s the fact that when you use “skin” or “nudity” to advocate a message, you risk injury to the integrity of the intended message because inevitably, those pictures will be seen or used as something for which they were not intended. Why not remain above reproach? Why not take a modest route? Why not use intellect and a rhetoric to get the same point across? Because society doesn’t think that works anymore… I’m out to prove them wrong. I don’t know how long it will take me, but I am passionate about this cause. And I will pursue it.

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