19 November 2011

What Justin Bieber and Gold Diggers Can Teach Us About Feminism

What Justin Bieber and feminism can tell us about gold diggers

In this Huffington Post piece by Keli Goff, the incident involving Justin Bieber and his alleged paternity has introduced issues concerning feminist views on 'gold diggers. But as I see it, the situation Bieber was involved in is not the main issue. The phenomenon of gold digging is. And I don't see feminists sitting outside of that one. I see them as being as deeply involved as anyone else.

Kanye West's video about gold digging, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vwNcNOTVzY&feature=relmfu , came out a few years ago, before Justin Bieber made headlines over his 'women problems'. The term 'gold diggers' appears to have vague meanings, but rather than being strictly about situations such as Justin Bieber's, the term seem to be about life in general, about how some men and women conduct themselves in normal human relationships. As an aside, the girls in the video don't look as though their thoughts are on motherhood.

Gold diggers used to be seen as women who sought to marry a man for his money. Sometimes this seemed obvious, when the man was 80 or more and the woman in her 20s or 30s. I believe Hugh Hefner might fall into this category. of course, everything has changed now, since feminism has got women into the workforce in increasing numbers, many of them taking positions alongside men in a professional capacity. But to some extent, don't most women of today seek to marry men who can offer them the most, in terms of security and access to financial resources, even if the women themselves have a good career? Doesn't the thought of marrying well hold the possibility of an even more 'secure' lifestyle?

Years ago, say in the 50s and 60s, marrying a man for money might have been the only way a woman could be sure of achieving financial security, as so many women didn't work but relied on men as the 'breadwinners'. But today's world is different, thanks to feminism. In some ways, it seems as though the tables are turned. It used to be men who received encouragement and had more opportunities. But feminism has changed that. Their emphasis has been women, though of course, mainly on women from the middle classes.

I don't see 'gold digging' as mainly being about women who have sex for the purpose of getting pregnant, then getting the man to marry her, as has been claimed to be Mariah Yeater's aim. She now has a son, Tristyn, she claims to be Justin Bieber's. Any man should be suspicious of that kind of claim in today's world, now that contraceptives are generally available. That kind of claim might have worked years ago, in the 50's, before contraception became available, but no longer.

Nevertheless, good jobs and financially secure husbands may be hard to come by in todays's world, where unemployment is rife and feminism's impact has led to the dual-career, dual-income family doing well, on one side, and men and women struggling for subsistence on the other - the class divide.

Women in general, who have few other resources but whose sexual appeal is high (see video, Gold Digger by Kanye West), could well use that to get a man marry her, although basing a marriage on sexual attraction may not be the best way to go about it. But first has to acknowledge that men are often swayed by women's sexuality in order to accept this view. And then, the term 'gold digger' could be applied to that situation if the motivation for marriage was seen to be money, rather than compatibility, love, etc.

What I'm leading up to is this, that it is not just the overtly sexual woman with no college education who is seeking the best mate possible. In today's world, it's a fact of life that most women will seek to enhance their own assets, even if they have good prospects for a profitable career. Marrying a partner on his way up the corporate ladder may even help her own career. But is that seen as gold digging, or is that term kept (reserved) for the uneducated woman, who overtly displays her sexual assets, or who would have little opportunity to make her way in a tradtional career, or who chooses not to?

It isn't just women of today who are seeking partners with the most to offer. Men who need power on their side, and who desire a mutually-enhancing relationship, might also seek out a female partner based on their place on the income scale. After all,it is human nature to seek the best partner one can, under the circumstances, isn't it. So,. should the term gold diggers still be used, as it relaly applies to women of earlier generations who had so few choices in life?

Rather than look at Justin Bieber's experience as typical of 'gold digger' circumstances, I think it is not typical at all.

This is what I am suggesting the term 'gold digger' applies to, in general: Gold digging behaviour is surely more an accepted part of life that applies to all sort of women, from the poor, sexy uneducated young woman to the professional woman seeking the best partner she can acquire. Kanye West made a video about it not because it is unusual, but because it is what women do. And men love it.

Income, or personal assets, is one of the main criteria for choosing a partner. What if internet dating sites did not include these criteria as part of their set of 'characteristics,' to assist in selecting or excluding certain potential candidates from selection. What if people chose mates without taking into consideration their earning potential or material wealth, as so many of us did in the 60s?

Men and women marry for all sorts of reasons. In today's postfeminist society, men marry for a regular source of sex, or to have a trophy woman on his arm when he goes out, for companionship, for financial security, etc. Women marry men, not for sex, probably, but for financial security, and as trophies, too, and to have the good life - part of the dual career, dual income class in our society. It's what men and women do. 'Gold digging', if you still want to call it that, is one aspect of finding a partner.

What Justin Bieber and Gold Diggers Can Teach Us About Feminism
by Keli Goff
Huffington Post - Culture
Nov 15, 2011

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