Last week in Gender Roles & the South Part 1, I talked about how the "Southern Belle" is unattainable and inaccurate, creating one more goal for women (specifically Southern ones) to aim--and ultimately fail--to achieve, which resulted in a drastically different creature than the Scarlett-esque swooner media would have you believe inhabits the South.
But that discussion was more so in the past sense rather than the present. So this week I wanted to talk about modern day perceptions of the Southern Belle--something I briefly touched on last time with Scotty McCreery's music video for his song "Southern Belle," which, as I said before, provides a truly visual representation of the sexualization of young girls and the double-edged sword of domesticity and sexuality (i.e. "she's dukes of hazard in her daddy's car").
In the antebellum era,
"the southern white woman s[at] atop the pedestal of Sacred Womanhood that her husband and his ancestors built for her...She meekly s[at] there, a symbol of southern society used to benefit men's ideals, feeling empty and powerless against everything going on around her."
It would seem that in retaliation, the modern version of the Southern Belle is a far cry from meek and powerless--instead, she is brash and partially nude.
The traditional ideal of the Southern Belle vs. the modern ideal of the Southern Belle.
In an extremely conflicting onslaught, the Southern Belle of the past was forced into this relentless cat-and-mouse game:
"man was the warrior and assailant on the fortress of chastity, women the guardian of chastity and seductress of man. Woman, then, was simultaneously chaste and seductive, man simultaneously protector and predator."
Whereas now, she must still walk this fine line but man has abandoned the role of protectorin favor of sole predator (unless you are her father, in which case you must guard her virginity with creepy ferocity)--spawning shirts like this:
(A perplexing attitude toward potential suitors, violence, and--oh, did you notice that only pretty girls warrant over-protective, law-breaking dads?)