Lexie is on a journey to become the youngest person in history to travel to every sovereign nation. She'll be traveling to all 196 countries before her 21st birthday in 2019. Have a look at her Instagram.
Jessica is aiming to be the first black woman to every country on her 35th birthday in 2019. Have a look at her Instagram.
See any similarity?
When I saw the above photo on Conde Nast Traveler, I started talking in my mind: “Sorry but is the pool photo in a bikini really necessary? Or is it mandatory? As it sure seems to be so, given it is a part of every woman's profile who comes out with the news of going to every country.”
The photos of Lexie, Jessica, Cassie and many other women travellers all seem to have come out of fashion magazines. This is not travelling the world, it is going to countries to have photo-shoots to promote hotels, airlines, the travel industry. When I travel, I travel in rags. So as not to get attention. I cannot travel with my best clothes. Not even when going on a cruise. Accepted, I don't dress up much even in my daily life but this advertisement of travel really strikes me. Can't we really get anything done, get any attention without showing our boobs? Or legs? It really insults me as a woman. Is it only me, am I the only woman who feels indignant about such photos? Am I the only traveller?
“What's wrong with me?” I ask myself... as no other woman says anything about it. I wonder how many women there are in this group, what's the percentage or ratio? I question myself if I am too old-fashioned or too close-minded. But to be honest, I do not think so at all. True, I have been raised in a Muslim country and with very conservative values, but I went to an American school at 11, I grew up in İstanbul, studied as the only girl in Mechanical Engineering, I have travelled the world and consider myself a liberal. Still... That doesn't mean some values are not to be upheld. I feel women who become such pawns debase women in general. Sorry if this is a bit harsh criticism but I wanted to share it if only to know what other women/women travellers think. So that perhaps somebody answers me and I can see a point of view I am missing.
Lost-Lexie, Lost Women, and the Lost Media
No, no woman "deserves" to be raped no matter what she was wearing or not wearing, but comments, hell yeah, anybody has a right to make. If a woman is showing off her body parts in almost every single photo while claiming to be aiming for the youngest to be to every country and a man makes a demeaning joke, “You get the comments you provoke” is a very fitting term.
I, as a woman, feel such exposure to depreciate women. If that's the image you give of yourself, how can you blame the men seeing you as a sexual object? I am trying to be impartial, so as not to be labeled jealous; full disclosure, I do not have such a body, but I am not 19 either. I ask myself, would I have ever done that if I was? Sure, you may want to have nice photos of yourself taken in the places you go, it's one thing if you keep it as a memo for yourself, it's another if you share it "with the world" through social media. On the other hand, I understand her as well. That's what sells, that's what gets attention in our world. So she is only using what she has. But it is also about what you are willing to sacrifice, how far you are willing to go for being a celebrity, getting sponsorship/money.
I still have boobs and legs to show. I’d never share a photo with my nipples sticking out. I could use my husband or my daughter, try to impress people with nice happy family photos. I choose not to do it. I prefer to keep myself, my family in the background and let my ideas speak out. I have a brain that produces thoughts and I’d like to share that. Of course, it doesn’t get much attention. It’s something everybody has to weigh for themselves. It's a fine balance: What do you need to swallow to get on the media and to reach out to people?
Is it only me, am I the only woman who is indignant about such photos? Am I the only traveller? I feel women debased. I am angry at the women who become such pawns.
“How cute is this workout outfit from @stronger?!? I LOVE the material.l, it’s very comfy. What’s your favorite brand of workout clothes?” writes Jessica on her Instagram post.
Is this what travel is about?
Epictetus has said:
Consider at what price you sell your integrity; but please, for God’s sake, don’t sell it cheap.” Discourses I, 2.33
Well... I'm not selling mine. At any price...
The Lost World...
I don't wish to seem to be only criticizing, I had come across a Polish girl hitchhiking in Africa and she had very nice photos on Instagram. So I wanted to find it to reference her here. I couldn't find her. What I did find was more miserable examples of what our world is... More sexy naked women with hundreds of thousands of followers. No, I'm not linking them, if you wish, you can easily check for yourself.
More important than the women who post these photos is the hundred thousands or millions who follow them. That's the trouble with our society. And the media is just feeding this. I despair. I despair at the state of the world.
One last word about Lexie... Her website opening is: “How can you change the world if you have never been there?”
First of all, we have all been to the world, we are all here, people don’t have to be everywhere in the world to make a change, they can change the place they live in a small way and it could have a big impact. And the important question to ask Lexie would be, how she plans to change the world by being there like this?