I saw these pictures on Facebook recently. A lot of people like them. I personally don’t, but Facebook doesn’t have a dislike button, so I couldn’t do anything about it. Besides, many of those who like the pictures are my friends, and I’m treading carefully here.
I want to explain why I don’t like such statements. I find them pointless. What these talking frames are saying is this, “I dress and act the way I please. That is not a reflection of my character.” I agree with the first part completely. People should dress and act exactly as they please. But the second part — I’m sorry, but the way you dress and the way you act is exactly what your character is all about. Your personality, your character is precisely the totality of the impressions you create in the people you interact with. To insist otherwise is to deny the very nature of our social existence as human beings.
I think what was really meant was that one shouldn’t judge them. If so, fair enough. Personally, I don’t have any strong feelings about other people’s behavior one way or another, as long as they leave me alone. But to say something like, “Judging me is wrong on your part” is a value judgement! If you don’t want to be a judgee, don’t be a judger either.
When someone feels the need to point out that “I’m not out of line,” we have to ask them whose lines they are talking about. They may not be “out of line” by the values their own, their friends or their family, but they are way out of line to some religious fundamentalists, for instance. You may think that their “lines” and values are wrong, but remember, that would be tantamount to judging them, and would therefore be wrong. You can’t have it both ways.
What these girls and people should really do, in my opinion, is to stop worrying about other people’s opinions (including mine). Do what you like to do. What do you care what others think? Why this constant need for approval and permission from others? Why try to change their beliefs and viewpoints in such a way as to accept your behavior? After all, that’s what those fundamentalists try to do, and we all find it very distasteful.
Having said that, I think there is a need to put things in context. Ideally, what people as social creatures should do is to figure out the social norms of acceptable behavior wherever they find themselves and try to live by them. Making out on a public beach is not “wrong” in and of itself, but it certainly is wrong in Dubai. If you feel a strong urge to keep doing it on public beaches, the right thing to do may be to move to France, not try to change the value system of Dubaians. Well, that’s my opinion. Only my opinion.