Tuna and Miley: Mansplained

This column originally appeared on Kosovo 2.0. Available here in English, Albanian, and Serbian. 

Yesterday, Koha Ditore published this column in which Adriatik Kelmendi explained to womankind exactly what their problem is: acting like sluts in order to make money. The sluts in question? Miley Cyrus and Tuna Sejdiu, a pair of pop singers who have diabolically chosen to expose their sexy bodies, making mens’ brains explode and raking in the resulting cash.

The loss of our collective innocence ended (and the parade of sluttiness started) with Madonna, who was followed in relatively short order by Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. Then the global plague of sexiness hit Albanian shores. Adelina Ismajli was the first offender, with her provocative, leather-based New Years Eve performances. Then Tuna touched her damn crotch in the infamously degenerate music video “Fenix” — the one where she sings about how her “bird” is the “best” of all “birds.” Continuing this witches’ sabbath of iniquity, Dafina Zeqiri, Genta Ismajli, and Bleona Qerreti have posed nude for magazines.

“Whose fault is it?”, asks Kelmendi. Whose fault is that these once pure, non-naked, non-bird-having women have sold their honor down the river for a few measly, sin-soaked euros?

It’s not their fault, says Kelmendi, allowing the fallen sex a collective sigh of relief — they can’t help it. Women, as a whole, just have a weakness for taking their clothes off (as well as for baby photos, shopping and shoes). With a heavy heart, Kelmendi informs us that the only three professions in which women make more money than men are modeling, pornography and prostitution.

I guess that settles it. Whorishness, it seems, is inherent to every woman; all it takes is the promise of riches to expose it.

This is troubling. There must be some way for an ambitious woman to end up as something other than a model, a porn star, or a prostitute. Concerning this, though Kelmendi remains grave: “This great injustice of humanity cannot change unless the male gender helps — but also women themselves.”

But how? My confused female brain cannot compute a few things:

1. If modelling is such a promising profession, why is it that so many women models stop getting work after a certain age? How come so many aspiring young models end up becoming victims of abuse within the fashion industry? Who makes more money at a fashion shoot: the model, the designer, or the photographer?

2. Which gender buys more pornography — men or women? Who are the directors and producers of most pornographic films? Why is so much pornography about degrading and humiliating women? In the pyramid of the porn world, who is making the most money?

3. As for prostitution, well — I must admit that the life of a prostitute is one of great personal gain — at least for your pimp or your trafficker. Let’s try this again: most pimps are men, most traffickers are men, and most johns are, again, men. So who exactly is in control, and who exactly is raking in the money?

4. If we live in a world where a female pop star can only get attention by exploiting her sexuality, what does that say about objectification? Would that not suggest that we live in a world made up of structures that assign value to women based on how they look? Who gives women value in such a system? Men. And what is such a system called? I hate to use the P-word, but it’s called Patriarchy.

It’s a part of everyday life. It’s the reason why the three professions listed above are what Kelmendi assigns exclusively to women; it’s why female public figures are evaluated based on their sexuality; and it’s why popstars like Tuna and Miley Cyrus are both praised and damned for having female bodies.

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