Donna Karan

Donna Karan is a mature, popular and powerful woman who is considered one of the most influential designers in the world today with a stint at Ann Klein that launched her career, as well as her well-known DKNY (Donna Karan New York) brand. However, on October 9, 2017, and following the Harvey Weinstein scandal, she was media-trashed; rendered into a cold-hearted witch who was abetting violence against women; she was called deplorable, scum, her company took a hit on the stock exchange, and she was made to walk back her own words, eat them up and apologize profusely. What she could have facetiously responded with is what Winston Churchill once said: “Eating Words Has Never Given Me Indigestion.” Herein are the words that caused the enraged public furor:

“. . . how do we display ourselves? How do we present ourselves as women? What are we asking for? Are you asking for it by presenting all the sensuality and all the sexuality?”

I have thought of her words a lot since then, without emotion or bias, and away from the social media hoopla. I tried to think logically, calmly and honestly about the issue of what we wear and whether suggestive clothes are “asking for it,” because I believe that what we choose to wear is important, and I haven’t yet met a woman who doesn’t think so. For one thing, our choice of attire says a lot about us.

Having said that: we, women, have an absolute right to wear whatever we choose, and, in making our choices, we are not giving any man a license to sexually assault us because of that choice. However . . .

. . . would you go to church, or synagogue, or mosque dressed in a bikini? Would you go to your child’s graduation dressed in the revealing dress pictured at the end of this post? Would you go to a wedding dressed in all black? Or, to a funeral dressed in shorts and a spaghetti-strap top? Would you allow your teenage daughter to go to school dressed in the shortest of shorts, bare midriff, and a see-through, low-cut top?

The sensible answer to all of the above questions is: No. However, you can do so, if you wish. There is no law that prevents you from doing that. The police won’t come and haul you off to jail (though you might be asked to go back home!). And No Man should be able to grope or rape you because of your choices to any of the above illustrations.

And, while dressing appropriately for any occasion is a matter of taste – and, yes, “taste” is a value judgment – there are, nevertheless, reasonable choices and acceptable societal norms that most women would agree on.

Watching the female stars on the Hollywood Red Carpet and how their dresses are becoming skimpier and skimpier every year, revealing almost all of their artificial everything, is not really glamorous. In fact, it exudes female sexual objectification. And it is what “sells,” and what the corporate industry wants them to wear in order to highlight their sex-appeal and their being commodities in the service of a decadent culture. Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen only on the Red Carpet. It is happening at all such public venues, high-school proms, malls, restaurants, parties and galas. Young women – and some older ones, too! – adopt these figure-hugging, skimpy fashions as their own, thinking that by wearing them they would become as glamorous, appealing and as sexy as the stars, and as alluring as the fashion-magazine models they see. Not so!

Let us be honest: skimpily dressed women titillate and arouse men! Plain, simple and true! Young teenage boys, especially, seeing breast-flesh, or a female’s buttocks are, more often than not, getting aroused. Plain, simple and true! Does that mean they should touch, grope or rape females who are un-dressed like that? Of course not! By the same token, does that mean that females are unaware of a male’s biology and impulses? I really and truly doubt that! So unless we females are suggestively dressed for the specific reason of appearing sexy – not to be mistaken with elegance – and intending to elicit a sexual reaction to our selves, we would be much wiser to dress in something that is more appropriate. This is not a question of looking either like a slut, or a nun! Neither of these two extremes work for most sensible women. But, there is a happy medium, no?

I feel very sorry for the brouhaha that accompanied Donna Karan’s initial words. I believe that there is truth in them, though, and that having a modicum of decency and elegance in our attire is much more visually appealing than the lurid, half-naked outfits that are sometimes worn by some women, and even by some school girls (and if it was up to me, I would dress all school girls and boys in uniforms!). It is a question of taste and class after all, and, no, affordability has nothing to do with it, because there are beautiful clothes galore for every budget. However, and unfortunately, refinement does not seem to “sell” as much as gaudiness! Sad!

The debasing of our culture in every way only serves to demean rather than raise our standards. Portraying tastelessness that is pervasive in all aspects of our culture, does not reflect our “freedom,” “liberation” and/or “independence.” To the contrary, it lowers our standards and results in a society that lacks better, and higher, expectations for itself, especially when its female component is being sexually, rather than intellectually, objectified. We should not allow this to continue happening and then wonder why our men are still behaving like wanton savages driven by their hormones rather than their brainpower. It does take two to tango! We should do our part as women to reflect, and draw more attention to our intellect rather than to our naked bodies, thereby raising our own standards, and in the process, hopefully, men’s! We can do this and still dress beautifully. It is not an “either” “or” choice! And, perhaps, by raising our standards on all levels, we just might be able to raise the commonsense values and expectations of a nation that seems to be going totally berserk in every which way. Pretty sad!

Donna Karan’s designs (shown at the top) reflect Taste, Class, Refinement and Elegance. That’s why she should have explained her words more, not eaten them as she was forced to!


L’affaire Harvey Weinstein

There were raging hurricanes drowning humans, pets and property; there were torrential floods sweeping away children and entire families; there were blazing fires incinerating lives, belongings and treasured mementos; there were avaricious wars devouring innocent lives; there were terrorist bombs; there were murders, gang violence, kidnappers and traffickers . . . and . . . then . . . there was L’affaire Harvey Weinstein!

And the winner of most discussions, views and print material from all of the above listings that were occurring during the same time? Yes, indeed! It was L’affaire Harvey Weinstein and the salacious sex! We quickly forgot the Las Vegas murders, and, short of a radical, extremist, super-hyped terrorist attack occurring domestically, or in Europe, it was that story which grabbed our attention more than any other, proving that no event grips us more than sensational sex! How pathetic we are!

Within a few hours Harvey Weinstein was upturned from a rich, powerful, famous and absolutely brilliant movie producer into a cardboard cutout of his sorry self! And, as we say in Arabic: after the cow falls, the knives become many. Weinstein was now that fallen cow, and out of the woodwork came the flashing knives avidly lunging into his carcass, driven more violently by the many who had been unashamedly complicit, acquiescent and silent for so very long! How utterly opportunistic and hypocritical!

Unfortunately, this kind of behavior has been going on for a long time. Some examples: the numerous enlisted women being sexually assaulted while serving; the rape of women in Japan, Iraq and Afghanistan and wherever some of our troops are; several of our sons continuing to sexually assault their fellow students on our campuses and on and on it goes. Perhaps our indignation and horror this time around, though, is because that artificial veneer of our iconic glitzy and glamourous Hollywood was now being tarnished? Only now are we mortified enough to rise up with this upheaval of outrage? We are truly wretched!

Nevertheless, and after all the dust settles, could this become The Seminal Moment which is going to transform the sexual predators of our world? And did Sandy Hook change our gun laws? Huh? Will this scandal begin to tame all the carnal abusers? Will it put that vile instinct of taking advantage of mostly young, inexperienced, naïve and scared women out of commission? After all, there have been Weinsteins galore since time immemorial. And, even while that scandal was still playing itself out, there were many Harvey Weinsteins out there and all across the world continuing to unabashedly wield their dreadful deeds of intimidating, groping and raping women. Cads like these will not be deterred so easily. In their understanding this “goes with the territory” of being Powerful and/or Wealthy and/or Famous. They generally feel that they are Untouchable and that they are Entitled to this repulsive Behavior simply because “boys will be boys!”

Needless to count how many times I was horrified when I was living in Beirut as I heard of fathers encouraging their sons to rape the maid as an initiation rite into the world of sex. How many rapes have I heard of since living in the free West despite sex being readily available? How many little girls are raped and abused every single day across this dismal world? How many are sold into sex trafficking, and who are these monsters who would commit such crimes? How many men have we heard of who fly over to the Philippines, to Indonesia, Vietnam and other such countries in order to have an orgasm with little virgin girls, some as young as eight and nine years old?

It makes my skin crawl simply to think of such crimes continuing to happen every single hour of every single day all across the globe and in every sector of our societies.

Harvey Weinstein is not an Aberration!

The proclivity for sexual deviation has been a constant in our world since its inception. And we, women, have only whispered about it throughout history. In fact, we were often complicit facilitators of such lascivious behavior. At the end of the day, we, as mothers and women, have raised the sons that are committing these heinous acts, haven’t we? Every woman should think of this, and of our possible role in such behavior.

Therefore, aside from aggressively pushing for Equal and Human Rights for all females worldwide, how do we, in the US, recalibrate a culture that sells sex and female objectification as a commodity serving the Mighty Dollar throughout every venue at its fingertips: fashion, makeup, vacations, home décor, cars, food and even pharmaceutical ads being just some of those overly “sexed up” exploitative venues that do nothing but trivialize sex and encourage deviant behavior? And, in our extremist way of finding solutions, are we now going to restraint every natural instinct of fun and flirtatious exchanges between the sexes? Is our solution to be “throwing out the baby with the bathwater” as we are prone to do on most issues? Another failed social experiment whilst trying our hands at social engineering? That would be truly unfortunate!

Sadly, the young impressionable minds are receiving the consistent message that sexual interaction is a casual, irresponsible, superficial, animalistic, hedonistic, five-minute-Tinderella act where “Stop” is ignored. How do we stress and convey to them that our intimate interactions ought to be an act of love between two consensual and mature partners that brings with it a deep sense of responsibility, consideration, affection, mutual respect, admiration, tenderness and the desire to give, as well as to receive, pleasure, while also talking honestly about the complexities of human relationships and how they can sometimes be frustrating, unexciting, with ups and downs that require hard unselfish work?

In other words: for humanity to call itself truly Civilized shouldn’t we be elevating all of our emotions, feelings, sensual pleasures and gratifications, our actions and reactions on every level to a much higher plateau than the one we have designated and accepted for ourselves thus far? If we do not then we should not act horrified when rape, war and all criminal activity continue to occur as has been the case for the past twenty centuries of our existence. Moses brought down the Tablets and thought that he would civilize his people – the Jewish people of those days – and make them adhere to a higher level of thinking and behavior than the immoral one that they had been on. He did not succeed. Neither did any other Prophet. And here we are, dealing with the Harvey Weinsteins of our world!

We humans across this sorry planet of ours have continued to turn a blind eye on deviant behavior of all kinds and sorts, always making ourselves believe that it is “those other than us” who behave in these horrific ways. The truth is that we are all complicit for ignoring these issues for so very long and pretending that all will be well with our superficial world, because: “It is What It Is.”

And so . . . the Oscar goes to . . . and we will probably all applaud! Again! And, then, again!