Women

This post has been brought on firstly by the book Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture, the fact that I had a two hour conversation with a student last night (details to come) and that I pretty much hate the way I look and feel right now.

So, what is it with women…why do we HATE ourselves so much?

Let me first state that I feel like I may have discussed this before. Thus, I went back through my old blog posts to see if I could find anything about this topic and came across blog posts where I bitched, openly, about being 176lbs–I rocked the scaled tonight at 195.6lbs. Yep, that’s right almost twenty lbs higher then when I was complaining about not being thin enough. Even when I reached my goal weight of 168 on my birthday…I wasn’t skinny enough. Now that I am almost thirty pounds heavier I feel like a fat cow…and when I was thirty pounds thinner…I felt like a fat cow.

FAT COW…anyone else identify with that?

I think it’s important for me to get to something here and not just talk about my weight–although it curtails into what I want to discuss..why women hate themselves.

Why? There are so many factors: family, culture, media, expectations, religion, media, etc. I think it’s actually tied to the fact that we’re ‘equal’ with men…thus we have to somehow define ourselves outside of the given equality. I would like to state RIGHT NOW that I am IN NO WAY stating that women shouldn’t be equal to men. Good shot me if I ever state this. Instead, what I want to highlight is that women, in the course of the liberation, equalisation, and modernisation of ideals…have actually fallen back on their image to bring forth a sense of power, prestige, worth.

Where am I going with this..lets take a few excerpts from Female Chauvinist Pigs by: Ariel Levy. I got this book after hearing about it and pretty much highlighted, e-mailed and read aloud sections of this book–as though I was having to write a paper for it…it was leisure reading for me–I am a bit twisted 🙂

Because we have determined that all empowered women must be overtly and publicly sexual, and because the only sign of sexuality we seem to be able to recognize is a direct allusion to red-light entertainment, we have laced the sleazy energy and aesthetic of a topless club or a Penthouse shoot throughout out entire culture (pg. 26).

Women are becoming more educated. Thanks to the works of women in the 1960s/70s women are now reaping the benefits of sexual, emotional, career, educational, family, marriage choices throughout their lives. The hopes and dreams of those pioneering women before and after these women are being actualised….kind of.

It is not enough to be successful, rich, and accomplished. Even women like (Katie) Couric and (Janet) Jackson and world-champion swimmer Haley Clark, women at the pinnacle of their fields, feel compelled to display their solicitude. As that girl gone wild put it, this have become ‘like a reflex’ (pg. 33).

What has become a reflex is that

women in America don’t want to be excluded from anything anymore: not the board meeting or the cigar that follows ir or, lately, even the trip to the strip club that follows that. What we want is to be where it’s at, and currently that’s a pretty trashy place (pg. 35).

Women feel as though they have to be part of the men’s club and the way to stand beyond now being ‘equal’ with the men is to use our sexuality, overtly, to separate ourselves. Using our bodies, not our mind, not our class, not our true intimate and alluring nature to attract attention, draw lines, and DEMAND RESPECT. Instead, we NEED to be validated that we are women by men paying attention to us.

I was talking to a girl two nights ago, a 20 year old beautiful girl. She’s gorgeous, intelligent, feisty, grounded, a ‘catch’. But she said two things to me that make we want to cry:

1. I hate the way I look. I hate my skin. I always have to to have make-up on because no one is going to think that I am pretty.

2. I wish that I had a boyfriend here. I just need the validation that I am attractive from a man…I haven’t been this depressed in a long time.

Everything which she stated was about her physical appearance, people outside of her giving her validation that she’s worthy—solely and COMPLETELY based upon her looks.

As Ariel Levy writes:

That women are now doing this to ourselves isn’t some kind of triumph, it’s depressing. […] Raunch culture feels perhaps the most alien to aging hippies. […] the emergence of a women-backed trash culture is a rebellion against their values of the feminism, egalitarianism and antimaterialism (pg. 44-45).

The truth is that the new conception of raunch culture as a path to liberation rather than oppression is a convenient (and lucrative) fantasy with nothing to back it up (pg. 82).

We WOMEN are almost totally to blame for this. Yeah, there’s men behind this…and yes men help to perpetuate the magazines, put breast implants into desperately seeking physical satisfaction patients. But we women buy into. We buy the fake boobs, constantly bitch about how fat we are (me included), make excuses for not taking compliments, use our sexuality in overtly sexual ways to advance ourselves…but most importantly THINK that WE need any or all of the above to be a WOMAN.

I am not stating that all women need to be independent, men hating individuals who don’t take care of themselves. In fact the opposite. Rather, I am stating..why don’t we use what intelligence we have, the simple grace we’ve been given and our mind to empower a sense of beauty within our own self-image?

There are not simple answers to these complex problems, because accepting you for who you are isn’t easy. It’s not easy to be counter-cultural at times and resist falling into the trap of being something else. However, knowing what you enjoy about yourself, knowing what you can give to the world, where your limitations lay, and being raw with those you encounter…to me is more empowering than any package of silicon, fuck me pumps, leg waxings, or crash diets.

8 thoughts on “Women

  1. Esther says:

    What makes me sad is how much younger girls are being affected – great example is my niece who is 14 and desperately needs to have a boyfriend at all times. She dresses provocatively and believes her body is her biggest selling point, which is heart-wrenching to see.

    I think female grace & modesty has been somewhat lost in American culture – it’s just about sexuality. And Lord knows, self-esteem issues abound… as well as intense female-female criticism and competition.

    Personally, since probably middle school there’s been an intense war within myself in terms of self-worth and beauty. I always saw myself as the friend of the pretty girls, never the pretty girl. And in some ways, I think that made me look internally and rely less on my looks and more on my brains.

    (This is getting long, I should just create a blog post, lol)…

  2. terileavens says:

    I was in a bar a couple of nights ago, and I was talking to a guy…mid 20s. At one point during the conversation, he said, “If you have a faithful guy, hold onto him. There aren’t many of them left. Women are available everywhere…that temptation is all around.” Why do we do this to ourselves?! We’re only harming our sex, by throwing ourselves at men.

    I think it’s also incredibly difficult that men are visual beings…we recognize that our physical beauty turns them on. As a result of this, we can’t simply dismiss our physical beauty all together. i.e. when something is an unhealthy addiction in our lives, we need to cut it out completely. We can’t do that with our looks.

    It’s when our sole identity becomes wrapped up in this obsession to be outwardly attractive that it gets super dangerous.

  3. Suz says:

    Hey Michelle,

    I’d just like to add that although I know this pressure is everywhere, I think some of the pressures on women you are talking about are really centralized in the US. I’ve notice a huge difference in how I feel living here vs living over there. Although, yes there are pressures everywhere. Since I’ve been home, there has been soooo much more stress on being in shape, whitening my teeth, straightening my hair, having the right clothes etc. The consumerism aspect is so much bigger in the US. Maybe it’s me, but just something I’ve noticed.

    P.S. I’m guessing, give that girl another month or so of being single and she’ll love it!

  4. Mish says:

    Suz,

    I totally agree with you on what you’ve said. I think that it’s so sad because it’s women putting pressure on women. Honestly, I think that men care because women have told them that they have to care. Who cares if your teeth are perfect, your hair is totally straigthened. I always new there was a reason why I felt more content here, I think it’s because I don’t feel the pressure that is so prevelant back ‘home’. Try not to give into it too much, remember you’re gorgeous.

    Yes, I think the single happy is kicking in. 🙂

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