Why it’s worse now.

September 2, 2012

I was cooking and my 9 year old daughter was keeping me company, chatting. It was great.

Yesterday, when I let her play on the computer, which is normally some sort of simple game, I went in to find her doing a ‘make-over’ on some cartoon girl. I told her to get off it. She didn’t make a fuss. Bless her.

So we were chatting about that tonight. I said that, in a way, that game was training her to become a girl who grooms herself in a particular way. I said that there was nothing wrong with wearing makeup when she’s older, but that girls and women nowadays were spending A LOT of money to look a particular way.

I said to her that when I was younger, I loved going through women’s magazines but that ‘back then’ the images were of the women as they were. Don’t get me wrong, we were being sold a particular image – thin, glamorous, in the latest looks…thin – BUT they were fairly real. No airbrushing…lots of make-up – but no airbrushing.

Throughout these modern times – since mid-last century – women have always been sold a look; in line with the fashion of the time. And we have always jumped on that wagon, hoping to mirror that look and belong. That’s cool. We are the fairer sex and we like to groom ourselves.

But it’s worse now.

Why? Because the looks and bodies we’re trying to mirror – are altered and unattainable ones.

Simple, isn’t it?

The logic of it is striking and obvious – and yet…

…here we are ladies – watching women on our screens, posters, ads – depicting the shangri-las of looks – that we can’t have because they are simply. not. real.

Question #85: Why is the unaltered image above, not considered beautiful?

Because there are some rolls…like the ones we all have? Because she has a tummy…like most women?

God forbid we represent the general female population in our media!

Now look at the women around you – your friends – your family.

Do you think they’re all ugly?

They must be if they’re not thin, ‘hot’ and sexy…with no wrinkles etc. etc. etc.

But the majority of women DO NOT fit that tiny mould and I’m also pretty sure that you don’t think any such thing about the women in your life. So, if we think the ordinary and remarkable women around us are beautiful:

Question #86: Why are we being passive and tolerate what the media is doing to the representation of women?

And we are being passive.

Just look at what’s been done to the images of the women below – for magazines that women buy:

Even Barbie – or any doll for that matter (Bratz, anyone?) – sells a look to girls from a young age.

It’s up to us to change this. Noone else can do it – certainly not men. That would be as futile as women changing men’s perspectives.

It’s up to us.

Deep Breath.

x

6 Responses to “Why it’s worse now.”

  1. lamehousewife said

    That longing to be authentic…This made me think of a guy I dated. He would say I was pretty, but he would say, “Oh, she’s hot,” or, “Wow, there were a lot of beautiful women in that room,” or, “I’m a visual guy. I notice everything.” It made me feel really uncomfortable, but I didn’t realize why until we dated for a longer time. Pretty soon, he was trying to fix me up in a certain way, saying things like, “You should exercise more. It might help that tummy. Why don’t wear make-up like that.” So, he began comparing me to these other women. I wasn’t fitting into the jeans the way he wanted. I wasn’t doing my hair right. For awhile, I wanted his approval so badly because I was seriously just hoping to be loved and became confused that I actually started to try to live up to these superficial conditions he began to have for me. After awhile, I realized I couldn’t do it. I wanted him to keep his gaze on me, but he was always looking elsewhere all the while criticizing me and praising other women. I couldn’t live up to his expectations for me. It ended up being emotionally brutal in the end, and I did break up with him, but it makes me wonder what kinds of flags I was not seeing. I mean, women do have extraordinary beauty, and I am okay with that, but when does that unrealistic expectation of beauty begin to harm relationships in this way? For my part, I could have been a lot more secure in my identity and not so worried about his approval. Do you think women in their thirst for men’s love and approval try to live up to these unrealistic expectations? Is it just a bad cycle we are in because women are so unsure about authentic womanhood? Sorry, I just have more questions:) I hope that you are doing well, Paula!

    • questionsforwomen said

      Thank you so much for sharing your story. I’ve had ex-boyfriends mention my weight, whilst their bodies were far from perfect. That double standard is a WHOLE other issue. I suppose it’s up to the type of man we date, but more importantly the type of woman WE are. But without guidance and good role models, how are girls and women supposed to face a possible life full of questions regarding how they look? (Now I’m asking you questions back! Hahah!)
      Well, the answer is that women simply have to change their views of their bodies and what beauty is. They need to be taught resiliance and to simply say, “No, I’m not standing for that.”
      But it’s SOOOO hard, isn’t it? But I have hope in the knowledge that EVERYTHING is taught. Everything. So we must band together to teach our girls differently, show them what TRUE empowerment is, in these modern times, and never have to feel the way you did. Although, funnily enough, I didn’t feel like it was guys that I needed to please in my youth – but women. I think that touches on your point about women not knowing about authentic womanhood – ESPECIALLY today. I think we’ve reached a cross-road. It’s an emergency.
      Geez – I just saw the time – it’s 2AM. It’s so late! I find it hard to switch off my brain and just go to bed, sometimes!
      Lovely chatting to you again, Juliet! πŸ™‚

  2. Leopard said

    Why women are passive towards these representations:
    I think that if one grows up in a culture where such practices and images of women are the norm, it’s very difficult to envisage a different world. After all, this is all that one knows! Thankfully, there are many women out there like you and me, and so many others I’ve met online, including some men, who are far from passive. The more vocal we are, the more our voices will be heard, and I am confident that society as a whole will finally see clearly one day.

    The media right now is completely dominated by men. We desperately need more feminist women in positions of leadership in the media, and we need to change men’s mindsets on the issue as well. I think spreading the Miss Representation documentary, as you are doing, is a fantastic way to do this. =)

    Also, what a wonderful mother you are!

    • questionsforwomen said

      Aaaww – you are VERY sweet. I feel like I was a bit destined to have daughters – hard, though.
      Yes, “You can’t be what you can’t see” – as Miss Representation says – and many girls are not only being misguided by what’s on the media – they are getting poor guidance from equally confused mothers. I don’t ‘blame’ or judge individuals, because they are simply a product of their environment and education.
      We HAVE to change the environment.
      Thanks heaps for your comment. πŸ™‚

    • questionsforwomen said

      Thanks Talia! I signed the petiton a while ago. I’ve also put it on my Questions for Women page (reached 285 according to stats) as well as my personal page.
      I hope they just do it – what are they so afraid of? Women will always want to buy magazines – why can’t they just bite the bullet and do change for the better?
      I will post the petition again. πŸ™‚
      Paula x

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