We are surrounded with 24 hour media and advertising today with a message shouting to women, “YOU MUST BE BEAUTIFUL”, because if you are not a beauty, then more than likely there is something wrong with you. I guarantee there is nothing wrong with you nor is there anything wrong with wanting to be and feel beautiful, it’s the standard of beauty that we need to be aware of along with the fallacies it causes. We have become consumed with the “How” of becoming beautiful that most women are willing to go to extremes to gain or obtain the “ideal” beauty and these extremities have become an acceptable NEED in our daily life. Again, there is nothing wrong with the desire to obtain beauty, the problem is WHOSE beauty are you trying to obtain and WHY??? We need to learn to accept our own beauty which does not fit the unattainable standard. We need to be more positive and accepting of ourselves and others and recognize that beauty is in all of us with our own unique “BEAUTIFUL”.
“Teenagers spend on average 10 hours and 45 minutes per day consuming media (this includes watching TV, watching movies, reading magazines, listening to music, and going online)”. www.pychologytoday.com
There is no way of escaping media and advertising unless you have chosen to live on “The Farm” (then, you probably wouldn’t be reading this). It is everywhere and it is mostly subliminal which means that you may not even know which companies are convincing you, YOU NEED THEIR PRODUCT. Of course, this is arguable and it is convincing to say, “Well, I really did need that product”. What should be alarming is that most brands in the beauty and fashion industries have operated using advertising that makes the female consumer feel less of a woman, well, the standard woman (In America, in the fashion industry, the trend is to cast women that DO NOT have dark skin nor look Asian). So, what is the standard woman? It is the physical appearance of “The American Woman” which is pale skinned, light hair, light colored eyes, about 5’ 8” and a size 4/6 (in some cases a size 6 is considered plus size…I’m totally joking, but not at the same time). It is a small standard that the vast majority of American women can not obtain and we are told that if we do not look this way or at least go into debt trying our hardest to have “The American Woman” look, then we as a woman have no value and have FAILED. This message diminishes all non-beauty related attributes of women. In other words, advertising wants us to believe the only value we have is in our appearance, NOT in our education, our character nor our accomplishments.
“You should be reflective of the world you live in,” said [Joan] Smalls. “I look at this crowd, beautiful faces from different backgrounds and that’s the world I see. So when I see a runway with all the same models that are just cloned, I’m like: ‘Is that your beauty? Is that your world?’ It’s very one-sided and bland. Brands have to be more open-minded when they choose their cast; they hold a responsibility to represent consumers.” www.businessoffashion.com
What is the big deal, anyway? Advertising and manipulation in advertising is part of commerce and a democratic society…The BIG DEAL is this: “women put themselves down at LEAST 8 times a day”. www.careercontessa.com
AT LEAST 8 TIMES A DAY WOMEN ARE THINKING NEGATIVE THOUGHTS ABOUT THEMSELVES.
We have become part of a living cycle and we are not even aware we are taking part. It’s embedded in our heads that we need product X to be skinnier because being skinny is what makes you happy. So all day long we are fascinated with the idea that “I am just not skinny enough…if I was skinnier I would buy that dress…if I was skinnier my significant other would love me more…if I was skinnier, like Marie I would be pretty…and I will not be pretty until I buy product X”. It has become a never ending cycle that adds to the idea that the value of a woman lies only in her physical beauty. We need to get used to seeing ourselves as we are and embrace our worth outside of our beauty.
“Women are supposed to be both virginal and incredibly sexy, a balance that is impossible to pull off”. www.inquiriesjournal.com
The “True Woman” (Carolyn Kitch, Temple University) vs. “The Vamp” (Carolyn Kitch, Temple University) has been part of mass media for decades. The “True Woman” is virginal and righteous while “The Vamp” is the complete opposite. “She is sexual, powerful, and emasculating”. www.inquiriesjournal.com You are either one or the other and if you are “The Vamp” then everyone has been taught to hate you, especially other women. If you are the “True Woman”, great, perfect, but your husband is probably
cheating on you so buy product X to be more of “The Vamp”. In other words, we can never completely be satisfying without help to make us more of a woman. Often times, women, especially the young ones who are barely finding themselves, feel they must play one role over the other while being told that there are definite repercussions for either role. For A LOT of young ladies today, “The Vamp” is glamorous and what men need in their lives (thanks to certain sex tapes) so, if you’re looking for love or just to fit in, “The Vamp” is the way to go. I am all for any young person going out into the world trying to find themselves, the problem for women and why we need to be cautious is that sex in the media has taught men that it is their right and they CAN take it when they need it. (It is shameful that this has become the responsibility of the woman instead of society). This of course, correlates to the act of sexual violence.
“Women ages 18-24 who are college students are 3 times more likely than women in general to experience sexual violence. Females of the same age who are not enrolled in college are 4 times more likely”. www.rainn.org
“Black-oriented television shows may serve a protective function; Hispanic and Black girls and women who watch more Black-oriented television have higher body satisfaction”. www.nationaleatingdisorders.org
There is absolutely nothing wrong with focusing on your appearance. I love nothing more than a day of pampering myself or roaming the beauty isles of any store. But, there are times when I do doubt myself and wonder when product X is going to get me to look like a Victoria’s Secret model. The fact of the matter is that I will never look like a Victoria’s Secret model and I DON’T NEED to look like one either. I don’t have children, but I have many friends with beautiful, intelligent and talented young ladies and it bothers me knowing that their lives are surrounded by media at least 3 times as its was when I was growing up. I hope their environment within the media is healthier for them then it has been for me and they are taught that their physical appearance does not define them. It makes them unique, but what is most import is how they live in the world making it a better place for the future and not how they LOOK standing in it.
The goal is acceptance. Acceptance of ALL women. I want you to feel CONFIDENT in your beauty and how you have CHOSEN to make your mark in our world.
“Remember that your actions influence others. Make it your new mantra to stop judging yourself & others so harshly. Women – every time a girl hears you talk about your big thighs or how much you hate your stomach, she keeps a mental scorecard about her own body, and ultimately, her worthiness. Men – take note about how you talk about women and the message this sends to your sons and daughters”. www.missrepresentation.org
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/pressure-proof/201201/the-bitch-and-the-ditz-mainstream-medias-negative-impact-women-and-girls Jan. 30, 2012
https://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/voices/fashion-and-race-inequality-privilege-diversity-inclusion?utm_source=Subscribers&utm_campaign=f63081fb06-&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_d2191372b3-f63081fb06-416933037 Jan. 21, 2017
http://www.careercontessa.com/conversations/comparing-yourself-to-other-women/?utm_source=Master+Email+List&utm_campaign=ca2e31205e-Sunday_Convos_2016_12_16&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_596417d4c4-ca2e31205e-95137069 Oct. 17, 2016