Project Alicia : A flawed society.

Friday, April 02, 2010

A flawed society.

(Be forewarned. I’m not trying to be a Debbie Downer, but if you are looking for a light read this is not for you.)

The dreaded 360 degree mirror…

Doing a little shopping… going to NY for a girl’s trip and am in need of some trousers. This task has become my Mount Everest, as it is proving to be something I may never attain.

As I look at myself under those bright lights I cringe. I’ve slacked on my workouts the last few weeks and it is very apparent. It has also been a very LONG winter! Cellulite is no respecter of persons, as it aims to afflict all.

Then my thoughts take me to my recent conversation with a friend- my “model runway beautiful” friend.

She is about as close to a perfect 10 as they come… yet as we talked she spoke of her flaws- the things that she wants to fix about herself. It pained me. She is so beautiful- envied by so many- and yet she sees imperfections.

WHY? Why do we place such unrealistic expectations on ourselves? And more importantly, why can we not just be happy with who we are?

The societal pressures women face today are real. Women from all walks of life have one common goal… to become perfect.

A couple weeks ago I was doing my 8 ½ year olds hair before school.

“I’m fat.”

Desperately trying to not show shock, “Who told you that?”

“No one. I just think so.”

My daughter is anything but fat and it is painful as a mother to hear such things, especially at such a young age. Unfortunately as hard as we try to protect our children from it, societal pressures are everywhere… schools, internet, movies, magazines, the disney channel, etc. I instantly told her it wasn’t true, but she is already being subjected to the voice of society.

This drive for perfection has led to depression, eating disorders, and unhappiness, particularly in young girls. Plastic surgery has become a trendy fix. It is more and more popular, readily available, and openly encouraged- more than ever before.

Celebrities and models who are air brushed, photoshopped to death, and positioned in just the right light in just the right pose by amazing renowned photographers grace the covers of magazines in checkout stands.

I believe that the issues we face today are just as challenging as times past, just different. I hate hearing about how hard women had it in the 1800s. Maybe they did, but they knew no different. They were also not seen as sex objects, expected to be 5 places at one time all while getting dinner on the table. The technological explosion of the past half century only further contributes to women’s lack of self worth. We are constantly reminded of others who are more crafty, more beautiful, and more happy- even if it is all a facade.

I want desperately to be the kind of mother that can be comfortable in my own skin, yet struggle with it on a daily basis. As I age I become more aware of this dilemma.

We all have the right to do whatever we want to our own bodies and I for one would never judge another for such decisions. I have never had any work done, but I understand the desire to want to improve and look and feel young forever. (I know several people that have gone under the knife.)

But growing old is a mandatory process that we will all experience…

So, I ask- how do we rise above the voice of society and embrace ourselves as we are? Is this possible? Or should I just give up on this pipe dream entirely?

1 comment:

  1. Sigh. This is what we are all striving for. Acceptance and love for ourselves. After our comments back and forth the other day I have been making a conscious effort to appreciate myself. It's a constant battle, but for some reason I already feel better. Driving home from the Dr the other day I was wearing NO makeup, hadn't showered, and was wearing crazy sunglasses and a sock monkey hat. And I thought, "I love myself." hahah

    Its really annoying with all the media though and how it's infiltrating my life and the lives around me. I was looking at a friends pictures from a trip she took to Mexico and she was doing a red carpet stance!! It is crazy looking, but always done if legs are showing. Hand on the hip, and legs crossed WHILE standing. I laughed. They've gotten to her. lol. I had a couple of friends at Evergreen who totally cut themselves off from media. TV off, mall shopping gone, magazines no way. (one of the girls had a past with anorexia as well). I respected them for that. But we can't run forever...

    I'm sad by Camille's comment. But there is no escaping it. Please just keep reassuring her of how she is perfect and unique and NOT fat she is. My brothers told me I was fat so much as a child that as a teen when I was NOT fat AT ALL. I thought I was. And looking back I wish that my family and friends would have pinned me down and yelled at me YOU'RE NOT FAT I PROMISE!!! I'm sure they'd say now that they did, but that I didn't listen.

    One way I try to "love myself" is by trying to embrace what I have now. Because when we look back we always wish we did. For instance: I never wear low cut shirts or try to accentuate my chest because I think my big boobs make me look fat. But then I realize, when my boobs are saggy, I'll wish I would've embraced them. Does that mean I'm flashing people? No. But it makes me mindful of the blessings I have now.

    Good luck on this task. It is a very difficult one (regardless of how great of a beauty you are). And YOU are!