Believe it or not, I actually have a spare minute to write as I got off of work a little early today! So what to write about? The only thing on my mind this afternoon involves by dear friend K. She’s a lovely woman who is mature well beyond her years, amazingly open-minded, very kind, loving and supportive. She’s damaged just like the rest of us, but also one of the most beautiful souls I know. Recently K and I went out to eat and were talking about all kinds of things (as we often do) and I brought up the Feminist Movement and how so much of what we see in the media and everyday life trains us to be the docile, obedient sex. How there is objectification and subliminal messaging in almost everything. How we’re valued based off of our physical appearance and society’s views of women are often times archaic and misogynistic. Her being the curious person that she is, she naturally wanted examples. I started off by showing her that “Like A Girl” commercial that aired during the 2015 Superbowl. That got her gears turning as she realized that the young women (10 and younger) when told to “run like a girl” ran as hard as they could. But when women who were around the same age as K and I were told to do the same thing, they ran with their arms out at their sides, flailing wildly, and their feet kicking up like they had no idea what they were doing. It shows that at some point, women start to believe that doing something “like a girl” means doing it in a less successful or much weaker way. It shows that our self worth and self esteem plummets after puberty. And it’s happening because of the different things we say and see on a daily basis that have become accepted as normal. I mentioned this is my post a few days ago, Feminine: The Worst Insult. How many times have you heard “You throw like a girl” or “You run like a girl”? Probably more times than you can count. This is where K and I began our conversation. I’ll include the video below so those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about can check it out.
After showing her this we started talking about how in the 90’s being “supermodel stick figure skinny” was what was pushing in the media and what women were aiming for. It led to eating disorders skyrocketing across the globe. Now, in the 2000’s the “in thing” is to be “thick”. To have a “fat ass” and “big titties”. To twerk, jerk, and “dance like a stripper”. Yet again, we’re only valued based off of our physical attributes and our bodies are still being cut into marketable pieces and sold. We’re still letting other people tell us what is acceptable and beautiful and good. So now “skinny” women are being persecuted, as well as “fat” women. I then gave her a bunch of examples of commercials and celebrities that further perpetuate this problem. This problem where we push women to look “like” someone or something else; but never to be comfortable in their own skin. To do what society deems as the “right thing” for us. 10 year old girls are making videos of themselves twerking upside down against their bedroom doors and we don’t think there’s a problem?!?! So this got K thinking. When I dropped her off that night she said that she felt like I had opened her eyes to so many things that she was never going to be able to ignore again. That she was always going to recognize it in the media, her friends, her family. Since this conversation it has been truly amazing to watch this young woman become so aware of all these things happening around her. We’ve been together and heard a friend say “God she’s such a girl though” and immediately looked at each other and started laughing because we both instantly recognized it and then explained to our friend the not so funny message that she conveyed without even thinking about it . K has even called me out on or two things that I let slip without second thought and I’m glad she did. I’m not perfect and these things have been taught to me and bred into me since I was a child. I’m happy to have someone else so close to me who’s just a little more enlightened than she was yesterday and can call me out on these things when I say them without thinking. Why? Because I refuse to remain a part of the problem. I refuse to further perpetuate the shame and shitty self-esteem that our culture has spoon fed us. I refuse to sit down and be quiet out of fear of sounding like “one of those girls” or “some crazy feminist who seems something in anything”. There is something in almost everything and that is why I write these posts, why I talk to my friends about it, why I kindly offer another view when I hear someone say something inherently sexist or misogynistic. Because nothing is going to change us unless we change us. That’s a fact.
by Ashley Hebner
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