"Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked 'female.'" Diana Vreeland
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This is probably the number one question I get and see in my body positive groups. So many of us want to know how we can truly love our bodies for how they look without trying to change them. As young girls, we are told right from the get-go that beauty is what we should try to always obtain and maintain. You are not alone almost all women feel negative about their bodies and obsess about how they look. In the western world, the media sells its products by selling sex which is usually almost always a woman’s body. Ads all around are telling us that we need to fix this and change that about ourselves if we want to be happy, beautiful or valued. We get all of this thrown at us so much that we self-objectify instead of focusing on our strengths, goals, and passions. How can we change this and the way we think about ourselves as objects? Well, we can start by acknowledging how we got here and move forward with a different mindset which is that we are people first and bodies second.
Women throughout history have been viewed and treated as objects rather than people. Ads use women to sell their products almost always sexually objectifying them. In movies, the female character is usually the love interest nothing more and the camera focuses on her body parts more than her face. View this video on how films objectify women. Even in the Fifty Shades of Gray movies, it is all about the man's wants and needs. It is not only the media that objectifies women it is society. Society tells us we better not go out in a bikini if we are fat. Don’t go out of the house without any makeup. Men talk about “scoring” or “getting it in” as if women are something to be used. While women cannot express themselves freely without being called whores because that falls out of line with being used as an object. Objectification hurts and goes much deeper than these things especially when women are not believed in cases of rape and say things like she must have done something for the man or boy to rape her. Therefore, women subconsciously view themselves as objects and feel low self-esteem when it comes to their bodies and have a tough time viewing themselves as people first and foremost. Self-objectification is viewing ourselves as objects. This is where we need to fix the problems with body image. We need to view ourselves as people first and our bodies second.
We’ve already gone into a tiny portion of why we feel obsessed with how we look now we must stop viewing ourselves this way if we want to change the patriarchy and the future of how women are treated. When we view ourselves as objects we compete with women and compare ourselves with other women to try and fit into what society says women should look like to decorate the world as an ornament. Women are not ornaments to hang up somewhere to be viewed and looked at. We are people, smart, strong, courageous and so much more. Think about it, have you given up something you loved because of the way you looked? Do you constantly think about your appearance instead of your goals and dreams? If so remember you are doing yourself a disservice. This is tough and it’s so hard because so many women don’t even know they are doing it. I am aware of this and I still catch myself self-objectifying.
Take time now to become aware of how women are objectified daily and forgive yourself for self-objectifying. What is important now is taking action to change your mindset as well as societies. We must change the language we use and how we treat each other if we want to have gender equality. It starts with you and this is how you can become comfortable in your own skin. Yep, this is the painful part of this growth, but you are here and you can do it. The mantra to take away from this is “I am a person first a body second.” Remember this when you start to obsess about your appearance. You are here to offer the world so much more!