Make the Pledge to LOVE Yourself with Miss Representation.

Ever since I was little, I have always had that unrealistic image of what I should look like; since puberty hit, I will admit that probably at-least 40% of the time, I have been unhappy with my physical appearance. I grew up reading Seventeen, Allure & Jane magazines always with the intent of emulating the looks in between those pages of photo shopped, air brushed models, that $30 mascara that would finally make my eyes pop, or asking for workout equipment advertised on late night TV because I was convinced I wouldn’t be accepted in society as pretty til I had 6 pack abs. Yes, these are literal glimpses from my past. Cringe worthy, isn’t it?

Sadly, I was pretty mild with my neurosis compared to what more than half of young women in our society are facing, & have been facing more & more as each year (& decade) goes by. Eating disorders continue to rise, girls are spending more money on cosmetics & plastic surgery than on their education, they are feeling that the only way to get by in life is to adapt a persona that is that of “The Real House Wives” or a malnourished starlet who is up on charges for another DUI. WHY has it been allowed to let these perceptions of women be on top? WHY are female journalists getting breast enhancements & face lifts while their male, aging co-anchor is getting larger in size & going bald? WHY do actresses have to celebrate the landing of a new TV role with visiting the dermatologist for horrible, invasive Botox injections that rob them of the beautiful life & movement in their faces?

MissRep

 

I was recommended  to watch Miss Representation on Netflix by a friend, & I found myself in tears or gasping throughout the hour & a half documentary. We are living in a world where if Hilary Clinton is running for office, she has to see protestors holding up signs reading “Iron My Shirt” in the audience, Sarah Palin dealt with so much hate, & that hate included men degrading her by saying she is masturbate worthy. Katie Couric may not have made it on The CBS Nightly News simply because she is a woman. Whatever happened to listening to what these people have to say? If you have a disagreement or dislike, as many do when it comes to Politics, give us some real reasons you have concerns; perhaps their views on abortion, the economy, education, etc, not just think because there’s a woman involved, you can make kitchen jokes.

The interviews with young women in Miss Representation, were absolutely heartbreaking. One high schooler discussed that her sister in 5th grade is already throwing up her food & cutting, as she attempts to face all the bullies & people at school making her convinced she is not perfect as she is. Another beautiful girl explained that because of her petite demeanor, people believe she is anorexic, & therefore this healthy, naturally slim young woman forces herself to eat, just to prove to others she does not have an eating disorder.
Having given up reading fashion magazines like they’re my Bible years ago, being reminded of the way photographs of already skinny models are manipulated to make said model even MORE skinny, more like the size of a child, is so disturbing & was a reminder as to why I no longer subscribe to a boat load of magazines with unrealistic articles & pictures.

Jane Fonda speaks in this film, & what she had to say shows us that this is, unfortunately, nothing new, just getting worse. In her first role in the 1950s, she was asked to get teeth removed & wear false eyelashes.

After ending this eye opening film, I headed right to The Miss Representation website.  There, I signed the pledge for gender equality & to join over 100,000 others to make a change. I also filled out the form to become a Social Action Representative; which will help me get even more involved in helping women realize they’re AWESOME & GORGEOUS just how they are.

Together, we can all make a change towards a better future! xo

 

 

2 Comments

  1. Susan Cooper

    October 16, 2014 at 11:36 am

    What a relevant, timely and thought provoking post, Mary. I hadn’t heard of this documentary yet, but am going to watch it at my first opportunity. It is heart breaking what these young girls today have to contend with and what they feel they have to measure up to. It’s not real, but they are just too young to see that. Very unfortunate that magazines keep putting this photoshopped garbage out there.

  2. Marc Chalfin

    October 16, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    I agree with all of that, but I wish there was also some focus, from society as a whole, on what males go through, too.

    Growing up as an overweight male, from a lower-middle class family and with social anxiety, I experienced very similar treatment. I’d never look how I thought I was “supposed to”. The athletes on TV, the super heroes in comic books, the movie stars: they all depicted the “perfect male”. As such, the other boys, who more closely met this criteria, were the popular kids. The further away from this baseline you were, the further segregated from your peers you became.

    I, like you, didn’t have as much of an image problem as others in similar circumstances, or trouble coping, but I definitely got my fair share of bullying that made it really hard to get through any time being out of the house. It also took a huge hit to my confidence and self-esteem, which stayed with me throughout childhood, into my teens and well into my twenties.

    I’m nearly thirty years old, and I still have trouble with knowing that I’m not, nor will I ever be, “the perfect male” and I still get bullied for not being “manly enough”. Luckily for me, I’ve just gotten comfortable with myself, and I hope others, regardless of their struggle, can come to terms and be happy with who they are, too. It’s never easy feeling different or inferior.

    I’m sure lots of people would disagree with me, being someone with “white male privilege”, but the fact of the matter is we’ve got people fighting for “equality for women”, or “equality for LBGT”, but no one is fighting for “equality for humanity”. Picking “sides” just causes more conflicts: “Why can MEN do this, but women can’t?”, “How come that’s ok if you’re white?”

    The statement should be: “I’m human, just like you. As a human being, I should be entitled to the same rights, respect and common decency that is given to other humans like me.” Who you are, what you’re into and what you look like should never be grounds for different treatment, for better or worse.

    Side note: If we’re ever visited by another species, please change my statement to read “Sentient Life” instead of “human”. XD

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