All Bodies are Beautiful

1 Jul

“You don’t have to be pretty. You don’t owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don’t owe it to your mother, you don’t owe it to your children, you don’t owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked “female”.”

-Erin (from A Dress A Day)
         Hello my name is Alex Craig and I believe in standing against what the media has forcibly portrayed that all women should look and act like and how men should treat them. I wasn’t extremely aware of this until moving out of the house and going to college for the first. Living in the ignorant, over protective world that was my home when i was younger, I saw no real problem with the world. Having never been exposed to the many problems our society faces living in a conservative Christian home where our motto has been “if you don’t know about it, you’re better off without it” meaning that we mostly ignored problems in order to live our happy blissful lives. But as my first year of college went on I began to notice how truly disgusting it is how women are treated and how extreme their problems can become. Ever since your early years, you are taught that women are the ones who stay in the kitchen and please the man of the household without questioning his decisions, but as you become older the objectification becomes more graphic. In the media women are presented as sexualized objects who are only useful for their vaginas. Yet when women try to speak out about this,waves of men come crashing down upon them, calling them out as being whores, or sluts, or should just go back into the kitchen.
        It’s time to put an end to the sexism in this country and the way women are only seen as objects. Women have a right to be themselves and look however they want without appealing to anyone. This blog will feature some of my favorite quotes, videos, and pictures in order to help you see why women deserve equality and what you can do to help your community. In this blog i will explore the way women are viewed in
  • media
  • body types
  • rape culture
The Media

This article shows just how the objectification of women is psychologically burned into our brains through the media and advertisements. Women are always portrayed and flawless, body hair-less, and large breasted. Because of this young women and girls are forced to think that their bodies aren’t beautiful or are overweight and ugly. Thinking this way leads to anorexia and bulimia, which is most prominent in pre to later teens. The graph below depicts the number of men and women affected by anorexia conducted in 2007. Notice a difference?

Men aren’t nearly as pressured about their looks as women are. And with skyrocketing numbers like that, it saddens me to think that the media has that much of an effect on younger women.

Body Image/Media Statistics

  • 1 out of every 4 television commercials sends out some sort of message about attractiveness
  • 4 out of 5 women are dissatisfied with their appearance
  • 80% of women feel that the images of women on television make them feel insecure
  • 81% of ten year olds are afraid of being fat
Body Types
        One things that I strongly stand for is the idea that women shouldn’t be forced to shave themselves in order to be seen as beautiful. Society tells us that the more hair free we are the more beautiful we are. But I believe that women can choose to have hairy legs or armpits as long as they love their body, no one else’s opinion matters. I myself haven’t shaved my legs or armpits since early May, and can easily say i love my hairy legs more than shaved ones. Here are some of my favorite pictures of some fine looking hairy ladies:
And while we’re on the subject of body hair, here is an article written by a feminist I truly admire: Celia
(click on the title or picture to be taken to her full article, or listen to her read it on youtube)
Do what you want with your body (it is yours after all) and do what makes you feel beautiful, whether that means keeping a clean shave or leaving your shaver to rot in the corner. Don’t let society decide what is and isn’t attractive, decide it for yourself. And as Celia said, for those who see your behavior as disgusting and strange, just lift those arms higher and be proud of your body for how it is. But not everyone can just give up shaving right away. If you don’t feel comfortable doing it, no worries. Take your time if you have to in order to feel comfortable with this change.
Rape Culture
         Another thing women need to feel more strongly about is the ability to say “NO”. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen posts where some male has seen a woman’s outcry for change as offensive and deserving of her death. What’s even more disturbing is the number of men interviewed who said they would try raping a woman if they had the opportunity. It’s not the woman’s fault for dressing the way she does, or walking alone, or getting drunk. It’s the men’s fault for trying to rape her.
        “If you say that a woman wearing revealing clothes deserves to be sexually assaulted, you are saying that a woman’s body is inherently deserving of rape. That women are inherently deserving of rape. That women have to make sure their body is hidden in order not to deserve to be raped. That is misogyny in its purest form.”
(click on each picture in order to learn more about it)
           “Women are socialized to make men feel good. We’re socialized to “let you down easy.” We’re not socialized to say a clear and direct “no.” We’re socialized to speak in hints and boost egos and let people save face. People who don’t respect the social contract (rapists, predators, assholes, pickup artists) are good at taking advantage of this. “No” is something we have to learn. “No” is something we have to earn. In fact, I’d argue that the ability to just say “no” to something, without further comment, apology, explanation, guilt, or thinking about it is one of the great rites of passage in growing up, and when you start saying it and saying it regularly the world often pushes back. And calls you names.”
A wonderful website to check out is Unknown to many people, but true, is that men can also be feminists. The more that decide to stand up for the right thing, the better this world will become. Anyone can be a feminist as long as they are willing to stand up for equality for all. A great way to help the women in your community is to volunteer. Find a local woman’s shelter or sexual assault center and help out as much as you can. Institutions such as those are often times under-funded and need as much help as they can get and it’s a great way to give back to the community. Just remember:
“Study: The Objectification of Women Is a Real, Measurable Phenomenon.” The Atlantic. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 July 2012.
“Media Influence.” Eating Disorders and. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 July 2012.
Celia. “Let’s Talk About Body Hair – Girl Guts.” Let’s Talk About Body Hair – Girl Guts. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 July 2012.
“Statistics | RAINN | Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network.” Statistics | RAINN | Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 July 2012.

One Response to “All Bodies are Beautiful”

  1. fieara July 2, 2012 at 7:17 pm #

    Great post and images!

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