Women and girls, from a very young age on are incredibly insecure. For a lot of us not looking perfect makes us feel like we ARE inadequate. Like we somehow failed as a person, like we don't deserve love, a relationship or affection.
A lot of women say that they dress for themselves, that they get their nails done for themselves, have long hair for themselves, get bikini waxes for themselves, get plastic surgery for themselves ....
But tbh I think that's a bit naive. What it comes down to in the end is being an attractive option for men, no matter how you twist and turn it. They say they feel more confident. Ya but what makes you feel confident? Being liked and desired by people, especially the opposite sex. So a lot of women do those things (and then some) to appeal to men and delude themselves into thinking it's what they want.
And I think that's because there is somehow this idea out there that wanting men's approval is a terrible thing and a sign of weakness, when it's not. There's nothing wrong with wanting men's approval. In fact wanting to appeal to the opposite gender is innate and it's not gonna change anytime soon.
I think or I hope that most men DO care about women. Not just getting our approval but that they want us to be happy, that they want to be with women who are smart, who they have something in common, who they geniunley have a connection with. But the thing is you're not letting us know enough. Or at all really. All we see in the media and even in real world is men caring about looks and sex. If you're not gonna continue reading the take, this is the main take away here. If you do care about things other than looks, let us know!
I hope this doesn't come across like blaming men for everything. What compelled me to write this take is that a lot of guys complain about women being vain or too concerned with their looks but they don't see their own role in it.
And the same time when we women complain about the way the world characterizes us, all you get from a lot of men is complete apathy, which is extremely frustrating.
How did we get here?
There was a small little study where researchers looked at teenage girls diary entries from the dawn of the 20th century and today. What they found is that, back then girls focused almost entirely on being a better person. On being kind to others and being polite, while today girls focused entirely on looking better.
I suppose it all started in the 40s and 50s when it became more and more acceptable to use women's bodies to sell products. While a lot of the images were clearly sexist and often a little sexualising. It was far from what we deal with no.
And I thinks that's partially because the world was different. Often on here men ask what is point of having a relationship? Of being married? What are women good for other than sex? Well in the 50s they knew. There was little doubt about what role women had society and what value we had as well.
Most people view the change of gender roles as something positive, and I do too, but I think it's not talked about enough, especially in this context.
It's often discussed how men don't know their place and their value in this world anymore now that they don't have to be the provider. But it's rarely mentioned that women don't know their place and value in this world either. If it's not being a mother and wive, then what is it? Maybe it IS just sex? That's what the media tells us anyway. All we want from a young age is to fit in, so we follow what we're being told and that's how you get 10 year olds dressing and in some ways behaving like prostitutes.
On a side note: There is this quite famous article out there that claims that the past US election was a referendum on gender and women lost. I'm not sure I'd go that far but it certainly doesn't help that we now have a president who has a trophy wife, brags about sexual harassment and publicly rates women on a scale from 1 to 10.
It's not real
All the imagines you see online, in magazines and TV they're not real. Cindy Crawford infamously said "I wish I looked like Cindy Crawford". Everything we see is manipulated to be perfect, but that's not what women look like in reality. Not even the models they're showing look like that and women feel terrible about their bodies because we can't possibly live up to that.
Expectations both men and women have towards how women should look like have gone a little out of control.
Take this picture of Sophia Loren for example, who would have been considered very attractive in her time. And who clearly has a healthy and beautiful body. But she also has flaws. Her stomach isn't flat, her thighs have a bit of cellulite and you can see back fat on top of her bra. And all of that is normal. But girls today who look like this will feel incredibly insecure and inadequate because of it
And guys, I'm assuming, are the same. They'd think she's alright looking but she could lose some weight, do something about the cellulite....
Most of us know images we see in the media are fake, but it doesn't matter, it still affects out standards, our perception of what is normal. So in an ideal world, I think no one would use photoshop but that's not very realistic. For now I think the best we can do, is to not constantly criticize womens looks. As long as you're in a healthy weight range, you shouldn't have to worry about looking perfect. We should promote images that are not heavily retouched, that show what women really look like.
And I get most of you guys are not magazine editors, you don't get to decide what type of imagies goes into that. But well tbh that's a bit of a last century excuse. The great thing about social media that EVERYONE gets to share and promote the content they like. So do that!
You know, all those "which one of these girls is hottest?" questions on here? Just once I'd like see one with all non photoshopped pictures
And to be clear here, because I'm sure someone will bring it up, I'm not suggesting that men should find a specific weight or bodyfat percentage attractive, but that we shouldn't digitally alter image of bodies that already conform the common standard of beauty.
Sexualisation vs Objectification
I wouldn't normally have written about this but I've found it comes up a lot here. I have no doubt guys in the comments will link plenty of pictures of guys in underwear to prove that men are equally sexualised.
But there's a difference between the two. They're related but not the same. And while both are not great, one is clearly worse than the other.
Sexualisation is to make something sexual. It'll be your average underwear ad, playboy magazine, perfume ad ....
It's really exaggeration of what is natural, men being attracted to women and vice versa. And I think it's been taken way too far these days, but in some ways it's normal and it's not going away.
Objectification is the action of degrading someone to the status of a mere object. In this context as a sex object. Treating women like they don't have feelings and thoughts on their own or like their wishes, fears and desires don't matter. I think most mainstream porn is a good example of that. (The woman is just treated as a masturbation aid, what she wants or feels doesn't matter), but it's increasingly common in the mainstream media also, like this infamous burger kind ad
I know a lot of guys don't like laci green and I don't agree with everything she says but I think she explains this point quite well
It's true that men are also sexualised and it's becoming increasing more common and I don't think that's great either, trust me that's not the type of equality we want. If you want to talk about that though, please write your own take.
What you can do about
Getting back what I said in the beginning, the problem is men not letting us know that you care about more than looks. Well the good thing is, it's easily fixed.
It's the little things: I'll put this first because it's most important. We should all try to do little things to make the world a little better where we can, right? Don't litter, turn off the water when you brush your teeth and so on. Well the same principle applies here.
Tell your girlfriend that you enjoy her company, that you value her opinions and thoughts. Promote positive role models to your sister and don't focus too much on appearance when you buy clothes for your daughter. And tell them all to voice their wants and needs.
Don't catcall girls. I know duh!. But also call out guys who do especially if you know them. Don't say women deserved to get raped or harassed because of what they were wearing
And it's also in what you DON'T do. Silence is golden sometimes. I see this a lot, guys calling women they see online fat or ugly, when they are quite normal. And I don't get why? What do you have to gain from it? Just don't do it! Whatever happened to common decency? I don't think this type of behavior should be acceptable and in fact it's not. Not in reality anyway, but somehow on the internet guys think it''s different. Don't you realize that girls reading this stuff also?
I used to work as a model when I was a teenager and sometimes some of those pictures would end up online. And i remember the first time it happened. I was 15, it was my first big job and it was very excited and I read the comment under that particular post and a lot of them were like "her tits are too small, would not fuck" and another comment said "great girl, where can I get one of her? " one of me? You can't get a woman like you get groceries and it's not ok to talk about us like that. Those comments hurt especially because they were about me, personally. But I've seen them on posts of other women and it still stings. I'm sure most girls will feel the same
Vote with your dollar: This goes for both men and women but mostly women. Women are half the population and women are by far the bigger consumers of products and services. Men don't buy a lot of things, which is why advertisers use so much sexualisation and objectification of women to get men to buy their stuff. So if a company, movie or TV channel puts out objectifying ads, go elsewhere.
Now that you've seen the Burger King ad above, choose McDonalds over them when you can. Or better even a local restaurant.
American Apparel is bankrupt partially because of a backlash to their infamously objectifying ads. And they deserved it.
If a news channel continuously has to settle sexual harassment claims, hires only pretty women and forbids them from wearing pants, don't watch it.
Vote with your vote! I mentioned Donald Trump earlier and he's in good company. If a congressman says this about a woman kneeling down in the white house, don't vote for him.
"you can just explain to me that circumstance, because she really looked kind of familiar in that position there. Don’t answer — and I don’t want you to refer back to the ’90s"
And it's not just america, for someone who has been found guilty of statutory rape, Silvio Berlusconi was in charge of Italy for way too long
Don't do it ! As I said earlier, I used to be a model. My problem was that when I was no longer a teenager, I became too fat for the fashion industry. But not too fat for men's magazines. When my agency dropped me that's the advice they gave. There's good money in it and you want feel attractive and desired. So I get it's tempting. A lot of girls dream to be on the cover of the magazines because they think all men will want them then.
But when you do that, you're being part of the problem. And I think unless it's out of bare necessity, no girl should do it. You have all those girls on Instagram now posting sexy pictures of their bodies for nothing.They don't need to do it, no one is forcing them to. As I said I get where they're coming from, so much but you'd be better off doing something worthwhile with your life. Something that's not posing in bikinis for strangers on the internet.
For guys I guess it would be don't encourage girls to do it. But most guys don't have to be told, they know that they don't want women they love to be treated like that. Women on the other hand sometimes even go as far as telling themselves it's empowering, which it really isn't.
That's it. So bring on the downvotes guys ...