A good friend of mine tossed me a few intriguing articles from Ms. Blog today that really hit home about two things. First, the articles addressed the, in my opinion, under-discussed topic of sexual objectification of women in both the media and more soberingly within the female community. I was alarmed by the realization that we (ladies) often do scrutinize each other with a similarly harmful gaze of objectification, critique and worst of all, of competition. Rather than supporting each other and banding together against current male-directed and porn-inspired standards of beauty and behavior, we pressure each other into conforming ever more readily to these very poisonous standards. Let’s try to be aware of this trap and turn down the cattiness as we rev the old school girl power.
Secondly, the articles offered simple ways of breaking out of self-objectification practices that derive from (and simultaneously feed) our image-obsessed culture that occupies a crushingly large amount of female-brain space with thoughts of treadmills, foundation, waist size, diet coke super packs, upper arm fat, bikini lines, and split ends (all things that have bounced around regularly in my own glob of neurons). Instead of immediately checking the degree of abdomen or facial bloat first thing in the morning, Ms. Blog suggests sitting comfortably in your skin, fat allowed to freely sprawl in any direction. I’d go as far as to say, try sitting only in your skin (especially when tempted to start criticizing it). Admiring the health and beauty of your body: skin, nails, fat muscles, joints, hair, freckles (and whatever else you find). The point is to be present with yourself instead of lighting into yourself with self-hatred and disappointment as if your poor body weren’t a part of you! Dragging along with you on those lonely, directionless days. Right there in your shoes when you get home from a long day. With you when you relax in a steamingly hot shower after a night out. And all the times in between… In fact, that bag of skin you’re sitting in right now as you read this– that’s the only constant for the rest of your life. I figure, we might as well treat it as well as we can. And we might as well stop the incessant “self-monitoring” (as Ms. Blog suggests). Regardless of what some random-ass penis wearing human on the street thinks of our skirt length or our blackheads or our boisterous laugh or our natural swagger. Ladies, lets take another look at our “selves” and give that miraculous machine of bone, blood, muscle, fat and ten million emotions, as much consideration (and maybe even more) as we give the random semi-cute guy we see on the elevator who really probably doesn’t even give a shit that he just let one rip as you got on.
Here is the first of a four part series about sexual objectification from Ms. (magazine) Blog: