Okay, Okay... so I just wanted to drop a quick note to all my lady friends.
I've noticed a shift in the last year. I've stopped watching talk shows and only read Parenting magazine, so that may be the shift I've seen.... but still. The shift is an empowerment amongst us gals. I partially blame the gay movement. Why? Because you pretty ladies are emerging with your chopped off hair, boy pants and no make up. You are kissing your partners and the world took notice to how damn sexy you tend to be while doing it.
Lesbians are making hetero women realize they were mislead on what "real" beauty is meant to look like. Well, labels aside... you can tell the shift is style. It's kind of 80s grunge and I love it. Our teenagers are showing us adults how it's done. Tegan and Sara are setting a prime example of beauty beyond the magazines. Hell, the phenomenon of the Philippines Transgender Pageant have shown us that the beauty of a women is an open horizon.
So lets take this moment to smile at our beautiful bodies and faces. Let's caress our stretch marks from birth like honor. Let us make cosmo and other fluff magazines sell us health food instead of quick fix creams. Ladies, take a look around you. Skinny isn't in-- being healthy and loving yourself IS!
Now that I have a daughter I realize more and more how critical my mother was of my sister and I growing up. My mother is a bit of a control freak (she's gotten a lot better since my adolescence) so she just wanted us to be like her, which is understandable... but even with that said, I'd much rather my daughter be with the fringe crowd and dress in clothes from goodwill than be with the cool kids in the name brand clothes. It takes more confidence to overcome the Mean Girls than to join them.
In middle school I use to come home and cry for hours because of what was said to me. I would leave the house with my sister teasing me and then spend hours at school hearing about my appearance from others. I'd hear about who was wearing make up and who had sex over the weekend. One of my close friends was going to the tanning bed every day with her mother. I felt consumed with my outsides and it made my insides twist with confusion.
"If I wore lipstick maybe he'll notice me."
"If I wore different jeans maybe she'd be nice to me at school tomorrow."
"If I bought different shoes maybe I could sit with the cool kids at lunch."
By the time I turned fifteen I had already had sex, began painting my toe nails and would spend hours in front of a mirror trying to fix my hair just right. That is entirely too young to have had sex already. I had been sexualized by peer pressures about my appearance. It seems a lot of people don't see that connection. If you start out your child giving them stern gender barriers:
"No, Timmy, only girls play with dolls."
"No, Dana, only boys like the color blue."
You make them define themselves purely by their gender and not by their interests. You are restricting them from expression and forcing them into roles that are way past due to be shattered.
By forcing your kid into the role of "male" and "female" instead of "baby", "child" and "teenager" you are telling them to act out roles of "female is submissive to her male counterpart" and "have sex to keep your man interested" because those are the examples we are giving our children at home and in the media. If you make your daughter define herself as a girl instead of a person, she'll follow all those Top Girl fashions and Girls Guide to Sex lists. Now, I'm not saying that it won't happen regardless and preteens are already developing their personalities and have their own opinions about things already. I'm just saying-- maybe it'll show our teenagers that finding themselves and loving themselves is more important than finding what's in each others pants?
[Quick Disclosure] I'm speaking purely on personal experience and theory.
Maybe it was because I was raised in a very religious home. Maybe it's because I grew up in a small town and there wasn't much else for young people to do but explore other people's bodies, get involved in drugs or get a job. Luckily, I chose the job route. I pulled my hair up into a ponytail and no matter how many showers I took I swore my hair still smelled like cheeseburgers. I didn't respect myself though, I sought love through affection because I knew of no other way. I had been taught that love comes from the outside in, not the inside out. That is what I wish to never impose on my daughter. Why did it take me years in my twenties to realize that I had to love myself first? Why didn't someone tell me before hand?
O yeah, that's right, I was told jesus would make me happy and that's the only way I could find love. Way to give everyone insecurities and not let them trust their own instincts, jesus. What a douchebag. I didn't know of anything else. I was told if I put on my sunday best (outward appearance), gave my heart to god (outside source), and love him first (outside source) maybe I could be happy (inside) the rest of my life. Instead, it took me reversing that list and omitting religion all together before I felt comfortable with myself and began to love myself full on. I worked hard on getting to where I am today with my body. I'm still thirty or so pounds over what I was when I made this revelation but I realize I've had a baby and I don't let a little thing like baby weight make me reconsider my love for myself. I remember what it took to get to where I loved myself and I plan on revisiting those things to nurture my love.
Every relationship needs attention, even the relationship with yourself.
That's just my insight for today. Pass this on to someone you know struggling to find love through someone else. You can love yourself and still want to change things about yourself. Only you should be allowed to make those decisions about yourself anyway.