Aren’t we obsessed with appearances?
Why do we care?
Why do we get caught up with looks and forget the human behind that skin mask?
We forget what lies beneath that face, what lies in the heart and mind, what lies in the psyche. Did you ever stop and think about how often we are told to change our appearance? Women in the public eye are under constant scrutiny for the way they look.
SOCIETY’S DOUBLE STANDARD ON BODY IMAGE
Basically, men can wear whatever they want and look however they look and the only thing they are critiqued on is their accomplishments. Women, however, are subject to mass criticism. A woman could start a billion dollar company, win an award, have a successful career still, the discussion would quickly shift to whether she wore too tight (or too airy )cloths, whether she wore too much (or not enough) makeup.
A study conducted by a research giant found that both men and women deemed a woman wearing ‘heavy’ makeup less trustworthy, while also believing that a woman wearing minimal makeup didn’t care about her appearance (therefore, how could she care about her job or anything else in life?).
Aging is another key piece to this societal shaming. While women are less likely to be hired as they age,
men have no problem getting a job when their hair is falling out or turning gray.
Sad, but true:
Most women, if answering honestly, would say that they’ve shamed another woman for her choice of clothing, how much makeup she wore, or her weight. Often times we see this as pitting women against one another.
Memes support “big girls” or “athletic girls” or “thin girls” at the expense of others. “Real women have curves,” bashing women who do not. We’re taught by the media that women are supposed to look a certain way and given never ending advice on how to be thinner, more attractive, etc.
Body-shaming/Appearance-shaming manifests in many ways:
1) Criticizing your own appearance, through a judgment or comparison to another person. (i.e.: “I’m so ugly compared to her.” “Look at how broad my shoulders are.”)
2) Criticizing another’s appearance in front of them, (i.e.: “With those thighs, you’re never going to find a date.”)
3) Criticizing another’s appearance without their knowledge. (i.e.: “Did you see what she’s wearing today? Not flattering.” “At least you don’t look like her!”)
No matter how this manifests, it often leads to comparison and shame, and perpetuates the idea that people should be judged mainly for their physical features.
THE IMPACT ON WOMEN:
Body shaming and “appearance shaming” is not “casual.” It’s not “petty.” It’s dangerous and harmful—the impact having far greater repercussions than we might realize. It can lead to inferiority complex, lowered confidence, eating disorders and other such issues. It can cause insecurities leading to troubled relationships. There are chances that the victim may feel too self conscious and withdraw from social situations. So if we know that making shameful judgments and assumptions about another person’s body is only harmful to them, why do we do it?
While most of us have experienced this obsession with female appearance in one form or another,
knowing about something in theory is not enough to create change. We have to learn how to recognize it in our personal lives and take definitive steps towards understanding the full power of our bodies and loving them as they are.
HOW TO RECLAIM YOUR POWER:
Whether you’ve been a victim of our society’s shaming and double standards or have been lucky enough to withstand the pressure, it’s important to know how to fight back. That’s done by learning to love your body, embracing your personal style, and refusing to compromise on your self-worth when someone says “not good enough.”
Women’s bodies are incredible. They were made to withstand so much—from menstruation to childbirth to menopause— and that’s something we need to honor.