virgie tovar, who told her story abt her lifelong battle with weight and color of skin, has since come up with a slogan -HATE LOSS, NOT WEIGHT LOSS- that is rather desirable since weight loss is an impossible dream for many women and men, but seems to impact much heavier on women than men.
the film miss representation tells all about this brand imaging that society has heaped on women and even little girls who are cutting themselves because they don’t ‘fit’ in; because they feel ugly or brown or fat or plain stupid, even if they’re straight A students… these women and girls who have issues with “self worth” DONT CONFORM to the impossible image of perfection.
this impossibility to change oneself or nature – despite surgery – and the great turmoil in accepting who one is could very well be the biggest reason why bullying is so rampant in the US, and not elsewhere. conforming to some zany idea of beauty when beauty is a many wondrous thing! and sometimes invisible to the eyes, as saint exupery would say.
why does a Cosmo cover or Allure or Marie claire ALWAYS conform to that same image of women: always svelte waistline, slim, perfect features, light-skinned mostly or its opposite, exotic? but whether exotic or not, the women and girls [teen vogue etc for the young] all share the same physique and statistics. you can almost photoshop in anyone’s face into the same body and produce magazine cover after magazine cover! of course you’d have to change the clothes and colors etc but the body is the same, each boring time after time! it reminds me of those hideous mannequins posed with hips jutting forward in the Express showcases! at least HM and Talia have the good sense to feature at least colored mannequins even if they have the same body structure!
we live in a world where women are taught from early childhood that their worth is proportional to their attractiveness. we feel compelled to pursue abstract notions of beauty, half realizing that such a pursuit is futile. when women reject this form of oppression, they face ridicule and contempt, like virgie tovar above and so many others. whether its women who refuse to wear makeup or to expose their bodies, society, both men and women, have trouble dealing with them and ostracize them.
if we would realize that we are made with different body types, different colors, different heights and that we don’t need to conform to any one image, it is highly possible that we would have a better world! imagine if all boys or men liked victoria’s secret models only. what would happen to the rest of us? thankfully, we know that that’s not reality.
i remember once going into a clothing store which had a huge sale, teddy bears strewn helter skelter in a huge basket and on the floor. my daughter asked for one and chose the one with an ear lopsided, half falling off. i asked her why she didn’t choose one that was perfect and she replied that she liked the ‘imperfect ones’ and said if everyone chose the perfect ones what would happen to this one? i was blown away by this little lesson and philosophy on beauty and appearance. she insisted on the one that wasnt perfect and loved it until we no longer saw its ear! we never saw that ear again as anything but perfect because it became the perfect teddy for her!
the glitch in wreck-it ralph can teach us some lessons, too. she’s barred from racing with the ‘cool’ girls who all look the same- like the Express store mannequins or magazine covers – but has talent and intelligence which don’t matter for the cool girls. her ‘pixlexia’ is a fault, not a strength. i see it as ‘beauty’.
we should teach our girls to embrace their strengths, aim higher than physical appearances, and to be different. we should teach them to NOT conform and enslave themselves into these useless categories of imaging, which oppress more than any hijab or burqa can, which we are quick to tout as ‘oppressive’ for other women! at least those women can remove that item, which we deem oppressive to them.
can we say the same of our hangups on our body and worth?