We women have talked about stuff like this in the comfort of our small, intimate circles for forever. “Oh my god, I got whistled at again when I walked by the gas station.” “He totally grabbed my ass when we hugged” “I don’t really feel comfortable, but it’s my job so I can’t really say anything.” It’s become a rite of passage; when did you first feel like the subject of a man’s desire?
And as much as it pains me to admit it, woman exacerbate the problem. I can’t even count the amount of times I scroll through Instagram and see booty pics, cleavage shots, and suggestive eye winks staring me in the face. I myself been guilty of choosing pictures to post solely based on the fact that I know my body looks good.
I don’t think that woman should have to hide their bodies, not by a long shot. But there is a difference between classily showcasing your hard work and raunchily baring juuuuust enough where men feel confident sliding into your DM’s, knowing that they won’t be rebuffed.
Where has respect for ourselves gone? I know without a doubt that the reason that so many men take the objectification route is because a lot of the time, it works. I used to be the girl that thought she had to comply with whatever a man said just so that they would like me. I found out the hard way, though, that once you give in, they simply move on.
Girls who give in have, sadly, become a dime a dozen. And it’s not just because the amount of ‘easy’ woman have risen; how can we expect a girl to grow up knowing her worth when the only examples of men she has around her are the root cause of the problem? When her dad is physically or mentally absent? When she has 5 other half-siblings from 3 different women? When every other woman around her sees the objectification as status quo or worse, as a badge of honor??
As a gender, we need to give each other the strength to take a stand and demand the respect that any human deserves. We need to applaud woman who have the courage to post makeup free and truly candid shots where their thighs might be squished or their face might be on their ‘bad side’. We need to focus our comments more on how amazing their personality is or how awesome it is that they are helping out at home while their mom is recovering or how cool it is that they choose not to drink because it’s healthy.
Even typing out the above paragraph felt cheesy. “Hurdy hur, I’m telling people to focus on inner beauty, I’m a nerd”. THAT is how much sexualization has penetrated our inner selves–I can’t even urge my readers to focus on better things without feeling weird about it. And that is exactly why all of this bullshit HAS to change.
And so, I have a challenge for myself, and a challenge for you:
Stop focusing so much on your body. I know that you do. There has not been one day that has gone by in the last 15 years where I have not had a negative thought about my body as a whole or in part. Not ONE. Where on earth has this thought pattern gotten me? A rollercoaster of weight loss and weight gain, and even at my skinniest I never once was satisfied. Focusing on your health and wellness and FEELING AMAZING should be where your focus is laser-pointed; the physical part will simply naturally follow.
Stop complimenting only the physical. It’s so easy to do: “Nice boots!” “Omg I LOVE your haircut!” “You look so cute today!”. These comments never fail to give a little ego boost, to be sure. Yet how awesome is it if you hear something like “Wow, you are a really awesome mother.” “I really appreciated your help today, you made my morning so much less stressful.” “I love how patient you are-you inspire me!”.
Stop comparing your body with others’. This has become widespread with the rise of social media. This girl’s bum is wayyyy more toned. This girl’s hair is SO BOUNCY. This girl’s stomach is so freakin’ flat. But fast forward 50 years, and we are all going to be in the same state: wrinkled, grey, and playing Parcheesi with our fellow retired neighbors in our Florida condo. Let’s seriously…SERIOUSLY…stop this bullshit. It serves zero purpose.
Our bodies and our minds should both be at their healthiest state the majority of the time. And when our inner self is full of positivity, the negativity from the world seems to have less of a hold on us. The final step is to share that positivity with others, regardless of what might be thrown our way. If WE start spreading how awesome we are rather than how sexy we are, the world will take notice.
Be positive. Be helpful. Be healthy. Be YOU. Inspire others to be the same. And most of all, know that #timesup will continue to manifest into reality only if we relentlessly show that it is a valid movement.
Let’s do this!