“Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life. Aim above morality. Be not simply good; be good for something.” –Thoreau

26 November 2013

More Than Beautiful

Much as I love it, Pinterest is a field of feminist landmines. Mostly because of complete crap like this:

When women really want to hurt each other, they take aim at appearance. We say the offending woman is too fat or too skinny or too tan or too pale or too tall or too short. If we can't make a blanket statement, we pick on specifics-- a larger-than-average nose, a smaller-than-average bust.

Why? What do we gain by doing this?

Women are so competitive. When a woman (from the United States, anyway) walks into a room, she immediately assesses her "rank" in relation to the other women present. "Am I as pretty? As smart? Are my clothes on par with the crowd?" We are trained to think this way as children. It's very sad.

And is the woman in the picture above even fit? Or did she win the genetic lottery? We can't tell because we don't know her. We're meant to aspire to be like someone we know nothing about. And why can't we see her face? Doesn't her face matter more than her stomach?

Celebrities perpetuate the skinny-is-healthy myth, while simultaneously proclaiming their love of "curves." I hate that word. What does it mean? It has been used to describe everything from a size two woman with a round bum to a plus-sized woman with large breasts. And everything in between. And it's just another way to draw battle lines.

There's no reason for this. It's hurtful. You're as much of a woman when you wear a size zero as you are when you wear an extra-extra large. You are worth the same. You are equally valuable. There is nothing good or virtuous about being built skinny, or strong, or voluptuous, or petite. It's just a body. No matter how pretty or plain, it is not a fair reflection of your soul.

And then, of course, there are things like this:

Is this really what we want to say? Is this what women are?

I don't know why, as women, we see things like this and proclaim our approval. We can do better. We are so much more. Pinterest has become a giant, virtual lunchroom where women can Pin their way into the "cool crowd" by putting down their own gender. If you don't like someone, be honest about why. Adults don't need to resort to name-calling. Geez, if we can't learn to be positive and supportive of other women then we can't expect men to support and respect us. It seems so obvious.

Photo by Barbara Helgason
Bodies are only vessels. Support each other! Respect each other! That's how we move forward as a gender, and maximize our own potential. Side by side.