I’m in the middle of reading Anthropology of an American girl. So far, it’s fantastic and I recommend it. The book chronicles a girl growing up in New York in the 70’s and 80’s.
One passage specifically stuck with me
Boys will be boys, that’s what people say. No one ever mentions how girls have to be something other than themselves altogether. We are expected to stifle the same feelings that boys are encouraged to express. We are to use gossip as a means of policing ourselves. This way those who do succumb to the lure of sex but are not damaged by it are damaged instead by peer malice. We are to remain united in cruelty, ignorance, and aversion. We are to starve the flesh from our bones, penalizing the body for its nature, castigating ourselves for advances from men that we are powerless to prevent. We are to make false promises, then resist the attentions solicited. Basically we are to become expert liars.
Society expects such hypocrisy from women. Magazines, TV shows and advertising tell women they should be unnaturally thin on the same pages that tell women “how to love themselves”. Women are told to be confident and speak out and yet the word “bitch” is thrown around casually in the face of such a woman. The Madonna/Whore complex. It’s hard to avoid such mixed messages in this world. I only hope that when I have a daughter things are different: normal sized women the face of fashion, realistic views on beauty, and women genuinely being accepted as equal to men. Steps have been made throughout history and I am doing my best to contribute to a positive view on not only my body but the state of gender equality.
“Every achiever I have ever met says, “My life turned around when I began to believe in me.” — Robert Schuller
Appreciating my body, appreciating my female friends, putting an end to catty trash talking. Baby steps. But steps nonetheless.
*anyone else think “beauty” magazines should start including warning labels a la cigarette packs?