Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Women + Self Esteem (discussion)

Ever since 4th grade I have been a very insecure person. A boy told me he was giving me cookies to make me more fat rather then out of nice gesture. Immediately, I was changed (not in a good way). I was consumed of thoughts about how fat I was (because I think that now.) and feeling very insecure in my own skin, thinking everybody was thinking the same thing; I am fat. I wanted to runaway... move away out of Minnesota! I have recently for the past couple of years have started to let go and really confront these insecurities head on. I have been tons of research and been finding some awesome revelations for myself!

The company Dove has done numerous of studies on women + self-esteem in women. They are campaigning for women, for women to feel beautiful in their skin because really it's like an epidemic across the country.  Studies have found that:
  •  6 in 10 women stop what they love doing because feel bad about their looks.
  • Only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful (which is up 2% from 2004)
  • 72% of girls feel tremendous pressure to be beautiful
  • More than half (54%) of women globally agree that when it comes to how they look, they are their own worst beauty critic.
In the media women are viewed as objects: being a part of a beer bottle for an ad, that is so dehumanizing and we don't realize it, but it is. A photo of a model on the cover of magazines or celebs is saying to all the young girls/women that they should have no pours because the cover girls have this unnatural, unreal flawless skin. Thanks photoshop. As women we try so hard to reach this unreachable height of perfection. Beauty is not just looks.

Now, I can't say that the boy who said what he said to me so many years ago is to blame (he is, but he isn't) because I don't know if now would be the year that all my insecurities would arise, I just don't know. What I do know is that I'll be damned if I don't think for the next 5 years that I am truly ugly and deserve to be alone.

Women are backing away from job opportunities because are feeling so insecure about themselves.

  • In the workforce: 60% in 1999, 2011: 58.1% which is down 0.5 from 2010
  • In Congress we have 18% filled of women
  • In the senate we have 17.9% of the 435 seats filled by women in the U.S House
  • Japan is saying their economy will go up 13% with women in the workforce

The actor Bruce Willis last week said himself that women should rule the world and he is about as manly as it gets! There are deeper problems in society and their perception on women. We're bitchy, nagging, stubborn, emotional, but the male is the opposite of all these things: determined, passionate, head strong, compassionate. WHAT? No wonder women are backing out of the workforce even high positions. Yes, we have women in the workforce and Congress, Senate, entertainment business, but are we really aware of it?

Dove did a very clever study where they said to this group of women that they made a patch that is supposed to make you feel differently about yourself, make you feel that you are beautiful. They wore for a certain amount of time and kept a video diary. As each day progressed they said they felt much better about themselves and that they felt beautiful each day no matter the hard circumstances. At the end, the women that was the head of the study said there was nothing in the patch. In other words the patch did nothing at all.

Dove also does these sketches where they will have a women whatever age come in and tell an artist what they think they look like. Before that they will get to know a stranger for a few minutes then they will come in and say what they think that person looks like. The results are incredibly different from when the women describes herself. It is so amazing to see these women realize how beautiful they are.

The YouTube channel SoulPancake has a webseris, What She Said, and it multiple videos on these very issues for women today. About body image, cofidence,  women in power and our purpose, aging and death, to parents and parenting even. But there is a poet, Natalie Patterson , they have in these videos and one of her own and she speaks her spoken word poems that are so inspiring and revealing for me in so many ways. 

When it comes to feeling good in our own skin I think that it is hard for anybody because we feel (and sometimes we do) have these critics in our life; our parents, friends, people at school, teachers. For me a critic can be a complete stranger because I that self conscious and aware.

So, can we put the judgement away? The pressure? Please? And how can we go forward as a society so that women can feel okay with who we are? LOTS OF WORK TO BE DONE!

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