Media has a long standing tradition of teaching women we are only worth something based on a level of conventional attractiveness and how quietly we sit and smile. We learn this from the time we’re very young when we must wear the pretty dress and have our hair just right while we silently smile and act like a good girl at family gatherings. Our parents instill that in us along with that oh so dangerous idea that if a relative wants a hug or kiss on the cheek well then we must comply. We’re conditioned to believe we’re objects, to be seen and never heard. Good girls don’t have tangled hair, muddy clothes or refuse to smile and say no. But is that entirely our parents fault? Nope, they learned it from their parents and so on and so on but over the last 100 years media has perpetrated these messages and created a society defined by media standards. Doesn’t matter if it’s in print, movies, photographs, tv or music. All of it over the last millennia has taught us just how we should be and it’s fucking bullshit!
The messages are everywhere and their confusing as hell so it’s no wonder that the women I work with regularly still have massive insecurities and hang ups about their bodies and value. They worry that they’re too fat, too thin, too old, don’t have big enough boobs, have the wrong hair, wrong skin color, wrong style, aren’t of value because they aren’t fully able bodied or whatever else you can think of. It’s so much and it’s exhausting because regardless of the factor it all comes down to one issue…weren’t not worthy. If we’re too old or overweight or not the right skin color we have no right to be seen as sexy. If we’re young and thin and have conventionally beautiful features then we’re only allowed to be sexy for men but we’re still sluts because of that. If we don’t dress sexy then we automatically get the label that we’re some kind of feminazi out to destroy men or just simply not womanly enough and we should try harder. On the other end of this when we do find a male partner we’re supposed to be hyper sexual for him. But only him and only when he initiates it and certainly only for him to see. If we’re bisexual or lesbian then that’s only “hot” if we’re putting on a show for men to see otherwise we’re disgusting.
It’s all too much and it’s no wonder we all feel some sort of constant shame, insecurity and doubt ourselves. The media does a damn good job of pushing us down and at the same time making us spend billions of dollars on changing our appearance and buying products, clothing and such to fit in. But it’s never enough and we still feel somehow less then. In my coaching group, the women I teach are constantly wondering how they break free from this messaging when it shoved down our throats rapid fire on a daily basis. It’s hard to give them an answer because I’m working against a force much larger then myself. I’m essentially one rebellion jet going at a Death Star. But all of us Star Wars nerds know that in fact one rebel fighter took down an entire Death Star so there’s hope. What I tell them is to on a daily basis compliment themselves, dance and move for themselves and compliment each other. Find a way to share their voice and spend time with themselves learning to love their bodies. If they can love their physical self they can slowly learn to love the inside too. If they do that while finding ways to stand up for and light up other women then it’ll spread and overtime we can break down the media machine. Right now our society is at a turning point. There’s powers trying to take us back and powers trying to break us free and we just need to get in the habit of feeding the right wolf. I see women everyday that are starting to push forward so if we stand behind them and with them we can transform our world for the better. The men out there who support us can help by continuing to hear us, validate us and support us by making sure we know we are worthy as is. It’s gonna take a lot of work but we can do it and then we’ll have created a future where every woman is given a voice.