I don’t usually get involved in this sort of thing. I find comments about appearances mostly pretty tiresome. I also try not to get involved in fat/thin conversations because I have been both very skinny and overweight. I know how both feel. And I know how being skinny comes with the same pile of judgemental, hurtful comments – if not more – than being overweight.
I think women have always been interested in other women’s appearances. Heterosexual women probably see other women as competition – even if they don’t realise or admit it. If someone has physical attributes that we wish we had, if we’re honest we probably envy them. Let’s face it, when we strip back all the social pleasantries and constraints we’re all just a bunch of animals at the mercy of our hormones, instincts and insecurities.
You only have to look at the way teenage girls treat the girls they are jealous of at school to know that we are not that far away from our primordial ancestors after all. (Is primordial the right word? Must remember to check that)
But although I accept this insecurity and constantly comparing ourselves with others and with how we used to look, and with how we could look if only… has always been around, I think it’s got worse. Due to magazines, television and the Internet we now have more access to less of a socially accepted vision of beauty. It’s been narrowed down and narrowed down and narrowed down until most of us feel inadequate. And we’re rightly unhappy and insecure about that. It makes some of us angry. And who do we blame? Well as the lower class looks-wise we blame the upper class. They have it. It’s their fault. We must go into battle with them. It’s beauty capitalism and we don’t like it. Slay the bitches, we say.
Only … hang on … It’s not like capitalism. Because those who “fit”, those upper-classes in the looks world, didn’t actually take anything from us. They are not to blame. The media are to blame and we are to blame. We’ve let ourselves think we must must look a certain way, straighten and dye our hair. (Jeez – I LOVE curly hair. I’ve always wanted curly hair), flatten our looks with cosmetics and surgery, spend time and money on things that don’t last instead of on things that do. We are to blame. If we are jealous of the way someone else looks, that’s our problem, if we think someone else is too fat, too thin, too hairy, too curly, too tall, too short (that’s another one: how is it you can tease tall people and not short people?!), too pale, too dark, whatever, that’s our problem too. It’s not fair to judge. The only time a person’s looks are important is if they are an indicator of an underlying health problem.
Most people are beautiful in some way or another. When people are loved they are beautiful. They have a look in their eyes that supersedes any bland face I’ve ever seen staring out of a magazine at me. When people laugh and their eyes wrinkle at the corners their attractiveness draws you in. We’ve let ourselves get concerned about this, we’ve let ourselves think it is more important than it is. Telling people you love they are beautiful is important, conforming to a notion of beauty is not.
So what made me get on my soap box to join in with this particular bandwagon?
Well, it was seeing a comment written by my 17-year-old daughter on facebook this morning. The above photo has been doing the rounds and is similar to others I have seen. I was very proud of her comments and have pasted them below (swear words included) We are far too quick to judge people on their looks and not on what they do or have to say. Too many intelligent women are caught up in the looks debate and shouldn’t be. We must stop and listen to how unintelligent we sound sometimes. Our hair is not too curly, our boobs are not too small, our faces are not too long, and other women are not thin just to piss us off so we can bitch about them.
Here are Gemma’s comments:
“i have said this before but am so fucking sick of seeing this kind of thing all over my news feed. just because she’s skinny, does not automatically make her ugly. Can we please stop with all the ‘curvy is better’ stuff now because although i am not the slimmest of people i definitely wouldn’t say i was curvy, and you should not be made to feel unattractive or less of a woman just because you are a smaller size and have smaller boobs than lovely marilyn here – especially if you eat well and can’t help the way you look. everyone says ‘bigger’ girls get shit for their body type but to be honest this kind of thing is getting really nasty. its not just this either, its all over the web. since when did it become a fucking sin to be a size 8? my point is, how would you like it if i posted a picture the other way around? there would be uproar. nobody says shit all about this. rant over”
Yes. Stop it.