Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Inscribing Gender on the Body

Have you ever wondered why women are much more scrutinized for every flaw on their body? Why is it that women’s beauty and sex appeal are valued so much in women’s magazines? I believe that this is because our society, as far as we have come with equality, is still patriarchal. This means that our life tends feed the interests of men and masculinity. Men typically are taught from a young age that they should take charge over a woman and feel confident about every situation they encounter. Women are often depicted through the media as sexual beings and have to fit a cookie cutter body type not attainable for many women. Women’s self consciousness of their bodies reinforces the idea that women are weaker than men and therefore inferior in some way. While certainly men are pressured to be more muscular, they face less pressure as far as looks are concerned. It seems as though as long as men act macho and have a sexy and appealing women by their side, they are king of the world.

These images of “beautiful” women are everywhere and impossible to ignore unless you are completely sheltered from the world. It is sad because many women go to extreme measure with exercise and diet not with the intention of becoming healthier, but to look like models or to be appealing to men. I believe that life is much more comfortable and rewarding when we are not so absorbed in “fixing” our unique bodies that will never be perfect. This is easier said than done, especially for young women like myself who are immersed in the dating world. I often find myself with negative thoughts toward my body but then I simply go out in public and notice all of the shapes and sizes of women and do you know which people look beautiful to me? The women with confidence! I think that women must simply show more confidence in everything they do in life and these changing attitudes will eventually lead to real change.

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