How She Should Be

Feet pound pavement,
sweat dripping
down her temples,
through the
crease in her
elbows.
Lungs bursting for
more.

Run faster you fat cow.

Music blasts in
her ears,
lyrics laughing.
Telling her how
to make them
want it.

Jump higher  you wont burn
away your gut
half-assing it like this.

Flipping through smut,
images glare
back of how her
arms should look.
How thin her thighs
should be.
Flushes her dinner
in response.

Atta girl.

– – 

I recently came across a powerful video that delved into the deep issues we face on a day to day basis regarding media and how warped society’s expectations are of how we should look, how we should present ourselves, and what gross failures we are if we do not meet up to those expectations.

Like most women, this topic hit close to home as I have dealt with self-esteem issues off and on for years based on how I am “supposed” to look. It is such a vicious cycle. I know that being smart, being funny, having values and morals, being compassionate, etc. are the signs of true beauty. That “inner” beauty is what counts. We are all taught this from a very early age, and yet so often society’s perception of beauty trumps all of this.

I’m not sure what the answer is. It is so disheartening to see young girls battle with these issues of self-image and low self-esteem. Even magazines that promote health and wellness airbrush the shit out of their models, making their ab muscles more defined and eliminating all traces of cellulite. We know that is all fake, it is all an illusion, so why does it continue to subconsciously affect us in such a negative way? How to we break this cycle?

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20 thoughts on “How She Should Be

  1. I really don’t know. Like you I know that inner beauty is what counts, but when I see an add or whatever I can’t help but feel the inevitable pains of jealously and lack of self confidence. And I am nearly 30 so I don’t know! Great post btw! God bless!

    1. I’m pushing 30 as well! You’d think that as grown women we would look at magazines and be far past the stage of feeling jealous and suffer from a loss of confidence as a result. Sadly it doesn’t just affect young people. Thank you for your kind words! 🙂

      1. It’s bred into us from the time we are conceived. It’s very sad. Its up to us as adult woman to change it for the young girls. We have to change ourselves first though, because they learn from our confidence and esteem. Have a beautiful day!

  2. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it doesn’t get easier as you get older. I thought that surely as I got older, the pressures to be ‘perfect’ would decrease. It doesn’t … if anything, it gets worse because aging isn’t kind.

    1. Sadly, I figure this is how it is regardless our age. In your teens, young adulthood, middle aged, and as you get older there will always be that ideal body that is ingrained in your subconscious (nor conscious) that you are pressured to aspire to. There are magazines that have 50-60 year old actresses on the front with titles like “Bikini Body at 60!” How realistic is that?? So disheartening…

      1. With many of my friends in their late 20s/early 30s who are having babies and getting back into shape, an area that crushes esteem for me now is all the “bikini body mommies” out there who push the “We have kids and look like this! What’s YOUR excuse?” Really? Thanks ladies….

  3. I agree it does not get easier as we get older. Have you seen some of the older women actresses.
    Very hard to keep up.

  4. Men don’t have the same problem, for which I am very, very thankful. It is more than “society” that creates the female image issue… it is an advertising industry and the products they push that stand to make billions by making us feel insecure about how we look that creates the problem. It is hard to make money off a person’s sense of humor or humanity. Great post Christina. –Curt

      1. Right. “Being a man” involves all sorts of expectations and stereotypes, Christina. Most of which I try to avoid. LOL And we do the same thing to boys that we do to girls. But there are cracks in the stereotypes. I watch as my son raises his children while he shares in all parenting activities. It is bound to have an impact. –Curt

  5. This. Yes. I can’t even tell you how much I identify with this. I have my own “voice” in my head that scolds me every time I eat anything that’s not a salad, and is constantly reminding me of how fat I am, and how it’s all my fault.

    1. It’s horrible isn’t it?! I kick myself over the carbs in a sandwich vs a salad. A sandwich! It’s a sad and depressing topic, but I’m happy people can relate to my writing and this subject!

  6. I no longer have self esteem issues. I’ll be 65 in a few days and don’t have to worry about impressing any one or caring about what they think. There is a positive side to getting old too- no peer pressure.

    Anyway, being called “grampa” is all the self esteem I need. Thanks visit my blog.

  7. Great post Christina. This is such a huge issue for so many women, especially in the western world. I struggle with body image until today. It’s crazy because I’m certified in fitness and nutrition, eat healthy, exercise regularly, wear a size small which is even too big sometimes, have toned muscles – and I still buy into the crap that media tries to sell as beautiful.
    I wrote a blog post some time ago inspired by the movie, “My Life in Ruins”. It deals with this topic of our perception of physical perfection and how it differs depending on the culture. If you’re interested in reading it all, you can do so here: http://stacilys.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/your-butt-is-too-small-what/
    Staci 🙂

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