Ladies of the Round Table

April 20, 2008

In with the In Crowd?

Filed under: Uncategorized — metaphase @ 3:56 pm

This is Char from Metaphase. I haven’t written here yet, and if you visit my blog, you’ll see I’m not the best writer in our little group. I hope you all bear with me as I try to put my thoughts out here…

I never thought a WHOLE lot about beauty in the media until just a few years ago. I think this might be for a few reasons. I’m about to be pretty honest here, so please don’t take this the wrong way.

First, I have always been, until recently, what people would consider pretty. Not that I’m an ogre now or anything, but I mean in high school and in my twenties people would come up to me and tell me how beautiful I was. I was thin, had a nice face, and confident. I can remember I was at work (manager at GAP, I know lame, right?) and I said hi to a mom and her little girl. As they were walking away, the little girl said to her mom, “She’s so beautiful, mommy. Like a princess!”. That’s always nice to hear on a work day. So it’s funny, I hardly ever thought of how the media portrayed women or their sexuality then. Was it because I was “on the inside” so to speak? I was what the media was telling everyone they should be, no I had to need to think about it any further. Ok, so now, I’m 33, have given birth. Let’s face it, things don’t go back they way they were after a pregnancy, I’ve gained about 35lbs. since I was 25 and my “pregnancy mask” (dark spots on the face) never went away. People don’t look at me and tell me I look like a princess. I don’t have time (and money) to spend on myself. I used to be able to go to the gym 5 times a week. I don’t know the last time my be-hind was in the gym, but from the looks of it, it’s been a while!

Now, I think about how the media tells us we should trounce around in a size 2 and have boobs the size of watermelons hanging out. Is it because I no longer am one of those people? (I never had the watermelons, BTW!) Am I more sensitive because I am so far from what everyone thinks women should be? Or is it that I now have an education, a family, and a better perspective on what is really important?

I also think in the last few years, things have gotten more out of control in the media. Photos of celebs and videos can be downloaded any time, no one is ever able to fly under the radar. I taught science at a middle school here in the Boston area. The school is in the wealthiest town in Mass. Most of these kids will go to Harvard, MIT or some Ivy League school, just like their parents did. I think about this one girl who was so full of personality and really smart, except she didn’t want her friends to know about the smart part. She could command a room with her presence, and yet she wanted to be the “dumb girl”, like Paris Hilton. This broke my heart. Her work reflected a totally different person than the way she acted in class. I wanted to shake her and tell her she had been given a gift- brain and charisma- now use them both and become a diplomat, the president, or a Nobel Peace Prize winner-not Paris Hilton!

So I don’t know if my growing up changed my perspective or my growing out made me think about how much more our girls could be and how women are objectified in the media now more than ever it seems. I hope it’s me growing up, and I hope I can teach my daughter not to be a “stupid girl”, in the words of Pink.

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