This week in my women’s studies class we were supposed to bring in a picture that we think is beautiful, a picture that is “conventionally beautiful” that we do not like, and write a little blurb about our reactions to them. Unfortunately, my TA just sent out an email that says that the reactions are “academic papers” and not “personal journal entries” so I am going to have to rewrite mine. But I figured I could at least post it here so that someone could appreciate it instead of me just deleting it. It kind of just reiterates a lot of things that I’ve already said in this blog. But whatever. I’m putting these pictures as hyperlinks in case anyone would be triggered by them.
The image that I don’t like bothers me because I feel like it is trying to send the message that I should love my body like these women love theirs. But at the same time, I’m confused because their bodies perfectly fit the description of “conventional beauty.” My body doesn’t look like that. This ad leaves no room for variance among bodies. These women all look practically the same. They have the same hairstyles, the same makeup, the same body type, and all of them have relatively light skin. But not too pale, because that would be unacceptable. What if I don’t look like them? This advertisement leaves me confused. Am I still supposed to love my body? Am I only supposed to love my body if I look like them? Is the only way to show that I love my body to make it look like a Victoria’s Secret model? How can I do all this at the same time? How can I love my body the way it is and also look like these women if that isn’t my body’s natural, healthy shape. Are they telling me that if I love my body I will make it look good regardless of the consequences? Is that what it means to love your body? To decorate it, lose every excess ounce of fat, and show it off? Also, is my underwear always supposed to perfectly match? Am I supposed to walk around in my underwear with make-up on and my hair done? As if I’m going out in public without clothes on. Why should my body be used just to look good? Will people still love me even if I don’t look like a Victoria’s secret model? Do I deserve to be loved if I don’t look like a Victoria’s Secret model?
Technically contains nudity. (As a bonus for look at this picture you will get a lovely link to a fun board on pinterest because I couldn’t find the original picture)
I like the second image because I feel like it tells me that women are loveable even if they don’t fit perfectly into society’s idea of “conventional beauty.” This picture is beautiful to me, because these two people are allowing themselves to connect, form relationships, and be intimate with one another, regardless of how they look. When I look at this picture, I automatically think “oh, they love each other” rather than “oh, I should look like her. I’m not good enough. I should work harder,” like I do with the Victoria’s Secret ad. This woman embodies the “loving your body” that I want to have. She obviously cares to at least some extent about her body. She has her nails done and wears jewelry and decorates her body. But she isn’t overly concerned and focusing only on that. She allows herself to show emotion and form relationships regardless of what she looks like. She lets her hair get a little bit messed up. She lets her body fat get above 5% because maybe that isn’t her body’s idea of what is healthy, regardless of what society thinks. Whereas, I feel like the advertisement tells you that you have to be both healthy and a size 2 at the same time. It paints this picture that these women are what health looks like, and that is the only healthy option. And that just isn’t the case. Yes, some people eat healthily and exercise moderately and look like Victoria’s Secret angels. But a whole lot of other people aren’t naturally that size and I wish this advertisement would allow me to actually love my body and let it be the size it wants.
Just as another comment. I”m not saying that the VS angels are ugly. Nor am I saying that anyone that looks like them is not beautiful. I’m just saying that I would like to be told that I can love myself no matter what.