On body image, beauty and bullshit

I’ve been prepping for our monthly feminist coven, I mean dinner party, and I’ve been thinking and reading a lot about body image. Mostly I’ve been thinking about what it means to be ok with your body, or to have a non-adversarial relationship with it.
We already know all there is to know about how screwed up the images we see in the media are and how they make us feel about ourselves. We all know that the whole point of making us feel bad is so that we’ll buy the products, clothes, cars or food that they say will make us feel better.

I’m also willing to bet that most of us know that most of the time they don’t make us feel any better at all. We are our own harshest critics.
We feel strangely resentful of women who ‘claim’ to be happy with their bodies. We disbelieve them, brand them vain, or don’t take them seriously. We scrutinise other women around us, putting them into categories of better or worse looking than ourselves. We spend a lot of time thinking about how we appear to others.
I worry when I sit in a group of intelligent women and they spend so much time chastising their bodies, imagining that somehow they are flawed. It really worries me how much time and money women spend on their appearances - on buying things that will supposedly improve their appearances.

It is still strange to me that there is a perception that being beautiful means x, y, or z when none of us look the same.
Whilst I fully recognise that pressures exist for men to look good, I don’t think that there is the same allocation of value to men based on their looks. Maybe that’s still in the pipeline, but for now, men are still on top. They are the bank that trades in the currency of women’s beauty, and we are all the worse for it.

As Caitlin Moran said “You can tell whether some misogynistic societal pressure is being exerted on women by calmly enquiring ‘And are men doing this too?’ If they aren’t, chances are you’re dealing with what we strident feminists refer to as ‘some total fucking bullshit.’
If this is our reality, if we allow this to remain our reality, we can spend all the time we want trying to change the world to be better for women but if we don’t start feeling better about ourselves, it won’t be enough that the world is more equal - we will hold ourselves back.

We need to stop thinking about our bodies as instruments and start thinking of them as our homes. We need to start a revolution by loving our bodies, by being ok with that, and by concentrating less on looking good, and more on being good.

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