As a women I have often had conversations with a friends and the topic of self-image comes up numerous times. We all know society is fiercely superficial displaying images of only the most beautiful women with amazing bodies. We try to raise our daughters to focus on their inner beauty and to not worry about what other people think or say, but somewhere along the line they will have a change in how they view themselves. I personally think a fraction of women are truly confident and happy with their looks, with most of us trying to at least just be content.
I have had this discussion with men also, and not to generalize, but most men will confidently tell us that “men are visual” and that’s why they look and that’s why they desire. I wonder sometimes if men think that women have absolutely no visual cortex. It’s almost a given that men can “let go” of themselves and get grossly fat and unattractive to their partners, but heaven forbid if you are a women and do the same. Yes, of course you love your partner no matter their looks, but do you then still desire that person? Men can try and convince you they love you no matter how you look, but will then constantly look elsewhere. When you lose all confidence in your ability to be attractive to your partner, then they can’t understand why you feel this way.
How many times do we as women look at ourselves and start the familiar internal conversation…trying to convince yourself that you’ve lost your shape to give birth to your beautiful children, or because you are in some or other hormonal phase in your life… trying to convince yourself it makes you unique. Then slowly feeling your throat constricting and the disgust building up inside you. Knowing you are only as satisfying visually until the next best thing comes around.
Body image is the mental representation of what we think we look like. It is influenced by so many factors and it strongly influences our behavior. I feel so saddened that my girls have to grow up in a world where society will at some point influence how they feel about themselves and most men will make them feel inadequate. It also makes me so cross to think that men can ride the excuse of “we are visual” and us as women must just take it!! We as women are also visual, we also enjoy beautiful looking people, we just don’t have the luxury to sit back and get fat and judge.
Sigh, so as I’m sitting eating a cooking and absolutely hating myself for it, I resent society and men for being so unfair. Please don’t bombard me with hateful comments, just let me vent…tomorrow I might feel different…doubt it…but maybe