beauty standards as control

A culture fixated on female thinness is not an obsession about female beauty, but an obsession about female obedience. Dieting is the most potent political sedative in women’s history; a quietly mad population is a tractable one.
—  Naomi Wolf, The Beauty Myth
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Sisters, don’t be afraid to DEFY GRAVITY.

GO FOR IT!

My male colleague was criticising this woman on tv for being too scrawny.

Another woman he called fat. Another lady was “flat-chested”. Another had “saggy tits”.

I asked him whether he thought he was being misogynistic. There were men of all shapes and sizes on tv, but he was focused on the women. Did he think he was being too critical of the women’s bodies? His reply was “well, there’s a nice in-between”…

Women have to conform, starve themselves, work out relentlessly, feel like they need cosmetic surgery, constantly paint their faces, shave their bodies, color their hair, paint their nails etc, just to fit the male-sculpted mould of somewhat acceptable. But you know what? We never will be, because there’s nothing in it for men if women are happy with ourselves. As long as we’re insecure, spending our money on ways to make us “prettier”, we’re not in control.

Fat acceptance is one of the dumbest and unhealthiest things I’ve ever seen

The world’s obesity rates are already disgustingly high, why would you try to promote that bullshit?
Being fat doesn’t make you beautiful!
You’re a walking, talking heart disease.
You’re the next diabetes type 2 case
You’re the heart attack at 35.
You are the person who wheezes from walking ten feet.
You’re the person with clogged arteries.
You’re the person that will cost your country thousands of dollars in medical treatments you could have prevented by not stuffing yourself like some Christmas Turkey. Thousands of dollars someone else, someone more worthy, could have needed. Like someone with an illness they didn’t cause themselves

Stop trying to change societies beauty and health standards because you lack self-control and discipline!

Hair removal, at its core, is a form of gendered social control. It’s not a coincidence that the pressure for women to modify their body hair has risen in tandem with their liberties, Herzig argues. She writes that the effect of this hairlessness norm is to “produce feelings of inadequacy and vulnerability, the sense that women’s bodies are problematic the way they naturally are.”
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Just cause my hair ain’t fallin’ down my shoulders, doesn’t mean my hair isn’t long

Black Women have awesome hair and its texture is phenomenal.  It can be pressed, puffed, poofed, curled, twisted, braided, cornrowed, adorned with beads/shells/ribbons/flowers/combs and more!

LOVE, PEACE & AFRO GREASE

Women of African descent have wrapped their heads for centuries, and for a myriad of reasons. It is a cultural practice that endured the Transatlantic slave trade, where it was transformed from an act of adornment into one of protection. Headwraps protected the crowns of African slaves who toiled under the hot sun and whose unsanitary and inhumane living conditions fostered lice outbreaks. They protect Black women’s hair as we cook and clean and sleep and lounge, they preserve our hairstyles and protect our dignity when we prefer not to expose our most vulnerable selves to the world. They protect our heritage and our culture. 

When I was in middle and high school, I regularly covered my head. The cotton bandanas I wore to class were different in style and size from the silk and satin scarves I donned at home, but I recognized the extension of my culture in my impulse to wear them. I also saw it in several other Black girls who came to class in varying styles of wraps and turbans. There being no religious reason for our practice, however, we were regularly informed that the district’s colorblind dress code had determined that our culture was gang paraphernalia, and made to remove our scarves.

The subordinate status of Blackness is one that was imposed upon us, and our Rules of Engagement with white society dictate that we take it on the chin. Black culture is a luxury, one to be indulged in certain spaces. And so, wrapping our hair is appropriate in our personal time: at home, while shopping, at church, while attending celebrations for MLK Day, Black History Month, and Juneteenth, or at a summer music festival. It is not appropriate in a corporate setting, on a job interview, or in any professional space in which we do not comprise the majority.

Several weeks ago, I participated in World Hijab Day. After a short series of exchanges with a white woman online who seemed to suggest that the scarf itself was inherently oppressive, I had a revelation. Initially, my indignation was steeped in her inability to see that forcing her worldview on other women was just as oppressive as the rigid dress codes imposed by many patriarchal societies, but as the day went on, I saw that my anger was personal.

My people are so oppressed that I did not believe it was “proper” to wear a headwrap to work in the usual course of business, though I have longed to for some time. I needed a reason, to be advocating for the rights of someone else, before I even dared. The Rules of Engagement dictate that my survival as a Black woman in a white workplace is reliant upon some degree of assimilation. Headwrapping is just too Black an act.

Black History Month is gone, and with it the excuse of “this is the time to celebrate my culture.” There is no right or wrong time to practice our traditions, and there is no right or wrong place to be Black. There is no such thing as “too Black,” and I cannot stress this point enough. “African” is not an insult, nor is the figurative proximity to Africa through sartorial choices. Or the temporal proximity to chattel slavery through ancestry. There is no shame in having descended from a people who were at one point forced to cover their heads as an act of submission—only pride in their unbreakable spirit. My great grandmother spent much of her life with her hair wrapped under a scarf.  She was born decades after slavery, and we don’t know why she did it, but she was defiant in her habit.

In my yearly observance of Lent, I typically give up a vice. Coffee, beef, sweets: I drop one bad habit for 40 days to help me reflect on Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. The religious introspection is limited, however, to the minor inconvenience of missing out on an indulgence. This year will be different. I am setting out to mentally, physically, and spiritually better myself by (1) restoring the healthy eating habits that always seem to derail around the holidays; (2) resuming  my daily workout and yoga routine; (3) engaging in meditation and scripture reading each day; and (4) for the 40 days of Lent, I will cover my head while out in public.

There is some overlap in headwrapping as done by Muslim women and women of African descent.  First, many Muslim women are Black, and many of those same women wrap their hair in styles commonly found across the African Diaspora, regardless of religion. Second, Black and Muslim women have a complicated history with covering their hair, as scarves have been used as tools of oppression for members of both groups. In parts of the Antebellum South, Black women—freed and slave alike—were required by law to cover their hair while in the presence of white folk. There are regions of the world where veiling is not a choice for Muslim women, but a mandate.

However, the supposition that this holds true for all Muslim women is as faulty as the assumption that all Muslim women wear hijab. Some are completely against it, others simply choose not to veil, and there are many who view wearing the hijab as not only an act of faith, but one of feminism.  Similarly, while most Black women will wrap their hair in the privacy of their own homes, there are many who view wearing a headscarf outside of the house as an unwelcome remnant of slavery and a reminder of a time when we had no agency over our grooming habits, or ability to properly care for our hair. Others wrap their hair as an act of defiance—combating conventional norms of Eurocentric beauty as a means of centering our own standards. These differing viewpoints are all valid, as they belong to the affected groups. 

Our intersecting practices influenced my decision to veil my hair during Lent. Muslim women who wear hijab are often believed to be oppressed, submissive, and lacking agency over their bodies, a notion that carries with it the curious suggestion that a woman would simply never *choose* to cover herself.  Black women’s appearance, particularly our hair, is inherently political as well. We were taught by society to be ashamed of our naturally coiled texture, so the decision to straighten our hair or not, braid our hair or not, loc our hair or not, or wrap our hair (or not), is not made in a vacuum. Our reasons for choosing certain styles and avoiding others are largely shaped by the Rules of Engagement, so covering our heads carries with it certain assumptions.  One might be perceived as Afrocentric for doing so, or, depending on the style, she could be thought to bear too close a resemblance to the Mammy archetype. Or, she might simply be “too Black,” having missed that sweet spot of acceptable Blackness and come out on the other side a belligerent Negro. 

I wrapped my hair for a few weeks in law school. Tired of reaching for a beauty standard I was never intended to attain, I desperately wanted total control over how I presented myself. Covering and uncovering at will gave me the full spectrum, and for the first time, the words “my body my choice” bore some relevance to me. For those three weeks or so, I finally had full autonomy over my body.

This is a spiritual exercise and a feminist statement, but it is also part of a never-ending performance—the inescapable spectacle of Blackness. Each day, I will document my headwraps, along with my scripture readings, workouts, and meal plans, and any reflections I might have. My headwrapping styles will come from traditions found in the African Diaspora, as well as the scarves worn by Muslim women. This inclusion is meant as a show of solidarity, as well as an affirmation that I am doing this as an act of devotion, to become closer to God as I find myself. 

10 things every young Christian female needs to be reminded of every day:
  1. Your “purity” or lack thereof does not define your value. The fact that you may have had sex before you were ready does not make you “dirty”. You have not lost a piece of your soul.
  2. Don’t let anyone tell you that your ultimate fulfillment will come from getting married and having children. Getting married will not solve your problems, and having children will not make you a “better” Christian.
  3. Just because you’re a woman doesn’t make you automatically a “nurturer” or “more emotional.” If you’re not wired that way, don’t fool yourself into thinking you can fake it. There’s nothing wrong with you. God created you the way you are for a purpose.
  4. Steer clear of anyone who believes all women are generally wired the same, and were created by God solely to complement men (who are much more diverse and gifted) and be their “helpmeets.” That person does not live in reality.
  5. Let Christ be your obsession. Most men are a waste of time. And if one comes along that seems decent, don’t bother unless Christ keeps steering you towards him. If he says that girls who don’t shave are of the devil, but then reassures you he’s joking, run far away. (This literally happened to me.)
  6. To be single is to have freedom. You don’t have to answer to anyone except Christ.
  7. If you do get married one day, don’t fall for the harmful idea that your marriage is to mirror Christ’s relationship with the church. Your husband is not your god. You don’t have to sacrifice your dreams and goals for his. You are in a partnership together, serving God. Don’t let your marriage replace your faith.
  8. Your body is a temple for the Holy Spirit, created to be unique in so many ways. It is not a sex object to be ashamed of. Your body is not up for critique by ANYONE. And if a man can’t keep his eyes off your chest, he’s the one with the problem. Not you and your not-as-small-as-is-apparently-acceptable-for-a-Christian-girl’s chest. Your worth is not defined by someone else’s standards of beauty. More than likely those standards stem from a patriarchal desire to control you by feeding your insecurities and a false belief that women only dress for men’s attention, good or bad.
  9. Sex is wonderful and a gift from God. Learn about it.
  10. God created you with talents and gifts that He wants you to use to the fullest. If that means being a church leader, don’t let a bunch of old men and patriarchal church doctrine stop you. God is bigger than all of them.
Representation of Women in Video Games. The Cause?

So.  I said I’d do this and here it is.  I have a theory and I wanted to share it. Seemed topical given the online battle going on over video games.

What is up with female representation in video games?  Is it sexism?  Misogyny?  Ignorant?  Well, I have an idea and let me share it with you.  As usual, please, indulge me and read to the end.  It is along read so I hope you all are buckled in.

What is my theory?  That the problems with representation isn’t to do with the negative outlook on women from society.  It comes from the inherent positive view of women society has.  That is to say, the view that women are inherently nice and pure, that we shield women from harm, that society cares much more about the plight of women than it does men.

I’m sure I’ve already lost a lot of you.  But please, read beyond the break.  Give me a fair shake.  I’m a woman and I’ve been a gamer for a long time, probably close to a decade and a half.  I’ve seen these issues evolve and I’ve experienced a lot of this behavior in real life.  So, I’ll say again.

Give me a fair shake.

Keep reading

I am not a porcelain doll.

I am not a thing to dress up to your twisted standard of beauty.
I am not some prop for you to control.
I am not some trinket to display.
I am not some object to be seen and not heard.

I am not a porcelain doll.

I am not commodity for you to decide my worth.
I will not let you change me.

And I certainly will not break if you strike out at me.

I am not a porcelain doll.

I am like a diamond.
My flaws make me even better.
Nothing can make me look bad.
You can not harm me.
I am unbreakable.

But I am not a diamond.

I am like a pearl.
I am constantly growing.
The knowledge I learn shapes me.
I come in all different colors, all valuable and perfect.

But I am not a pearl.

I am like a war machine.
I fight for justice.
I will destroy those who try to evade me, try to control me.

But I am not a war machine.

I am a person.
A human being.
I give birth to nations.

I am woman.
And I will be treated as such.

—  Evelyn Lewis (smurflewis)
can u believe it?

lena dunham apologized. 

oh, but not really. she said the word ‘apology’ and then made up some excuse about her childish, shitty behavior because she doesn’t meet a standard of beauty and apparently that’s why she can’t control her fuckin self? it’s honestly all those pretty lady’s faults. like it’s ok that she accused someone of misogyny and called them out on social media, because she’s insecure n shit, not because she’s a genuinely awful, selfish person. right? right. 

u keep dodging that criticism, girl. 

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I once had a guy tell me not to get fat, because if I got fat he’d have to dump me. Even though most of his girlfriends were heavier than me. I then proceeded to break up with him, and went back to my previous boyfriend who loves me for me. To the guy that called me fat I will forever be remembered as the bitch who broke his heart for no reason. To me he’ll always be the weird awkward guy that smelled gross and told me not to get fat.

(submitted by autieloves)

  • me: boy i sure do wish i had clear skin what can i do to change this!!!!
  • dermatologists: having a healthy diet and exercising often are key factors
  • me: Perfect skin is an unrealistic, oppressive beauty standard used to control women and I will Not conform to it as a means of rebellion

Why Selfies Sometimes Look Weird to Their Subjects

Welcome to the department of discarded selfies, a dark place deep inside my phone where dimly lit close-up shots of my face are left to fade away into the cloud. I’ve thought about sending these photos to friends many times—that’s why I took them, after all—but each time my finger lingers over the share button, a few questions stop me: Why does my face look so weird? Are my eyelids that droopy? Is my chin that lop-sided? And how come nobody warned me?

Taking purposefully ugly selfies encourages photographers to seize control of their self-image by rejecting beauty standards and embracing the imperfect humanity of our faces. But what about earnest selfies that are just accidentally ugly?

Don’t blame your face. Blame your brain instead. Selfies sometimes look strange to their subjects because of how we see ourselves in the mirror, how we perceive our own attractiveness, and the technical details of how we take them on camera phones.

Read more.