25 March 2007

So What!


I have felt a fair share of legitimate guilt in my life. I've made some bad choices, even hurt a few people. That has all been resolved and is in the past. I've learned from it and become better for it.

There is also the kind of guilt that I am conditioned to feel (as a woman), by societal pressures, including but not limited to maintaining a more spotless home, eating better, volunteering more. I fall short on many counts, according to these ideals.

The pressure to meet these expectations plagues so many of us. And nothing is sacred - you can't even get through pregnancy, one of the greatest sacrifices a woman can make - without "rules".

There are women who consequently become obsessed with perfection, altering their features, starving their bodies, losing themselves in their careers, forgetting themselves in motherhood, beating themselves up over things they cannot help - like wayward children, infertility, depression.

When are we going to live in a world where we are welcome to be who we are? Healthy but not waif-like, competent but not obsessed, unique but not conceited, flawed but exquisite, tried but true.

There is currently a "So What" campaign inspired by Tyra Banks' response to the media calling her fat. I do not watch her show, but I am inspired by the responses I have read to this campaign here and here.

May we all have the strength to stand up and say "so what" to the unrealistic expectation that we "be" or "look" a certain way. Each of us is rare and wondrous!

16 comments:

An Ordinary Mom said...

Amen! Thank you for putting into words the type of life we need to live. We are all unique and wonderful and we need to celebrate, not bury, who we are as an individual.

kfk said...

Go Tyra!!!! Go Lei!!

I don't watch her show, but what a great wave to ride on.

Barb said...

Here, here, Lei! I absolutely agree with you. And good for Tyra. It's nice to see one person who travels in that unreal world come right out and say, So what! I think she looks better than ever.

Florinn said...

How is it really helping women that Tyra is taking action via the misogynistic mediums of SI Swuimsuit and daytime talk? It's still looking to somebody else for approval, instead of to the ones who really need to approve of us: God and ourselves.

Tyra has bought into the media industry for years, and they pay her paycheck. She's only going to step so far out of line, but not far enough to lose her job. It's pretty blatant Social Prostitution.

Morning Glory said...

Amen from me, too! Back in my early thirties my friends were deep into all the self-help books. One friend in particular spent so much time trying to measure up to each author, and she just seemed so unsatisfied. I decided then and there that the self-help books were NOT for me. I have since forged my own way, with the help of God, and not listened to what others place in front of me as expectations. That did not give me license to avoid responsibility and soul-searching, but it did give a measure of freedom. Most of the time it works. I can't say it's a perfect solution, but it has helped tremendously in avoiding the unnecessary guilt that can so ealy find us.

Lei said...

Florinn - I still give her props for speaking out. EVen if it is a small risk she's taking, it's noteworthy. Like it or not, she is a public figure and an influence on lots of women... who knows, some of them may turn to more meaningful sources later because of that encouragement now.

Lei said...

Thanks for weighing in, though. :)

txmommy said...

yep, I agree too. I think the model of perfection is a sneaky trap of the adversary. He wants us to be discontented, discourgaged and to feel like we can't measure up. He doesn't want us to believe the Savior's promise that we can make it, and He can make up for our short comings and help us carry our load.
We need to try our best, and know that is good enough. Our actaul best however.

Florinn said...

Lei, I hope I didn't come across wrong with my earlier post, I don't fault Tyra personally or anyone who is motivated by her. I do think she's doing the best she can with what she has and what she wants to keep.

However, I don't see Tyra as taking a risk, I see her as taking a step to improve her ratings & marketability based on what is popular with women now. (Face it, we do want to believe that when we weigh 160 lbs, we are still as attractive to men as a SI swimsuit model. That is a problem with us that we need to change with ourselves, rather than changing all the models to be fatter, we need to stop comparing ourselves to SI models.) Is there a problem with unrealistic expectations for women in our society? YES. Is Tyra directly combatting it? No. Its sort of like the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty. As my friend says, on the one hand it sounds great, but on the other, they still want you to buy all their anti-aging products. Rather than hoping the modeling industry (etc) will change their ways so we have more realistic role models and no longer feel pressure to be anorexic, we need to change our role models and teach our daughters to do the same. That is when we are being volitive and strong, instead of jumping on the bandwagon of pop counter culture, or expecting counter culture to value what we do.

I absolutely agree we need to say "so what" to societal standards of beauty and value. If we stop buying the stupid magazines and watching the inane talk shows, maybe the media will realize we really aren't interested, regardless of who lost or gained 20 lbs.

Lei said...

Well, I certainly welcome your point of view, and I see where you are coming from. I appreciate you making mes top and think about my stance on this!

To me, it's the message that is important, not the messenger. I cannot say with certainty that Tyra does not really believe what she is saying; that she's just a money seeking marketing scoundrel. I do not know her. I do know that if I were her, I'd have been hurt by the comments being made in the media.

And I mentioned Dove's campaign in a post last year. Lol!

Lei said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
scribbit said...

Yup yup. Amen. Exactly--comparing ourselves to others is never healthy.

amerimeximadre said...

hopefully Tyra is using her fame and media abilities to get the message across rather than chosing a topic she thinks will spark converstation to boost her ratings. Probably a little of both.

Either way, unfortunately what the media tells us is "fashionable" or beautiful tends to skew or preferences. I admit that I look through the fashion magazines to find out what the latest styles are, but at the same time I try to be realistic about it.

When my grandpa passed away we went through his belongings and found some of my grandma's magazines from the 30's. There were ads for weightgainers for women. It said "are you sick of being called skinny? Now you can add curves...." what a long way we have come. The media does affect our perception of beauty!(sad but true)

We all tend to compare our worst with everyone else's best. I think Tyra is trying to help combat that by saying its OK to have curves and look healthy. (sheesh this is getting long!)

Carrie ~ ckbraveheart said...

We all want to better ourselves, and yet we don't want to buy into what others view as "perfect." So how do we strike a balance?

Even if Tyra's idea helps ONE woman come to terms with her own view of herself and say "So What" to all the noise out there... I think that's accomplishing something truly great.

Lee said...

Lei, thanks for joining in on this! I agree with you. And to Florinn, I watch her show, TiVo it daily. And I totally love what she said. It made me feel 10X's better about me. I think that the media has went to an extreme. I am finally feeling okay with me. It has been a long battle.
Lei I so agree with you! Thank you.

Montserrat said...

I have six daughters and it is important to me that they not only feel good about who they are, but that they know whose they are.

When my 2nd daughter, Marie, was only four she was trying to make something (I can't remember what)and I kept telling her to do it like her older sister, Eve. Marie promptly put her hands on her hips and scolded me saying, "Mom, I am not Eve! I'm Marie and I have different talents and abilities than she does." She taught me an important lesson about not comparing yourself to others. Since then we've tried to help them all realize their own great worth.