How aptly visualized by Dove. We women are so harsh on ourselves and our bodies while others see us as we truly are - beautiful. Thanks to a 'size zero' society and the unrealistic expectations on the runway, we will never feel good enough or truly comfortable in our own bodies.
Which brings me to a question that was asked to me earlier this year: was I watching the Miss America Pageant as the contestant for NJ is a local woman whom I attended high school with? My answer was no as I don't agree with beauty patents for one reason... what is the point of the swimsuit competition other then to objectify the bodies women competing? What purpose does judging contestants on their body serve in enhancing the competition?
Now, before you get all indignant and like 'oh you're just some overweight couch potato who's jealous of them', no. This is just my own personal opinion. This is not a plight against the contestants
First things first, I congratulate all those who got on stage and competed. Especially Miss New Jersey. I've had the pleasure of knowing not only this year's contestant but a few others in the past, and you're all incredible women. They have such beneficial platforms and work towards shedding light on causes greater then themselves. I support them for their goals and their dreams and what they set out to change. They all amaze me and do more then I could ever hope to accomplish in this short life. I can't imagine the pressure of getting onstage in front of thousands of people AND a television audience and competing against all those other intelligent and talented women. Honestly, I'm in awe of all of you.
So where did this lengthy post come from? I grew up with the Miss America Pageants. Atlantic City is 30 minutes from my house. I think it's a tremendous scholarship opportunity and was happy to hear it is coming back to it's founding home for this year's competition. But in all honesty, we women are constantly bombarded about how we don't have the 'right' look or body type. Let me have this ruminate in your brain for a minute...in the competition, women's bodies are being judged.
Let me say that again in case you missed it...their BODIES ARE BEING JUDGED in a swim suit and assigned a point system.
A few things got me to this state of mind of not wanting to watch the pageant. I did a local competition, the Junior Miss Pageant, my senior year of high school. It was the first, last, and only 'pageant' type event I've ever done. To compete we had an opening number in business attire, gym routine that we all did in matching t-shirts and shorts, talent portion, 'evening' gown, question portion, and then we were judged and winner awarded. I got runner up and was thrilled with my placement.
My problem is why we are making these smart, talented women have to get in a bathing suit and strut across a stage to be given a certain amount of points. They should, in my opinion, be judged on their talent, how they answer the questions posed, and their involvement just like I was in high school. I mean honestly, how is looking good in a bathing suit enhancing your platform? I just feel like we're continuing to make it OKAY to objectify women and I can't stand it. And guess what, the girl who won the Junior Miss Pageant wasn't a twig. She wasn't super athletic with a tiny waist and toned body. She was a normal, average, beautiful girl who was above average with her involvement and achievements.
I can personally speak to the body image problem. At 17, I was 5'10" and 135 lbs. To give you a hint, the 'normal' weight for a 5'10" female is between 150-163 lbs. I was a dancer, field hockey player, and model. And I thought I was fat. How fucked up is that? I was 15 pounds under the average weight for a female my size and I felt overweight. I'd kill to have a body that's even close to that again but it's so unrealistic (and truly, real men like curves. Christina Hendricks anyone?)
I was going to school and by default working out for 3-4 hours after that between field hockey and dance practices EACH NIGHT. Now there are girls literally starving themselves to look like what they see on stage and in the magazines and that isn't right. I mean just this week there was a story of Swedish Modeling scouts trying to recruit girls from AN EATING DISORDER CLINIC. I swear I feel like I'm taking crazy pills sometimes when I hear these things.
I guess I'm just worried for my future children, if they happen to be girls. I want better for us women. We need to feel good about who we are and be comfortable with ourselves. If I have daughters, I need to talk positively about myself and let her know that it's okay to love your body and self no matter what shape or size it is, just like my mother did for me.
That's why I love Dove's Campaign for Beauty using women of all shapes and sizes in their commercials and print ads. I love Dove for pointing out in that video above how harshly we as women are on ourselves, because once again we're not living up to the impossible ideal that has been 'set' for us. I'm all about being fit and healthy, but you don't need to look like a pageant queen to feel good about yourself.
Stand up ladies, we are all beautiful and come in all types of shapes and sizes.