Redefining Women's Self Worth
- by Cristina R Feminism has been a trendy topic lately. Suddenly there are blogs, organizations, writers and women that are calling themselves feminists. Despite this spike in popularity, sometimes I believe that this word still holds an outdated stigma, one that paints feminists as man hating and angry, posing themselves as victims fighting for equality and respect. The truth is, we live in a world much more equal and open-minded than our feminist grandmothers. However, there is something that I grew up with that has reversed as the years have gone by: the need for women to over sexualize themselves for others approval and self worth.
Influence from the media and my peers persuaded me at an early age me that who I was when I woke up in the morning just wasn't good enough. I needed to put on a brand-name pair of jeans, a tight fitting shirt, and a face full of makeup. Approval from others didn't depend on my interests or personality, but who my friends were, what brands I wore, and my level of attractiveness. In my youth, guys dated girls because they were outgoing, pretty, and flirty. Was she a great painter? The smartest girl in her Biology class? The star of the soccer team? Nobody seemed to care. Things like that were merely a novelty, a bonus.
To me, this is a problem because this level of thinking is completely unsustainable. What happens when a girl becomes a woman? What happens when it's time for her to focus on her career, get herself out of a bad relationship or achieve a lifetime goal? Will her confidence wane and dwindle because she can no longer fit into her skinny jeans? Will she be unable to focus and succeed in school or at work because she keeps on having bad hair days? Will she seek out a new boyfriend to make it better, or rediscover her confidence and self-worth from her own inner strength and talents? What's the priority here?
Decades ago women's primary role was to be the care-givers. Most women did not work and they were financially supported by men. While I believe in a woman’s ability to be so much more (if she desires to be), I can understand how the gender roles of old have implanted the idea in women’s heads that in order to take care of ourselves we needed to position ourselves in a certain way that is flattering to a male audience.
But a lot has changed since the days when women’s voices were silenced and confined to the household! We've come a long way. Today women have the opportunity to vote, have fruitful careers, and be financially independent. So why is it that a woman is still faced with the pressure to put herself out there in desperately sexual way?
This is why I find the new wave of feminism extremely liberating. It's finally breaking a mold that has existed (particularly for me) for way too long. To me, feminism IS being happy with who you are when you first wake up, before you do your hair, and despite the circumstances that life has given you. It's about not trying to change yourself to fit into the mold of society but celebrating your quirks. It’s about discovering a sense of confidence that you can do whatever you put your mind to, and THAT is what you should be credited for. Now I'm not saying you shouldn't work what ya' got. But let's start treating our sexuality as the novelty and who we are as the main course.
To view more of Cristina's art follow her on instagram @ crisrose85