Girl Talk

Dear Women. With Love, The Media

Dear Women,

Short hair is in this season. Cut your hair. No, wait – Kylie Jenner is rocking that 20-inch weave. Better grow it out again. Are you bikini-body ready? Do you own a bikini and a body? Great, but first scrutinize these images of celebrities wearing bikinis, flaunting embarrassing things like fat rolls and cellulite, so that you too can feel inadequate when it’s your turn (because we will notice). Have you had a baby recently? Yes? So you’ve since completed a juice cleanse, joined a yoga class and turned vegan, right? No? Why not? Look at this actress showing off her washboard abs at the beach, doesn’t she look fabulous? Strong is the new skinny, get in that gym and lift some weights girl. Hang on, not too many though. Curves are in. Men like something to hold onto – Our survey says so. You do want to look good for your man, don’t you? While we’re on the subject, take a look at this list of tips to keep him from cheating on you…

With Love, The Media x

 

Dear anybody reading,

As a woman, I don’t think I’m alone in saying that I have a love/hate relationship with the media. I am a sucker for pretty products presented in creative ways – Show me a luxurious face cream being lovingly concocted in the heavens using the blood of angels and I’ll be slathering said cream on my face within the week. I love the slogans, the taglines, the sexy background music on perfume adverts. I’ve been raised on it, like the majority of my generation. I read and listen and watch and, amongst all these messages of beauty and perfection and female fantasy, feel ugly beyond repair. Because the media works. It really, really works.

I really sympathise with teenage girls growing up within a media culture which could make a grown woman cry (and by cry I mean feel pressured to lose 10 pounds by surviving on cucumber juice for a week.) I personally grew up at quite a slow pace, however I do remember a stretch of obsessive calorie counting stemming from the slender bodies in magazines that looked nothing like my own. I also remember sobbing in my mums’ arms before a school trip to Italy because I was 15 and still had no tits to talk of, and I’d seen enough voluptuous bikini pictures to know that’s exactly how I needed to look.  I look around now and see 14 year olds perfectly contoured like something out of a YouTube makeup tutorial and posting Instagram pictures of their Victoria’s Secret corsets and sigh a little inside, knowing exactly why and how they blossomed into modern women years before their bodies even registered it was due.

The pressures of the media seem to have increased tenfold since I was young. Perhaps it’s always been there just as strongly and in my adolescence I had a slight lack of awareness, or perhaps we as consumers are just feeding the monster more than ever due to our consumerism, overall insecurity as a species and ongoing search for perfection. Despite the nagging voice in my head telling me not to be involved in all this, I know I’m guilty.

My hope for any teenage girl growing up right now and reading this is that you always, at all times, keeps just a little bit of doubt in mind. Not about yourself – You should have no doubts there – But about every single message around you telling you that you aren’t good enough, that you should look a certain way, that women are defined by these perfectly formed moulds they try to shove us into. You shouldn’t listen to anybody telling you that, as a woman, you can either be smart or beautiful – You can be both, and be both brilliantly, no matter what your own personal definitions of those words are. Question everything. What do you honestly find attractive in a person? What do you really want others to think of you, to judge you on? Do you even really care? (If no, good on you, you’ve half won the battle already.)  Let your thoughts and desires for your life be your own, those wonderful, uninhibited, primitive thoughts that you sometimes feel stirring before an ideology tells you to get a bit more basic, a bit easier to shape, a bit more consumer-minded.

There’s one thing I wish I had been reminded of daily throughout my teenage years, right through into my 20’s. It’s a reminder I even need to hear sometimes now. It’s something which goes against most of the imagery and information presented to us in the form of body shaming and product promotion, a complete contradiction of the message ingrained in us from the second we identify as female. So I’ll tell it to you now – You are enough. You are enough, and so much more.
With Love, Chloe x

 

 

 

 

 

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