I read a post written recently by Petra Collins titled Why Instagram Censored My Body. You need to read it. Petra’s instagram account was for the crime of posting a photo of herself from the waist down in a pair of bikini bottoms. She had not had a bikini wax. There was no Borat like tactics with rogue pubic hairs escaping at alarming rates but there was a definite shadow at her bikini line. I was not offended. Hair grows naturally; it’s supposed to be there. Grown women are not supposed to have pubic areas that mimic small children. Even though I’d never have the balls to grow in my pubic hair never mind snap a photo and post it to Instagram, I respect Collins for doing so.
We live in a world where women are expected to look, act, be and do things a very specific way. The manual for how to be a woman was obviously not written by a woman. It is very meticulous in the wish list for the perfect woman. Perhaps a teen boy wrote it at the beginning of time. It’s nearly ridiculous enough that I could believe it.
We all live by these imaginary, unwritten rules, whether we intend to or want to or not. We may wish we did not or pretend that we don’t care but every single woman who has ever lived has known that these rules for how to be the perfect woman exist. We either chose to embrace it, hate it, fight it or pretend to adhere while hiding who we really are and live with the shame of not being good enough. That is where most of us live, in the shame and unhappiness of not being good enough to meet these crazy unreachable expectations. If we are beautiful enough, we don’t feel smart enough. If we are smart enough, we don’t feel attractive enough. If we are thin enough, we don’t feel interesting enough. If we are interesting enough, we don’t feel exciting enough. If we are exciting enough, we don’t feel responsible enough. We never feel completely satisfied with who we are in the world. Do men?
Too much sex; we’re sluts. No sex: we’re frigid. The assumption is that men want to date sluts but marry virgins but no one wants to date a virgin. It’s a woman’s personal choice why can’t we all just have a preference without being labeled? An average sized body is considered too fat. Fat is considered disgusting. Malnourished and eating disordered is considered beautiful, no one cares the toll it takes on that woman to get there. Small breasts are not big enough. Big is never big enough. Damn your back and the fact that you look like a cartoon character. If you work, you should be home. If you stay home, you should be barefoot and pregnant. If you don’t work, you are useless. If you don’t want kids, there is something wrong with you. If you can’t handle your kids, something is wrong with you. If you’re succeeding at your career, you must be shirking your responsibilities as a woman elsewhere; unhappy husband, neglected children or bad hair. The expectation is that the house is supposed to be clean at all times and a home cooked meal is supposed to be on the table no matter what else is going on.
You are supposed to be beautiful, thin, patient and love motherhood. You’re never supposed to rest or complain. You’re always supposed to be happy. If you have an opinion, you are overbearing. If you don’t, you’re an dumb. If you’re smart, you’ve got a good personality but no dates. If you speak up for yourself, you are bossy. If you take a stand, you are a bitch. The world is a masochistic, ironic murderer of the woman’s self. The dichotomy of who women are and who they are expected to be is enough to make the sanest of our heads spin but then if we complain, we must be bipolar, PMSing or just bitter. How sad is it that we live in a world where women commonly use fat as a protection against their sexuality or the sexual advances from others? How fucked up is it that the worst thing a woman believes she can be is ugly or unattractive in any way to men? How sad is it that we live in a world where women still confuse sex as love?
We’ve been forced to stoamch women being treated as less than for so long that we accept it as the state of affairs. The unspeakable is status quo. We have been beaten down for so long that we no longer fight. We are too weak from the fury of fighting just to be treated as equal human beings.
I’m here to tell you that you are….
More beautiful than you can see. Special in your own way. Smarter than you will ever believe. Stronger than you think. Talented in ways you never expected. Perfect just the way you are. Better than enough. You set the rules. This is your life. You deserve to be happy. Fuck other people’s expectations. The only one you answer to is yourself. Choose to be happy. Shave. Pluck and wax if you want. If you don’t, let your bush flag fly but never let someone else dictate your happiness. To truly be perfect, we need to be free to be ourselves all the time without consequence of backlash for being scrutinized for every choice we make.
What is the one thing that You love about YOU?