Sunday, March 8, 2009

I've picked myself up, dusted off, and am returning to the land of MOVING FORWARD

Today was International Women's Day. IWD is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. In some countries like China, Russia, Vietnam and Bulgaria, IWD is a national holiday. A national holiday! Did you HEAR THAT America? Come on now. Let's get with IT!

At lunchtime I attended a lecture organized by the Women's Council at my church. The Guest Speaker was Dr. Caroline Heldman from Occidental College. The topic: The Beast of Beauty Culture: Political Effects of Sexism in Media. It was a fascinating lecture and a topic that I am passionate about - the sexualizing of young girls in the media, and in our culture, and how we have moved on from "just" objectifying women to having young women self-objectify themselves.

Last October, she wrote an article on this topic.

"...This seismic shift in the terrain in the battle for sex equality has come with little fanfare, but a massive price tag in the form of self-objectification.

Self-objectification is the phenomenon of girls and women viewing themselves from an external vantage point, constantly monitoring their behaviors and bodies to maximize their appeal. This orientation harkens back to the Victorian Age, with girls raised to regard their bodies as projects to be improved and boys viewing their bodies as tools to master their environment. Rates of self-objectification have skyrocketed in the past decade, and young women are feeling the pressure to embrace and perform their own objectification with little critical analysis."

For her full article in The Huffington Post look here.

I returned home both subdued by the statistics Dr. Heldman rattled off, and fired up about how this affects me personally on so many levels. There will be more on that later! For now, I need to steep myself in all that is whirling around my brain at present. I WILL say this. It is time to finally dust off that intention. You know the one. Written back in ....December? The intention to interview my readers on feminism and the female state of being in its many forms. For those of you who were interested in being interviewed, please look for an email coming to an inbox near you...

I've picked myself up, dusted off, and am returning to the land of MOVING FORWARD.

International Women's Day takes on a deeper meaning for me today. I have been touched and moved by the comments and emails that have been sent to me over the last few days by so many women. Your support and encouragement of me as a woman, friend, and writer has been truly felt, and I thank you. To those of you who had never commented and felt moved to do so, I thank you especially. You touched my heart. Thanks also to Jason, from The Jason Show. If you haven't read his personal story on his blog, you've missed something. It is inspiring to all who wish to live authentically.

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  1. I see this first hand as the mother of teenagers. My thirteen year old girl thinks she's fat, and there is nothing I can say to convince her otherwise. It makes me very sad.

  2. It is an important topic--and it is so pervasive. One thing I have always been proud of is that though I may not be happy with my weight I have never been unhappy with myself.

  3. Caroline Heldman is amazing! I listened to her a few weeks ago regarding the scripts that guide our lives. Great post!

  4. This is really the old ball and chain bringing many women down. But it's not just young girls; it's seen daily in the drive of women to look young. I still feel shocked when I hear radio commercials for plastic surgery. Or when people like Joan Rivers talk about how great plastic surgery is. Where is the critical response to this kind of thinking? It exists in the academy, yes, but there is really no public platform that I can think of that deals with these issues and that critiques them as the dangerous, fruitless pursuits that that are.

  5. I am so frustrated by the bombardment, in all form of visual media, of the emphasis on low body weight for women.
    The ultra, unhealthy looking degree of skinny combined with surgical enhancements (aka fake boobs). Argh.

    I do my best to delete any emphasis on body weight when instructing my girls ... and instead focus on "eat low fat to be healthy" but it still permeates to some degree. I do feel that I spend a lot of time as a mom trying to deprogram.

  6. I feel so strongly about this - when did it stop being ok for little girls to be just that? Why does anyone think it neccesary to try and encourage little girls to feel grown up? My own mother was a champion for this - I wasn't even allowed to wear black until I was 18 - too old she would lecture. And a straight skirt - no way in the world. Just little things really but I certainly took my time to grow up.

  7. Yes, it is such a pity. I have no idea how to combat it though, well short of moving to a desert island and not seeing anyone.

    My daughter seemed to get by without any bother and in part that MIGHT be because she didn't watch TV. It must have helped I think. But it's out there - amongst friends but I think the absence of TV and magazines maybe assisted - she wasn't quite so bombarded and was definitely removed from seeing celebrity culture and stuff. But it's not an answer - it just helps.

  8. I feel very strongly about this issue! Can't wait to see what everyone has to say! I thought I left a comment on the last post? Anyway, glad you have a brighter outlook today.

  9. i agree on the women stuff and the jason stuff.

  10. I admire your advocacy. And looking forward to reading all the interviews..


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