I was in my car a LOT this week. I listened to my iPod and the very robotic voice of my Kindle and several times I became angry at the way women discourage other women when it comes to their outward appearance. By Friday afternoon I was gripping the steering wheel so hard my bad fingers throbbed. Let me give you a couple of examples:
- In the book series I’m reading a new female character has been introduced. The majority of the characters in the book are supernatural and this type of character actually has the ability to look whatever way she wants. She chooses to look thusly: Blond, big chest, small waist, tall and covered by very little. She thinks that this is the “ideal” female form and rather than the established female character talking with her she ridicules the appearance and dismisses her insecurities.
- I have several songs by Taylor Swift on my iPod and every time I hear one I can’t help but think of a comment one of my friends made on facebook. She commented that Swift’s small eyes scare her because of how freaky they look. I remember reading an interview with Swift where she mentions reading something similar on a blog and how insecure that makes her feel now. I mean, SHEESH, she’s gorgeous and people rip her apart despite (or maybe because?) that.
A few weeks ago, some of my acquaintances attended a webcast put on by Beth Moore and focusing on her new book, which as I understand it was about the many insecurities women feel and how they hold us back. Of course, being a Christian and Christian-oriented speaker I suspect her solution was “finding her identity in Christ” which is all well in good for Christians.
But the comment on facebook didn’t come from a Christian. And I have no idea what Swift’s religious beliefs are. And while I believe that knowing who you are in Christ is the ultimate cure for insecurity, I also know that it’s practically impossible to get there completely and you have to fight for it constantly even with a stong faith. And not everyone has that strong of faith, or any faith at all.
Which is what pisses me off about women hating on other women. Come on! You know we only do it because of our OWN insecurities! And don’t we have ENOUGH to worry about? Look at TV, look at magazines, look in every high school in America! As a culture we are so immersed in what the “ideal” is that we can’t HELP but feel insecure. You would think that we could rally together and start fighting back, but no, we feed the fire. We’re all about helping stomp out so many other things. Breast Cancer? Sure I’ll do a walk/run or wear pink; Infant mortality issues? Where’s the nearest March of Dimes donation center; Need to feel that girls are equal to boys? Join a facebook group, go to a rally or find the nearest Girl Power anthem. But heaven forbid we help our fellow sisters feel secure and comfortable in their own skin. We can’t just tell everyon to find their identity in Christ (well, we could TELL them, but it wouldn’t solve the problem because we can’t choose their faith for them). But we can control oursleves and our own actions. We can choose to not give into our own insecurities and pettiness and we can choose to build each other up rather than tear each other down. And if EVERYONE of us did that, Wow, what a world that would be.
Can you imagine what a day would look like if every single woman REFUSED to let herself get caught in the comparison trap? A day where every time a thought came to her head regarding the appearance of another woman, she captured it and said “not today!” What would it look like if instead of finding the one “freaky” or flawed quality in another woman and pointing it out ALL of us praised the thousands of amazing things that we all are simply because we ARE women?
Is it an impossible dream? Is it a pointless hope to dream about a world where my nieces will always smile and be joyful because they will never have to endure the ridicule of others? Is it unrealistic to imagine a place where my daughter can grow up so comfortable in her own skin that the very thought of dreaming of “greener grass” is foreign to her?
If it is, then I say I’ll continue to dream impossible dreams.