For quite some time now there has been a counter-cultural feminist movement that I will call ‘Real Women Have Curves”. Basically the argument that stands is that media falsely displays women in an idealistic even sometimes completely unrealistic manner. It continues to remind that their are big women and skinny women. Tall women and skinny women. And breast sizes and their qualities differ significantly. The movie barbie dolls we sell, the more porn stars and supermodels we glamorize, the more that this can contribute to women’s low self-esteem. A ‘real woman’, in essence, has curves. Talk show host Monique promoting that she is happy just the way she is.
Directly or indirectly you have another movement-esque that seems to be rising in media attention. I will call this the “Pretty Hurts” campaign, after Beyonce’s newest single. The video clearly shows a group of women in a beauty contest. Hence the kind of contest, the all the women are skinny, long haired, with universally attractive faces and mannerisms. The video centers around the constant pressure to stay “pretty”: being skinny and yet still feeling fat, wearing wigs, teeth whitening and at the end of the day still feeling very inadequate.
The first lines of her song being: “Pretty hurts, shine the light on what’s worse. Perfection is the disease of a nation…”
In related news, you have many coming out saying that they feel exploited for because of their sexually attractiveness and desirability to men. The “jiggle test” being a current issue being exposed by cheerleaders. And many young college women like Belle Knox and new independent French Film “Young and Beautiful“ explaining how they use their “natural” desirability to make money by selling their bodies to pay for tuition and basic living needs.
I won’t paint the false dilemma scenario and say: “Which one is it? Are women insecure from being too pretty or not pretty enough?” It’s obvious that there are a broad range of women. I would say though, that I do hear men give a similar argument in this case. They either feel like they are being exploited for their money, muscles or good looks (yes, really). You have a whole different group of men that say: “I don’t have money, status, muscles or good looks, women look past me to address Brad Pitt and Trey Songs. A real guy isn’t super famous, a comedian, a male model or a muscle man.” This reality suggests that insecurity can just be a natural human state which only inner confidence and acceptance can alleviate the highest. Though it should be noted that women have a tendency of saying they feel sexually and emotionally exploited, and men saying they feel sexually and emotionally neglected.
But for women specifically which feelings of sexual and emotional exploitation is more challenging? Not looking like the supermodel, so feeling inadequate? or looking like the supermodel, so having to play to the perception?