Tina Fey sums it up pretty well with this quote from her fantastic book Bossy Pants,
"Every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall butt, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, and the arms of Michelle Obama. The only person close to actually achieving this look is Kim Kardashian, who, as we know, was made by Russian scientists to sabotage our athletes. Everyone else is struggling."
In my psychology of women class last semester we watched a movie about the media and how it portrays women. They discussed body image and such and the pressure women feel to live up to the impossible image the media portrays. One of the things that really struck me from that video was the fact that, as women, we are constantly being told a double standard.
We are told we have to be sexy, yet innocent.
We are told to show off our bodies, but not to be proud or happy with how we look.
How messed up is that?
If we're too sexy, we're called sluts. If we're too innocent, we're called prudes. If we wear make-up, people assume we're trying too hard. If we wear no make-up, people assume we're lazy or sick. It sometimes feels like a game we can never win.
Now, since I'm not a man I don't know first-hand the issues they deal with about body image. But I know they do. The media and society is actually greatly increasing their stereotyping and criticizing of men as well. The percentage is still much greater for women, but I'm not going to deny that men don't face a lot of pressure as well.
Honestly, I just wish I could take away all of the body hatred that seems to flood our media. I hate the idea that little girls and boys (and even big girls and boys) are learning to hate themselves and that they need to look a certain way in order to be anything. I want to hug them and tell them how beautiful they are and that no one should tell them otherwise.