I actually watched the Oscars this year with a friend (it was fun!). Everything around the Oscars seems to be built around judging, and not just the movies (think red carpet, fashion blogs the day after, etc). Both of us found ourselves saying things about the clothes/looks/weight of movie stars in ways we did not expect.
I find it frustrating that even if I educate myself on all the media manipulations and cognitive biases I still fall into the traps I am trying to avoid. Today’s focus is women and body image. Mostly because it messes with my head.
Here is the way I want to think:
–Many many body types and looks are beautiful.
The media appears to think there is more or less one ideal. I like to think of myself as someone who can see through the bullshit in media and society, but I see it have a huge effect on me nonetheless.
Examples of failure:
Clothing choices: It is easy to judge others on this, my favorite pop culture example is from ‘Hackers’: “Spandex: it’s a privilege, not a right”. Who made that rule up? If she (the hypothetical person wearing spandex) is comfortable and proud then who are we to judge? What needs to change is society’s idea of beauty, not what one woman is choosing to wear. My thinking has not stopped me from saying ‘she should not be wearing that’ in the past, or thinking it recently. I want to work on that part of myself.
Flaws in others. When I see people with a crooked smile I think it is adorable. When I saw a picture of myself with a crooked smile I freaked the fuck out. I kept thinking ‘is that what I really look like’. And then I would think ‘why is this bad on me when it is awesome on other people’. Because I hold myself up to messed up standards I have bought into after seeing them my whole life.
OMG, weight. I think I am fairly average right now, for my age and all. I could be tons better, I could exercise at least occasionally. For awhile I was super skinny. I got that way from being unable to eat after a boyfriend cheated on me (NOT healthy). When my sister sees pictures of me from back then she says I look scrawny. I think I looked great. I do not want to think I looked great, because it was not healthy. Nonetheless, I look at those pictures and see them as me at my best.
I often hear that when a woman gets a nasty look from another it is a compliment, because naturally we are all just jealous of one another. Wink wink, nudge nudge, this is just an uncomfortable truth. NO. This is one where my intention and my brain are actually on the same page. When I see a well dressed attractive woman (in my eyes) I genuinely think good things. When I see a woman give me any sort of disdainful look I wonder wtf I did.
While watching the Oscars both my friend and I called ourselves out each time something judgmental was said. I do not want to beat myself up *too* much for not being perfect, but I also want to continue learning and make an attempt at being better. Societal conventions have way more impact on me than I would like. I think the best I can do is recognize when it happens, try to understand how and why, and let that learning affect my daily doings as it will.
In the meantime I would like to ask my brain to stop thinking things I don’t want to think, let me be the person I want to be.