These past few months have been exhausting, sometimes frustrating, but overall may turn out to be the most gratifying of my back-to-school experience. As I walk across campus, few people make eye contact with me. Those who don’t already have earbuds installed quickly fish their phones out of their pockets as they approach so as to be completely occupied when our paths cross. This acute aversion to human interaction would make even the most confident person want to pack up their toys and go home. Fortunately for me, remnants of self-esteem have survived the boondoggles and shenanigans of my life.
Now that the semester is winding down, here is what I know:
Among people virtually navigating reality, some latch onto the teat of political correctness and suck the life out of any opportunity for genuine dialogue. They call a person a “hater” simply because that person holds an opinion which differs from the group.
A sense of belonging is one of our most fundamental needs. Just above food, water, and shelter, knowing that we belong is right up there with the need for acceptance of the proportions of our various body parts as compared to those of an airbrushed supermodel.
If I accepted the cultural construct of beauty ideals, I would never go out in public. Supermodels are airbrushed to sell shit, and I don’t need any more shit. I believe the sooner we create a new cultural construct, one of self-acceptance, the sooner we can all get on with making more important discoveries than age-defying breakthroughs.
There are bigger problems than erectile dysfunction, which is not one of the top 10,000 problems that need our immediate attention. The psychological effects of size 00 labels are as harmful to us as the socio-economic effects of women earning seventy-seven cents on the dollar of our male counterparts.
The sooner we stop getting distracted by fear mongers the sooner we can work on empowering our children to eliminate the epidemic of self-loathing that perpetuates poverty, sexual exploitation, and violence.
The obsession with fitting in is leveraged by advertisers. Can we really expect to wake up one day to discover that sex no longer sells? I don’t think it will happen in my lifetime. However, I do think that a good place to start is not wasting money on products to make me seem less short, less round, less than my actual age, and ultimately, less of what I am meant to be; a person with integrity and potential.
No promise of beauty in a jar can deliver more than that.
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18 thoughts on “Why Struggle To Fit In When There’s So Much More Leg Room Out Here?”
The Killing Us Softly set is great, I have watched it through more than once. It moves me. You are so right in what you have said, fitting in is nearly impossible unless we are willing to set aside pieces of ourselves.
Fitting in isn’t something I’ve ever been able to do. I’m always too something. Too opinionated, too smart ass, too hard to push over a cliff…you know. 🙂
I do know, I have always been ‘too’ something myself.
Oh and p.s.! For most of us, fitting in means denying those bits of ourselves that ‘don’t fit’. Sadly intelligence and integrity are often the first ‘faults’ to be pruned.
This is such a chicken and egg problem! Advertisers push the thin-is-beautiful idea because it sells. We suck it up because we think that’s what beauty is, and all of us want to /feel/ sexy and beautiful, at least some of the time. Where do you start unravelling such a tangle ball of mess?
I found her comment about young girls of 8 or 9 being happy with themselves as very telling; they /were/ happy with themselves, but now manufacturers are targetting that age group as well. 😦
I think women could do a better job of controlling what is relevant in this great information age of ours by choosing not to lend our voices to the viral blips who, by some extreme publicist voodoo, manage to hijack public discourse.
Agreed, but how do we get enough of us to make the change?
One amazing person of conscience at a time.
Fantastic video, Honie. Thank you for posting it. How scary some of those models look. And how scary that so many people don’t understand 99.9% of women don’t look like those images. I wish there were more celebrities like Kate Winslet and Cindy Crawford who spoke up. It would help girls and young women realize that most of these images are an unattainable myth.
Thanks! If you have time to watch the entire talk, it really is an incredible body of work Jean Kilbourne has put together. This is the fourth video she has made in the Killing Us Softly series. I’d love to hear her speak in person. Another documentary worth watching is called Miss Representation. Here’s the trailer.
Thanks. I’ll bookmark it.
Seems I may be “preaching” to the choir.
So what 🙂 amen, sister. Amen
You made a wonderful point, when you think it’s impossible, then it’s possible!
Your comment is appreciated.