There’s been a lot of attention lately around the idea of the “ideal” woman. She has long, flowing hair, clear skin, big eyes, a cute nose, big lips, largeish boobs, washboard abs, and a tiny waist, hips and legs. She is six feet tall, and smiles on command. She is also a “fantasy”. She is a “fantasy” created by men, for men. No women would want to idolize this idea of perfection. We all know that it sends a poor message to young women and men out there. So why is this idea still being perpetuated?
My relationship to being a woman has not been easy. I grew up in a society where the above is considered the ideal, and I felt the ramifications first hand. As far as I can remember, my body was not quite right. I experienced firsthand what it takes to try to fit that mold. When you starve your body, you starve your life, and for a while there I was life-less. I’ve realized that growing up where you only see one body type represented, sets the stage for a life spent hating yourself. A childhood spent idolizing one type of woman greatly reduces our vision to see just what we as women are capable of. How many girls out there are choosing to spend their time in the mirror, fixated on hating and reducing what they see? How much wasted potential is out there, chasing a males fantasy idea of what they should be? Girls need role models. Society needs to champion role models not based on looks.
Going through puberty was uncomfortable and frightening for me. My new curves and hormones were a source of conflict inside of me, and I was not comfortable in this new, rebellious body. The male body is held up as the norm in our society, and when I was growing up, there was great shame around menstruation. We had the cursory, girls only health class, and after I had trouble looking my classmates in the eye. I felt so ashamed, and I had no idea why. I also developed much later than my friends, and always felt like I was an alien who was not like the rest. I realize now that this is just how I am wired. But back then I felt like a weirdo for not liking makeup, boys and pop music. I felt very alone. However, as I grew up, I realized there was a place for me in this world. There are many other women like me. Imagine the self confidence I could have developed at a much younger age if I had known this? I think of all the other young women out there who do not belong in high school. My heart goes out to them.
Coming of age in the fashion industry did nothing to support my sense of femininity. Times are slowly changing, but when I was starting out, there was not a huge amount of body positivity. I was encouraged to be ‘cooler’, dress more androgynously, and always, lose a little more weight. Curves can be added in, but clothes need to be baggy. It wasn’t ok to speak up about boundary crossing on set. You had to be the “fantasy girl”, who was ok with unsolicited flirting and touching. You had to put up with having parts of your sense of self shut off. It was never ok to be a nuisance. Subsequently, I was afraid of being a woman for a very long time. Every period was a sign that I had failed, I was not thin enough. I strove to be the coolest “fantasy girl” ever – putting up with behaviors that nowadays I would never stand for. I got assaulted, made fun of for being uncomfortable after that experience, and settled for far too long. I was also never quite happy. There was always some other goal to achieve, some other party to attend, some other person to impress. And so I jumped through the hoops, always dissatisfied.
But no longer.
I hope that more women out there can see through the flimsy façade of the “fantasy girl”. She doesn’t exist. Not even the women who embody her are this “fantasy girl”. They are human beings with human emotions and struggles; coupled with a huge amount of pressure piled on to be exemplary in this idea. It saddens me that this is the standard we feel we have to attain. The day I decided to break free, was the first day of the rest of my life. We are all beautiful in our variety. I wish to see this celebrated and cherished, not destroyed to fit someone else’s idea of “perfection”.
I am no longer a “fantasy girl”. I no longer put up with behaviors that are not ok with me, and finally have stopped having experiences that stick with me for far too long. I am out of fucks to give. There is no “fantasy girl”. There is no “ideal woman”. There is only woman. And we come in all shapes and forms. We come to our place in the world via a series of tests placed on us by expectations and bullshit. I am sick of seeing misuse of power and platform in the world. I do not want to see any more blanket representation of women - It is 2018. Time to get with the program. We will not be diminished anymore. We will not be left out based on our journey. We should all be advocate’s for inclusion.
One more time for the people stuck in the 90’s. There is no “fantasy girl”. There is no “ideal woman”. There is only woman. It is time to be a part of the solution, not the problem.
Everything you need to take your place in the world is already inside of you. Being a woman fucking rules. Liking my body fucking rules. Life fucking rules when you have the energy to live it. So go out and live it.