One hand grabbeth, the other hand rippeth away.

My daily life is saturated with images telling me what I should be. As a woman I feel the pressure more than ever, the magazines that howl from the newsstand telling me how to lose 7lbs in a weekend, how to be ‘bikini ready’, the ‘super cleanse that has Beyonce looking so amazing’, how I can replicate the way Rhianna wears her hair, how I can get legs like J-Lo, boobs like Kelly Brook and curves like Megan Fox. How I can model myself on someone else, become something that I am not. But they don’t mention that in trying I will also berate and denigrate myself because I have not managed to become the impossible.

When I see glossy images of stars and models I see caricatures. If we look at the essence of a caricature it is to distort the features to create a very visible, if unreal likeness.

Photo Credit, Mariah Carey, Columbia Records
What is seen on billboards, magazine covers, album covers are caricatures of the people they represent. Collagen enhanced breasts, legs which have been airbrushed and extended to make them so long it is impossible for them to be functional. Lips which have been swollen with fillers, botoxed faces to freeze time and fillers to literally obliterate any trace of reality. The final result is a beauty which exists only on a screen, airbrushed, distorted, uber perfection.

The irony of course to all of this is that the women in the pictures don’t even exist. Their living counterparts who are so envied worldwide based on these images do not look like the perfection which has been represented.

You see I have a problem with the barrage of demands that are made on women. This is a well worn path but it is for a reason. The barrage does not stop. I’ve mentioned before the magazines and tv shows which tell us how to replicate someone’s style, body, make-up, hair but alongside that we are also assaulted with what we should want, need, like and what we should dislike about ourselves.

 If you read the women’s magazines you should want perfect romance with a boyfriend yet simultaneously want to be single and partying, Cosmo will tell you in one section that you should want to get ahead in your career and be forthright, yet in another will tell you that one of the male turn-offs is a women who is too self assured or too smart, it can come across as threatening apparently- so don’t do that.
Photo Credit here

One should want to be pithy and wry but not too clever, because according to the ‘101 ways to make him want you’, men well they just don’t like women who are funnier than them and heck you should be laughing at his jokes anyway. ‘Let him teach you something’ scream chick ‘romcoms’ but what about you teaching him something? No, it is important to bond over a learning experience where he can feel like ‘a real man’, also if in any further doubt see point one about not being too smart. ‘You should love yourself and be happy in your skin’ shouts one magazine yet as you turn over the page there’s a 7 day diet plan which should get you ready to bare those legs. Because guess what? You should love yourself; just love yourself half a stone lighter ok?

Photo Credit here
Huge amounts of mixed messages spring from everywhere in the saturated media which surrounds us. We are a generation of confused women. Women who are told one minute that we should be curvy, the next that we should be thin, until we finally hear, ‘ah no thin never went away, sorry for that break in service, we just like these curvier girls, that’s not you’. Of course then Italian Vogue step up to the plate and put ‘plus size’ models in their magazine and we all scream ‘wow! Finally now more representation for those of us not blessed with a size 4 arse!’ But lets not quite get too excited, it is (if anything) a dalliance, something to get some attention, these are beautiful girls in a beautiful shoot but its one shoot in a magazine of many, in a veritable forest crammed with images of flawless perfection.

We reach out to grasp the things we are told we need like desperate hungry children, whilst simultaneously ripping from ourselves that which we are told to despise until eventually we can no longer survive as we have ripped away all of us.

Piles of metaphorical bloodied flesh just surround us all, the parts of ourselves we have ripped away to hopefully replace with the ideals our outstretched hand tries to grab. But we just cannot do it. Constant grabbing for things that will make us thinner, smarter, more attractive, more popular, famous, more talented (anything but ourselves), serves only to underline that we are all we have. In fact to nourish what is already there will flourish into all of what we yearn.

Instead we are trained to rip and tear, to savage ourselves under surgeon’s knives and needles or to infect ourselves with poisonous self loathing all because we are told so. It is exhausting.

I don’t want to be anyone else but myself. Yes I want to be the best version of myself I can be, by trying to look after myself physically, mentally, spiritually but I’m not having some editor tell me the untruth that I will never get a man because I have a brain. Or that because I’m not a size 10 (and will never be) that I am not attractive in my own way. I will not stand for being told that because I don’t emulate celebrity style I am not stylish and nor will I put up with being instructed to be less than what I am or that I should be ashamed of what I am.

I am curvy, I have opinions, I have too many degrees, I hate reality tv, I hate onions, I can’t stand Topshop and I have absolutely no interest in vajazzling or becoming someone else.

I am bruised and scarred from the times I have ripped myself apart trying to get rid of the pieces of me that don’t fit with society’s overarching impression of what a woman ‘is’. But now I wear those pieces with pride. I am more than the sum of my parts.

Now I encourage you all to pick up the pieces you have ripped from yourselves, you didn’t need to.

Wear them with pride.

Much Love

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