Give women the power to succeed

Hey beautiful lady, yes you! We are all beautiful but we can’t see that beauty when we look in the mirror. It’s incredibly sad that we’ve been raised and programed to think we must have a body like a nineteen year old and a face like Barbie. We now have a name for it, Sexual Objectification.

Queen Nefertiti, Queen of Egypt, 14th Century B.C. (Photo via Wikipedia)
Queen Nefertiti, Queen of Egypt, 14th Century B.C.
(Photo via Wikipedia)

Why do we believe it is so empowering to be a sex object and that we couldn’t possibly live up to those expectations? Because look what we’ve grown up with! Sexy women are used to sell cars, hamburgers, clothing and everything in our lives.  Everywhere we look: magazines, commercials, TV shows and movies, show drop dead gorgeous women. Because of this we’ve grown up wondering what we could do to improve ourselves.

We already have enough holding us back in the workforce just because we are women — the old Double Standard which is where a man and a woman can interview for the same position and the man will be offered enough to raise a family, but a woman is offered substantially less.

Now because of more forward thinking men and women it’s getting better and women are slowly moving up the ladder into politics and big business. At the State of the Union Address on January 28, the President also touched on this subject. He said, “When women succeed, America succeeds.”

How we view ourselves affect our everyday life lowering our self-confidence. In high school it can lower our GPA, or when we go in to an important interview or meeting, it could hold us back from advancing. It lowers our self-esteem; causes eating disorders, sexual dysfunction and depression when we feel we need to compete with other women.

Screen shot from Dove Soap’s Real beauty Sketches Project.
Screen shot from Dove Soap’s Real beauty Sketches Project.

Dove soap invited women to come in for an experiment. These women spent some time in the waiting room visiting and then Dove had them describe themselves to a forensic artist who penciled their face by their description only, without ever seeing them.

The artist had the other women describe each other. The drawings were put side-by-side and it was amazing. The drawings described by strangers who had just met these women were open, friendly and happy; nothing like the dark, unhappy drawings of how these women saw themselves. Go to Beauty Sketches to see the video.

Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep. (Photo via Wikipedi)
Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep.
(Photo via Wikipedi)

Because of sexual objectification, we now have another new term called body monitoring. Every 30 seconds in public we monitor our bodies. We worry about how other people see us. Do they notice I covered acne with foundation this morning? My hair isn’t lying right, should I pull it forward or push it all back? I am not very photogenic so I worry how I will look. My left profile is the best so I should turn my head a little. Darn, I should have used hand lotion; my hands look so dry and old. Should my arm go over the back of the chair looking relaxed or should my hands be folded together in my lap? Should I wipe my nose? I think I need some more lipstick.

I spoke to Denise, a 31-year old single mother. Denise says she has always worried about a small mole on her temple. She thinks it’s the reason for so many failures in her life and her 10-year old daughter has the same mole. Denise is considering having her daughter’s mole removed before high school because she doesn’t want it holding her daughter back in life.  Can I just say that Denise and her daughter are both beautiful and I considered them beauty marks and not the dreaded moles?

People are getting rich on our insecurities! Hair Dye, lasers, needles, knives to fix your nose, chin, cheeks, butt and tummy tuck. Oh and whiten those teeth!

We’re teaching our daughters this horrible habit. A beautiful, sixteen year old girl told me that in class she worries about leg positions under her desk, the outfit she is wearing and whether or not she will ever wear it again. She plans on definitely having a tummy tuck and boob job if she ever has children. And she hates her freckles. In a couple more years, she’ll figure out that men adore freckles.

Marissa Mayer, age 38, is the youngest female CEO of a fortune 500 Company (Yahoo). She assumed the job while pregnant and gave birth seven months later. (Photo via Wikipedia)
Marissa Mayer, age 38, is the youngest female CEO of a fortune 500 Company (Yahoo). She assumed the job while pregnant and gave birth seven months later.
(Photo via Wikipedia)

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In reality, most men are also not perfect and have insecurities. The right man will fall in love with you whether you have a pimple, a big nose or are overweight. He will not see what you perceive as a flaw only that you are beautiful to him. He will feel that you have JE NE SAIS QUOI, a pleasant quality that cannot be described or expressed but only that he fell in love.

Was it Twilight Zone where everyone looked alike with plastic surgery?  I certainly don’t want it to come down to that.  I think we should be proud of our individuality and strive to protect it.

Do you have any healthy ideas or suggestions on how this can be changed to help our women and future women? If you have a daughter, how do you think it will affect her life?

Instead of using our sex to be a sex object to sell things, let’s use our womanhood as a tool to empower women to succeed and move us up in the world. Get up in the morning and know that because you are a woman, you will succeed.

Laci Green on sexual objectification.