Is it a magazine? A family member? Your friends? Is it the attention of the opposite sex (or same sex, depending on your preferences)? Maybe your resemblance to the actors on a WB Sexfest...
I know the world we live in. After all, I'm a girl who has struggled to establish her self-worth just like anybody else. And it can, often times, feel like an upward climb in this culture, where, not only are we surrounded by idolized examples of what we are ordered to look like, but also, there has been a shift in the focus of how people are raised--a new generation of superficiality that often takes things to an extreme. More often than not, if you're in the thirty or younger set and you're paying attention, you've seen the behavior present as an obliviousness to compassion and empathy. The trend angers me... and not much gets me angry. I want nothing more than to reverse it immediately.
Just look at your average college campus--especially here in the corn-fed, All-American Midwest--and you'll see what I mean. Have you ever watched the move Stepford Wives? It's something like that. Everywhere you look there are straight-ironed, bleach-blonde, bronzed, skinnier than is healthy (or trying to be) young girls, wearing the same clothes, talking the same way. Seriously... the valley girl accent should not extend to Missouri, but somehow it does. And why are we doing this to ourselves? Why are we dumbing down and slutting up? When did it become a desirable outcome to resemble a porn star? We are human beings, ladies! We are people with hearts and souls and minds and purposes. There is more to this life than you could imagine, so why are we so distracted by surface things? We're not squirrels...shiny objects should not be our primary focus in life.
I guess it comes down to what a lot of women believe will prove their worth to their peers/family/society, and having a culture validate her sexual appeal seems to be the goal nowadays. This is tragic, because no amount of outside approval will ever sate a person if she does not believe in her own invaluablility.
I want, more than anything, to know why. I want to know why this has happened, and why has it established itself so much worse in the younger crowd? Is it because of a more sexual culture? Sure... but you can't just blame sexual commercialism here. True, we're drowning in superficiality to the degree that I'd swear our brains are developing differently. But what about the parenting aspect? There's been a lot of sheltering going on. Modern parents want their kids to fit in. You buy them the trendy clothes, you hope they are popular, liked. No one wants to see their child left out. But, to what end? Are they exposed to the idea that it's actually OK not to "fit in"? That it's actually OK to be "different", to look "different"? Heck, are the parents, themselves, striving daily to fit a nitch of their own? Always keeping up with the Joneses, right?
When you're not taught to think beyond surface comfort, you aren't able to comprehend the varying arrays and alternate ideas of beauty based on more complex factors than your waist vs. boob size. You can't imagine what could be more important to "fitting in", and a lot of that carries over to adulthood.
But, before I get too far off track... sex... it's great. Believe me. We all need to feel wanted. This is part of being human. But this cannot determine everything, it's not the most important thing. And when it is the focus of life, of purpose and happiness, even more than love, you are detrimentally limiting your own character development. After all, Hitler wanted a blonde haired, blue eyed world, remember? And we all know what a screwed-up jerkoff he was. We don't need a repeat of that business...
There are definitely folks who believe that you can put a Barbie-eque Cosmo fantasy ideal next to a size 8, 16, 22, whathaveyou real woman and the value of the one life compared to the other is somehow diminished. I've listened in on plenty of conversations--I've seen the comments made by some guys about purposely going after "fat chicks" or "ugly girls" in bars or clubs because they assume that this woman is desperate and therefore easy prey. It breaks my heart. And I want to challenge women NOT to be prey. Be strong and love yourself wholly and powerfully. Do not let anyone think, even for a moment, that you don't love yourself. In the mean time, all I can do is write real women into my books and blog about loving one another and absolutely bombard the universe with my desire that our culture evolves more compassionately to include the janiter or the girl that delivers your dry-cleaning, or your sister's friend or buddy's cousin or any person who you may be tempted to belittle or look down upon because they don't fit a certain mold. Everyone is someone's somebody. Everyone has a life, a history and a story to tell. And most importantly, everyone has an equal and specific purpose while here--no less than your own. We are all connected to the same source. When we understand and believe this, it starts to shape the way we see and treat each other, and this is what I feel is missing, this bit of understanding. If you don't think the life of the stranger on the subway is somehow relevant to yours, think again. If you think their soul is any less magnificent--reconsider. Our bodies all end up looking like bags of rotten mushrooms in the end, anyway, so you might as well look deeper than that, right?
Let's all strive to think outside the box. And ladies... you are impossibly precious and unthinkably beautiful.