It’s impossible to go anywhere without seeing some blare of media and expectations, and all that. There’s a whole to-do about how the world is trying to shape girls into plastic, annorexic super models.
A person can’t deny that there’s a huge push to be pretty and skinny. Small, you know? Petite is good. Birdlike. Butterfly. Whatever. Girls shouldn’t have to look like that. They shouldn’t have to conform. They should take their roll models as Katniss and Tris rather than covergirls and singers.
What is with these stereotypes?
But wait. I’m not talking about the media. I’m talking about the public who is stereotyping the media’s stereotypes. (It’s stereotype-inception.) Because I see more media that praises the actresses/singers who break the molds, than media that promotes botox and bullemia. (Note. I don’t read gossip magazines, so I’m not an authority on this. It’s just what I see around YouTube and Pinterest.)
Take Jennifer Lawrence for instance. Wow, she gets a good wrap for refusing to look starved in her part as Katniss. Or Demi Lovato (I don’t listen to much of her music, but anyway). Everyone was all over the fact she beat her anorexia. But still people say that the media is hyping “be perfect”. So people are out to break the media’s unrealistic expectations by promoting “strong” women.
What makes a woman a “strong” one? There are a lot of “strong” girls in literature, and in movies, too. They’re always the kick-butt girls, the ones who can fire a gun or shoot an arrow. They’re thin, not because of chosen malnutrition, but because of their extreme level of fitness. They get the spotlight, because everything about their story, they made happen. They’re not victims of circumstance. They’re smart. They always get the guy (or two). And because of their strength? They are beautiful.
Helloooo, people?! Does this not sound like the extreme opposite of the plastic pink world? And yet the result is identical.
Media Hype: skinny and sexy.
Strong Women Hype: skinny, fit, and muscly.
Media Hype: be good at your hair and make-up.
Strong Women Hype: be talented at something, particularly something that takes physical strenght or mental agility.
Media Hype: the more you do this, the more guys will like you.
Strong Women Hype: the more you do this, the more guys will like you.
Media Hype: You need to be beautiful–your face and your body.
Strong Women Hype: You need to be strong–physically and emotionally.
Personally, I think they’re both as unrealistic as each other. I’m short, but I’m not petite, so I’m not going to have the flattest stomach, or thighs that don’t touch. I also hate making decisions, so I’m never going to break the mold like Tris from Divergent. I don’t know anything about hair and make-up, but I don’t have the courage to propel an entire continent into rebellion. I can’t handle a gun, and I don’t like lolly pink.
So what does that make me? I’m not a weak, plastic pink female. I’m not a strong woman. So…. I’m insipid?
My current WIP glances over this. My MC, Reilly, is short and rounder than is stereotypically deemed fine. She thinks she’s fat and ugly. She also thinks she’s pathetic, because her biggest fear is embarassment and people’s opinions, so she doesn’t step out of her box very often, and she tries never to leave the crowd. She thinks she’s unworthy, and weak. She’s insecure.
And I guess that’s what the whole thing is about. Insecurities. The “media” might want to make you secure in your beauty. The “strong-women” wants to make you secure in your abilities. I know which is obviously healthier, and that’s the second, don’t get me wrong.
But can I just say this? Here’s to the girls who aren’t super fit, and aren’t super skinny. Here’s to the girls who have never thrown up a meal on purpose, and can’t imagine skipping dinner. Here’s to the girls who are smart in their own right, but don’t necessarily have a genius IQ. Here’s to the girls who don’t know which end the gun shoots from, and the ones who can’t stand the sight of blood. The girls with the messy hair?
And we’re still awesome.