Welcome to the second edition of “Talking Body”.
The first edition was an inside scoop on self image supplied by my beautiful counterpart, Devin Jensen, and can be found in recent entries for those of you who aren’t caught up.
For those of you that have been paying attention, I’ll continue with my tale.
A couple weeks ago, I was scrolling through my Facebook timeline and happened to cross a video, titled “Women in ads”. I’m an advertising major and also happen to be a *woman* (I know, it was fate right?) so I curbed my curiosity and pressed play.
By the end of it I was sobbing.
I was hoping to stumble upon something I could use in class, instead I found every single emotion I’d been suppressing since I first felt ashamed of my body.
My family can be extremely harsh when it comes to appearance. We are blunt, expressive people and that’s not always the best when handling fragile preteen egos. Devin and I were often berated with “constructive criticism” from family members on our developing bodies; those are the comments that still sit in the back of my mind today. One in particular always struck a nerve:
“You’re the pretty one, she’s the *athletic, smart, funny, etc.* one”
I detest this line. I don’t understand how someone could every possibly find this an acceptable thing to say. Yes, there’s two of us. Yes, we have different strengths. But to tell us that only one is pretty? I mean for Christ’s sake, does that mean that only children can only have one good quality. “Alright Megan, I know you’re the first 4 year old concert pianist but you’re also cute. Since you don’t have a sister you have to pick which one you want to be”.
Girls today forget their individuality. They forget that being beautiful is more than just imitating the cover of a magazine or trendy celebrities. Beauty is unique; beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
There was a statement made at the end of the video, one of the last spoken sayings. It said, “girls are growing up thinking that how they look is more important than how they feel or who they are or what they can do”. I know I felt this way, and it wasn’t until last year that my view began to change. I started to find value in my personality, I found value in myself.
By giving Devin the chance to write her own piece, I was hoping to encourage the same feeling in her. I wanted to give her the platform she needed to express her feelings and find pride in an accomplishment. I know that I’m proud of all she’s accomplished, of how far she’s come since her days spent in the back brace. She’s an incredible young woman, I feel honored to share a story with her.
The hashtag used throughout the clip, #StandUp, inspired me to write this piece. The content was mainly geared toward the impact of media on female impressions, but I feel the message has a much greater reach than that. When I hear those words, Stand Up, I think about standing up to myself, to my negative thoughts, to my family and their stingy opinions. I know that writing about my feelings and experience has been both therapeutic and empowering. I feel as if I have a voice that matters.
Finding your voice can be difficult. Standing up and expressing it is even more challenging. Girls around my age, college and early 20’s are constantly be shut down and made to believe that their voice does not exist until after college. We’re viewed as silly, young and naive. No one should ever make you feel as if you don’t deserve to be heard. Women are taking back the mic at the 7Sisters Live Shoot and showcasing their voice. 7Sisters is an organization that is all about empowering women and putting them center stage. On Saturday, April 16th, they’re holding a live recording in NYC where women (ages 18-24) are welcome to share anything and everything on a live stream. Not only does this encourage women to fearlessly speak but it also verifies that we are meant to be heard.
For more information of the 7Sisters Live Event click the link below: