Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Appearances + Pressure

As women, we are constantly feeling the pressures of our culture dictating what is and isn't considered beautiful. Let's face it, we've been told that we have to do it all, do it well, and do it while looking our best.

And it's hard not to succumb to the pressures of every day life. To the pressures of what's surrounding us. There's always someone who (seemingly) has it all. And we all know that we've seen enough photoshopped images of women in circulation that's bound to get under our skin. And even though we're all intelligent, successful women and know these harsh realities, there are times when it feels like we're not pretty enough. Or our wardrobe isn't fashionable enough. And why can't I get my hair to look like that. And why am I not accomplishing enough?!

And of course - this is all pressure that we put on ourselves. It doesn't have to be there. But sometimes - well, sometimes it just is. We all have those days.

But what if we lived in a world where these outside influences and pressures didn't exist? The advertisements, the media, the scrutiny. Women's bodies are being analyzed and picked apart all the time, and we're all guilty of joining in. Does it have to be this way?

I recently read an article written by Ashley Judd, after she received criticism and speculation over her "puffy face" from an appearance she made. You can read it here, if you'd like.

Essentially, she takes a swift back hand to the face of the media while bringing up some crucial problems our society faces in an effort to start the conversation. The conversation of how to end our obsession with appearances. An issue that affects each and every one of us.

Here's an excerpt from the article itself:

If this conversation about me is going to be had, I will do my part to insist that it is a feminist one, because it has been misogynistic from the start. Who makes the fantastic leap from being sick, or gaining some weight over the winter, to a conclusion of plastic surgery? Our culture, that’s who. The insanity has to stop, because as focused on me as it appears to have been, it is about all girls and women. In fact, it’s about boys and men, too, who are equally objectified and ridiculed, according to heteronormative definitions of masculinity that deny the full and dynamic range of their personhood. It affects each and every one of us, in multiple and nefarious ways: our self-image, how we show up in our relationships and at work, our sense of our worth, value, and potential as human beings. Join in—and help change—the Conversation.

I, for one, fear that we're missing out on a life of meaning, a life of ideas and being valued for our thoughts and accomplishments over something so superficial.

What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts! xo

P.S. Thirty things to stop doing to yourself.

(Photo by Richard Avedon)


  1. I would love to see a fundamental shift in how society reacts and responds to beauty. I am so tired of the tabloids and the media holding so much sway, and spending so much time talking about looks, weight, etc. It's time to talk about health. Our world is getting less and less healthy by the day, and there's the chance that our kids will not live as long as we will. That's worth talking about.

    Thank you for posting such an important article on your blog, and taking the time to share some of your feeling on the subject!

  2. It's true! Great thoughts on a tough topic.

  3. @Kristen I completely agree! And not only that, but I'm afraid for my future children and their well-being. (Especially if I end up having girls)

    I mean... are we going to live in a world where children learn about dieting when they're 5? And that botox is okay by the time they're 20? It's nerve-wracking.