The perspective that I have gained as a human being, a woman, and American citizen, over the past ten years is staggering. The fact that I knew little to nothing about the state of female subjugation in the world when my daughters came into it is something that I am ashamed of. At that time, I was living in the fog that I believe the majority of the population lives in. I knew that there were terrible things happening in the world, but I had allowed myself to be convinced that they were happening somewhere far away, somewhere deeply detached from my own life. After having parented foster children, I believed that if I could be a loving and engaged parent that my children’s lives would be a cakewalk. That was a terribly naive misconception.
There are numerous challenges that young men growing up in our country today have to face. When it comes to my own son however, he will face only a fraction of those challenges because he is Caucasian. Additionally, he has the endless support of a strong group of family and friends. It will be different for my daughters, even though my husband and I have sacrificed a great deal to keep them in the most nurturing environment possible. We do not shield them completely from the media, because they will be exposed to it eventually anyways, and we want for them to be prepared to face just what is out there. Even though we are careful with the things that we say to our girls, through their exposure to society in general, I question whether they actually believe their own words when they tell me that being intelligent is more important than being pretty…and that fact breaks my heart.
But what kind of a role model have I really been? It has been less than a year now that I have come to terms with how truly damaging our society’s concept of beauty is, disregarded convention, and begun to replace my poor beauty habits with good ones. I have finally switching over to natural body products, I have stopped wearing bras and high heels for the most part, and I am working hard to make ethically conscious decisions when it comes to purchasing clothing. My husband finally encouraged me to stop stepping on the fucking bathroom scale, and the only thing that I pay attention to when I eat is whether the food is real and healthy, and how it makes me feel. I do not believe that I will ever again buy a fashion magazine…it is a little surreal and quite frankly rather empowering.
I know that all of these choices have probably been easier for me than they might be for a lot of women. I do not have a job that relies greatly on the way that I look, and I have never been much of a girly girl anyways. As a matter of fact, I think that I went straight from toddler to woman. So giving up so many of the tools that deform the natural female figure is one of the most positive things that I think that I can do for my girls. When we all allow ourselves to understand that each and every trick and tool that we employ to make us look different from the way that we were originally made, we take back our power. We save a lot of time, and energy, and expense by simply presenting ourselves to the world in our authentic form, and we show our daughters that if they can muster up the courage to do the same, they can participate in a quiet revolution that will make the world a far better place, for women and for men alike.