The Dallas Examined Life Philosophy Group Message Board › Women's Self Image & Media (includes short & funny vid)

Women's Self Image & Media (includes short & funny vid)

Udoka
user 11179545
Dallas, TX
Post #: 4
This is just a continuation of what some of the ladies were talking about tonight.
Whenever I get on the topic of media alteration of women, I think of this webisode where she says something like "How am I supposed to look this? *shows magazine cover*" "That IS you" "Yah, how am I supposed to look like this? Why can't they photoshop my LIFE?"

http://www.youtube.co...­

I just had to share. :')
Nathaniel
user 10963465
Group Organizer
Mesquite, TX
Post #: 169
With advances in augmented reality, perhaps we will one day be able to have our lives be photoshoped. But should we?
Rinda G.
user 7444310
Dallas, TX
Post #: 131
Hey, Udoka, I'm glad to see you using the discussion tab. I hope others will follow your lead. I hated that I was at the other end of the table so didn't get to hear more of your thinking last night.
Thanks for beginning this conversation.
After viewing the video all I can say is "Boy, I am soooooo out of touch with today's generation." I guess the video was supposed to be humorous, but I found it sad. Often people use humor to deal with things they really are serious about and body image is certainly high on the list for many. Which, for me, begs the question ... How much time do people waste comparing themselves (physically or mentally) to others? And for what purpose? Unless you are perfect (and who is?? -- Well, I don't count wink), there will always be someone with whom you judge yourself inferior. This is very different from having a role model, someone you want to emulate. It's a healthy thing to set a standard for oneself. But it becomes unhealthy when the standard becomes everything to you and you never think you measure up.
Everyone has a choice in their lives. They can let other people or, the media, dictate how they feel about themselves or recognize it for what it is .... self-defeating behavior which is the first step in changing for the better.
Nathaniel
user 10963465
Group Organizer
Mesquite, TX
Post #: 170
Alright, now I've got some time to actually respond so I can offer more than a one-liner.

Here's a few things I've personally learned over the few short years that I've been alive, awake and lucid.

Firstly, as anyone who has worked retail can tell you, there are often HUGE differences between what we think we want, what we say we want, what we REALLY want, and what we really NEED despite all of the previous. When applied to looks, we have to realize that we are told what to want and what not to want and that can shape what we THINK we want. This also shapes what we believe is socially acceptable to want, which effects what we are willing to say about what we want. All the while, we might not even be aware of what we really want, or what we really need despite all of that. All of that sorry mess ends up warping what we think others want of us as well. Then we're left wondering how the heck anyone could want us and/or become fed up with the unrealistic expectations.

Now the thing is, this doesn't have to be about looks. It's mainly about social dynamics and the very human desire to make meaningful connections. Some people connect mentally, some people connect spiritually, some emotionally, professionally, socially, physically or any combination of those factors and more. We all desire that connection and yes, being social creatures, this does shape our self worth.

The thing is, it's very difficult to evaluate self worth from within one's self. Markets don't work that way. The value of an item isn't determined by the item, it's determined by demand. I'm not talking about money either, but when we're talking about value and worth, it's just easier to think in economic terms.

What am I worth to myself? What am I worth to others? I consider myself very valuable to me. This is mostly because I'm heavily invested in myself. This is an arrangement that I can't back out of, like it or not, this is who I am, so I might as well make the best of it. But because of my biased perspective, I cannot really be the one to decide what my self worth is. For that, I have to rely on others. Now, I'm sure Rinda will ardently disagree with me on this one, but I think it makes sense. Otherwise I'm just full of myself (which may be the case regardless of what anyone thinks).

The fun part is that not everything, or everyone, is going to be valuable to everyone. Try to get a group of people to agree on what kind of pizza to order and you'll quickly see that people have some very different ideas of what they find valuable. To me, a supreme pizza is worth paying for, it's even worth eating even though I can't tolerate dairy without taking pills. However, I think straight cheese pizza is a waste of money and I might have to be paid to decide that it was worth it to eat. On the flip side, a know a little kid with the exact opposite sentiments. I bring this up simply to say that the best thing we can do to build our self worth is to surround ourselves with people who value our company and whose company we value.

Forget all the lies they try to feed us about what people want. Forget all the lies they tell us about who/what we should and should not be. It's all a bunch of hype to get you to feel bad about yourself so you'll buy their goods and services. It's a mess.

As far a beauty goes. I rather liked the poem which said "truth is beauty and beauty truth" and with that in mind, I honestly believe that people who are true to themselves cannot help it but be beautiful. At the very least, I think it might be considerably more difficult for someone who is in the habit of self deceit to find beauty in themselves. After all, why else lie but to cover up our flaws? Then again, is there really any beauty in artificial perfection? Flaws make things real. They make things interesting. They betray the truth of us and in so doing, they make us beautiful.
Rinda G.
user 7444310
Dallas, TX
Post #: 132
Nathaniel, I love that I can count on you for your insights.
The thing is, it's very difficult to evaluate self worth from within one's self. Markets don't work that way. The value of an item isn't determined by the item, it's determined by demand. I'm not talking about money either, but when we're talking about value and worth, it's just easier to think in economic terms.

Humans are not products; although there may be promotional "experts" who disagree with me as they go about treating people as human products so they can sell them to a director or the public (political candidates) in general. The upshot of this is that the people being marketed can lose themselves in the process and begin to believe the hype. They have an "image" they now,sadly, have allowed themselves to become invested in and who they really are can become lost in the process.

What am I worth to myself? What am I worth to others? I consider myself very valuable to me. This is mostly because I'm heavily invested in myself. This is an arrangement that I can't back out of, like it or not, this is who I am, so I might as well make the best of it. But because of my biased perspective, I cannot really be the one to decide what my self worth is. For that, I have to rely on others. Now, I'm sure Rinda will ardently disagree with me on this one, but I think it makes sense. Otherwise I'm just full of myself (which may be the case regardless of what anyone thinks).

And, as you very well know, you are worth a great deal to me. But, what if I and everyone else thought you were an idiot, would that make you an idiot (and this is pretty global)? Would you be an idiot in all circumstances at all times?
Frankly, in my 65 years I feel fairly certain that at some point I've acted like an idiot (admittedly I can't recall any examples), and I'm equally certain that there have been people who thought, and may still think (if they think of me at all) that I am and forever will be an idiot. Does that define me? Not if I don't let it.
I'm not saying don't take others opinions into account. We'd never learn anything if we didn't. I am saying "Don't let anyone but you define you." You're either driven from within or driven from without. You can't have it both ways.

the best thing we can do to build our self worth is to surround ourselves with people who value our company and whose company we value.

This may help but its hard to find those people, and they aren't static (they change and grow in a different direction ... or maybe they don't know who they are either so you're serendipitously thrown together and no one knows themselves and maybe not one another either.)

Forget all the lies they tell us about who/what we should and should not be. It's all a bunch of hype to get you to feel bad about yourself so you'll buy their goods and services. It's a mess.
Right on!!
As far a beauty goes, I agree when you said "...people who are true to themselves cannot help but be beautiful" (and clarify) "to those capable of appreciating that beauty." Did you ever see the movie "Shallow Hal"? And then there is OUTER (surface) and INNER (substance) beauty. Give me substance every time!! But, in your case, I rather like the surface as well.
Nathaniel
user 10963465
Group Organizer
Mesquite, TX
Post #: 171
I certainly don't want to make it seem like I think people are products, or things to be possessed/sold. It's just easier to use economic terms. Simply put, value is created by demand. It is that demand that gives us our sense of worth. We have been taught to believe that this means physical desirability, and sure, that's one aspect of it, but it certainly isn't the whole picture. There are so many more ways that human beings can connect, which is what we're really looking for, than based purely on physical appearance.

If everyone thought I was an idiot, and I did not, then perhaps I should either consider the very real possibility that I'm an idiot or else figure out how to better present myself so that I don't come across that way. In my own personal philosophy, I must learn to accept both worlds; one where I am an idiot and one where I am not. It is only from that state of acceptance that I can properly evaluate whether or not I am an idiot and what I should do about the fact that everyone sees me as one... or even if I should do anything at all.

I'm glad to hear that I'm at least easy on the eyes. It's taken me a LONG time to be able to realize this. I guess men have issues with self-image as well. I can't say that it's the same because I've never experienced it from the other side (and it could be argued that I'm am far from typical), but I can at least say that it does happen. It's odd. At some point I guess I just got it in my head that I was ugly and after that I just took it for granted as truth. I never even considered the possibility that ANYONE would be attracted to me and perhaps it was because I could not see it in myself. It actually took a few instances of jamias vu (the rarer opposite of deja vu) while looking in the mirror before I realized that my self-image was terribly warped and that I was not as unattractive as I always felt I was. Couple that with finally having close enough friends to compliment me in ways that didn't make me think they had ulterior motives and I've been able to slowly nurture a positive self image. Still, it's only been in these last few years that this has happened.

All of that brings up an interesting point. Even if our best bet is to find people who value us for who we are and whom we value as well, we must FIRST recognize our own value. Basically, if I want to hang out with people who would value my company, I've got to know what my desirable qualities are. Because there are certain qualities and types of people whose company I value, it would make sense that I would value similar, complimentary and/or reinforcing qualities in myself... and it usually follows that those people would place similar value in those qualities in me. If I don't have such qualities, then I have two choices, develop those qualities (which makes sense because I think they're awesome and worth having) or else reevaluate why it is that I value these qualities and/or types of people. Even without giving much thought to it, adopting the mantra "I don't want to be friends with anyone who doesn't want to be my friend" works well enough for my tastes.

The fun part is that this applies to appearance as well. The media has it all wrong. Have you ever seen the magazines that say on their cover "50 secret techniques that will drive a man wild" or "10 outfits that will have him begging for more"... well if any of them had anything worth saying then they wouldn't be saying them all the time... and they wouldn't always be changing. It would be said once and then that would be it. The cat would be out of the bag and everyone would know what things to do or wear that would guarantee that you get the guy. They make it seem like there's a one-size-fits-all (and I chose that wording partially on purpose) solution to attraction. This is simply not the case. Just like any other trait you ask yourself what you've got and what you like about what you've got and then you put yourself around those who value those traits. I know guys who like really big girls, I know guys that like their girls to look like prepubescent boys. I know girls who like their men tall and lanky, I know girls who like their men big and broad. It's all over the place really. People don't all have the same tastes, once again, think about the pizza problem. And it applies to practically every trait you could imagine, physical or otherwise.

The only universally attractive traits seem to be as follows:
Honesty. This one's easy, radical honesty is tough, general honesty isn't so tough. As long as people know you as someone they can trust, then you've got this one taken care of.
A sense of humor. Once again, easy. Just don't take things too terribly seriously and realize that it's okay to laugh. At the very least, laughter is more fun than the alternatives and I highly recommend it.
Confidence. This one's easier said than done, but if you follow the mantra "if you've got it, own it" then confidence flows naturally from it. And by this I mean that we should recognize our positive and negative traits and play them up. For example, I don't like being thin, I consider this a flaw of mine... but I own this trait and even wear clothing which accentuates it. Why? Because I AM THIN and otherwise I'm deceiving those who would also see it as a negative trait while hiding from those who would see it as a positive. Sure, there will be haters who will look at me and judge me in a negative light based on my appearance... but I don't want anything to do with those people anyway, so their opinions of me don't matter in the least. Why should I hide from those who might think I'm awesome just so that placate those who wouldn't even like me anyway?

Men and women seem to find these traits attractive in each other pretty much across the board so they're always safe bets. Most people are already honest and most people have at least some sense of humor. Confidence is in a bit of a short supply but it also comes in degrees so it doesn't have to be an on/off sort of thing. The best part of all of that is that these three qualities generally make us happier people. They're good pursuits in and of themselves.

If you liked that little quote of mine, you might like this one:
If someone doesn't see you as beautiful, it doesn't necessarily mean that you're not. It could be that they simply do not see you.

Ha, I just realized that I did the "guy thing" and tried to solve the problem instead of the "girl thing" and provide emotional validation... Not to mention that I'm hogging the discussion when the topic is clearly about the experience from the other side of the gender fence. I'm curious to know what others thoughts might be.
Rinda G.
user 7444310
Dallas, TX
Post #: 133
I certainly don't want to make it seem like I think people are products, or things to be possessed/sold. It's just easier to use economic terms.

Of course not. I know you better than that.
If you liked that little quote of mine, you might like this one:
If someone doesn't see you as beautiful, it doesn't necessarily mean that you're not. It could be that they simply do not see you.

Love it! I'd only change slightly ...
If someone doesn't see you as beautiful, it doesn't necessarily mean that you're not. It could be that they don't possess within themselves the qualities to recognize beauty when they see it.
If someone doesn't see you as beautiful, maybe they have the wrong definition of beautiful.
Ha, I just realized that I did the "guy thing" and tried to solve the problem instead of the "girl thing" and provide emotional validation... Not to mention that I'm hogging the discussion when the topic is clearly about the experience from the other side of the gender fence. I'm curious to know what others thoughts might be.

Unless I really don't know myself at all, last time I checked I'm still physically a female; however, I'm constantly doing the "guy thing". I'd rather attempt to solve a problem than commiserate. Females have been getting a bad rap for too long, and I've known some guys that were pretty darn good at emotional validation. So, maybe the "guy thing" and the "girl thing" are just a bunch of hooey. Ooooh, do I ever see the makings of some interesting Meetups in this conversation.
Sherrina
Sherrina
Dallas, TX
Post #: 3
Speaking as a woman who is not seen as the typical attractive female in today's world, I can definitely say it's rough. I'm constantly inundated by the media on how to lose weight, how to get rid of "excess" body hair, how to have the perfect hair, nails, skin, and lips. How to become part of the homogenized mess of the female population.

For giggles: Fotoshop by Adobe

Yes, it's a spoof, but it may as well be reality. As a teenager I put myself into some very unhealthy conditions trying to meet that ideal of beauty shown in the magazines. I ignored that my body was in no way ever going to be a size 2, my skin would always be freckled and my eyes would always be hazel. I was doing what every other teenage girl around me was doing. Instead of focusing on what was important, I was obsessed with looking just like that model in the magazine. It wasn't until recently that I've been able to start to let go with my paranoia of how other people view me.

Now I'm a bit healthier in the mental department when it comes to my outward appearance, but it's a daily struggle. I am most confident when I dress up in one of my costumes for Renaissance or SCA or Steampunk groupings. But then, I'm acting out a role, I'm no longer me.

How many of us are acting a role instead of being true to who we are? Instead of accepting ourselves as we are? I have met very few people who are comfortable in their own skins, regardless of age, size or color. Those people are my role models. They are who should be in the magazines inspiring others to confidence and honesty.

Rinda G.
user 7444310
Dallas, TX
Post #: 134
Wow! As I read Sherrina’s early account of her teenage years, I recall how lucky I was and how different I might be had I not had a family accepting of me.

As a teenager, I can’t recall ever thinking of myself as “beautiful”; nor did I think of myself as “ugly”. I was actually skinny, and I had NO BOOBS. My joke has been and will continue to be, “With regard to my little boobies, when they were passing out attributes prior to my birth, I was in the brains line.” Yet, I did enter a number of beauty contests which tells me I had to have placed some importance on physical “beauty”. I won one, was 2nd or 3rd runner-up for others, and was 1 of 8 elected “university beauties”. How did I respond to the latter? In typical smart-ass fashion I stopped wearing make-up and didn’t show up for the group picture.

So what did all this say about me? In the early1600s, Paul Rubens saw beauty quite differently than it is portrayed today. He would never have picked me as a subject. The term Rubenesque describes the female beauty he saw. Rubenesque
In an alternate reality, with different judges who can say whether I’d have won or been last? I only know what happened with one set of judges. But, what if I'd lost every contest? What if noone judged me as "most beautiful"?

As a young adult one of my very best friends was definitely overweight. She, like another dear friend, found, married, and is still married to a guy who adores her. Despite my “beauty???” I’ve not found that, yet my two “fat???” friends did. Hey, someone, please get me three banana splits and a loaded baked potato.

If you ask me today whether I see myself as physically beautiful, I have to say “No, not by my personal standard.” Thank Sam, this doesn’t bother me or I might never show up at another MeetUp.

I choose my friends because I like their character and I believe they do the same with me. If I thought eye candy was important I’d stare at celebrity TV, magazines & websites all day and tell my friends who don’t and will most likely never match up … to get lost. tongue

One of the most iconic people in this century didn't like himself. He never saw himself as attactive enough. He kept trying to change his appearance to the point that, in my opinion, he looked grotesque. Even though millions of people idolized him he was a sad character and never seemed to be happy in his own skin. Guess Who?
The question is "What happened?" Despite all the adoration, he died young and made a ton of poor choices along the way. How much did he allow the media or other people to define him? Was he ever himself or was he always acting a role?
Nathaniel
user 10963465
Group Organizer
Mesquite, TX
Post #: 172
Here's another video worth watching that I found on the subject.

I had to go to art school to REALLY be able to feel like I know what beauty is. Even though I'm not sure I could describe it in words, I see it everywhere. Yes, I even see it in these poor starved girls... but we're led to believe that is the only place where beauty resides, which is patently false. Beauty is everywhere, but we're programmed not to see it. We become blind to it because it IS everywhere and we simply stop noticing. If we just stop and LOOK, I mean really look, then sometimes we can see things with fresh eyes.
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