Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I will no longer be an Iron Maiden.

What thoughts does the term Iron Maiden raise in your mind? A torture device? Pain? Struggle? Hopelessness? All of the above?

That's what women are being subjected to by the media. Yes, it sounds oh so very feminist, but it's true. So many women today hate their bodies because of the images that they see on TV, in magazines, in movies. It's ridiculous. I know that, growing up, I hated my body. Everything about it needed to be changed. I had thighs that were too big, my nose was too crooked, one of my eyes was bigger than the other one, my breasts were too small, the zit on my forehead was visible from space and would ultimately banish me forever. The list goes on and on. I had fallen to what advertisements that had been airbrushed and "prettied up" were telling me was wrong with myself. I had non-existant self-esteem going into high school and never found any until at least my sophomore year when I realized that not everyone was this perfect beauty that the media was shoving down our throats. Looking back at it now, I'm so disgusted by what I thought of myself back then. I thought I had fat on me. Today, I weigh around 96 pounds. I've never reached 100 in my life. AND I THOUGHT I WAS FAT! I bought into the lie that I'm not supposed to have even one percent of fat count on my body. This was the ideal of beauty. 

But it's garbage.

That was my personal experience with the media, but women and young girls aren't the only ones subjected to this type of thing. Men are, also. They have to be handsome, charming, rich, popular, smart, and well-bred in order to be deemed successful in today's culture. They have to leap through hoops because that's what they think will get them a girl that's also the culture norm. 

In all, the essay "The Iron Maiden:  How Advertising Portrays Women", hit this nail on the head and drove it home in one fell swoop. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not going to go burn all of my clothes, makeup, and hair supplies then don a burlap sack. I like those things. The idea that this essay is trying to get people to understand is that these things should not be what cause our self-worth. Men shouldn't feel that they need a six pack and a six digit salary to get a woman, and women shouldn't feel that they need the drop-dead gorgeous body of a model and great hair to get a man. The amount of clothes we own, the amount of makeup we wear, the way we style our hair; all of this should be done because we want to better ourselves or have fun, not because we feel that these things are what make us. 

What I know, is that I will no longer be an Iron Maiden to fit myself into a society whose ads are built on lies.

The Beloved French Thespian Girl (a.k.a. Ielense)

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