When my eldest daughter, now in her twenties, was in High School, she was friends with a beautiful girl, perfect in any possible way, who would invariably ask her to give her some of the lunch I had given my daughter to school. I realised that my child was not eating well and asked her if she was eating properly or if there was something she didn’t like about her lunch. My daughter confessed, not without some pressure from my side, that she had been sharing lunch with her friend, who was on constant fasting of -hang on in there-, green leaves and yoghurt. The poor rich, intelligent and beautiful girl was trying to meet her beautiful imperious mother’s expectations of a perfect daughter, while she was craving some real homecooked food. It must be said that her mother was herself subject to pressure, thanks to her charmer of a husband whom she was trying to keep by her side while he was flirting around the country “on business”. But that is, dear reader, how misery and stereotypes are cultivated and passed on.
The impossibly thin and illusionary perfect photoshopped bodies and faces of women across the catwalks and the glossy magazine spreads have created generations of unsatisfied, neurotic women, stressing about their image. They have equally educated men to search and demand the impossibly perfect lingerie catalogue female body experience.
According to dosomething.org a youth organisation centred on gender equality and women’s issues, “approximately 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies and resort to dieting to achieve their ideal body shape. Only 5% of women naturally possess the body type often portrayed by Americans in the media”, plus, “58% of college-aged girls feel pressured to be a certain weight” and “people who are unhappy with their bodies and don’t seek healthy nutrition information may develop eating disorders. “Eating disorders” are unhealthy relationships with food that may include fasting, constant dieting, or binging and purging”.
As the mother of two adult girls, I know that there is pressure from the environment and I’m glad to see that their generation may lead a more balanced life.
When Alexandra Shulman, writer, commentator and former Editor of British Vogue and Mail on Sunday columnist, posted on her Instagram account the following photo
I began thinking that we may be on to a substantial breakthrough for women. This was not one more account of brave plus-sized women like myself who were going past their inhibitions to show their bodies on Instagram. It was as close to an endorsement as we ever got to real-life revolution, with the seal of a Vogue editor.
As I looked through the photos, I could almost feel the softness of the fabric, hugging the body where we women want it to, the wireless cups, the feminine lines in best-supporting actress role to beautiful and real women,
In turn, those images of real women with their lovely rounded tummies and stomachs brought in mind Classical Greek statues of not “just” mortal women, but Ancient Greek goddesses, who are depictions of female perfection, what we call “classical beauty”.
Think of Aphrodite of Milo and you’ll see a woman with real flesh, who is so certain of her femininity, her presence and her identity that stands alone on her pedestal and conquers the room.
This is feminine power.
I have been working since spring on a project about women, their dreams and what they have to put up with and against, and what needs to be done to overcome it. Much is being revealed to me through women who are participating in it, and much came as a surprise.
I posted about it on my Instagram account wondering
What will it take for us women to embrace who we really are?
What kind of support do we need the fashion industry of impossible size 0 to give real women to empower them to be their true best?
What can the press and journalists do to help bring about the change we women long to see?
I believe that these times of crisis will bring about the turn towards truth and our real essence and will free us from the constraints of a male-dominated society, catering for male eye consumption.
It is up to us to bring forth the change by finding companies, joining organisations and speaking up about what we trully need.
Most of all, offering support women to women, to help reach our goals and promote humanity. This is not about women, it is about the path mankind will take towards a more humane; true and solidary society.