control of our own bodies is freedom

For centuries we have had an onslaught of attacks on our bodies.
Bodies were considered evil because they would succumb to “earthly temptations”. Instincts like the sex drive and actions like masturbation and pre-marital sex were maligned, condemned and connected with much shame and guilt.
When this body manipulation did not work as well anymore because of loosening religious affiliations, other methods of controlling our bodies, which meant primarily controlling women’s bodies, had to be found.
When the birth control pills and legal abortion became available, the backlash kicked in with a vengeance.
But it started much earlier.
After the Victorian age women were told through various channels and magazines that the ideal female body should be a thin body, almost boyish in shape.
In the United States big breasts were added as a desired look.
Over time women were to became thinner and thinner to the point where eating disorders arose as a way to conform to this naturally unattainable body type.
This body type does not conform to the majority of female bodies. From that, female self-loathing has been successfully created in our minds that hobbles even the strongest women. From the size of the hips, the chest and butt to the form of the nose and the color of the skin and hair we women are taught from an early age that we don’t live up to the female beauty standard.
We are never good enough.
A multi-billion-dollar beauty product and diet industry has been built around selling women the dream of finally being beautiful and desirable enough so that we can find love and acceptance.
This beauty ideal is not achievable for the majority of women, but not for lack of trying. There is never-ending self-criticism and external disapproval surrounding a woman’s body.
And parallel to this female manipulation, men were taught what the ideal woman is supposed to look like to be an acceptable mate.
This made trophy wives out of a small group of women who could approximate the beauty ideal of trophy wives.
The expectation is for them to keep up their appearances in order to maintain their status.
These are the women who often get the rich husbands. They are shown in the media as the female ideal which reinforces the impossible beauty standard.
Blond, tall and thin is the beauty standard, with some minor variations, but always the same type woman.
Just look at the magazines at the grocery check-out line.
The women on all the magazine covers could almost be one
and the same.
Among the regular people, body size is used to keep women, and men to a point, insecure and humble.
Body size is held as a measure of attractiveness and bigger women are supposed to be grateful if a man will accept them.
The pain and anguish many women suffer because of these cruel manipulations to keep control of women is causing heartaches for women, and for men.
Women who have to live under the yoke of ‘not good enough or not pretty enough’ can not be completely themselves and they can not develop to their highest potential.
This is not only a loss in interpersonal relationships but also a
loss for our society that needs all of us to contribute for the
good of us all.
And heaven knows, we need women’s contribution to infuse some new ideas and solutions into the messes that are happening all over the world.

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