Women, men, children...we are all human. We all have our own distinct characteristics and flaws. Yet women are conditioned to constantly scrutinize themselves and other women. We see flaws nobody else would notice, and try to hide them, or we fret over them silently. Women spend millions on cosmetics, clothes and an increasing amount now on cosmetic surgery. We are now allowed to be sold the idea that we should go under the knife, at the risk of our life, to change our natural appearance!

It's not only money we spend, it's time: applying products, worrying about spots, reading about the latest 'look'. We are so pre-occupied with it all, is it any wonder so many of us are tired, stressed, depressed?

Not only do we isolate ourselves from a true freedom (that in which we can live our lives, seek our goals, in the actual comfort of our own skin), but we isolate ourselves from each other. We feel threatened by other 'beautiful' women, and we are programmed to immediately evaluate the threat whenever we meet another woman. How are we ever to rise up, together, and overcome the issues that hold women back when we are being pitted against each other on a daily basis?

I say all this, and know that some may not see it all as true, but scratch the surface: sure, not everyone has an eating disorder, or feels especially insecure...but look around, how many of us truly lives without any influence from those images and 'ideals' that surround us?

So, here's where maybe we can make a start. Women and men. Let us break the chains of this imagery by filling up our minds and hearts with the pictures and stories of women who are strong, powerful, inspirational for reasons other than being born in a particular body, or having spent money enhancing themselves.

And let us also use this space as a friendly place to discuss other ways in which to highlight the issues at hand, and spread the word.

Suggestions, comments, stories all welcome, as long as they are within what I concede to be a and fair and relevant vain.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Wishing to be bigger. Asking permission...and general ranting.

More and more I am wishing I could do something bigger, better, more influential.  The desire to fight the tide of negative body image, and thus inequality is, at times, almost too much to handle.  It feels good to be trying to do something, however small, but the reality is I want to grow.

Having been angry at advertisements and the media in general for over a decade it is always satisfying, and reassuring to hear others speaking along your lines.  One person, not female, that often ignites a real feeling of 'why not?' is Banksy; the graffitti artist.

One of his quotes from his book "Wall and Piece" says:

"Any advertisement in public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours.  It belongs to you.  It's yours to take, re-arrange and re-use.  Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head."

I love it!  Somewhere he writes a somewhat longer rant along the same lines.  When I first read it I felt like just shouting "YES!  At last!"  However, I kept my mouth shut as firmly as possible in respect of the eardrums of those around me.  But still, I was infused with joy and a drive to get my own back...Finally someone was talking sense.

There are so many ideas bubbling around inside my mind for ways to highlight the visual onslaught the media throws at us.  I just need a few things to put it into practice.  Like: stencils, posters, paint and....guts!

I have messed around with a few images I found on the internet, but am aware that posting them would be a copyright issue.  So what do I do?  I stumble around this little problem often, wondering if I can get people to re-enact certain poses and hire photographers to take the necessary photos.  Of course, that would take a lot of stuff I don't have, like contacts and money.  All the while Banksy's philosophy and his words flit around my mind.  Why do I have to get permission?  Who asked me whether they could force feed pornographic images into my mind on a daily basis?  What's that?  I have a choice?  I don't think so.  Believe me, I've tried. Being a reclusive, anti-social, bedroom-dweller doesn't bode well.  And how is that freedom anyway?

So, on a more hopeful note, I am asking for ideas from the likes of you lot.  If nothing else, for the moment, it would be great to get those creative juices flowing and spend some time creating posters, and other arty bits, that promote this cause.  The funnier, smarter the better.  We want them to be remembered.  How often do feminists get laughed at because of smart-arsed quips.  Let's show them we've got a sense of humour too!

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