Post Classifieds

Insecurity of looks is caused by own perception

By Robert Barry
On September 25, 2003

There has been much heated talk lately circulating around the topic of just who is to blame for the great problem of female insecurity. It has been alleged that women can't help but feel lousy about their appearance if they don't quite fit into society's mold for them. It has also been alleged that there is some sort of grandiose marketing scheme aimed to keep women down to much the same effect. And for the sake of proper discourse, I'll even admit the rather base third argument that women are to blame, because they "pig out at dining halls" and that "running for an hour a day at the gym wouldn't kill them." So then, which of these views, if any, is the correct one?First, I'd like to address the latter of the statements. Many people believe that a thin Barbie-doll girl, with bleached blonde hair and a plastic coating of makeup is ideal and what every girl should aspire to. I have even seen, in some of the more troglodyte-like males, a tendency to harbor actual resentment toward females that aren't formed from the same cookie cutter responsible for popular magazine covers. Statements like "She's got a nice body, but she needs to work on her face" (a statement I've overheard recently), show that many men seem to believe one can purchase their flesh and bone structure the same as one's shoes. The main problem with this belief, if you can't guess already, is that people are all born differently. As long as no two DNA codes are alike, there can be no codified "normal" way of looking. As long as there is no such thing as a "normal" way of looking, those who try to characterize themselves with that word are striving toward an impossible goal. My condolences to all of you birds out there who are trying to learn to swim, but your goal may as well be at the end of a mobius strip and comes at the cost of your character. If faceless sex partners and bacchanalian blackouts are amongst your primary goals in life, then by all means don't let me change your mind. But if you are a person of real character, you must see the fallacy of the above argument.Next, we'll have a look at the alleged problem of advertising. Well, I will not be the last to admit their motives are nothing short of questionable. After all, how often does one see a plus-sized girl on the cover of YM or The Cosmopolitan (without a caption like "How to Avoid....")? It's pitiful, it's degrading and boy does it sell. That's the key concept in understanding the fallacy in this argument: the almighty dollar. Advertising couldn't give half a darn how your day was except if some part of it included purchasing their product. So one might then wonder, what sort of idea will sell, and sell and never stop selling? It's pretty simple: an impossible goal (known alternately as "being normal" and "being perfect"). Each day many women flock to news stands to purchase magazines that support the problem, thinking that maybe this will be the magazine containing that grail of a secret to "getting the perfect guy" that will actually work. Maybe this issue will depict a secret, alluring way too goop up their face that last month's issue accidentally excluded.These beliefs in such nonexistent concepts as perfection and normalcy cause many people to stop at nothing in their quest to attain them. When advertising tells these people they know how to win the war between "sinful" double chocolate moose cake and tight 8-minute abs, believe you me their answers are misleading clichés at best. Yet, people still jump right on that bandwagon then start pointing fingers when their dreams go unfulfilled. What I would most like to stress here is that while advertising is exploiting your insecurities, said insecurities must exist before they can be turned into profit. The point of advertising is to spend the least and gain the most. It would certainly be much more costly, and risky, to install some new insecurity in the masses than to find an existing one and exploit that. Advertisers are doing their best to preserve the spirit of dog eat cake capitalism and while their aims may be less than moral, they are not designed specifically to harm their demographics.So then, does all this mean that the problem is society in general? Many will tell you that the masses are simply too demanding of their women and many more will agree. They will say that there is little one can do to change everyone's mind and that skinny and busty is simply the law of the land.I saved this argument for last because it is a very dangerous line of thinking. When people get into the habit of blaming society, then society turns into the only solution. This, in turn makes people feel helpless and victimized because, while they know the solution, they are powerless to influence it. To quote writer Tom Robbins, "There's a tendency today to absolve individuals of moral responsibility and treat them as victims of social circumstance. You buy that; you pay the price with your soul. It's not men who limit women, it's not straights who limit gays, it's not whites who limit blacks. What limits people is lack of character. What limits people is that they don't have the [expletive] nerve or imagination to star in their own movie, let alone direct it."The problem is not advertisers, womens' eating habits or society. The problem, my friends, is you. If you feel insecure about your looks, it's probably because you're comparing yourself to someone else, so stop. In your world you are the sun and the moon. Your existence revolves around you and you it. If your friends don't respect you for yourself and think you should conform to their image of "normal" or "perfect" then your only problem is your choice in companions, so change it. If you hold the opposite sex to standards they simply will not be able to fill, you are part of the problem as well. I can safely say that the "perfect guy" does not exist. We all have flaws, we all have perks and we are all beautiful if seen in the right light. The key is finding a person you think is good for you, and if they really don't like you for whatever reason, they are clearly not that. Oh, and when you do find that person, don't sit there expectantly, hoping they will establish first contact. Either go for it or forever hold your tub of Ben & Jerry's. It may be easy to point fingers and drift through life thinking yourself the victim but honestly, it'll just turn you into a mindless drone with no personality. The trick is not to avoid the blame. One should embrace it, rise above it and learn from it. To deny yourself blame is to accept ignorance. So remember, when life hands you lemons, it's because you drove to the wrong farm.

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