Interesting times abound in the Diary of Secrets at the moment.
There’s no doubt that the time has come to take a deeper look at life and what makes us who we are. Don’t get me wrong, there is still plenty going on with depression and anxiety – that won’t stop.
However, as I’ve pondered the increasing demand for pornography and the current trend of young women to pornify their bodies using mutative surgical procedures, I’ve begun to wonder whether we’ve made any advances in the gender respect skirmish.
It has come as an increasing awareness to me that women are falling out of love with their own body in preference for a digitally enhanced and sometimes mutilated example of western womanhood.
That’s not to say that women (and men) have never had a desire for something other than what their parents created for them. I can’t count the number of perms my hair has endured in an attempt to get that full wavy hair effect. And I’m sure that had I not been the recipient of my mother’s generous bosom gene, I would possibly have sought a little enhancement from the miracle that is the ‘wonder bra’!
It’s true that I’ve had an ‘abdominoplasty’. A cosmetic surgical procedure that removes an ‘apron’ of skin from the tummy area. A condition often experienced by women after childbirth when the stretched skin of the stomach area cannot retract. I was blessed by the delivery of healthy babies that weighed in at 11pound 8ounces and 10pound 14ounces respectively. Consequently, my stomach muscles had been ripped apart and the skin stretched beyond it’s capacity. I undertook the surgery to excise the dissatisfaction I had with my post baby look.
However, it seems recently that women are so grossly ‘uneducated’ about their body that they’re allowing carefully and artistically crafted images to provide a basis upon which they measure beauty. In a time when pornography was kept hidden from women, there were few opportunities to compare her genitalia to others. The obvious consequence of this is that ‘normal’ was what you had.
Now, for a generation of women who’s mothers held firm beliefs of equality and female empowerment, there seems to be an increasing trend toward self-hatred based on male sexual needs. That is, we’re submitting to male dominated expectations of what we look like ‘down there’ and further, what type of sexual activity we’ll (unwillingly or not) be expected to participate in. It seems, women (and men) are now using pornography as their bedroom instruction manual.
Before we get too carried away with other social issues such as gay marriage, we have to ask the question about the western trend towards the belittling of women, violence against women, and sexual objectification of women. These are the tools of the burgeoning porn industry that are taking hold of young women who are mutilating themselves in order to be acceptable to their male partners.
Whilst we abhor the activity of genital mutilation in other cultures, we fail to see the problem as it exists in our own back yard. While clearly adult genital mutilation and child genital mutilation are different subjects, mutilation exists in any culture that sees ‘sexual beauty’ in a way that nature does not. Just because we have access to clinically sterile and anesthetised procedures, does not mean we are unaccountable.
If you’ve seen any amount of porn (I have), it’s hard to miss the wholesale degrading disrespect of women. And whilst the word misogyny (a hatred of women) is often used out of context, the reality is that if the behaviour fits… (if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…) it fits!
So why is it that we are not outraged by what’s happening to our young women (and men)? The porn industry does not exist to educate our young people on sex and sexuality. Like all industries it exists to make money from the products and services it provides. Like all businesses, they advertise to create the perception of need and makes sales.
Sadly, we’re allowing it (the porn industry) to determine the value we place upon ourselves and our uniqueness. We’re allowing a generation of women to see themselves as acceptable only if they meet the unrealistic expectations provided by people who have no interest in them or their wellbeing.
And why are we’re doing it? Because we haven’t even noticed…
From Waris Dirie: Because women and girls are not valued equally as human beings, they are treated as less than such. Female genital mutilation is one example of this that has to be stopped.
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Deb Shugg is an awarded businesswoman, wife & mother, author and a sufferer of depression and anxiety.
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(Abuse of another person is NEVER okay. If you are being abused or, if you are an abuser please seek help.)