There are so many issues that I have with society today, and I never noticed until I gave birth, started battling Post Partum Depression, and quickly became what the media and general public would deem “unattractive”. My whole life up until pregnancy, I was a thin attractive blonde. My life wasn’t great, but it was good; I had body image issues then, but not as bad. Only until 4 months after my child have I realized that I may never get back to what I used to look like; and while most people say that’s normal and okay, everywhere I turn has me questioning, “is it?”
New mothers have so much to worry about; there’s the life adjustment, the never ending unsolicited advice form others, a brand new person to get to know, the post partum care, and oh yeah the fact that you just had another human come out of your body one way or the other. I remember during my pregnancy wanting to exclusively breastfeed so badly. Today, the media for mothers always says “breast is best” but then if you need to use formula, they will say, “..well, fed is best.” I want to know which one it is because after giving birth with no family around, healing from a third degree tear, cracked and bleeding nipples and 5 visits from lactation consultants, I had to give up exclusively breastfeeding. Eventually, I gave it up all together after struggling and crying for 6 weeks which seemed like an eternity for me. I thought it would be a relief but it was the complete opposite. As I fed my daughter her first bottle of formula, I cried. I believed I was feeding her poison and felt like I was not worthy of being a mother. My daughter’s pediatrician was disappointed in me, my fiance wished I pumped more, and of course I felt like the biggest failure in the world on top of my post partum depression and already feeling terribly guilty and ashamed.
But why does it need to be like that? Why can’t we support all mothers and how they feed their children? Of course, people will say that they do, but we all know damn well how much breastfeeding is pushed and pushed and no one ever mentions formula as an option like it’s the worst thing in the world. Can we stop pushing breastfeeding so much? For some infants and mothers it just doesn’t work out, and the constant push makes most feel like failures as mothers straight out of the gate.
The beauty industry gains a lot from convincing us that we’re too fat, or too flat chested, or we don’t have clear enough skin – anything to say we’re not good enough so we need to buy something to improve our appearance.
Though anyone can wear makeup, regardless of gender, most of these products are marketed to women. And women get very strong messages that our value depends deeply on our attractiveness.
On another note about society, I never noticed until I gained 70LBs from pregnancy how in every single advertisement, movie, TV show, and even looking at bartenders how all women are showcased as skinny, with perfect skin, no stretch marks, no cellulite, huge breasts, perky butts….what is going on? I can’t imagine how we let media market this to us as beauty when in reality women RARELY look this way. If it was natural for women to look that way, then it wouldn’t take so much work, dieting, and even surgery to do so. It worries me so much because of how it has complete control of me right now, how I feel like I’m worthless because I don’t have my old body back, and how I feel ridiculous wearing lingerie for my fiance when I look nothing like model he’s seen it on. I feel like I can’t even wear a bathing suit because people will just be staring at my cellulite and my new, deep red stretch marks. But WHY? Isn’t this normal? Don’t all women have these imperfections? Why do we need to photoshop images to change what is natural? It’s not fair to women to have to constantly be bombarded with the message that they are not beautiful or worthy because of how they are naturally made. The whole thing is more fucked up the more I think about it.
The spectacle of advertising creates images of false beauty so suave and so impossible to attain, that you will hurt inside and never even know where the hurt comes from.
It scares me because I have a baby girl and she is perfect to me. By the age of 5, children already have in their heads what the ideal female body looks like based on media. I’m terrified because I never want her to feel how I feel, I never want her to feel unworthy of life based on her looks. I need to break this cycle of having women who talk down about themselves around me affect how I see myself. I need to not do this so that my daughter doesn’t do it. It’s hard. It’s really REALLY hard when it’s all I see everywhere I turn. But I’m trying, and that’s what counts right?
Here is an article from 2013 showcasing how asinine our society is.
And here is a beautiful woman trying to change the media and how girls & women feel.