And they lived happily ever after

I ran from zombies the other day.  That and why I have chosen Tyson as my fitness guru were going to be the topics of this post but I think I will save them for the next one.  Something else has caught my attention.

I stumbled across something written by John Berger in 1972.  He and some others put together essays about looking at art in a book called Ways of Seeing.  I haven’t actually read the book so I can’t put the quote into context of the essay.  I don’t know what painting he is discussing or if he is talking about a certain painting at all.  But when I saw a picture of the page with this quote highlighted, on my college’s website of all places, I knew I had to share it.  (Please don’t take it personally Tyson)

“Men look at women.  Women watch themselves being looked at.  This determines not only most relations between men and women but also the relation of women to themselves.  The surveyor of women in herself is male: the surveyed female.  Thus she turns herself into an object.  And most particularly an object of vision: a sight.”

I’ve been thinking about why I view myself the way I do.  Why I have always felt this pressure to change.  It didn’t come out of no where.  Sure I was influenced by T.V. and magazines.  And of course I compared myself to my gorgeous mother and aunt who, despite being beautiful and models at one point in each of their lives, still seemed to struggle with their own insecurities.  I always thought, if they weren’t happy with the way they are, what chance did I have?  I still remember a friend of mine, while I was in high school, standing in my kitchen and saying, “Thea!  The women in your family are so beautiful!  Maybe you just need to grow into it.”

My Aunt Tanya helped me move into my dorm freshmen year of college and with her youthful slimness, big smile and perfectly matched outfit and accessories, everyone thought she was the college student.  She’s only 13 years older but still… my roommate was very relieved it was just me she was going to live with.

She’s even thinner now.

Last time I was at her house, I sat in her kitchen and cried as I ate the cheesecake she gave me for dessert.  I knew I was never going to look like her, or my mother for that matter.  And I am so tired of being ugly.

She has never talked to me about that.

Anyway, despite all that, I think that what really cemented it in was Disney.  Or perhaps I should say fairy tales in general.  The ones where the prince fell in love with her from across the room because of her astounding beauty.  Her long shiny hair, slim figure and startling blue eyes instantly made her worth loving.  And that is how a woman earns her happy ending.  Whether it’s in a song, a movie or a book, the best thing to be is beautiful.  And a requirement for being beautiful is being a small thing that he can whisk away.

It’s painful being the one beside the beautiful girl, watching all the guys look at her and ignore you.

I guess it’s kind of funny since I have my love.  But there is still a part of me that questions if I am worthy of that love, if I have truly earned my happy ending.  How can I expect Matt to always love me when I am having such a hard time loving myself?

I think that’s as far as I can go today.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kat
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 22:42:33

    I feel the same about the Disney thing. If you “average it out”, to be beautiful you are also white, with blonde hair and blue eyes. You must be able to sing, and you might be clever, but no man will measure you by your wit, your talents, or your intellect. But don’t you forget, girls, that the only men worth having are also handsome, fit men of means, rarely men of much more character than “brave”. What a terrible message to be sending children.

    Reply

  2. theanifty
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 23:21:12

    Agreed. I hope my children grow up to learn there is more to relationships besides physical attraction. I myself keep forgetting that even the most beautiful women in the world get cheated on and divorced.

    And I would also like to take the time to say Hooray to my first comment received that is not spam! Thank you for taking the time to read it Kat!

    Reply

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