Oh, I'll Just Have the Salad…

     Historically, an unjust focus on appearance 
has been a major factor in defining how women are 
viewed by society. To many, if a female’s thigh 
does not have the same circumference as her arm, 
it is easy to write her off as “lazy” — not strict 
with her diet or exercise regimen, and uncaring 
about the fact that most people will judge her 
based on the way she looks.
     In contemporary society we are fortunate 
enough to have strong, assertive and outgoing 
women who are proudly putting themselves out 
into the world as such. These women are raising 
awareness that their fellow females should be 
focusing on their inner strength and confidence, 
not attempting to starve themselves to look like 
the impossibly photo-shopped bodies seen in 
magazines. Demi Lovato, Beyoncé, Ke$ha and Adele 
are all vocal advocates of this truth, and try to 
help younger generations of women understand that 
they are more than their bodies. That it is 
actually more than okay to order what you really 
want when on a date. That it is okay to get up 
and leave if you are judged for ordering a dish 
that is not full of greens. (Not that there is 
anything wrong with having a salad. I personally 
think salads are delicious.) And also that we 
must remember that our body belongs to no one but 
us. Everything we put in it is our choice, and 
those who judge our decisions are not even worth a 
moment of our time.
     I believe this unfair stigma directed towards 
women is not only true with size, but also with 
skin color. In Malala Yousafzai‘s memoir I Am Malala, 
she writes about how she and her friends used to use 
“skin lightening cream” because they too wanted to 
look like the girls they saw in magazines. I was 
recently at a party celebrating one of my Indian 
friend’s birthday and was shocked when she and her 
cousin began to joke about all of the cream’s they 
had tried out, and their parents had given them, when 
they were younger. Similarly for me, with an Italian, 
Polish and Slovak background, get excited to lie out 
and tan each summer, loving the way I look with this 
earned golden glow.
     Why do we think in this twisted way? Why do we 
genuinely believe that altering a part of our 
appearance will make us truly beautiful and irresistibly 
desirable? In a HuffPost article, male feminist 
Harris O’Malley says: "Labeling women as crazy, ugly, 
fat, slutty or bitchy is a way of controlling them. It 
may not be planned or pre-meditated, but the ease with
which men call women any of these adjectives says a lot
about them. Defining a woman by any of these words is a 
quick and easy shut-down to any discussion."
     I applauded this article, shared it with others in 
the office and retweeted it. I can imagine strong women 
such as Sheryl Sandberg and Arianna Huffington giving 
Harris O’Malley and HuffPost (well Arianna is the founder 
after all!) snaps for bringing awareness to such a 
negatively influential expectation that society holds, 
and has always held, over women.
     Personally, I believe that if a woman has a strong 
and beautiful mind, she is more attractive than anyone 
who has been photoshopped and stuck in a magazine. For 
these women, these real women, have the initiative to take 
risks, to be different from others, to speak their mind 
and to value themselves and their opinions. These are the 
women that I look up to. That I try to emulate. These are 
the women that society needs more of.

stay classy! xx