Friday, June 7, 2013

Society's Unrealistic Portrayal of Women

This is an essay that i wrote in school: I wanted to share it here.

           You know that you’ve seen them. On television or in an advertisement, with their perfect lips, huge eyes, long necks, and radiant hair, they’re all that most girls want to be. Society has created a monster that overpowers all desire to be individual. This monster makes young, lovely girls starve themselves to mimic that it. It causes girls to be the victim of bullying because they don’t fit this pretty image. It educates generations on one specific way to look, instead of embracing differences and diversity. Yet this monster doesn’t exist. It is simply a warped vision of what is beautiful. This monster is an “attractive” woman. Society needs to portray women in a more realistic way, so that everyone might one day fit under the definition of “beautiful.”
           To start, lots of girls want to look like models. Unfortunately, most models have an eating disorder; as a result many of the girls that look up to them have an eating disorder too. Society lets girls starve just to mimic these disgustingly skinny people. You may be wondering what an eating disorder is.  Well, according to the medical dictionary of, an eating disorder is “a potentially life-threatening neurotic condition, such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia, usually seen in young women.” If you haven’t heard of it, anorexia is when young girls develop a distorted view of their body and starve themselves, sometimes to death. Bulimia is when they throw up or use laxatives after eating a large meal so that they don’t actually digest anything. These and many other disorders threaten the lives of young girls and women every day. Seven million women in America have an eating disorder. Only 30%-40% of anorexics will fully recover. That means that 60%-70% will deal with anorexia (once they develop it) for their entire lives. And these disorders don’t only affect the person, either. It affects the whole family and the person’s friends. An eating disorder will sometimes require excessive counseling and/or family counseling. Do you like eating dinner and having amicable conversations? Families with an anorexic or bulimic member will often have long conversations and fights over dinner and meals. It literally kills: 5%-10% of people die after 10 years of being anorexic and 18%-20% die after 20. 80% of thirteen year-olds have tried to lose weight. Got that? 13. They already have the stress of growing up and finding themselves. Society morphs young minds to model celebrities, even if it kills them. For example, almost ¾ of all female actresses in sitcoms are underweight. Take video games: The women there are portrayed as “gorgeous” and often dressed in revealing costumes. Their waists are about 5 inches wide. I find it disgusting that, even though producers, fashion designers, and advertisers know what they are doing, they continue to do it. Many girls starve themselves in the quest for what, in this society, is unreachable: being pretty.
              When you go to school, have you ever been called a “metal-mouth” because you have braces? A nerd, because you need to wear glasses? Maybe even a robot because you have a prosthetic. Why? Because everyone looks up to the small minority that is beautiful. The people who look like those girls on television. People are bullied because of their minor flaws. But people are prettier with them: it makes us unique, who we are. Who wants to look like a malnourished stick? Not me. For some reason, though, the young people of the world think that that thin, starving girl is the ultimate definition of beautiful. People don’t want braces or headgear or acne or glasses or any minor cosmetic flaw or corrector, because they feel that they won’t be liked or might get bullied. Do you have braces? 80% of adolescents do too. Why do people think that the 20% of people who don’t have them are “cool” or “attractive”? People shouldn’t be judged according to a standard. Do you think Lady Gaga is good-looking? When she was younger, she was bullied because she had a big nose. Now she’s a pop star! Who cares about the size of her nose? In England and Wales, girls between the ages of 15 and 22 were surveyed. 56% were abused physically or verbally, or cyber-bullied because of their weight, height, or hair color. 97% of a surveyed body of women had at least one time where they hated their body. Why? Why does society let women hate themselves? Everyone should be loved and love themselves for who they are. For some stupid reason, everyone wants to be that girl on television. It’s cruel to try and filter out that small minority that is supposedly beautiful and culling all the rest.
While you’re out with your family and you see someone who is different, perhaps you’ve heard your younger siblings ask, “Why are they like that, Mommy?” Even though they don’t know any better at that age, we’ve educated them to see an appearance as something to define the person instead of just accepting that they’re the same inside. To see one specific way to look, instead of embracing and accommodating diversity, differences, and disabilities. Many young girls are thought of as weird because they are overweight or have a disability. But they’re not defined by that the same way that models are defined by their looks; that’s possibly the only thing the models have got going for them. Agatha Christie had epilepsy and dyslexia. Now the girl who might have been made fun of because of her disabilities is an amazing writer, almost the hardest thing to do with dyslexia. Cameron Diaz had OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). Julia Roberts had a stutter when she was younger. Now she’s a famous actress, delivering lines smoothly. These wonderful women have overcome their disabilities and like them, many young girls are smart, artistic, eloquent, and funny, but we still seem to zoom in on their differences and develop pointless judgments. We look up and compare ourselves to models that don’t exist; they’re airbrushed and changed out of reality. We can’t seem to overcome the falsehood that women are defined by their appearance; doesn’t that seem twisted?
 Society needs to portray women in a more realistic way. Before girls give up their lives in an endless quest to be skinny. Before people are victimized because of their temporary cosmetic correctors.  Before generations upon generations discriminate against people irrevocably. Step up to help us change the idea of beauty in this world. Do it for the starving girls, the bullied ones, and the next generation. Because everyone is beautiful, and we need to learn to acknowledge it.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

To the Two, Limited, Basketball-Playing Boys In My Class

Okay. So, do you ever talk about sports in class? And when you say that you dance, the people in your class say "Oh, that's not a sport." YES IT IS! Why are people so nearsighted?
First, it takes a lot to be a dancer. You have to be very strong, and do exercises and stretches just like in any other sport. You have to be able to move quickly and lightly. If you do several types of dance, maneuver your body in different ways:  you have to move sharply (as in hip-hop), or be graceful and fluid (as in ballet and modern). Sometimes you have to do both in the same style of dance!
So you're thinking, it's just a hobby. Have you heard of the New York City Ballet? They literally dance for a living. Dancing, if you really love it, can evolve into so much more than just an activity you sign up for because your schedule is free. It can become your life. Think about it: professional football players have a very large part of their life taken up by football. So why can't dancers have their so-called "hobby" be a large part of theirs? Maybe we should just start saying that Kobe Bryant's position on The Lakers is just a hobby. Hmm? Ohhhhhh, so that's not a hobby, but Tyler Angle's position on the New York City Ballet is. Because that makes so much sense. Is this just a hobby? Oh, maybe this huge, famous show (So You Think You Can Dance) is just for people doing it as a hobby. Oh, and both of the people dancing in that link were boys. Please. Don't even get me started on all of that sexism: "Oh, it's not a sport because girls do it. And boys don't dance." (You'll have to imagine the nasal voice that I'm picturing.)
Have you ever even come close to dancing? If you have, and you still think it's not a sport, read the above paragraphs again. And again. And again. And again. And again. Get the idea? But if you haven't ever tried dancing, why are you developing these misguided opinions on it? (And yes, I have tried basketball, soccer, and floor hockey. Even if they are in gym class, I still know what it is to play them.) I know that I am extremely opinionated. But I'm not saying that 2+2=5. Now that would be debatable. I'm simply stating that, although dance isn't in the Olympics and that it doesn't have many rules, dancers will always be athletes. So, whether you are a football or a basketball player, whether you are Kobe Bryant or a boy who doesn't, and won't, believe me, dance will remain an amazing sport. One of my favorites, I might add.