Week 6 Blog Post

All of the practices reflect one major theme throughout all cultures: that a woman’s worth lies in the way she looks. Whether it be her genital or her feet, if women do not participate in these acts to change their physical form they will not be married off. This stress of physical appearance is not a demanding on men as it is on women I believe. I do not doubt that men have just as many body issues as women do, but a man can still be deemed “worthy” if they are intelligent or very successful. I see this played out all the time in Hollywood movies a man of average attractiveness gets a super model half his age to fall in love with him and live happily ever after. Even stories like Beauty and the Beast where the man has no real positive qualities and still “gets the girl,” I cannot think of a single movie or story where the roles are reversed. Though how we expect woman to change their appearance for men is different throughout cultures, I believe this practice can be found in almost any culture. One thing that really struck me in The Perfect Vagina film by Heather Leach, was the when she mentioned that many times women say and believe they are doing it for themselves but really it is so that men will notice them and like them. I found this compelling because I myself have had cosmetic surgery for things that I was teased about as an adolescent and currently I think about other procedure I would like to have done. I thought that I did this for myself, to feel more confident, which I do, but if I’m being honest I think that confidence comes from thinking that men now find me attractive and that I am now worthy of their attention, which is pretty messed up. Even now as I think of things I would like to have done, I have a boyfriend whom I live with and who loves me just the way I am, yet I feel the need to “keep myself up,” keep proving my worth, almost like younger and more beautiful women are a threat, and that I have to prove that I am still worth attention. In spite of how negative these acts may be to a woman’s mental of physical health, they all function as rites of passage in a culture. Rites of passage are important to cultures they are how we assimilate people from one stage of their life to the next, without them change would be too abrupt. There is a very emotional aspect tied to these rites of passage that is important to adapt to this new stage of one’s life. Could you imagine just being dropped off at a college immediately after finishing your high school work? Going from living at home with your parents to living with a complete stranger without all of the ceremonies, and applying to different colleges, and getting the letter saying you got in, saying good bye to all your friends, going to orientation and meeting new people. This change would be extremely hard. Now to imagine if all of this process was out lawed, it would be upsetting to say the least. For these women in other cultures the practices of genital cutting and foot binding are their passage into adulthood, womanhood, and motherhood, many men will not marry the women who have not done these practices. This may seem harsh and obviously wrong, but think about what it would be like to be told you could never be a wife or mother if you did not go through with a procedure. I know I would probably do it, even if it was outlawed I would probably try to find a way to sill have it done because I want more than anything to be a mother one day. I image these women feel the same way I do. They would do anything to be accepted in their culture and community, they would go through these rites of passage no matter how gruesome they may seem in order to have their chance to be a wife and a mother. I do not think it is anyone’s right to judge them for that.

One thought on “Week 6 Blog Post

  1. Hey Bryanna Brown,

    I totally agree with you about the Hollywood movie correlation, and even though I believe that there is a very high ideal standard for both men and women, I do think women have it a little tougher. When I say this, I feel like women must aim to be beautiful while other characteristics such as intelligence are rarely ideal. I also have had a type of procedure done, and I also had initially thought it would help me be more confident, but I wonder now if the actual reason had to do with the reasons that you shared in your post. I often look back and think about how I made a very big mistake. The procedure did not really physically change me at all, but I do think it was a waste of money and a waste of time. I also believe that I continuously put own health at risk to achieve my thought of an ideal body. Lecture 6.1 covered this as one of its main takeaways, and it makes me sad that I felt like I needed to take these steps. That being said, I believe that I needed to make these steps to see that the slight changes that I thought were big at the time were not really ever necessary. I also felt like making these steps helped me realize how drastic I was being at the time. I do not mean to be offensive in anyway, but do you ever feel like this at all? Do you regret any of your past procedures that you spoke about in your blog post? Regardless of your answer, I am sure you thoughts were different from how they were then.

    I also do things to “keep myself up” as you say. I feel like I can be overly strict with my diet and exercise a little too hard because I do not want my girlfriend to find someone else who is more attractive or has better overall qualities than I do. While randomly researching why people risk their lives for an ideal body, I ran into this blog called “ Why Do Women Hate Their Bodies?” by Carolyn Ross, MD. She talks about how 4/5s of women in the US are not happy with their bodies, (Ross, 2018). That is a lot of women, and honestly it makes sense since most of the population grew up playing with Barbies when they were younger. Not only did this engrave an ideal standard in our heads from a young age, but it also has given young women standards that are simply not possible, (Ross, 2018). The blog also tightly bound the issue to culture just like in this week’s lecture.

    References
    Ross, C. C., MD. (2018, March 30). Why Do Women Hate Their Bodies? Retrieved August 9, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/why-do-women-hate-their-bodies/

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