By: Stefanie Rose Dimichino
“Oh my god she’s so fat that’s disgusting.” (Background Music) “Girls are supposed to have boobs and she’s so flat chested.” “Hey Stefanie, nice thunder thighs.” “Stefanie you have so many pimples why don’t you cover them up, girls are supposed to wear makeup!” “Don’t worry you’re so much prettier than her, Stefanie’s ugly.”
Hi, I’m Stefanie Dimichino. And these are degrading comments that are thrown in a woman's face on a daily basis. The culprit? Social media. Did you know 9/10 girls in Canada say they are affected by social media to look a specific way. The Dove Self-Esteem Project is reaching out to fight against stereotypes that are influencing the minds of young girls all across the world. According to the National Women's Foundation, 50% of all girls wish they were someone else. 50% of girls in grade 6 are already on a strict diet. Only 14% of girls in grade 10 say they are self confident. And over a million girls have posted a youtube video asking viewers “am I pretty or ugly?” And this is not okay. My names Stefanie, I’m a York University Student. And I’m also a victim of social media. And you’re listening to the first podcast episode Meat of the Media.
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" Well, yes. This is true. But what if our eyes were blocked, blinded, and distracted from the real definition of beauty. What if someone twisted our minds into believing that perfection equals beauty. That you will never amount to perfection, so therefore you cannot amount to beauty. You are not beautiful. Each and every one of us were born into our own perceptions on what is beautiful. And no, not the definition of beautiful society hands out like Halloween candy. Flawless skin and a slim figure. Real beauty. It’s something you define yourself. The problem is, behind those little voices telling you that you are beautiful and that you are worthy. You have the roaring voice of society screaming that you nothing but the defective toys of their world that deserve nothing but to be dismantled, thrown away or fixed. Or worse, to be seen as toys unwillingly advertised for the pleasure and enjoyment of men. Buy this foundation, cover up those natural blemishes of your adolescent stage. Buy these weight loss pills, do you actually think someone like you could be beautiful? With your bingo wings, muffin top and love handles? Don't worry, you'll make for a good joke though. Buy my designer clothes, someone who dresses in rags could never amount to the beauty of models in magazine campaigns. And models? Don't worry, you'll be beautiful soon. We have photoshop. For as long as I can remember, society has done an impeccable job at making advertising yourself seem normal. One of my closest friends Taylor is now going to talk about her experience with sexual assault, and how society manipulated her mind into believing it to be normal. Taylor and I experienced technical difficulties, so I will be speaking on her behalf. Her words went as followed:
“Hi, my name is Taylor and I was a victim of sexual assault. I was in a coffee shop, getting my usual drink order. After receiving my order, I went over to the station where you can add extra sugar, grab a lid for your drink, and all that stuff. When I put the lid on my drink and turned around a man was standing much too close for comfort, he reached out and grabbed my breast, right there in the middle of the coffee shop. I was shocked and dropped my drink which made the employees look over. The man quickly ran out of the store and I made nothing of it. I was told that I could file a report with the police but I said no. I thought it was no big deal. Looking back I realize that I was so brainwashed to think that that behaviour was okay and that I could laugh it off. It's no big deal right? Well it was. I don't know why I thought it was normal, but then again. Cat callings illegal, but every woman just ignores it because we're told it's normal. We just need to start standing up for ourselves without the fear of getting reprimanded.”
It's sad that in today's society, beauty is an unachievable cookie cutter imagine of what you are taught to strive for. It's what's taught to be searched and found in others. Flaws? What are flaws? There is no room for flaws in our definition of beauty. That acne? Your cellulite? Those stretch marks? The scars you leave on your body in your failed attempts to achieve beauty? Might as well cover them up and impersonate confidence. But don't become too confident, because remember. You have flaws, you have imperfections, you are not beautiful.
While working on my podcast, I began to contemplate if men saw the way society tears down women, and uplifts men. So I did a survey across my University campus to find out. I interviewed close to one hundred men, and to my surprise, almost all of them were supportive of my topic. Many of them spoke to me about how society does make them feel superior to women, and how they have seen other men take advantage of women due to the fact that they believe society allows them too. I also gained mass amounts of pity towards the many standards women have. One thing I found funny was that every individual who disagreed with my topic brought up the same name every single time.
“Grab them by the pussy.” Did that make you uncomfortable? Good. It should. Donald Trump has become a world wide joke and fear. I agree that his views, opinions and ignorance are alarming. But the aspect that truly horrifies me, is the mass amount of agreement. Since Donald Trump has become president, women have been hearing men speak of the disgusting things they are now “ALLOWED” to do to to women.
Since the presidential election began, donald trump has made numerous mis-aw-jen-ic comments towards women, and has made it plainly clear. That success for a woman, is derived only by looks. I don't know about you, but this isn't a world I would want my daughter growing up in.
Did you know 67% of Canadian women have personally known someone who has experienced physical, sexual or verbal abuse. Half of all women in Canada have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence by the age of 16. And over 3491 women and their children sleep in shelters because home just isn't safe.
I reached out to my local Women and Children's shelter to get an insider's view on the issue. I am about to interview a local employee and volunteer from the Barrie women and children's shelter. She had wished to stay anonymous due to personal reasons.
“First of all I would like to say thank you so much for being here to support my topic, can you start off by telling us what The Women & Children’s Shelter aims for?”
“Well, we have been providing shelter and support services to abused women and their children since 1981. We have a 27 bed shelter location and an off-site outreach office. It’s amazing because approximately 1,000 women and children are assisted by the agency annually, and it feels so good to be there to support them.”
“Wow, that is amazing. Now focusing on the women for a moment, do you believe that society has helped land these woman in the horrible positions they are in?”
“Oh of course. Many of the women who come in aren’t just physically abused. Close to all of them are mentally and verbally abused. And it’s because of the disgusting standards that gives these men the ammunition to destroy these women.”
“How well do they recover?”
“It isn’t easy. Because if you think about it a little girl grows up with insecurities. Some of these women have been shot at with ‘you’re fat’ ‘youre ugly’ ‘you're worthless ‘you’re a pig’ on daily basis. And those are some of the nicer things I’ve heard.”
“How does The Women and Children's shelter help?”
“One thing I love is that we also provide things like individual and group counselling, legal information and support, court support, information about violence against women, referrals to other community and social services, and public education in the community. We also accept donations and hold community events.”
“That is honestly incredible. Would you like to say anything else before the end of the interview.”
“I just want to say that if you do find yourself in a difficult situation or state of mind, that it's always okay to reach out and get professional help. And I just hope every woman does realize how beautiful and strong she is.”
So what if we genuinely thought we are beautiful? What if we all threw away the disgusting standards of society and rock what each and every one of us believes to reflect beauty. We as women need to come together to support the unique aspects we all have, rather than getting caught up in society's completion. That acne? What acne? I'm too busy staring at your pretty eyes, button nose, and radiating smile. Your cellulite? Flaunt it! It's natural! Those stretch marks? Congratulations, you have grown and been molded into the beautiful person you are at this very moment. An intelligent, worthy, compassionate and eye drawing individual. You, with your different race, culture and ethnicity. You are different, compelling, and a human worthy of the name. The scars you've left on your body attempting to achieve society's definition of beautiful? Stand proud, be strong, and never be ashamed. You have overcome what many people are battling with at this point in time and yes. It's okay to be sad, it's okay to be hurt, and it's okay that you have imperfections. Every emotion you feel, every moment in your life, every cell on your body and every belief perspective and opinion you have radiates beauty. It's everything that makes you who you are. Which I'm going to say again, is beautiful. Would you like a couple of tattoos? Some piercings maybe? Here, take a tube of hair dye. Express yourself! And if you hear society screaming, if society attempts to smother your ideas of beauty. Stand up, scream louder, and be who you are. Life is too short to be blocked, blinded and distracted from beauty. And to frankly live your life trying to impress someone else, impress you because your perfect imperfections are what make you beautiful. You, are beautiful. (Background music ends)
List of Work Cited/References
"Free Images - Pixabay." Free Images - Pixabay. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Dec. 2016.
"Women & Childrens Shelter of Barrie." Women Childrens Shelter of Barrie. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Dec. 2016.
"A Girl Should Feel Free to Be Herself." Dove Self-Esteem Project. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Dec. 2016.
"Some Clothes Cost More than You Think." Canadianwomen.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Dec. 2016.