jdeena

Never settle for what is…come tomorrow it will be what was

Month: March, 2014

The Reality of “Beautiful”

Last week while scrolling through Instagram, a male friend of mine had posted a picture of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit model with the hashtag “WCW” which translates to “woman crush Wednesday.” The picture was all glossy hair, shiny tan skin, and perfectly sculpted body underneath her bathing suit. The overall appearance was striking; she looked amazing. However, upon closer inspection, she (like almost every other cover model) had clearly been airbrushed. I’m not naive; I knew she was initially. I was just shocked at how obvious it was after looking at the picture for more than 10 seconds.

I commented that his so-called “crush” on this woman was based on her falseness. He replied that I was a “hater.” So I had to reply that no, I wasn’t a hater, but that his posting this picture continues to perpetuate the idea that men prefer women who look this way, and it continues to add to the insecurity and unattainable body image that women struggle to achieve everyday. In a private message later on, he admitted to me that he knew she was airbrushed, but that it didn’t stop him from admiring her.

So what does that say, then? That men know the women they see in magazines or in movies are glossed up and photoshopped, yet, they still find them attractive? Where does that leave us regular ladies at?

I personally have never been influenced by magazines to the point of forcing myself to diet, or buying every makeup trick to contour and sculpt my face to perfection. Maybe I’m lucky genetically, so I haven’t had to deal with acne or wrinkles, even at my older age. I’m taller than the average female, so even when I gain weight I can hide it well. And I am blessed with the gift of dressing for my body type, which means I can accentuate certain features while hiding the flaws. But I have never been told I’m unattractive or fat by a guy.

Wait, what?

Am I saying that I am attractive to guys, even without the photoshop? YES! Here is what I don’t understand ladies: why do you put yourself through all these hoops in order to look like the women in magazines, when the men around you actually don’t care? I have asked my guy friends over and over again whether or not they like super skinny girls, and the answer is always no. They like curves; they want softness. They don’t want to feel like when they hug you, you’re going to break. But what really turns guys on is when you are comfortable in that body. When you dress to flatter your figure, and walk around with your head held high.

If you are so easily influenced by magazines, don’t read them. Learn to see yourself for who you are; trust me, you’ll be much happier! And when you are happy, guys see that happiness and they are pulled towards you. What we all need to realize is that we could ALL look like the models in the magazines with photoshop, special lighting, and a makeup and hair team. Strip all that away and the woman on the cover is just like you and me.

Now, with all of that said, does this excuse men for continuing to post photos such as the one my friend did? I don’t think it should be a habit, because we all know how much social media influences people. When women see men posting their ideal woman in this way, it makes them feel inadequate. And while many men think that it’s not their problem and women need to get over it….well, it’s very unfair to say that when you throw it in our face every day. Yet if a woman posted a picture of a shirtless guy with a perfectly sculpted body, she’s deemed unrealistic and superficial. Men and women both need to share in the responsibility of proper representation. We now live in the world of selfies and filters; it is hard to figure out what is underneath all that makeup. I promise you, there is nothing more liberating than being comfortable without makeup, your heels, and all those hair products. Strip it all away, and get comfortable with the person inside.

She’s beautiful.

Advertisements

Financial Crisis

I came across a comment on Facebook today, and it’s been bothering me all day. A girl posted in one of the groups I’m in “What’s the most you’ve spent on a purse? I just bought a really expensive one and I need to justify it to my husband.” The comment made my stomach roil. It unsettled me. And for two reasons: the first being her overspending on a designer bag (I have no use for labels), and the second her apparent financial dependency on her husband.

Nothing irks me more than hearing of young, American raised women still depending on their husbands for money. I thought that practice was left in our mother’s generation.

Now, maybe the woman has had kids recently and she’s not working. So she has to ask her husband for money. Still, shouldn’t there be some sort of agreement made so that a woman doesn’t have to resort to asking her husband for money, like an allowance? I mean, I just couldn’t imagine asking my husband for money. Which is why I will always work. There is just something about earning your own money that is so refreshing and validating.

I’ve always felt that men use money to control women. Before women would work, men carried all the financial responsibility. So then they made all the decisions in the household. A woman had no choice but to agree. However, nowadays women contribute just as much income to the home, and responsibility is split. I feel that makes the most sense. But it should continue this way even after a woman stops working to raise kids. The most irritating thing to me is seeing a man hold money back from his wife. Why? Because you earned it, she can’t share in it? I understand some women go overboard with spending, but if you set budgets there shouldn’t be a problem.

Bottom line, I feel that women need to empower themselves by working for their own strength. They shouldn’t have to depend on a man, nor justify their purchases. I feel good knowing that I can take care of myself. I won’t get married just for financial security like so many girls do. They’d rather shop than work, but eventually the money stops coming and they are stuck at home. Never be under a man’s thumb; you should be able to hold your own.

I feel sorry for the girl whose comment I read online. I’d never want to be in her place. I hope she figures out a better way to empower herself. Either that, or in the future she keeps comments like that to herself.

Friend-zoned

So lately there have been blogs and posts about how guys get friend-zoned by their gal pals. “Friend-zoned” basically means that a guy wants to be more than just friends with a girl, but the girl treats him, well….basically like her best gay friend. But no one ever talks about the girl who gets friend-zoned. I never really thought about it until last week, when I asked a guy friend of mine why he never pursued anything with me. His answer: there was never a spark. Or, actually, there WAS a spark initially, but then it faded. In his words, he “tried to make it happen” but it never did.

That got me thinking. I experience this a lot more than I should. So it made me think about all the relationships I’ve had with guys over the years, mostly friendships. All my female friends find it so weird that I know so many single, good-looking guys, and have yet to start a relationship with one. So I asked them, one by one, why they won’t date me. They all said the same thing: there is no spark, no chemistry. When I ask them what they like about me, it’s always the same: cool, chill, no drama, funny, down-to-earth. They find me cute, adorable, sexy….never beautiful or pretty. That’s when it hit me.

I’ve been friend-zoned.

Everyone thinks it’s just the guys who get pushed aside to the “friend” area; not so. Apparently my carefree, fun, happy single self is a recipe for friendship, and not much else. While all these guys find me to be a great friend, they can’t see a future with me. Is it because my single lifestyle has them guessing whether or not I’d make room for them? (See previous blog post Making Room for a Man). Or maybe I’m too much for them (and I’ve heard this before as well). Too involved, too confident, too outgoing, too social, etc….I’m just “too much” of everything that I am proud of.

What, exactly, am I doing to push these guys away, or dim that spark? Should I be more demure, more mysterious, more subdued? Is my outgoing personality and confidence such a turnoff that guys can’t see past it to build a relationship with me? What, exactly, am I doing wrong???

I’m closing in on straight hysteria at this point. I don’t play games. I’m not going to act one way to please the male species because that’s what they want. I’m not going to act shy when I meet a guy for the first time. I’m not afraid to be the first one to initiate a meeting. I don’t shy away from the tough or taboo subjects. If this makes me a “friend” then maybe the guys I’m meeting are not strong enough to handle this version of me. Maybe I need to find a guy who welcomes a bright, lively, funny girl. I would never want a guy to pretend to be something he is not to impress me. The best version of you is when you are yourself. Playing games and putting on a facade are child’s play. We are too grown up for all that.

My friends and family wonder why I never tell them when I meet a guy. It’s because I know that after a few weeks of talking, he’ll disappear. I should start my own magic show. POOF! He’s gone, ladies and gentlemen. I never know why though. They just disappear, and I am left wondering- yet again- what I did to make him vanish as quickly as he had appeared. Some may think that all this rejection might wear on my confidence, but to be honest, I don’t care. Why? Because I don’t even know what I did wrong! If they attacked my character somehow, maybe I’d hurt a little. But I don’t even know what sends them running, so all I can do is laugh, keep an open mind, and move on.

The guy for me is out there, I know he is…and if he’s too afraid of me to approach me, then maybe I should just face up to my partner-less future now. There are worse things that could happen to me than me dying alone, right?

At least I’ll have a bunch of friends at my funeral.