At one time or another, we have all been ashamed of who we are, what we look like, where we are from and the list goes on. And on other occasions, we have made someone else feel that shame too.
In high school, I was part of the my school’s journalism team. We wrote newspaper articles and also began creating online newscasts that included information about major school events, alumni, videos and photos. For the first webcast, I volunteered to be the anchorwoman. Once we finished editing the webcast, we posted it online for the students to view.
The next day, I walked into the courtyard where my friends were sitting. A close friend of mine, Maya, had watched the video and told me that I should come back to Hawai’i and be an anchorwoman after my career on Saturday Night Live because who wouldn’t want a former Saturday Night Live cast member delivering the news? A few moments later, one of my classmates turned around and said to me: “Sarah, you can’t be an anchorwoman, you’re not pretty enough!”
Despite her joking tone, I felt myself paralyzed with anger. I didn’t consider myself especially pretty or ‘hot’ and so, in some ways, I agreed with her. That night, I cried myself to sleep and my anger subsided. Instead, it was replaced with a recurring sense of inadequacy and frustration with my appearance.
I never realized it then, but after taking Women’s Studies and gaining an understanding about Feminism, I understood why my classmate’s comment continues to affect me. I felt inadequate as an entire person because the media has caused us to hate ourselves. Advertisements with photoshopped celebrities and models create unrealistic body figures and skin that have us frustrated and confused because without us, these corporations would not make billions of dollars each year. This emphasis on body image and appearance convinces us that we are valued based more so on our looks and less on our actions or intelligence. This doesn’t only affect women, it affects everyone, men and women, and how they think about how they should be.
Feminism has introduced me to plethora of issues that explain not only my own behavior, but the behavior of others. Women’s issues do not affect only women, they affect everybody. It is frustrating and alarming how comfortable we are with sexist attitudes.
WIth this blog, I hope to spread awareness and hopefully gain more insight about social justice issues, feminism, gender and learn about how to maintain an optimistic state of mind during my journey through life.