Monday, 23 March 2015

The Lady Stripped Bare - by Tracey Spicer

Tracey Spicer, a respected and renown Australian journalist, did an inspirational TED talk about stripping women bare of their daily routines, encouraging us to take up the challenge.

Tracey talks about the things us females do and questions their necessity. Do we really need to wear nail polish, apply layers of makeup, shave our bodies, dye our hair, suck in wobbly bits (i.e. be ashamed of them), be professionally acceptable size 10, running, exercise to get inner thigh gap, get rid of bingo flaps, wash hair with SLS & condition (with with placenta extract and wonder why overly large breasts are more likely), lather on petroleum by-product otherwise know as moisturiser (but not JOLI's), cleanse, toner containing alcohol, serum, eye cream (parabens), cover in bronzing cream, straighten and style hair, foundation, concealer, blusher, eye shadow, eye liner, curler, mascara, lip liner and lip stick, lip gloss, shape wear to suck in mummy gut, wear fancy clothes (and we own many), remove face hair, high heels that ruin our posture...!

It seems we truly believe beauty is pain.

When you see the list above all put together like that you realise the extent in which we immerse ourselves in things to *change* about ourselves. We don't do all of these things all of the time individually, however, we do makeup a mass collective of those who do many of these things often.

Tracey talks about how much time we waste trying to fit unrealistic expectations about how we should look. She talks of increasing productivity in work and home, however I don't quite look at it like that, though it's a valid point. I think about how much time we're spending obsessing over it. How much effort we spend judging ourselves and others for all our imperfections.

We judge those who breast feed or don't, judge those who work or don't, judge those who have large breasts or don't, judge those who are thin or fat, those who get surgery and those who don't, those who have children, those who don't.

Tracey and I both agree it's an absurdity to get caught up in the lot of this.

After her TED talk aired, other women in the media (such as the ladies from Studio 10) discussed the topic and were of the opinion it would be impossible to turn the tide. They like  those things and don't really want to give them up. I agree, we do seem to enjoy some of these things (I paint my toe nails because they're I don't think they're attractive and want to cover them up), though our interest borders on compulsion when you think about it. Not all of them are fun, yet we do them anyway.

Many cultures adorn themselves with jewellery and colourful clothing. Many cultures enjoy tattoos, piercings and other adornments, not all of them good (i.e. neck rings that weaken the neck muscles). I've often wondered how much of it is our own free will? How much of what we enjoy today is because we -  as women - choose it?

I only shaved my legs because at 18 some man told me I would have to start shaving them eventually (and my leg hair was nothing back then!).  Girls at school made fun of other girls with hairy legs and armpits. When I was older women and men made negative comments about how much pubic hair I had because I didn't shave it.  I wore makeup because blemishes were/are not pretty, nor were freckles. I've never had naturally long pretty nails or fabulous hair.  And we're told carrying extra weight is seen as unattractive - gotta be size 0.  And heaven forbid women get old!!

How much of how I view myself is really my view of myself without the influence of the media and my peers telling me how I should look and be?

How much of your view is your own and how much are you influenced by the media and peers into doing many of the things listed above?  How much of it is really a choice if you had the freedom to choose?

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