Body Image Post Card Campaign – Equality Rights Alliance

Inspire. Action. Vision.

Body Image is a top concern for young women today. We want the Australian Government to take action and we need YOU.

Send the Hon Peter Garrett MP, Minister of Youth a message. Let him know that media, fashion and advertising industries must do more to promote positive Body Image. Enter your details in the postcard below and the postcard will be sent straight to Minister Garrett. The more postcards we send, the more attention we’ll get.

To be part of the campaign on positive Body Image follow this link http://iwd.equalityrightsalliance.org.au/vision/ and enter your details into a post card that will be sent to Peter Garrett.   Printer-friendly version    Send to friend

Dear Minister Garrett,

Body Image matters for young women. Yet media, fashion and advertising industries continue to promote unrealistic and unhealthy images of women. This goes against the Voluntary Industry Code of Conduct for Body Image. To celebrate 100 years of International Women’s Day in 2011, I’m asking you as Minister for Youth to put the Code of Conduct into force. In the next 12 months, let’s secure 100 media, fashion and advertising agencies as compliant with the Code of Conduct. Let’s publicly promote these 100 agencies and let’s give young women a chance to see images of natural women with real beauty.

Want to have your say? Paste the message above into an email to Minister Garrett (Peter.Garrett.MP@aph.gov.au)

or post it to his address below.

The Hon Peter Garrett MP  Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth

PO Box 6022 Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600

Equality Rights Alliance |

Voluntary Industry Code of Conduct on Body Image

Voluntary Industry Code of Conduct on Body Image.

The Australian Government is committed to supporting the health, happiness and resilience of young Australians. This includes undertaking work to promote positive body image.

The fashion, media and advertising industries play a significant role in shaping the cultural ideals of society.  Messages about beauty portrayed in popular media can contribute to body image pressures on young people. 

The former National Advisory Group on Body Image, appointed by the Australian Government in 2009, developed the Voluntary Industry Code of Conduct on Body Image to provide national guidance on body image.

The Code aims to build on and further encourage the positive steps that are being taken within the fashion, media and advertising industries to bring about long-term cultural change. 

The Code outlines principles to guide industries to adopt more body image friendly practices. It encourages more diversity in the selection of models, a wider range of clothing sizes in retail fashion, the use of realistic and natural images of people, and disclosure when images have been digitally manipulated.

Respect Every Body Poster ( PDF 5.68MB) free download

Homage to the good men

I have known for many years now that there are truly good, loving, kind, honourable men in this world who treat the women in their lives and all women and girls with the utmost of respect, value and dignity. Prior to this, after some very traumatic experiences in my life at the hands of men, some just plain heartbreaking ones and viewing first hand dishonour and disrespect of other women via their husbands/partners or strangers, I had a few saddening years of dismay that these ‘good men’ simply did not exist.

But then one day, being the total old-fashioned romantic and spiritual woman that I am, I realised that, if I exist as this woman with this heart and these values than it is a certainty that others do as well, and if I exist as this feminist with these standards and hopes than it is a certainty that others do as well. I grasped the concept that though I may not personally know of these ‘others’ yet, that I must trust in my innate knowing from my eternal soul, that they surely walk upon this earth.

For there is not just one lily flower in this world, cherry blossom or frangipani tree, it is indeed fact that there are many lilies adorning vases around the world and cherry blossom tree’s rooted deep across this earth, though they may not stand in the one place together, others most certainly exist.

This has been the hope that has kept my heart – vibrant red with passion and abundant with love – alive in the romantic sense.  And since this realisation, I have heard some stories of ‘truly good men’, finally confirmation in the physical of my innate knowing.

Here is a beautiful post I read the other day relaying another story of this existence of ‘truly good men’ which inspired me to write these words today – The Good Guys

It will surely lift your heart’s as it has mine, and because the poem this blogger shared with her story is so beautiful it deserves to be published again. Many blessings to these ‘truly good men’ of the world.

The Bridge Builder
By Will Allen Dromgoole 1860–1934

An old man going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening cold and gray,
To a chasm vast and deep and wide.
Through which was flowing a sullen tide
The old man crossed in the twilight dim,
The sullen stream had no fear for him;
But he turned when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide.

“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim near,
“You are wasting your strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day,
You never again will pass this way;
You’ve crossed the chasm, deep and wide,
Why build this bridge at evening tide?”

The builder lifted his old gray head;
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followed after me to-day
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been as naught to me
To that fair-haire­d youth may a pitfall be;
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him!”

Comments  lilithrose76 #  November 23, 2011

That poem by Dromgoole made me cry… I love these good men you write of though I do not know them… I too am standing where Eve Ensler was when she wrote those words of hers you quoted above. I know there are really ‘good’ men in this world, I know this innately and I know this because I have heard of and read of them and their example, of the bridges they have built and I know the day will soon come where I will call one on them my partner, my lover, my husband. Thank you for this beautiful inspiration, hope and more validation of this knowing I have within. Soon, very very soon I shall be writing these words you now pour with love, honour and respect across my screen 🙂

An inspirational man

Tonight I saw a beautiful interview with a young man born with Down’s syndrome on a news/events/comedy show called ‘The Project’. He had starred in the latest ‘Tropfest’ short film festival’s winning film and works 4 half days at a theatre company each week. The interview was about removing the stigma associated with Downs syndrome and raising and educating these children like everyone else so they may go on to live normal lives with jobs, relationships and moving out of the family home. This young man revelled in his acting and his job and in his interview said he was looking forward to moving out on his own and finding someone special, the ‘one’, to share his life with. I had tears in my eyes and Goosebumps at this stage and then he said, “We are all equal, if given the chance”. That’s when my tear clouds burst.

This is what defying any ‘ism’ is about, whether it is treating people differently or ‘less than’ because they are a different race, a different sex (being born female), a different class, or living with a disability. We are all equal, if given the chance

http://theprojecttv.com.au/

We don’t want sexualised sport in Australia

Lingerie football in Australia?? No thank you! This is just another example of sexualising and exploiting females and of sending more confusing messages to young girls that their abilty to be sexy and half naked is more important then their sporting abilities; that their sporting abilities don’t deserve merit on their own (you don’t see male footballer’s playing in nothing but their jocks).

“ninemsn news staff wrote on Sun Nov 20 2011  The United States’ eye-catching Lingerie Football League is set to expand to Australia and beyond — but there’s already one Aussie making her mark in the sexy sport.

Former cheerleader, sprinter and rugby player Chloe Butler, of Townsville, is a defender with the LA Temptations, the top team in the American Lingerie Football league. And while the women’s pre-game preparations may include touching up their make-up — lingerie football is still a tough sport. “You can be a hard athlete and still bring a lot of aggression and physicality to something and still be a glamorous lady,” Butler told TODAY. “Is it sexy? Absolutely,” the league’s commissioner Mitch Mortaza said.

The concept evolved from an alternative to the Super Bowl halftime show known as the Lingerie Bowl, which was broadcast on pay-per-view television at the same time as the Super Bowl halftime show. The Lingerie Bowl grew increasingly popular until a league was launched in the United States in2009. The league is set to launch in Australia in two years with Butler as the public face of the promotional campaign. “I grew up in a small town in North Queensland, on a cattle property and if someone had told me I could have done this when I was a little girl I would have gone ‘wow’,” Butler said.”

As I wrote in a comment on my post ‘Unrealistc Sexpectations’ after reading  Adriana Lima say (on starving herself to be VS model) – “Actually, (being an ‘angel’ model in) the Victoria’s Secret show is the highlight of my life”, have these women heard about love, children, charity, healing, creating something in art writing music etc as a legacy, good deeds, acting in the greater good for mother-earth animals and human-kind, the list goes on….. and being an elite athlete without sexualising yourself or getting your clothes off can now be added to that long list of real highlights and achievments in ones life.

http://www.sportingpulse.com

So does Australia really want Lingerie Football?????

The Australian governments sports commission states ‘Sexploitation’ as the most common term used to describe the sexualising of female athletes, (they also state the word can be used for male athletes but these instances are quite scarce as it is mainly female athletes that are sexploited). On their website

http://www.ausport.gov.au/participating/women/resources/issues/sexploitation they write, “Sexploitation applies to forms of marketing, promotion or attempts to gain media coverage which focus attention on the sexual attributes of female athletes, especially the visibility of their bodies. In a context of sexploitation, the value of the female athlete is judged primarily in terms of her body type and attractiveness, rather than for the qualities that define her as an athlete.

This creates an ironic situation for elite athletes. In order to attract media and sponsor interest, many female athletes resort to marketing themselves or their sport for their ‘voyeuristic potential’. However, if this approach is successful, the increased interest is not on their performances and successes, but on their sex appeal.…..society in general still views sportsmen in a different light to sportswomen.”

                              http://awrljillaroos.leaguenet.com.au/             Poi Clark comes in over the top to tackle older sister Teina (Australia). http://www.ourfootyteam.com/women-in-league.php

The Australian governments sports commission says that sexploitation of female athletes is of concern because Viewing female athletes primarily in terms of their sexual attributes rather than their athletic endeavours has the potential to denigrate the individual both as an athlete and as a woman. Sexploitation is not simply a matter of skimpy costumes on female bodies. It is also the inappropriate portrayal of female athletes either in their sporting apparel or in alternative situations.

     Women’s beach volleyball, (for example) has introduced uniforms intentionally to focus attention on the athletes’ bodies rather than for any technological, practical or performance-enhancing reasons. Women must compete in bra-style tops and bikini bottoms that must not exceed six centimetres in width at the hip (men compete in shorts and singlet’s)……..           

     Focusing on an athlete’s physical attributes in an overtly sexual manner can create anxiety and embarrassment for the individual. In younger athletes, whose self-confidence may be less secure, the increased focus on the body because of sexploitation can lead to a poor body image. There is a wealth of research linking poor body image with increased risk of disordered eating behaviours.

Using sex as part of a promotional strategy may limit the potential of a sport to attract a diverse range of talented girls and women. Such promotion is reason enough for some girls and women to choose another sport or even no sport at all.

Sexploitation also puts athletes at greater risk of harassment, from persons within and outside their sport. The overt sexualising of female athletes undermines current efforts to ensure no athlete, of any age or level of participation, is subject to behaviour that is unwelcome, inappropriate or harmful.”

The Australian Government Sports Commission (ASC) states the alternatives “The ASC considers that, in conjunction with the sport and recreation industry, it has a responsibility to ensure that images of female athletes are positive, are not sexualised and represent the diversity of women involved in sport. There also is a responsibility to ensure the sporting environment is free of harassment and that athletes are not made to feel uncomfortable when involving themselves in any sport. The ASC therefore discourages the introduction and use of policies and promotional activities that lead to female athletes being exploited.

As a result of continued great athletic performances, programs to provide athletes with media skills and initiatives to increase the involvement of women and girls in sport, there is a growing public and media interest and more widespread corporate sponsorship of women’s sport. The onus is on Australia’s female athletes to add value to these arrangements so that partnerships are reinforced and companies realise the benefits they receive from such sponsorships.

http://awrljillaroos.leaguenet.com.au/

On the Australian Government Ausport website is an article written by Jan Borrie for ‘The Canberra Times’ in 2000 http://fulltext.ausport.gov.au/fulltext/2000/ascweb/sexploitation.asp

“In recent years, through diverse forms of media and publications, an increased focus has been placed on the physical attributes of female athletes…… detracting from the sporting performances and abilities of the athletes so portrayed. It has done so by sexualising the female athlete at the expense of her sporting achievements. The athlete’s portrayal as a sportswoman becomes less than the titillating factor of a naked or scantily clad body…… It is obviously regrettable that in many sports the sexualised female athlete holds more value for promotion than being world champion…… Women were often photographed in inactive shots, in relationship caricatures or as models; men were more often shown in active poses, less in relationships and never as models. Similarly, the writing that described women’s and men’s sport reinforced a gender dichotomy. Women were stereotyped by their physical traits, their clothes, their emotions and their relationships; men by their courage, aggression and toughness … These socially constructed images lead to a gender hierarchy in which women’s sport is not taken as seriously as men’s.”

Another article on the Aus Gov Ausport website by Dr Murray Phillips, An Illusory Image: A Report on the Media Coverage and Portrayal of Women’s Sport in Australia 1996, Canberra: ‘Australian Sports Commission’, 1997 states The female body is used to sell many products in our society, from cars to washing powder. In certain forms of promotion through sport, the female athlete is also being treated as a commodity – in this case, an overtly sexualised one…….This type of promotion is held to be a form of exploitation. And, as is common with exploitation, it can have various negative effects, both on the individual athlete and the sport as a whole. It is therefore crucial that athletes and sports understand the possible ramifications of using sex to promote women’s sport. They need to ask the key questions, ‘what are we actually promoting and what are we really trying to achieve?’”

The ‘Australian Sports Commission’s’ concerns and issues with using sex to promote women’s sport – “The question of what is really being promoted through publications such as nude calendars or certain types of uniforms is, put simply, woman as sex object or woman as athlete?”……. Anna Kournikova is an excellent example: she has never won a single tennis title, yet is extremely popular. However, media and public comments and interest predominantly relate to her sex appeal rather than her game. Anna deserves congratulations for being so successful in marketing herself this way, but it is unfortunate for the other female tennis players who are more successful on the tennis circuit and who play more exciting tennis. These female players do not attract the same media interest because they do not dress or promote themselves in a provocative manner…… It should also be noted that while sexploitation is most commonly associated with elite athletes, the matter cannot be completely divorced from community and amateur sport. There is undoubtedly a flow-on effect as (is) described in the following sections of this paper.…… Sexploitation has several flaws: it excludes many female athletes who do not fit into the appropriate body types, it glorifies certain female shapes and sends messages about what is appropriate and inappropriate for aspiring female athletes. These images fit neatly into stereotypes that have historically prevented women’s sport from being accepted on par with men’s sport.

At a recent national Indigenous Women in Sport Summit, concern was repeatedly expressed about the tight and revealing uniforms worn by female athletes, especially in team sports such as basketball, touch and volleyball. Conference participants indicated that Indigenous women and girls were choosing not to participate in these sports predominantly because of the uniforms.

The Matildas’ (The Australian Women’s Soccer Team) nude calendar has had flow-on effects for other sports. In April 2000, the national women’s netball team also decided to produce a calendar to raise funds. But when the players turned up for the photo shoot, photographers pressured them to take their clothes off. This situation was confusing and distressing for the athletes. In the end the team ruled decisively that posing nude was not the way they wanted their family-friendly sport to be depicted in a calendar.

“I think for female sports to be taken seriously, we should be recognised for our skills and achievements rather than our naked bodies.” Janine Ilitch, member Australian netball team, Taking a stand for skill over skin, The Age, 17 May 2000

http://www.netball.asn.au/extra.asp?ID=8896

“For most of the past 100 years, women have struggled to be recognised for their achievements and contributions not for how attractive they may be or what they are wearing. Sportswomen now demand to be taken seriously as athletes and have fought hard for media coverage that doesn’t concentrate on superficial issues such as physical looks and attire. If, on the other hand, some sportswomen promote themselves in erotic or revealing outfits or even nude, it sends conflicting and confusing messages to the media, the community and to other athletes. It also undermines the efforts to achieve equal credibility for all women athletes.

“Sexploitation as a promotional strategy may limit the potential of a sport to attract a diverse range of talented girls and women.

  • it may be culturally inappropriate for women from some non-English speaking backgrounds and for Indigenous girls and women
  • it is seen by many women as sexist, embarrassing or a complete ‘turn off’
  • it makes many women and girls feel more self-conscious about their bodies
  • it alienates many lesbians as it only promotes a stereotypical heterosexual image.”

The ASC conclusion on sexploitation is that “celebrating athletic physiques is an undeniable aspect of sport. Focusing, however, on the sexual attributes of such individuals at the expense of their achievements is demeaning and is a trend that should be eradicated from sport promotion and media coverage of athletic endeavour.”

http://www.sportingpulse.com

If you are an Australian resident and you care, please write to Australian Members of Parliament and ‘say no’ to Lingerie Football in Australia.

The ugly truth – pornography and the sex industry

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9j7-zZks08&feature=youtu.be

This will be 45 minutes of your life that will change forever how you view pornography, the sex industry and all those involved. All adults and teenagers should see this clip (link above) – Pornography Andrea Dworkin 1991.

The porn industry offers nothing useful, positive or productive to our society or our lives, and in fact is steeped in atrocities from beginning to end for all women, gay men and children involved, all those who profit from porn and all who participate through voyeurism.

Many thanks to the fabulous blogs of madradfab  Radical ProFeminist and robertwilliamjensen for posting this clip

If it weren’t for the facts it would be hard to believe that in the 20 years since the making of this video this ‘trade’ has only become more graphic, prolific, readily available via the internet and mainstream via those who glamorise it e.g. ‘Playboy bunnies’. We need to be the change we want to see in this world. We won’t be silent. We won’t be silenced. And as another great blog Anti-Porn Feminists says – let’s be Pro-sex, anti-porn and reclaim dignity, respect and value for women and girls of all classes and all races all around the world.

Read more: http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/the-harsh-realities-of-being-raped-for-a-living-183894.html#ixzz1u3TQbJjQ

http://survivorsconnect.wordpress.com/

News on Modern Day Slavery

Unrealistic sexpectations

16-year-olds deemed ‘too old’ for modelling Wed Nov 16 2011 by ninemsn staff

A Sydney model agency is seeking girls as young as 13 because 16 is “too old” for the international modelling scene.

Gear Model Management is launching a Sydney-wide search for new talent next month — and they’re ideally looking for boys and girls aged between 13 and 19.

“I know people may think that 13 is very young, but that’s what the international brands are currently looking for in Europe,” the agency’s head booking agent Naomi Fitzgerald de Grave told the Daily Telegraph.

“Models are too old at 16 now.”

Ms Fitzgerald de Grave said young Australians were harming their international modelling career options by not getting into the industry earlier. “They start later and then build up a reputation here, but they go to Asia or Europe and get shut down.”  The youngest model on the books at Gear Model Management is a 14-year-old.

Plans to recruit models as young as 13 has been described as “exploitative” by social commentator Melinda Tankard Reist, who said “it’s teaching girls from a young age that physical appearance is the only thing that matters”.

This is really shocking, as if sexualising women is not enough, we have to sexualise girls too???

To say 16 year old girls are ‘too old to model’, that only 13 and 14 year old girls are desirable is outrageous.

These girls are still going through puberty, their bodies, sexualities and sense of self are still developing, they have no idea of what it means to be a woman at that age and won’t for many years, yet the modelling industry wishes to dress them in women’s clothes and women’s sexual/sensual postures and expressions and have them strut their stuff on the catwalks in order to sell their clothes, idea’s and creations to women. These young still maturing girls don’t even have the figures (i.e. hips etc) of women.

Victoria’s Secret strict pre-show diet revealed Wed Nov 16 2011 by ninemsn staff

Ladies, listen up! Thanks to Adriana Lima, you now have permission to not feel insecure when watching this year’s Victoria’s Secret fashion parade.

Veteran “Angel” Adriana (who last year donned the show’s annual centrepiece, the “fantasy” diamond bra) has revealed to the UK’s Telegraph just what it takes to get a body like that for the VS show. And that in itself is a rather intense, full-time occupation.

Apart from the extra exercise sessions of jumping rope, boxing, weights and cardio:

She sees a nutritionist, who has measured her body’s muscle mass, fat ratio and levels of water retention. He prescribes protein shakes, vitamins and supplements to keep Lima’s energy levels up during this training period. Lima drinks a gallon of water a day. For nine days before the show, she will drink only protein shakes – “no solids”. The concoctions include powdered egg. Two days before the show, she will abstain from the daily gallon of water, and “just drink normally”. Then, 12 hours before the show, she will stop drinking entirely.

So basically: shakes, water and powder!

And while this all may sound a little extreme, Adriana insists it’s totally worth it. “Actually, the Victoria’s Secret show is the highlight of my life,” she said. ”Becoming an Angel, once I achieved that, it was a dream come true for me.”

As if this information really helps us feel less insecure??? When we are inundated with these images inside and out of our homes??? Again, it’s no wonder the rates of anorexia, bulimia, self-loathing, depression and anxiety are so high in women.

I don’t want to see unrealistic images of women in sexy underwear, I want to simply see it on the racks and try it on and find what suits my body and expresses my sexuality the best and enjoy feeling sensual and sexual myself and enjoy my partner enjoying me within the sanctuary of our relationship. This will disperse insecurity, not knowing how these models starve themselves.

Lily Allen – The fear

I want to be rich and I want lots of money, I don’t care about clever I don’t care about funny. I want lots of clothes and ‘loads’ of diamonds, I heard people die why they are trying to find them

And I’ll take my clothes off and it will be shameless, Coz everyone knows that how you get famous, I’ll look at the sun and I’ll look in the mirror, I’m on the right track yeah I’m onto a winner

I don’t know what’s right and what’s real anymore and I don’t know how I’m meant to feel anymore. And when do you think it will all become clear? Coz I’m being taken over by the fear

Life’s about film stars and less about mothers, It’s all about fast cars and cussing each other. But it doesn’t matter coz I’m packing plastic and that’s what makes my life so — fantastic

And I am a weapon of massive consumption and it’s not my fault it’s how I’m programmed to function. I’ll look at the sun and I’ll look in the mirror, I’m on the right track yeah I’m onto a winner

And I don’t know what’s right and what’s real anymore and I don’t know how I’m meant to feel anymore. And when do you think it will all become clear? Coz I’m being taken over by the fear

Forget about guns and forget ammunition, coz I’m killing them all on my own little mission. Now I’m not a saint but I’m not a sinner, now everything’s cool as long as I’m getting thinner

And I don’t know what’s right and what’s real anymore and I don’t know how I’m meant to feel anymore and when do you think it will all become clear? Coz I’m being taken over by the fear

media scholar and documentarian Jean Kilbourne       http://jeankilbourne.com/          Reality Bites Back

Say no 4 kids

Say No 4 Kids Petition

Join our petition and say NO for kids….

‘The covers of pornographic publications including so called ’lads mags’ have become more explicit and are now marketed beside the icecreams and lollies at eye level of young children in everyday retail outlets including corner stores, service stations and newsagencies across the country.  It would be illegal to pin this material up in the workplace under the Sex Discrimination Act, so why does the government allow retailers to market this material to children?’

Say No 4 Kids gives YOU the opportunity to speak out and help effect change to the display laws relating to pornography, so that children and young teens aren’t confronted with inappropriate, highly sexualised imagery as they go about their daily lives.

The authority responsible for the laws relating to pornographic material and their display is the Standing Committee of Attorney’s General (SCAG) Censorship Ministers . The SCAG Board is established by the Australian Federal Government, and consists of one representative from each State and Territory.

With your help, Say No 4 Kids intends to inform SCAG that as guardians of the next generation, we want pornographic material removed from view and access of children and young teenagers.  If cigarettes can go back behind the counter, why not porn?

“I think it’s appropriate to keep pornography away from children. I don’t think it’s censorship to keep public space porn free – people still have a choice about when they want to consume it. I don’t feel it’s right to impose pornography on people in the public sphere.” Naomi Wolf

Please take a few minutes to look at our website and sign the online petition. Forward it to your family and friends and/or print the hard copy version and return completed petition forms to P.O. Box 707, Pakenham Victoria 3810.

Say No 4 Kids is not affiliated in any way with any political, religious or vested interest group.  We represent a diverse range of people concerned about the health and wellbeing of children and young teenagers.

Appreciating the beauty before you

Yesterday in the sauna at the public pool there was a Thai woman talking with a man about their weight loss efforts, a little while later I unwrapped my towel from around my waist and joined her in the spa. We started talking and she told me what a great body I have and asked me how much weight I had lost. I replied none, that after starting a new contraceptive pill a few months ago I had gained 6 kg taking me up to a size 10 – 12 (Aus), but was not that bothered by it. She talked to me about trying to lose weight and wished she could have a figure like mine, but she had a beautiful figure and I told her so.

A couple of girls probably 15 or 16 then came into the spa wearing bikinis so tiny they may as well have been strips of tape and as she watched them I could see her entire being wishing she was young like that again. I told her to try not to compare herself or her beauty to them and that it was easy to have a figure like that when you are a teenager. She laughed and agreed saying how her body is not the same since she had her two children. She asked if I had children and how old I was, I told her I had two boys and I was 35. She was dismayed to hear this and again told me what a great body I have, she then told me she was 40. I looked her in her sweet brown eyes and told her she had a beautiful figure too, that she was a beautiful woman, which she was, and that we are both women with beautiful women’s bodies, not teenagers. She stared at me shocked so I told her again that she was beautiful to which she asked sincerely, ‘do you really think so?’ I smiled and told her ‘of course, I wouldn’t have said it otherwise’. She smiled and lowered her eyes as she took in my words.

This woman was really beautiful inside and out and again I felt dis-ease at our society and the constant imagery of youth and perfection that is conveyed to us as beautiful, that a woman like her and yes a woman like me could feel so down on ourselves and not good enough or worthy enough at times. And it really saddens me. It also really saddens me that  her partner and so many others don’t see and appreciate and acknowledge the beauty before them. And what a difference this would make to the women that love them.

That, as Naomi Wolf says ‘(The effect of beauty pornography in media and movies) is to keep (men) from finding peace in sexual love. The fleeting chimera of the air-brushed centrefold, always receding before him, keeps the man destabilized in pursuit unable to focus on the beauty of the woman – known, marked, lined, familiar – who hands him his coffee every morning keeps our lovers so focused on this beauty-pornography image around them that they don’t appreciate and value the beautiful woman before them. Appreciate as in add value too, which would therefore add value to their relationship together, their happiness, their sex lives etc.

That watching our partners glued to the replicate version of youthinised beauty that the media spawns detracts from us and distracts them from the way they see us and view us. And let me tell you, taking the effort to wear something nice and do your hair and make-up or put on a pretty nightgown and make yourself look and feel beautiful only to walk out to your partner in the lounge room or the bedroom while he  looks around you to keep viewing a sexy ad or sexy scene in a movie, or even to watch something non-sexual, is about as much of an anti-aphrodisiac as the couple of times I had to sit myself in an ice bath after giving birth to my first child.

And it raises the issue of another epidemic that I will write about next ‘The shallow Hall complex’ that the men of our society and relationships have developed, mostly without even realising it, after being raised into men being indoctrinated by all these images of a small window of what beauty and sexy is in our mass media, that even with all their obvious physical imperfections they sit back, judge and give commentary like they could have this or that actress or singer in the flick of their fingers while neglecting their girlfriends and wives.

But until then I hope and pray that us women can start seeing and appreciating the beauty before us when we look at ourselves in the mirror and carry that confidence and belief in ourselves with us throughout our day, and that the men in our lives, our lovers and partners can start turning away from this outdated distortion of beauty that fills our televisions, billboards, shops and streets and start appreciating the beauty before them in the women they love.

Taught from infancy that beauty is woman’s sceptre, the mind shapes itself to the body, and roaming round its gilt cage, only seeks to adorn its prison. – Mary Wollstonecraft

Pay respect to womankind, as they are born of the family of the Divine Mother. Abuse or punish them not, in however a mild manner, whatever the reason. Give attention to their worth and excellences, not their shortcomings.“- Katha Upanishad (Vedic/Hindu)

“Respect and consideration for women mark the precepts. All women are to be looked upon as manifestations of the Great Mother.” – Kaulavali Nirnaya Tantra (circa 1600 CE)

“If anything is sacred the human body is sacred” Walt Whitman

“Right. I look fine. Except I don’t,’ said Zora, tugging sadly at her man’s nightshirt. This was why Kiki had dreaded having girls: she knew she wouldn’t be able to protect them from self-disgust. To that end she had tried banning television in the early years, and never had a lipstick or a woman’s magazine crossed the threshold of the Belsey home to Kiki’s knowledge, but these and other precautionary measures had made no difference. It was in the air, or so it seemed to Kiki, this hatred of women and their bodies– it seeped in with every draught in the house; people brought it home on their shoes, they breathed it in off their newspapers. There was no way to control it.”  – Zadie Smith, On Beauty

I ask no favors for my sex…. All I ask of our brethren is that they will take their feet from off our necks. – Sarah Moore Grimké

“Woman’s degradation is in mans idea of his sexual rights. Our religion, laws, customs, are all founded on the belief that woman was made for man.” – Elizabeth Cady Stanton
“I think being a woman is like being Irish… Everyone says you’re important and nice, but you take second place all the time.” –
Iris Murdoch

It’s important to remember that feminism is no longer a group of organizations or leaders. It’s the expectations that parents have for their daughters, and their sons, too. It’s the way we talk about and treat one another. – Anna Quindlen

The conception of worth, that each person is an end per se, is not a mere abstraction. Our interest in it is not merely academic. Every outcry against the oppression of some people by other people, or against what is morally hideous is the affirmation of the principle that a human being as such is not to be violated. A human being is not to be handled as a tool but is to be respected and revered. [From: An Ethical Philosophy of Life] – Felix Adler

I am beautiful as I am.  I am the shape that was gifted.  My breasts are no longer perky and upright like when I was a teenager.  My hips are wider than that of a fashion model’s.  For this I am glad, for these are the signs of a life lived. – Cindy Olsen, co-owner of The Body Objective

As you grow in self-esteem, your face, manner, way of talking and moving will tend naturally to project the pleasure you take in being alive. – Nathaniel Branden

“I heard what you said. I’m not the silly romantic you think. I don’t want the heavens or the shooting stars. I don’t want gemstones or gold. I have those things already. I want…a steady hand. A kind soul. I want to fall asleep, and wake, knowing my heart is safe. I want to love, and be loved.” – Shana Abé

In an unconscious marriage, you believe that the way to have a good marriage is to pick the right partner. In a conscious marriage you realize you have to be the right partner.” Harville Hendrix

“I want to be in a relationship where you telling me you love me is just a ceremonious validation of what you already show me.” – Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

An ideal wife is any woman who has an ideal husband.- Booth Tarkington

Appreciation and self-love are the most important tools that you could ever nurture. Appreciation of others, and the appreciation of yourself is the closest vibrational match to your Source Energy of anything that we’ve ever witnessed anywhere in the Universe. – Abraham

Everyone needs to be valued. Everyone has the potential to give something back. – Princess Diana

If I could give you one key, and one key only to a more abundant life, I would give you a sense of your own worth, an unshakeable sense of your own dignity as one grounded in the source of the cosmic dance, as one who plays a unique part in the unfolding of the story of the world… – Greta Crosby

Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary. – Margaret Cousins

Love is like a campfire: It may be sparked quickly, and at first the kindling throws out a lot of heat, but it burns out quickly. For long lasting, steady warmth (with delightful bursts of intense heat from time to time), you must carefully tend the fire. (2007) – Molleen Matsumura

Living with integrity means:

  • Not settling for less than what you know you deserve in your relationships.
  • Asking for what you want and need from others.
  • Speaking your truth, even though it might create conflict or tension.
  • Behaving in ways that are in harmony with your personal values.
  • Making choices based on what you believe, and not what others believe. – Barbara De Angelis