Thursday, June 16, 2011

So what is self-esteem - part II.

Liking what you look like is another part. And this is where we quite often get confused and off the rails. Because our thoughts of self-acceptance get caught up in all the hoo-haa of what the media and the fashion industry particularly say we should look like. They aren't infallible you know. They can be wrong, and they are wrong most of the time.

Let's look at magazines. If women's magazines, both nationally and internationally are for ALL women, then why don't we see women of all ages, women of all colour, women of all shapes and sizes, pictured within those magazines pages on a regular basis. That is in every issue. Not only the occasional "special" issue that highlights fashion for the plus-size. How often do you see a section dealing with older women's issues? Makeup, hints on subtle enhancements to make a woman feel special - without having to diet or consult a cosmetic surgeon for a facelift or breast implants? 

Why when speaking with editors or features journalists at leading women's magazines, are we told that "well, our readers don't want to see ageing bodies, or overweight women - they'll get offended". Excuse me! Who's offended? Surely if women of all ages, colours, shapes and sizes were seen to be typical and "natural" and included within the pages of magazines of this type, then we'd all see ourselves for who and what we are and feel good about ourselves! Isn't that what the magazine is supposed to be all about in the first place?


  1. I've read both self-esteem posts now. I recently had something happen that made me realize how subtle an attack on one's self esteem can be. Or perhaps is is more like one's self-perception. After this happened, it didn't really damage my esteem, but did an amazing thing to my self perception, briefly.

    I went to a dermatologist that I haven't been to before. She came in, sat in front of me, and immediately started noting all my facial flaws. Skin condition, the way my skin changed color as we talked, asymmetrical face, artificial eye, and so on. She really did not need to discuss all that, it had nothing to do with the skin condition I was in there to see her about. To make sure of that, I later discussed it with my own doctor, who agreed.

    Anyway, by the time I walked out of there, I felt like I looked like qasimoto or something. I am not a vain person, but I did experience a shift in my self perception.

    We went shopping, had some coffee, and just did our day after that.

    Then we got back home a few hours later. I walked into the bathroom and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and was surprised to see myself looking just like myself! LOL No kidding, that one conversation shifted my perception, just like that.

    The point I think I'm trying to make is that we are bombarded from so many angles, magazines, attitudes, conversation, phrases in our language that color our perceptions and esteem. It's around us constantly.

    So, I think one wise thing to do is to somehow come to terms with all of it. Yes, try to change what we can change for the better. But since it is so incredibly pervasive in our society, we need to come to terms with it. We need to not worry about it to the degree that it affects our own esteem so very much.

    I have a mentally ill relative who called me a "disgusting, fat pig" the other day. When I was younger, that would have upset me. But today it only bothered me for her, had nothing at all to do with me or my own state of being. Yes, I'm fat, but that doesn't matter. She cannot touch me with words like that, because I know she's ill. And society can't often get to me like that, because I know it's wrong.

  2. Thank you for that Janet. In fact your post has given me more insights into how subtle (and not so subtle) attacks can be on our self esteem. It's so easy to "take on" other people's perceptions, even when we don't intend to. What I liked about your story was the fact that you went off, had some coffee and then "did your day" after that experience. Even moreso, that you looked in the mirror later that day and saw yourself as yourself! So often we lose sight of ourself! Thanks for reminding me.