Idealized American Beauty Standards Are Deflecting Attention Away From True Womanhood

Idealized American Beauty Standards Are Deflecting Attention Away From True Womanhood

"To all the girls that think you're fat because you're not a size zero, you're the beautiful one, it's society who's ugly." - Marilyn Monroe

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I remember being a little girl, always fantasizing about the glory of adulthood as a woman in America. Let me first begin by saying being an adult sucks. The responsibilities are never-ending, but that's beside the point. Anyways, I always imagined a sense of freedom, because that's what being an adult in America is supposed to mean. America is the land of the free and the home of the brave. However, as a biracial woman in America, I feel I am constantly trying to live up to idealized standards of beauty.

Beauty discrimination is deeply ingrained in American culture, and the range for what is considered to be ideal womanhood is very small. Speaking of small, let's begin by addressing societal expectations of female body image. In America, media everywhere heavily influences the ways in which people view themselves and others. Strategically, the diet-friendly dessert brand SkinnyCow logo employs an emaciated cow wearing bright lipstick, long eyelashes, and a tape measure around the waist.


Skinny Cow Brand Logo Google Images

UMMMMM EXCUSE ME, cows are supposed to be fat! By comparing a woman to a cow, and suggesting the cow must be thin to be desirable, American women are objectified as animals and made to feel ugly if they're unable to meet such standards. One strong example of this involves former Miss Universe Alicia Machado and President Trump when Trump referred to Machado as Miss Piggy and referred to her weight gain as a "real problem." Trump, tune in because life is much more complex than a number on a scale. You can find the full story here.


Trump and Machado Google Images

EVERYONE IS BEAUTIFUL. Why does society favor the thin? Society turns "skeletons into goddesses and we look to them as if they might teach us not to need" - Marya Hornbacher

FYI, society has it all wrong. Thinness has its problems as well.

Personally, I've always been self-conscious about my thinness. I workout consistently to increase my appetite and gain muscle weight. Just because society may approve of my appearance, does not mean I am satisfied with how I feel or look. Society tells me I should be thrilled, but just like other string beans out there, I am constantly in my head.

Every year, the glamorous Victoria Secret models hit the runway, and they make it look oh so easy. Accordingly, the criteria suggest the average V.S. model is at least 5'9", has a 24" waist, and has less than 18% body fat. For reference, athletes typically range from 14-20% body fat, while anything less than 14% can lead to organ failure and even death. You can find more information here.

This year, Victoria Secret chief marketing officer Ed Razek addressed the show's consistent exclusivity when it comes to casting models for the show. In a statement, Razek suggested transgender and plus-size individuals do not belong on the V.S. runway because such women do not exemplify the fantasy Victoria Secret is trying to sell.

Since then, many LGBTQ and plus-size individuals have taken to social media to address their rightful outrage. Perhaps the most famous clapback came from Nikita Dragun, a well-known Youtuber, Beauty Blogger, and a transgender woman. By embracing her uniqueness and celebrating womanhood and beauty in her own way, Dragun captivated audiences by letting her Angel wings fly in her own personalized, self-produced Victoria Secret ad. I probably watched her video ten times, while I could barely make it through the actual Victoria Secret Fashion Show once. If you haven't seen the magic, HERE YA GO!


Nikita Dragun Victoria Secret Clapback Instagram Nikita Dragun

On the bright side, Victoria Secret has been featuring more women of color in recent years, including model Winnie Harlow. Making her debut as a V.S. angel this year, Harlow became the first model with vitiligo to walk the V.S. runway. Vitiligo is a skin condition in which the skin loses melanocytes or pigment cells. Discolored skin patches around the body may result.

Winnie Harlow Victoria Secret 2018Google Images

I first learned about vitiligo from my step-sister, Cheri Lindsay. Featured in Dermablend Cosmetics' ad on Camo Confessions, Cheri and others confessed their individual skin insecurities, including acne, discoloration, tattoos, etc. The amazing video is worth a quick look, especially if you're looking for a new full coverage foundation!


Cheri Lindsay Dermablend Campaign Google Images

With over 7 billion people on this planet, how does society expect us all to be beautiful? It probably doesn't, which means we as civilians must redefine beauty. I was going to say I remember the good, old days when fatness was considered a sign of wealth, but I was most certainly not around then. We live in a world where no two individuals are the same, and thus, beauty should not reflect such a small proportion of the population.

It's way past the time to stop fantasizing about qualities we will never possess and people we will never become. However, it is never too late to rewrite the rules of beauty.

ALL women and ALL people are beautiful because the definitions of beauty are unlimited.

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You Are NOT Enough

We will never be enough, but God is always more than enough.

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Society and even the church seem to constantly encourage us with the saying "You are enough," and their intentions behind this statement are totally innocent. Something about this phrase has always bothered me, though, but I never understood why. In a sermon I heard one Wednesday night a week or so ago, the verses Proverbs 30:7-9 were used, and these verses stood out to me in a big way.

Proverbs 30:7-9

7 "Two things I ask of you, Lord;
do not refuse me before I die:
8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, 'Who is the Lord?'
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.

The speaker was specifically focusing on verses 7-8, but the Holy Spirit kept drawing me to verse 9, even days and weeks after. So I decided to dig into it. This verse focuses on Agur (the speaker in the passage) and his tendency to sin. When he asked God to provide "only [his] daily bread," and then when he continued on to speak about the specific sins he was afraid of committing, Agur was completely and wholly surrendering his struggles with temptation and sin to God, because Agur knew he couldn't do it on his own.

Aren't we all like Agur? Because we are human, we mess up all the time and fall into sin more than we would like to admit, and many times because of this, we fall into guilt and shame. This is because, on our own, we aren't enough. If we were enough on our own, we wouldn't sin. If we were enough on our own, we would be able to save ourselves. If we were enough on our own, we wouldn't need God. But none of those statements are true, are they? In fact, it is the exact opposite because God is enough, he calls us out of sin. Because God is enough, He sent Jesus to save us from our sin. Because God is enough, He is with us in every situation because we call to Him.

How do we know that we aren't enough? Because no one is!

Every human sins, even great heroes of faith. David, one of the most well-known biblical figures: the one who killed Goliath and one of the ancestors of Jesus Christ, said in Psalm 51:5--

Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

The beauty in realizing that you aren't enough on your own is that you don't have to be! Never in the Bible does God call us to be "enough!" He never expected us to be enough because it is impossible. God does call us to depend on Him, though. This is because God is ultimately more than enough. When we depend on God to help us keep away from sin and put in the work necessary to keep away from sin, it will be much easier. We will never be enough, but if we continuously search for our identity in worldly things and not Christ, we will be upset when we realize that we are not enough. Guess what, though, when we find our identity in what Christ says about us, we will find peace and hope because just like 2 Corinthians 12:9 says:

9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

God is the only one who is enough. When we depend on God for everything we will begin to see that HE is enough, and that's all we need.

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20 Songs From The '70s That You Need On Your Playlist If You Want To Impress Your Grandparents

Far out, man.

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I would argue that the 1970s brought forth a culture like no other - from the music to the clothing to the political movements to economic downturns and more, the 1970s served as a decade of pivotal change around the world, particularly in Western societies and if you're like me, you didn't have the privilege of growing up or simply living during the 1970s. But, if you're also like me, you have family members that did, such as your parents (who most likely grew up during this time) and your grandparents (who were fully functioning adults/parents) and luckily, you have had the opportunity to experience 1970s culture vicariously through your grandparents, who were first-hand witnesses to all of this cultural change - including the emergence of new musical changes and genres.

Here are 25 songs from the 1970s that your grandparents most likely heard on the radio - and they likely either loved them or quickly got tired of them after hearing them played over and over again. But, this is all new to you.


1. Tiny Dancer by Elton John (1971)

Discogs

Where do I begin with this song? From the introductory arrangement on the piano to the lyrics, this song is one of my all time favorites. I have seriously considered getting a tattoo to pay homage to this song. Surprisingly though, because of the song's long runtime and its lack of a hook, it initially only reached #41 on the U.S. pop chart.

2. Baba O'Riley by The Who (1971)

CD and LP

Otherwise known as "Teenage Wasteland," Baba O'Riley is the quintessential rock and roll song. The opening riff is iconic, and the lyrics can speak to any individual currently encumbered by teenage angst.

3. (Don't Fear) The Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult (1976)

CD and LP

If you're a Saturday Night Live fan, you definitely know this song. Although poked fun at by the cast and most notably Will Ferrell for the extensive use of the cowbell, this song actually has many layers. It possesses a gothic storyline which is carried by the famous guitar line.

4. Do it Again by Steely Dan (1972)

The Second Arrangement

I first encountered this song when I was 8 years old while playing Guitar Hero World Tour. And boy, did I love it.

5. Psycho Killer by the Talking Heads (1977)

Red Bubble

This song has perhaps one of the most memorable bass lines of all time, paving the way for a deceptively funky new wave genre that would begin to take off in the 1980s. Listen to Selena Gomez's, Bad Liar. The opening bass line? Yeah, that's from Psycho Killer.

6. Life in the Fast Lane by The Eagles (1976)

Fandom

This song tells a story, a story of recklessness and living on the edge that many want to adopt into their life.

7. Cocaine by Eric Clapton (1977)

nonbeige

Eric Clapton's version of the song is actually a cover of singer-songwriter J.J. Cale's work. Clapton popularized the song in 1977, reaching number 30 on the Billboard Hot 100 list.

8. Lola by the Kinks (1970)

PBC Asylum

I probably like this song so much because it reminds me of my dog, Lola. Not a day would go by where my dad did not serenade my dog with this song. It wasn't until I was about 17 when I realized what this song was about. Have a listen, and you'll see.

9. Band on the Run by Paul McCartney, Wings (1974)

Discogs

Another one of the songs that I first heard through Guitar Hero. Band on the Run is one of my favorites due to the fact that it is composed in a three-part medley. It's like I'm listening to three different songs in 5 minutes and 13 seconds.

10. Old Man by Neil Young (1972)

45cat

Neil Young's smooth voice and lyrical story produces a song that anyone would find pleasure listening to.

11. My Sweet Lord by George Harrison (1970)

STEREOGUM

The opening guitar chords of this song are literally sweet music to my ears. Harrison produces a song that is both lyrically and musically sound, adding even more to the legacy he left behind.

12. Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd (1975)

MediaSurf

I first introduced myself to Pink Floyd when I was a sophomore in high school, and I did not stop listening to them for nearly three months. Wish You Were Here is perhaps one of the band's most well-known songs, and according to the band, one of their best songs. The emotional weight it pushes on the listener through its lyrics is intense. I listened to this song a few nights ago and found myself crying in the middle of it.

13. Roxanne by The Police (1978)

The Police

When I got an iPod Touch in 2007, my dad was eager to put new music on it. This was the time when one would physically put CDs into their computer and download songs into iTunes. The only song I remember from this playlist my dad made for me was Roxanne, and it was my absolute favorite. Of course, at the time of listening, I was completely unaware that the song was about a man who falls in love with a prostitute.

14. Fly Like an Eagle by the Steve Miller Band (1976)

Discogs

This song's psychedelic, mellow and dreamy feel is what makes it so good. When I hear this song, I immediately think, "70s."

15. Dreams by Fleetwood Mac (1977)

The Music Ninja

How could I not include Fleetwood Mac on this list? Most of us know this song.

16. Feel Flows by The Beach Boys (1971)

London Drugs

Let's talk about psychedelic. This song is extremely trippy and is the exact opposite of what I expect when I think of The Beach Boys. The song wasn't a single and didn't get a lot of attention, but it did find a new audience after the release of Almost Famous (written by Cameron Crowe) in 2000.

17. That's the Way by Led Zeppelin (1970)

Rolling Stone

Moving away from the hard rock genre, this Zeppelin song is acoustic in nature and is a ballad, telling a story of the struggles of a young boy when facing his parents. It is rather moving, to say the least.

18. Me and Bobby McGee by Janis Joplin (1970)

45cat

This is actually a cover recorded by Janis Joplin in 1970. She recorded the song for her album, Pearl, just a few days before her death. Her version of the song ranked to number 148 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

19. Have You Ever Seen the Rain by Creedence Clearwater Revival (1970)

45cat

This is just a fun song to sing along to in the car with your family on a road trip. Or even by yourself when you're driving home. It's upbeat rhythm and simple lyrics make this one of my favorite 70s songs.

20. Angie by the Rolling Stones (1973)

Moicani

This acoustic driven ballad characterizes the end of a romance. Although not typical of their normal sound, the song shot up to the top of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Chart. Rumor has it that the song was about David Bowie's wife, Angie.

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