Tear down the “ideal,” not each other
Looking through Instagram can be motivating or discouraging.
When I see accounts of women who are considered 'ideal' by society's standards it makes me depressed, feel bad about myself and also envious of that person. Then I also see women within the body positive movement who are clearly amazing as well also feel a little less than when I compare myself to them. As someone who just gave birth a few months ago (for the second time), it has irreparably changed my body, and learning to accept that is challenging. It doesn’t help when I feel as though all I see are these perfect women splattered all over the internet, and I won’t lie; sometimes, it makes me resent them.*
Let’s be real; cis women have been socialized to compete with each other more than support one another.** Therefore, women often see other women as the opponent (or sometimes the enemy.) We see our Girls go through this a few times throughout the series, mostly with regard to dating. However, the best example is when all 3 model naked for Laszlo, a Hungarian sculpture:
Blanche is the first one to get the ball rolling, only for Laszlo to approach Rose and Dorothy and asking them to pose for him as well. Eventually, the jig is up and they confront Laszlo on who will actually be in the sculpture. He says that he will choose one of them from his sketches, but that they will see it once it it finished and displayed.
At the unveiling of the sculpture, we come to find that Lazlo had an epiphany whilst working, and combined all of their strongest attributes to create one perfect lady: one of strength and character, sensuality and vitality, and softness and sweetness.
“It is not hard to understand why you are such good friends. You compliment each other very well indeed.”
Why can’t we change our perspective to this one? Can you imagine how much better things would be if we stopped subscribing to the bullsh*t mentality that we’re never enough?
Enough of what?
If we work more to raise each other up, acknowledge that there is no such thing as perfection and appreciate our individual strengths, our connections would be so much more positive.
Every once in a while I’m able to take a step back and reframe this perspective; what if, instead of being envious of what I'm seeing as beautiful/ideal on other women, why not compliment them? And then imagine them complimenting me on something?
Maybe the person you’re looking at is a size 4 but wants fuller, thicker hair and you have that (just an example - I can’t relate to this in the slightest, especially in 80% humidity. See image below.) Imagine her saying she wishes she could have hair like yours because maybe she does.
OR maybe the woman you’re seeing with the toned everything grew up with lots of acne and still has skin problems, and wishes she could have your complexion.
OR perhaps the person you’re seeing who has stunning photos and your ideal “booty gains” (that’s a thing, right?) doesn’t speak her mind or stand up for herself the way you do.
You just never know.
We do know that no one is perfect. Instagram is often edited, very posed and only shows a small sliver of who we are. It’s easy to feel pangs of envy when you’re feeling down and you see someone who has what you deem in your head to be ideal. If you want to flip that feeling (as I find myself doing sometimes) try to take the envy out of the equation and makes you realize that no one is perfect; everyone has something(s) they'd like to change and all strengths should be celebrated. Let’s empower the crap out of each other with compliments.
In friendship and cheesecake,
*There is a LOT of things I could say about how we’re socialized to scrutinize the appearance of women to meet the desires of the male gaze, but that’s for another post. For the record; I’m not into it, but I’m also human.
**This is the perspective of a cis, white woman, but I’m sure this concept is applicable to someone of many identities. I just don’t feel right speaking about an experience I don’t have.