Every day when I log into facebook, I am informed by targeted ads that something about me is ugly. Today, apparently, I am fat with hideous eyebrows.
I get adverts for jewelry to buy, clothes to wear, diets to go on and make up to fix my face with. I get advised my weight is too high, my boobs are too small. My hair is too limp and my lips are too thin. My nails are too short and my stretch marks are too vivid.
Every day I am reminded that my worth and value is in my looks, and if my looks aren’t up to scratch (whatever the current standard to be achieved happens to be) then I am faulty. Imperfect. Need improvement. Could be better.
I am old enough, cynical enough, lazy enough and secure enough to ignore it. I can roll my eyes at the instance that my eyebrows absolutely must be a certain way if I want to be attractive. I can look at the SkinnyMint advert girls clutching their laxative tea and feel no guilt that I’m not doing the same thing to myself.
I can do that because I am in a situation in my life now where it bounces off me. I couldn’t always. Can you?
When I was younger; more vulnerable and insecure, I’d have been impacted every day by these adverts. I might have started with a cynical eye roll but every day, every reminder of my flaws, I’d have had my determination to ignore those adverts broken down. Then, one day, I’d have caved. I’d accept that I am in fact as ugly and worthless as they tell me, and I’d have sent them money so they could fix me.
These people make money off you by telling you you’re imperfect and they can make that right. They tell us that more and more things are wrong with us. They accuse us of being less valuable than those who do invest in making themselves perfect.
Do you know what infuriates me most about this? It’s not the unhealthy things we are expected to do for beauty (laxative tea… I mean seriously) and it’s not what we are told to spend our money on (however much I resent people making money out of telling us we’re ugly).
What infuriates me most is that this is just another way of stopping women from being of equal value in society to men. It’s saying “Men are for brains, women are for looks.” It’s saying “If men don’t find you beautiful you have no function.” It’s just another way of keeping us down; making us forget what we are capable of because our attention is forced onto how we look.
STOP IT! STOP BELIEVING IT!
You are worth more than your looks, more than your weight, more than your cupsize.
Your value is in your brain, your mind. It’s in how you care for the people you love and how you make the world around you better. It’s in what you think and what you know, how often you laugh and how loudly you sing. It’s in your love of music or art or football. It’s in how you respect others and respect yourself.
Your value is in who you are not how you look.
Teach that to your children but teach it to yourself first, because they learn by example and there is no better lesson to learn.
You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.
Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!