By Patrick James Quinn.
It’s a tale as old as time. The objectification of women as sex symbols or eye candy, told by society and the media to forego intelligence and values for skimpy clothes and a beguiling giggle.
Even in our debatably socially-advanced 21st century, it is rare to find a girl valued for her intellect above her appearance. Chart-topping artists such as Maroon 5, Kanye West and Kesha endlessly encourage women to submit, succumb, just party and have fun, don’t think or care, just do. Innumerable films (specifically of the action genre, such as the “James Bond” or “Bourne” series) switch out girls with each new installment, instilling the idea that women are as replaceable as the cars the leading men drive.
However, not all media is bad. Character such as Katniss Everdeen in “The Hunger Games” or Hermione Granger in the “Harry Potter” series, or artists like Taylor Swift, often depict strong, intelligent and purposeful women, giving young girls worthy role-models that they can look up to.
Why is it so difficult for a girl to be both intelligent and beautiful? Why must we put pressure on women to adhere to this perfect ideal that we’ve made up over time? “Everyone in Hollywood is so damn skinny and you constantly feel like you’re not skinny enough,” says Scarlett Johansson, a successful actress most recently seen in Marvel‘s “The Avengers“, “But I have ‘fat days’ and I accept that I’m never going to be rail thin. It’s hard not to feel pressure in this industry and I already use anti-aging products on my skin. I try not to let the pressure get to me but Los Angeles is a very hard place to be unless you have people here that love you. It can be very, very lonely, and it can eat you up if you don’t take care of yourself.” Even someone known for their beauty and sex-appeal still feels inadequate in the insatiable eyes of the public.
This article is equally a call for men to look beyond a girl’s appearance as it is about encouraging women to fight social pressure and find value in themselves, seeing their true beauty and self-worth instead of falling for a smooth line or dashing smile from someone tall, tan and handsome.
In our modern world of broken families, everyday abandonment, low self-esteem and mediocre role-models, a world where we are all looking for love and acceptance, it is difficult to truly be yourself and give worth to your identity. But security and self-worth are attractive, and it will draw the right people in, the kind of people who will see you for who you really are, build you up, and treat you the way you deserve to be treated.