In feminist and gender theory, we have this term called “social construction,” which means that we are constructed around notions of what it means to be men and women. Men have to be strong, tough, and they cannot cry. This is a social construct – a definition of masculinity that tells men how they should behave in order to fit in and be accepted in society. The rules for women insist that they have to be sexy, coy, thin, submissive, and self-sacrificing. These definitions of what it means to be female and feminine come from antiquated notions determined by past cultures and societies that men have ruled and governed.
When we are born, the rules are already set in place for us, defining us, giving us silent cues with which to behave accordingly. We are enfolded in pink blankets, decorated with pretty bows and hair clips, and covered in pink, frilly, and lacy dresses. Everything associated with us is pink and pretty, soft and frilly. We are given kitchen sets and microwave ovens, baby dolls and Barbie dolls, and are encouraged to play dress up not as doctors and bankers, but as ballerinas with tutus and Disney Princesses. The message we receive from infancy onward is the same: we are cute, sweet, adorable, dress-able dolls, ornamented with sparkly bracelets, necklaces, and blinking tiaras.
And when we become older, media-constructed representations of the kind of femininity we are expected to uphold strike us from television shows, magazines, movies and music videos. The Megan Fox’s, Selena Gomez’s, Lindsay Lohan’s, and even the Kardashian sisters are all socially-constructed images of female perfection and sexiness, sultry Goddesses that make a lot of money by looking beautiful, reminding us of our imperfections. But they are not real, and their lives are not glamorous. Their beauty is skin deep, make-up perfect, their pimples and flaws buried under layers of concealer; their bodies are forced into endless attempts at weight loss, and their thighs, skin and rear ends are air-brushed to perfection. They are not girls with private lives; they are marketable faces with price tags – products you can purchase and reproduce. When they are no longer perfect, no longer easily manipulated or flexible, they are replaced with the next best thing – another face, another body, another product – fresh, new, and sellable. Their shelf time is short, as is their career, as is their glamour, their superficial fame.
And when you look at these girls, seemingly famous, seemingly perfect, and you silently wish you looked like them, or you had their life, know that there is no power in squeezing into an image that was created for you. Their lives are defined by others – by photographers, managers, agents, and directors. They wake up not knowing who they are other than a still and silenced picture in a magazine or a scripted character in a movie.
You, on the other hand, are timeless — the essence of individuality and perfection. You are real. Nothing about you is air-brushed or hidden. Irreplaceable, not easily replicated, you wake up every day and face the world with your face, your voice, your individual nature, showing a volition and strength these girls do not possess.