PSSST! Hey you!
If you’re new here, read the Part I post for today’s blog here, and then hurry on back!
If you’re not new here, you probably already read last week’s blog where we talked about all things slut-shaming, double standards, thirst trap theory, and body-positivity.
Although, I’ll admit, I was a little nervous writing about such a “controversial” subject, the responses I received from our BB community made it beyond worth it.
If you reached out to share that you’ve seen slut-shaming, experienced obstacles embedded in societies double-standard, or feared acknowledging your own sexual desires due to what’s expected of women – I hear you, I feel you, and I THANK you.
Thanks for helping me to know I’m not the only one, and for being so real with me. <3
In addition, a few of you went even beyond sharing your own experiences, and shared strategies for solutions as well – which I am honored to include in today’s post!
Because honestly – last week’s blog felt just the bittiest bit rant-y to me.
And although good rants are necessary to get to the bottom of onion-like issues with layers, YOU deserve more than just a rant, and this subject deserves more than just a rant.
Which is why WE BACK BABY!
Back to talk about bodies.
Because, after last week’s blog laid a foundation through illuminating a few barriers, today I want to talk through ways we may begin to eliminate those barriers, and inspire both ourselves as individuals, as well as our interconnected communities, into a body-positive breakthrough.
Beginning with society, and saving the best (aka: YOU and me) for last! 😉
OH, SOCIETY! WHY YOU GOTTA DO THAT TO ME?
As one of the GOATs in the industry of Personal Growth, Tony Robbins, says with his iconically scratchy voice:
“If you sincerely want to change your life: RAISE YOUR STANDARDS. What changes people is when their ‘SHOULDS’ become ‘MUSTS’.”
Although (I *pinky* promise) we’ll go DEEP into empowering our own standards in just a second, I would say that strategizing new standards to streamline our societal systems has the most influential opportunity to create colossal impact and significantly smother the double standard.
So let’s start there!
The double standard is defined as:
- a set of principles that applies differently and usually more rigorously to one group of people or circumstances than to another
- especially : a code of morals that applies more severe standards of sexual behavior to women than to men
That^ was a direct copy/paste from the Merriam-Webster, by the way.
Was I the only one shocked to see that second clause?
My surprise quickly shifted to sadness, because seeing that second clause reinforced a realization that the issue isn’t just in our heads, but – as the dictionary denotes – the double-standard is severe, well-known and widespread.
Smothering something so severely significant to society can be easier-said-than-done, but that’s all the more reason why it’s so important we start somewhere.
Smothering the double standard (*which I’ll be abbreviating as the D-standard for the purposes of today’s post*) starts with making more standards.
More specifically, it starts with setting the SAME standards for both sexes (what a concept, right? 😉 – three of which I share below.
School Says: Bodies Be Like…
After posting last week’s article, one of the incredible humans who reached out to me was Jill M. Lehman – an author and Marriage and Family therapist.
Among other things, she shared a story surrounding her experience counseling a group of grade-school girls, and it really stuck with me. Jill said:
“These 4th and 5th grade girls were slut-shamed by other girls because of their developed breasts, or the way they dressed…They were also slut-shamed by boys, most of whom couldn’t answer the question, ‘Why do you do/say that?’”
Did something similar ever occur at your school?
I know it did at mine.
We, as a species, are most often uncomfortable with whatever’s not familiar to us.
And, in this case, boobs are the unknown variable for everyone in the story, besides the girls who already had them.
But what if boobs, and all the other body parts, didn’t have to be such an unknown variable?
What if we could find a way to normalize boobs and bodies alike, so that they no longer stimulate such a foreign curiosity, fear, or frequent sexual urges to SEE MORE?
And not just the “picture-perfect” perky and round boobs we see on our Barbies, but ALL boobs – big, small, saggy, swollen, circular, triangular – EVERY kind of boob, as well as every other aspect of our human bodies, (both male AND female) in such a way that our children would realize NObody is “weird” and worth being bullied over?
(Yes – that means looking at, and talking about the P, the V and the booty too!)
I believe we begin breaking through the barriers blocking our body-positivity by uplifting our entire body outside of the shadows of societies’ shame, and into our schools.
Because maybe, just maybe, if we were able to see and share in discussions around the human body (just like we did in the caveman days!) we wouldn’t feel so scared of the parts we don’t have, or shameful of the parts we do.
What I’m proposing is that our kids don’t just come-of-age seeing Barbies naked (with their unrealistic, unhealthily-small waist) but all kinds of REAL life, bare bodies.
Like, what if instead of inspiring boys to look at boobs like they’re winning the lottery, we could normalize them to the point where people simply say:
Oh yeah – girls have boobs! My mom has them too!!
As you release your cringe-chuckle, reflect on these two questions with me:
What if, instead of reinforcing the idea that boobs were meant to be covered up and kept secret, we allowed ourselves to see them for what they are:
A necessary, beautiful, and life-baring part of a woman’s body. Nothing to be ashamed of.
What if instead of idealizing unrealistic cartoon bodies, or cold, plastic body-part pieces that look like they belong to Mr. Potato Head, our children opened their school books to see THIS:
*(Photo & Inspo credits to Lizzo.)*
*(Photo & Inspo credits to Sarah Nicole Landry.)*
*(Also from Sarah Nicole Landry – a photo with stretch marks signifying the strength and adaptability of a woman’s body after giving birth.)*
Would providing and explaining inclusive and authentic representations of naked women be the worst thing?
Think about it.
Would it do any harm?
Or might it empower our children into realizing, at a young age, that we’re all born UNIQUE.
As well as the fact that, after birth, our unique bodies will forever be constantly changing – growing, expanding, and aging.
Might it empower them to see that bodies are just bodies, and NObody is inferior or superior to the other, which is why ALL should be respected for the life-creating capsules they are?
If we put the ‘human’ back in the ‘body’ – and eliminate the idea that women’s bodies are some unique unicorn, or curious, foreign figure to uncover and conquer – maybe that could even trickle down into depleting rates of sexual assault.
Seeing Sexuality & Self-control on the Spectrum
As we uncovered in last week’s blog, research reveals there is NO single, clear measure of sex drive.
And although our patriarchal society has always accepted that men were the hornier sex in the species, the unreliability of such research suggests that – with slut-shaming being SO prevalent in our society – it’s more than likely the female sex drive has been stunted and/or kept secret.
Called “kissy-girl Kendra” for chasing the boys in Kindergarten, I’ll admit, I’m a SUPER sensual chick.
But, up until just recently, I was NEVER comfortable revealing that to anyone.
For some reason, admitting and embracing that I – like all humans – am a sexual being, made me feel dirty.
And I know, DEEP in my soul, I’m not the only one.
So, if women and men are both sexual beings, with bodies designed to mate and make babies, why do we tell girls to change their shorts to save themselves from sexual assault – or else “they’re asking for it”?
Why is society set up in such a way that sacrifices women’s bodies in order to save men from acting on their sexual desire?
A sexual desire ALL human beings are born with.
This is an example of the double standard to a T.
And in order to transform that ‘T’ into a ‘WE’ – (cheesey, but hang with me 😉 – I believe we need to empower our children with self-control.
Because sexuality is slippery, and it’s on a spectrum, but – just like any other aspect of our imperfect humanness – it can be controlled through our own personal choices.
Which is why I sincerely believe we should start empowering ALL citizens to take their control back.
FREE YOURSELF FIRST
*(The Birth of Venus, a painting by Sandro Botticelli)*
Now, a few of us may be involved in school systems and other integral parts of society that affect change most frequently, but what if we’re not?
How can we BE the change, instead of waiting on the world as we watch our ONE life pass us by?
Because I sure as heck won’t let mine pass me by without embodying the birthright I believe we ALL have to express- as well as have freeing, identity-expanding, consensual sex!
Which is why, I believe, it’s best to begin by freeing ourselves first and foremost, and then take that transformed, more beautiful belief, back into our families and our homes.
Because when we truly begin to love our own, perfectly-imperfect bodies, shamelessly and unapologetically, our children will notice, and it will absolutely inspire what they believe about their own bodies, as well as the rest of societies’.
And honestly, it won’t be easy.
It’ll be uncomfortable at first.
When I personally started doing the work to liberate myself from societal standards of sexuality and beauty, it was extremely uncomfortable.
Like, watching a sex scene with your parents status.
Which is why I want to warn you now – you’re not going to love today’s tactical exercise at first, but I swear it WILL get easier, and it’ll be so damn fulfilling when you feel fully freaking FREE to live in, and love on, your body.
(Which, btw, I’m still in the process of working on myself!)
But the thing is, I truly believe that the more uneasy you feel about doing this type of breakthrough work, the more you need to do it.
‘It’ being – loving on your body, of course!
Which there are MANY unique ways to do, one of which I want to share with you:
BODY-POSITIVE BATHING PRACTICE
- Set the intention to only communicate positive statements to yourself while in the shower/bath – wherever you bathe.
- As you scrub suds all over your body, lather up with loving statements too!
- Think about all of the things your body does for you, and offer your gratitude – aloud!
- Explore your body…
- Open your eyes, and see yourself for what you ARE – a living, breathing, beautiful being.
- Have you ever stopped to count the freckles on your underarm? Do you even know what the back-side of your booty looks like?
- Start simple, and then build up to exploring every crux and cranny on your body.
- *Pro Tip* – When you have a negative thought slide through your stream of consciousness, don’t judge yourself for it, and simply think of another positive thought to replace it with!
Ready to move on up to Level 2? 😉
Step out of the shower, and give the same exercise a shot in the mirror.
I know it’s scary and SOOOO freaking awkward at first, but – trust me – it works!
Seriously, don’t wait – start appreciating your body today!
When it’s all been said, and our showering session is done, the reality is:
We may still feel people’s stares scanning us with their judgements, attempting to stick on our spirit like self-loathing sweat.
Which is when we will remember to only mind the minds that matter, and focus on ourselves and our families first.
(Want a little more motivation when it comes to only “minding the minds that matter”? Read my blog about creating confidence while coping with criticism right here!)
In the end, (and as long as you’re not threatening another person) I say that we say:
EFF YO’ BEAUTY AND SEXUALITY STANDARDS, SOCIETY!
I’M GOING TO DO MY THANG ANYWAYS!
(*Insert smile and super pumped up fist flying high in the sky*)
Just as Tony says, changing your life begins when you transform your “shoulds” into “musts.”
And, for me, empowering myself and the women around me to truly LOVE our bodies, shamelessly explore our spirits (sexually or otherwise!), and embrace the superpowers that make us uniquely irreplaceable to our Mama Earth is a MUST for me.
And I hope with my whole heart you will continue to join me. <3