The other day, as I sat watching tv, I realized how many commercials (in succession) targeted women and girls. The commercials had a few things in common. First, they began with selling the viewer a lie: that she is flawed. Then, they sold the viewer the solution: whatever their product was. In just an hour’s viewing time, these were the messages directed at women and girls:
Our skin is rough and bumpy
Our teeth aren’t as white as a bleached tissue
The sclera (the white part of our eyes) isn’t white enough
We have too much “peach fuzz” on our faces
Our skin is crepe-y
We need a specific feminine wash to protect us from “odor”
I witnessed commercials showing women running a tube-like stick around their faces to remove all the fine hairs. During a side by side, before-and-after photo, the announcer wants us to believe the woman without the fine hair looks younger. Serums, potions, lotion, and devices are made to sell us beauty. But to sell their products, the makers first set out to convince us that we are old, rough, bumpy, crepe-y, yellow, and smelly.
I’d like to debunk some of these ridiculous notions right now. Bear with me.
Let’s start with whitening your teeth. So many women do this, but do you really know what you’re doing to yourself? Your teeth are not supposed to be as white as a piece of tissue that’s been bleached during processing. Why would you think they should be? Really! Just what IS the “tissue test”? First, teeth are porous, so they stain, just like any other porous thing. If you drink coffee or tea regularly, your teeth will become a bit duller. Yes, that does happen. Let me just say that no one is judging your worth or attractiveness on whether your teeth are as white as a tissue. No one. And if someone is, you need to lose that person FAST! You also need to be concerned about what you’re ingesting during the whitening process. Do your research.
The next ridiculous thing coming at us is that the whites of our eyes, the sclera, isn’t white enough. I saw a commercial claiming that if you use particular drops, the whites of your eyes will become whiter thereby “letting you shine through”. What the hell? Sister, you’re already shining through every day in a million ways. You’re kicking ass at work, at home and at the gym. The brightness of your sclera is not the source of your brilliance. Let me repeat that in case you didn’t get that. THE BRIGHTNESS OF YOUR SCLERA IS NOT THE SOURCE OF YOUR BRILLIANCE. You don’t need that product.
Women of mature years are made to feel insecure and bad about the texture and appearance of their skin. I believe the term they’ve put in our heads is “crepe” skin, when in fact the old-fashioned term would be aging. Many factors determine how wrinkled or smooth your skin is as you enter these golden years. They include, but are not limited to, gravity, your general health, whether you smoke, whether you tanned in a tanning bed or laid out in the sun a lot, whether you drank alcohol. The maker of the “eraser” of this type of skin would like you to believe you will be as perfect and beautiful as Ms. Seymour if you use their product regularly.
Rough and bumpy skin is directly related to your diet. While topical ointments and creams can reduce some of the inflammation, the condition clears up when your food choices change. I can vouch for this first hand.
Finally, if you have feminine odor, you don’t need a wash to cover the smell, you need a physician to give you a test and an exam. There’s no reason your vagina should “smell” and if it does, it means something is out of balance and not healthy. Find out what it is. Don’t cover it up.
As a massage therapist, I stare at and work on bodies all day. Skin, muscles, adipose tissue (fat), every woman has them. We all have scars, blemishes, pimples, rolls, smooth skin, bumpy skin. We have moles and age spots. Every single body tells a story. There is much understanding, acceptance and forgiveness of self in body work. The vessel you were assigned when you came into this world is part of your journey. It’s the vehicle in which you operate to live out your life and fulfill your purposes. It was also given to you to care for; it’s your temple. I believe if more women viewed their bodies as a temple, things would be so different.
My message is this: don’t allow anyone to diminish you for gain or profit. Every time you believe the first lie (I am flawed), you believe the second (I need whatever product to enhance/fix/make me more attractive/smell better). The truth is bodies have hair EVERYWHERE. Teeth are porous. The whites of your eyes get blood shot. Some are even slightly yellow. Skin wrinkles and sags with age and diet and living. There is more at stake than money here. People you don’t even know are chipping away at your person, at your self-esteem, at your being, to turn a profit and gain from you. They destroy you by sending messages, some obvious, some not so obvious, that you are less than in so many ways. Don’t let them do this. Do not believe them. Don’t YOU allow them to diminish yourself and don’t allow them to diminish our daughters.
I’m all for looking nice, feeling comfortable in my own skin, and not smelling offensive. I know there are products and services out there that can help me maintain my being. I will not support any company that starts by tearing women down to make us buy their goods and services. I will not buy underwear from companies that parade 14-year-old girls, our daughters, on the screen in front of our fathers, husbands, brothers, and sons. I believe the only way to hold companies accountable for the shitty way they have been marketing to us is with our dollars.
It starts with each of us finding and acknowledging our worth, personally and collectively as women, and then standing strong and protecting ourselves and our mothers, sisters, daughters, aunts, grandmothers. It’s time to wake up and heal the wounds that continue to infect us all. Not every woman or girl will be awakened to this necessity, but for those of you who are, I ask you to stand with me and say, “No more. My sisters and I are worth so much more. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with us.”
This blog post was contributed by Dawn Davis, a wonderful, compassionate, seeker of wisdom who gives the best massages in the world – ladies only! Here’s her contact info: https://www.facebook.com/DawnLDavisLMT/