This morning I was taken in by the article written by Jennifer Aniston addressing her experience of being constantly objectified in the news. And while most of us women are not faced with the constant media attention, what we struggle with is mainstream societies view on women.
From a personal perspective I've always been a little out of the box even as a child and as such found trying to fit into this female role most frustrating. For me it's been the view that a woman's value is aligned to her external appearance. That somehow she is less worthy if she doesn't fit into a size 8, 10 or whatever the standard is today. Or that she doesn't wear the right clothes and make up.
Just like Jennifer Aniston, I'm also fed up of listening to the constant reference to women as a "thing" to look at. Surely beauty is much more than skin and bones? After all isn't the body just a collection of organs covered with skin and bones? It's so ridiculous that it's laughable, yet so many women are sold by this view point.
What's worse is that this objectification is often from women towards other women and that makes it more infuriating. In some ways it is understandable for men to be seeing women in this way, they are conditioned by society and don't know how it feels to be a woman. But when other women criticize and judge each other based on body shape, it is shameful. Don't get me wrong, there is no justification to objectify anyone, man or woman. My point is that if women are doing it to each other, how do we expect things to change?
The objectification and scrutiny we put women through is absurd and disturbing. - Jennifer Aniston
Before you speak - think! - Words are damaging
As a mindfulness practitioner I like to think I help people raise awareness to the importance of mindful speech and how thoughtless words have an impact on others. Silly remarks about a girls appearance as she is growing up plays a huge part in how she values herself and can shape her self worth.
Yes we can tell a girl she is beautiful but when we say it, we must let them know that beauty is the whole person, not her body, not hair or clothes. Beauty is the mind, the compassion, the attitude and the capacity to be a loving being.
We are complete with or without a mate, with or without a child. We get to decide for ourselves what is beautiful when it comes to our bodies.
The constant focus on what a woman looks like, her relationship status and her role in society is damaging. It needs to change and it needs to start with us women.
A message to all the "thin, so called beautiful women" - Get over yourself!
As a mother of three men I'm proud to say I've raised men that see women as equals. And from my experience, most men do not want women who are beautiful on the outside. Let's give men more credit than we do, not all men are superficial. If you are attracting men into your life that do not value you or see your worth past what you look like, then perhaps you should ask yourself why?
Right Speech, right view, right intention - from the Noble Eight Fold Path in Buddha's teachings.
Mindfulness and Self Awareness
Before I leave you thinking, what does any of this have to do with Mindfulness, let me explain. Mindfulness is about raising your awareness, it's about letting go of limiting beliefs because they all start and end in the mind. Mindfulness is about practicing being present in the moment and this requires letting the past be in the past.
Mindfulness above all is about you becoming the best person you can be, about reaching a state where you are at peace with life and fully accept what is, this moment.
Through Mindfulness we see that we are all the same, we all have the same struggles in life. And putting others down to make ourselves feel better comes purely from an egotistic point of view and that damages us more than it damages anyone else.
So perhaps next time before you judge others, you can stop to ask yourself why?