The Feminine Image

There was a time in civilized history, believe it or not, when thin definitely was not in. However, I’m not going to push the argument that thin has just recently came into fashion, because it’s not true. There have been times throughout history that the stick-figure lady was considered attractive. In the Middle Ages, thinness was a symbol of the frail During the Victorian period … the hourglass figure was very much in stylebeauty of a woman. Women were not supposed to be strong, independent, and confident; they were supposed to be delicate, weak, and fully dependent on their man. Of course, women had very few rights during this time, and were considered less important than men. This was time of chastity belts, remember.

During the Victorian period, a time notorious for it’s men treating women like dirt, the hourglass figure was very much in style. To be attractive to a man, a woman had to don a horrendous contraption called the corset, which made it difficult for the woman to breath. After removing the corset, it was common for a woman to pass out. This was yet another period that frowned upon independent, confident women.

There is no correlation between men embracing full-figured women and women’s liberation, however. There are, and have been, many misogynists who find full breasts and a soft, curvy body very attractive. There are men who force women with low self-esteem to eat because they’ve got a fetish for heavy-set women. There are, no doubt, men who treat their one-and-onlys like Goddesses (with a capital G), even though they are Kate Moss look-alikes. The problem isn’t in the way our so-called civilized society rejects or accepts a woman’s appearance. The problem is actually rooted in the beginning of civilization.

Food, being a major concern for the survival of any group, naturally was the
source of some of the earliest sexual-role divisions. Hunting, that is, throwing spears or shooting arrows, was more suited to the male physique than female. The role of gathering was left to that of the women of the tribe. This isn’t were the problems began, however, as the need for the foods gathered was just as important as the need for the foods hunted.

The problem occurred, most appropriately, when man first attempted to control Mother Nature; it occurred during the first stages of agrarianism. A strong upper-body physique is suitable to perform the duties central to sustaining a agrarian society. These include building permanent shelters, harvesting grain, collecting wood for fires, etc. This was when women became “house-wives”, and men “bread-winners.” No longer were both man and woman “bringing home the bacon,” and it has been accepted, even among modern women, that the person who is the bread-winner is the head of the household. Food is necessary to survive, and so the breadwinner is considered the most important person in the family.

Women should be themselves, love themselves and walk the earth like the Goddesses they areOnce man had seized the coveted role of sustenance-provider, he quickly abused it and forced women to become subservient to him by threat of starvation. It may not have been a direct threat, or even a subtle one. Man simply, and rightly, saw himself as an indispensable part of an agrarian society. From then on women had to rely on men to take care of them, and men smugly took this for granted, until technology became more advanced later on down the road.

The Women’s Liberation Movement began to really take off during the later part of the Industrial Revolution. Women saw that men were no longer as important as they had been. Women could easily push buttons, man machines, etc. Women had been oppressed since the “dawn of civilization,” and they were pissed, and men all over the western world panicked. No ruling class, however, has sacrificed itself on an alter for the benefit of the ruled-over class. Man was not going to go down without a fight.

Men, who had been the main authority for so long, had been preparing somewhat for all of this for a long time. They established themselves as law-makers and law-enforcers. They were the sustenance providers so women did not dare protest. The laws men made to re-enforce the strength of their position were strict, and the punishments severe. By the time the Women’s
Liberation Movement was in full swing, men had already established laws to fight it. Women were already losing a battle they had just begun to fight.

But that’s old news, right? We know that women eventually won their right to vote, they slowly became a part of the western world’s work force, and thus eventually won their independence. Right? Well, not totally, as men still hold most of the important positions in society. There has not been a single female president. Most businesses are passed along to the male child (a practice that is very, very old). Men are still making the decisions for our civilization.

What does any of this have to do with the way we perceive women? A lot,
actually. If men are still in control of most of the medias (and they are!), then it’s no wonder that women would never be confident in the way they appear. Men, after all, don’t want women to believe that they are quite capable without them. Many women feel the need to have children, and men reinforce those feelings through television and movies. We see commercials with women hugging their babies, we see movies about women and their babies, etc. Men also create the images of the perfect life, where marriage is essential, dieting is a must, and men are throwing themselves at the feet of beautiful women. Of course, beauty is manufactured by man as well. Revlon, Cosmopolitan Magazine, the push up bra. Women are no more independent than they were in the Middle Ages. There a sense of freedom, where once women had no choices at all, now they have an unlimited number of choices – blue eye makeup, red eye makeup, green eye makeup. Women are free to make any choice they want, so long as those choices remain within the boundaries of the little world the dominant sex has created.

This extends to the current “desirable” body-type. I remember not long ago when a curvy figure was all the rage – and so was the fashion that went along with it. Then came the Kate Moss types, and dieting and the drug-chic with them. Who has been cleverly manipulating the fashion world to keep people buying and dependent on them? Yeah, you guessed it. Men. (Well, mostly. But women sell-outs who throw away hundreds of years of Women’s Lib efforts for a mansion and their name in the next fashion mag are beyond the scope of this rant.)

Women shouldn’t buy into the consumer-craze and the fashion industry. They
shouldn’t believe what they see on the tv, hear on the radio, and read in the newspapers and magazines because they should be full aware of the fact that they are quite capable of finding happiness without the “help” of those questionable, and fallible, sources. They should know that other peoples opinions are no more important than their own, and that maybe it’s not them
that have the problem, but a world obsessed with television and the media(s)
that does. Women should be themselves, love themselves, and walk the earth
like the Goddesses (with a capital G) they are.

Destroy the images. Subvert the medias. Choose your life for yourself –
you’re the one that has to live with the choices that you make.

John Doe See all posts by this author
is a BADASSCHICK Magazine™ contributor. And it's really his name.
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