A familiar problem. A 15-year-old girl sends an entry to the Everyday Sexism project; it’s about the way looks trump everything else for girls (and, as she’ll find out, for women).
I always feel like if I don’t look a certain way, if boys don’t think I’m ‘sexy’ or ‘hot’ then I’ve failed and it doesn’t even matter if I am a doctor or writer, I’ll still feel like nothing…successful women are only considered a success if they are successful AND hot, and I worry constantly that I won’t be. What if my boobs don’t grow? What if I don’t have the perfect body? What if my hips don’t widen and give me a little waist? If none of that happens I feel like [sic] there’s no point in doing anything because I’ll just be the ‘fat ugly girl’ regardless of whether I do become a doctor or not.
And she’s right. She’s right, at least, that if the future is like the present there will always be people who will see her and all women in those terms.
Laura Bates sums up:
From the advertising industry and its narrow media ideal of female beauty to the normalised objectification of Page 3; from articles that deconstruct the outfits of female politicians to the programs teaching girls how to nip, tuck, change and disguise their bodies; these messages are everywhere, everyday. The pressure on women and young girls to conform to such stereotypes is overwhelming, and until it is tackled, it will continue to undermine attempts to convince young women like this teenager that she really can “be whatever I want to be”.
She forgot to mention mobs of bullies, stalkers, harassers, and wannabe shock jocks who spend much of their free time telling women and girls how ugly and repulsive they are.