By Devon White
In light of the Women’s Center recent body-positive initiatives like Love Your Body Day and a screening of documentaries that address self image and encourages and supports the awareness of positive body images, it’s often hard to find positive reflections of body images in today’s “sex sells” pop culture. In a social climate that often places physical perfection over substance and natural beauty, Bruno Mars recent single, “Just the Way You Are”, is homage to women’s natural beauty:
“Her eyes, her eyes
make the stars look like they’re not shining
Her hair, her hair
falls perfectly without her trying
She’s so beautiful
And I tell her everyday (yeah)
I know, I know
When I compliment her she won’t believe me
And it’s so, it’s so
Sad to think that she don’t see what I see
But every time she asks me “Do I look okay?”
When I see your face
There’s not a thing that I would change
‘Cause you’re amazing
Just the way you are
And when you smile
The whole world stops and stares for a while
‘Cause girl you’re amazing
Just the way you are”
Music and other media are flooded with sexualized songs and images that objectify women and promote unrealistic ideas of the feminine form. As a male feminist, (that’s right, we do exist), I feel that men should not allow women’s body image to be tied to their self-worth. The music and media industry, and society at large, should be aware of the influential impact of their words, imagery and actions on everyone in our society, regardless of gender. Young girls receive so many negative messages; songs like Mars’ remind us that there are men who believe that women are naturally beautiful and don’t need society’s opinion of what a woman should look like to appreciate and love women just the way they are.
Indie Arie’s song “I am Not My Hair” is another great example of offering a role model for strength, empowerment and self-love. Also, Sesame Street recently featured a catchy song called “I Love My Hair” that shows a black girl Muppet professing her love for her hair, teaching young black girls to take pride in their hair by loving their hair just the way it is.
Let’s celebrate and promote self-love and be the role models that female youth can realistically see themselves reflected in.