*dons on Hilary Clinton anchorwoman suit*
Today, in current events, we have two trending topics related to female self-image that have been the subject of a lot of discussion online: Jennifer Lawrence calling media to invent a healthier “normal body” to combat our fetish for underweight girls, and SK-II, a luxury skincare brand, bringing to light to the cruelty of East Asia’s “leftover woman” (shengnu) syndrome.
JLaw has been advocating for a healthy body image since the beginning of time. She tells us to eat pizza without shame, and not judge bodies based on the scale that mainstream media hands to us. This week, she demanded the re-definition of what a normal body should be like – “I think we’ve gotten so used to underweight, that when you are a normal weight, it’s like: ‘Oh, my God, she’s curvy.’ Which is crazy,” she said. Although there has been some negative comments arguing that any kind of categorization for “normal” is absurd, and that every woman has her own body type she should embrace, I actually think JLaw has her point.
She keeps things realistic. If she said, “everyone please stop putting body shape on a hierarchy and have mainstream media glorify every type of body women have”, there would be some applause, but no real change. Change doesn’t come into being like that – it takes gradual steps. Being in the entertainment and modeling industry, JLaw knows that the current mainstream media thrives off of building its own body image hierarchy. I admire that she wants to alter things within that framework without making mainstream media freak out by verbally dismantling their entire foundation.
SK-II “Leftover Woman”
The recent SK-II “Leftover Woman” video addresses another form of female oppression – the culturally specific phenomenon of being a “leftover woman” who is not married by a certain age (typically 20-25). Many East Asian countries shame women who choose to be single during their adult life, but as part of their Change Destiny campaign, SK-II is trying to revert that repressive attitude.
I teared up watching this. Fortunately, I have parents who are very openminded about marriage and who even encourage me to put my own career passions and personal hobbies before a romantic relationship. However, even given that, I still feel burdened by my Chinese extended family and society in general to marry, settle, have children, and in general, by seen with a man in order to be a more complete woman. In reality, that is total bullshit. My life dilemma is expressed by one girl’s quote in the video:
“Maybe I should give up on someone I will love for someone who is just suitable”.
I ultimately refuse to settle for a ‘suitable’ relationship. My fingers shake as I write this but the truth is, although it will not be easy, I’d rather by alone, accompanied by my self for my entire life than settle for something less than true love. I have faith in the possibilities love may bring, but I don’t want to be someone who dedicates years of her life to a man only to realize he isn’t what she has been looking for – indeed, we cannot find happiness in one other person. We find it in our own abilities to change the world around us.
For the entire video, please go here. This video is what makes me believe in the social power of the beauty industry. SK-II has done something revolutionary.
That’s it for now! Please share your thoughts on these two topics. I’d love to hear ’em!