So I’m 20 weeks (halfway through my pregnancy) and have discovered that the beautiful little baby growing in my belly, is a girl. However, to be honest, I had always imagined myself having boys, as I felt (perhaps naively) that it would be easier. I know parents-to-be aren’t “supposed” to suffer from gender disappointment, but secretly they do. People say “Why does it matter, as long as it’s healthy?”. Whilst I agree with that statement and at the end of the day no matter what, I will love that baby with my whole heart and soul, some people have their reasons.
My notion of wanting to just raise boys probably stems from the fact that I am one of six girls in my family. Having five sisters I know all too well the social dramas, hormonal changes, conformable pressures, pop culture influences and self-esteem issues a young woman is exposed to and really struggles with. Although I know and understand that boys too can also experience these things. I do feel that in regards to things like the media, which can have a major influence, girls are slightly more targeted and thus can be more exposed to, or pressurised by what certain marketing channels are portraying. In a world that is currently driven by glossy magazines, talentless reality “stars” and social media, I worry how I will help my daughter combat a world whose media is not only constantly promoting superficial beauty, but glorifying the sexual objectification of young women.
Women are endlessly bombarded by all sorts of beauty products that promise to make them “look better”. Not to mention the constant stream of provocative images that are being flaunted by magazines, celebrities and music videos. These things alone are teaching our girls that there is a social standard of how women should look, and that sexually personifying your body can earn you kudos. I mean, we all know the negative body image ramifications these certain forms of media are perpetuating. How many teenage girls (even tweens) do you see on Instagram or Facebook posting seductive selfies? You see these poor girls that are scantily clad, posing with pouty lips, face slapped up with make-up to look like they’re five years older, just so they can measure how much people “like” them. These days you can even use different types of filters, apps and Photoshop tools to cosmetically tweak your photos, so that you don’t even end up looking like you. And yes, there are grown women out there doing the same, so it begs the question: Why are we so god damn afraid of people seeing who we really are?! In the good ol’ days you took a photo and what you saw was what you got. No smoke and mirrors to hide behind or deceive others. Young women these days are being taught to obsess over their physical image and be less authentic versions of themselves!