There is no denying that there is a tremendous problem in our society surrounding women. Did you know that 1 out of 3 women have experienced sexually or physical abuse by a man?
I have been bombarded time and time again with the normalization of sexual assault and sexual abuse, and a general cultural acceptance of degrading women, turning them into sexual objects.
A culture where you serve a three-month sentence for raping a woman; a culture where our president can talk about grabbing a pussy and be excused by women and men alike because that is just the way “men talk”; a culture that is worried more about “the self” than the fact that there are girls all around the world who do not have the resources or rights to an education; a culture where women are valued and find their value in sex and their appeal to men; a culture where the first time I was called a whore was in elementary school, a word that I had no previous knowledge of, a word that was repeated over and over again throughout my life; a culture that has not stood up and said enough is enough to child brides; a culture where my friends were called sluts, shamed, and humiliated for having sex with more than one man; a culture where little girls have to be reminded that they are valuable and that they can accomplish anything they set their minds to; a culture that has not taken a firm stand against sex trafficking and prostitution of young girls; a culture where I still have to explain and justify why I believe that women and men deserve equal rights; and finally, a culture where it even has to be discussed or defended.
I grew up a little black girl, not seeing much value in myself or my beauty. I grew up with curly, kinky, unmanageable hair that I quickly straightened in order to fit beauty standards. I grew up very thin and flat chested. I started shaving every day at the age of 13 because I thought that was what women were supposed to do in order to show their femininity. I grew up valuing my outer appearance more than the values and morals that I possessed. I grew up with boys smacking my ass, grabbing my boobs, pulling my cheer skirt up, and I took personal responsibility for their actions due to the modesty culture I was surrounded with. I thought if I covered up more it would stop. But it never stopped.
I grew up constantly trying to change myself. I grew up a bit more and stopped eating in order to keep my weight under control. I grew up a bit more and stopped sharing my strong opinions. I grew up more and allowed myself to spend all my money on clothing and makeup and things that would make me appear better in order to feel more like a woman.
I have grown so much and learned to love myself and to value myself. I have learned about beauty. One of my goals in life is to help educate and mentor young girls so that they can grow up focusing on their goals and dreams. Even though they are living in a world that is saturated with media that tries to sell them their worth and beauty, I want to encourage them to grow for themselves to break free of these disgusting beauty standards and stereotypes of women.
I believe it is all of our business and all of our responsibility to find the strength within us and change the way we represent and respect each other.
This video stirred up a lot of emotion for me. I hope you find something in this video as well.