Shares of companies with a market capitalization of more than $10 billion and with women board members outperformed comparable businesses with all-male boards by 26 percent worldwide over a period of six years, according to a report by the Credit Suisse Research Institute
However well meaning these kinds of campaigns are, lining women up to celebrate body diversity often just creates body competition. It’s inviting us to make judgements and observations about how things look. It’s inviting us to size things up. Let’s not do that anymore.
We need to stop talking about size altogether. Yep. You know that. I know that. My dog knows that. The guy that makes my coffee knows that. We’ve been over and over it, right? Let’s move on!
No one is plus size. No one is minus size. No one is normal. We are more than that. We need to shift the focus from body acceptance and champion people acceptance. We need to shut the door firmly on this kind of stuff. It’s old. It’s boring. It’s not relevant. Begone.
If our end goal for girls is simply to have them feel “confident”—especially about their looks—then we create a trap where anything that makes a girl feel better about her appearance, no matter how harmful, is a reasonable solution. (How many times has plastic surgery been preceded by a “I’m doing it for me!” explanation?)
There may be a bit of head-shaking over young girls going to drastic measures to feel beautiful, but we never seem to question the idea that feeling beautiful is a worthy goal in the first place. We should tell girls the truth: “Beautiful” is bullshit, a standard created to make women into good consumers, too busy wallowing in self-loathing to notice that we’re second class citizens.
Girls don’t need more self-esteem or feel-good mantras about loving themselves—what they need is a serious dose of righteous anger. But instead of teaching young women to recognize and utilize their very justifiable rage, we tell them to smile and love themselves.
The other day I found myself exclaiming to my two daughters, sixteen and fourteen respectively, don’t have sex until you’re in your twenties, but here are some condoms.
For my last semester in the spring of 1992, I signed up for a Feminist Studies class; one of my last assignments was to share with the class how the ideas we addressed might impact our daily lives. It was a good assignment.
For it, I walked in with my son, a diaper bag, filled with bottles and food.
This is how, I said.
I got a B.