Sophia Roessler’s video was featured on “The Today Show,” “Good Morning America” and other news outlets as an example of the alarming online trend, but she’s not a tween or even a teen for that matter.
The Kansas City Art Institute senior emailed the women’s blog Jezebel, who first broke the story, and admitted she’s a 21-year-old college student working on a thesis project concerning tween culture and the societal pressures facing girls transitioning into womanhood.
Roessler explained to Jezebel that her work focuses on the “often awkward transition from young girl to womanhood and how confusing it can be to figure out if you’re sexy, and what sexy is supposed to be.”
All women are beautiful. Really?
I decided the word “beautiful” was trite and meaningless when during my junior year of high school, I saw a sticky note on the women’s bathroom door that said “Smile. You are beautiful.” And instead of feeling inspired or comforted, I just scoffed. What makes me beautiful? The fact that I have to pee? I didn’t think much of it then, but looking back on it now, I kind of find it insulting. Do girls really feel the need to be told by a sticky note that they’re beautiful? Should women who don’t believe they’re beautiful frown? Is our collective self-esteem so damaged that not being pretty has to be remedied by extending the definition of beauty to everyone?
You don’t hear people saying “I believe all men are handsome.” Yet there is no shortage of people saying “I believe all women are beautiful.” Biggie could call himself a “heart throb never, black and ugly as ever” and that isn’t considered mortally damaging. Why? Because he knew he was more than his looks and he was proud of that. But could a woman say she is ugly and not be told she has low self-esteem? And not be repeatedly re-assured by her friends and family that she is beautiful? It is as if vocalizing that a woman is physically unattractive is so incredibly damaging that it nullifies every part of her. That the woman’s self-worth so firmly rests in her physical appearance that her “beauty” must be indiscriminately validated.
This well-intentioned “everyone’s a winner” attitude seeks to include those excluded by society’s restricting views on physical beauty. Instead of rejecting the notion that being beautiful gives a woman all her worth, we have accepted this and “solved” the problem by expanding the definition of the word so no one feels worthless. Even though we like to believe we call physically unattractive women beautiful to fight societal standards, we are reinforcing them by suggesting that beauty should be the primary source of a woman’s worth. A woman shouldn’t frown because she isn’t beautiful. She should smile because there is so much more to her than her beauty.
Women have sex drives too!
In my experience, it seems like girls feel they’re expected to find masturbation and porn and having sexual desires repulsive. It’s surprising how many girls I know who, at age 18, claim to have never had an orgasm and pretend to not understand the concept of it and no one bats an eyelash. If a guy my age said this, he’d be made fun of ‘til the end of time!
It seems like a girl who masturbates is a freak or at the very least notably sexual. A guy who masturbates is normal, nothing notable about that. All these studies show that men have stronger sex drives and it’s just been commonly accepted to be the case. But sometimes I wonder if what women report to these studies is accurate. As a result of this widespread belief that women are supposed to be less sexual, many of us feel guilty when we have sexual desires, even guiltier when we satisfy them. So no wonder women report that they masturbate less! It’s a cycle.
I believe that men have higher sex drives than women but I don’t believe we’re terribly far behind. Not to the point where not having an orgasm for 18 years should be considered the norm while being “sexual” is strange. Not to the point where we should be expected to remain virginal and pure until a man decides to “take our virginity” as if we have no independent sexual desire. Not to the point where we should feel guilty for satisfying our urges which at times (if maybe not as often) can be just as strong as men’s.
I believe female sexuality is very under-represented and, as a result, women are afraid to accept and explore their own sexuality.
I love meeting brand new people
who don’t judge me by how I “fit in”.
When I’m nestled so comfortably in my society, I’m lost within my context. I can’t escape my high school clique, my awkward junior high stages, my embarrassing moments and my past mistakes. I get bypassed because sure I’m cute, but my friend is cuter. Sure I’m smart, but my friend is smarter. Sure I’m outgoing, but my friend will shake your hand first and charm your pants off. I get judged on a scale of other people, and I never feel like I quite measure up.
But when I’m thrown into a new place with new faces, I feel cute and I feel smart and I feel charming. People see me for me, not based on my friends or based on what I did years ago. They just see me, in my newest, most-improved form.
Everyone tries so hard to fit in, but it’s going out of my comfort zone that makes me feel most like myself.
I feel about Photoshop [in magazines] the way some people feel about abortion. It is appalling and a tragic reflection on the moral decay of our society… unless I need it, in which case, everybody be cool.
You don’t have to be rude when you’re rejecting society’s view of beauty
I don’t understand how people can say things like everyone is beautiful regardless of their body size
while in the same breath condemn models for being “too skinny” and accuse them of being “anorexic” or “bulimic”.
It’s rude to say someone is “too fat”. Why isn’t it considered rude to bash someone for being “too skinny”?
I don’t get it.
Communication is so underrated
Something I’ve learned this year is that no two people can truly be close friends if there isn’t an open line of communication.
If I don’t like you, I promise you will know. If you have feelings for me and I don’t feel the same, I promise I won’t lead you on to avoid hurting your feelings. If you do or say something that upsets me, I promise I will let you know.
Directness is so underrated in our society, and people avoid being direct for fear of confrontation with others as well as confrontation with their own emotions. We think we can just charm and joke our way through life and then it’s smooth sailing. No one can dislike us if we’re charming and funny, right? If we just keep a courteous distance, if we are just mildly nice to everyone, we will be courteously and mildly and unanimously liked.
Things are much less complicated when we aren’t open because there are no emotions involved and emotions are complicated and messy. Once we start being open, making decisions, and forming opinions, we open ourselves up to disagreement and criticism. But what we don’t realize is that our efforts to avoid having enemies also keep us from making and keeping true friends. Mild, courteous joking only goes so far.