Stop Selling Me My Body

As I stood in the shower shaving my legs, shaving my bikini line, shaving my armpits and washing the make up off my face, I had a realisation. All these things I do to my body, all the changes I make to how I naturally look, are expensive. I have to buy razors, lots of them because I am from a rather hairy clan of people, I have to buy lotions and potions, powders and paints. I have to spend money to change how my body looks because to leave it alone, let it just be, is socially unacceptable.


Women’s bodies are a commodity, and we treat them as such. Men’s fashions are far more accommodating. Short hair, long hair, hairy chest, waxed chest… basically if you are a bloke and want to change your body or leave it as it is, you’ll be accepted. Even the widely criticised back hair has not come between The Boy and an array of women. If in my youth I had ventured out with my natural leg, pubic and arm pit hair has freely sprouting as his back hair, I almost certainly wouldn’t have had even close to the popularity with the opposite sex as he has, nor what I had from assorted ways of ripping it out or shaving it off.

Women’s bodies are sold and they are sold to us as women.

We are creating fashions cosntantly that tells us our bodies, as they are, are not acceptable. Your hair needs to be bigger, you buy extensions and boosters. Your eyelashes need to be longer, you buy fake ones and mascaras. Your breasts need to be larger, you buy water bras or pay someone to cut you open and shove silicone into them.

Why? Why do we do this to ourselves?

Are our bodies genuinely so hideous when we leave them alone that we have to spend money on causing ourselves physical pain or discomfort just to conform to a societal standard that tells us we just aren’t good enough? That tells us without suffering we are not beautiful?

And once you’re a mother it just gets worse. Stretch marks, hideous. Post breast feeding boobs, revolting. The fact our bodies change away from the pert twenty year old models we are told we are supposed to look like is something society, men, struggle to accept. But again, why?

If we didn’t make babies they human race would die out. Making babies is something not only beautiful on a personal level, it’s essential for the survival of our species and yet once we’ve done it we are treated with contempt. Told more and more that what we have naturally, how we look, is not good enough.

SPEND MONEY. CHANGE YOUR BODY. Suffer for beauty, suffer for what you are told is beautiful. Suffer to make yourself fit into whatever fashionable look is in, whatever men are telling us we should look like to be beautiful and sexy. Suffer. Be a woman. Suffer.

I would like to claim I fight that force but I don’t. I shave my body hair, I apply the make up. I don’t add hair or lashes or nails, I haven’t had surgery on my tiny little boobs, but I won’t lie and claim I haven’t put consideration into all of those things.

We are beautiful just as we are. If we WANT to do those things we should, because our bodies are ours and how we want them to look is what matters. What is not acceptable is being pressured and controlled so much we feel we HAVE to do those things to be beautiful. We are beautiful. Nature has given us bodies that look a certain way and there is absolutely nothing wrong with them.

More fashions that require us to spend money will keep coming out. More men will invent reasons for us to change how we look, think of things we can remove or change to be beautiful. When are we going to call time on it? When are we going to say no? No I will not let you tell me that what I look like is not good enough, no I will not give you more money to change how I look, no I will not conform to the ridiculous standards of beauty that are stuck out there to make us all feel so rubbish about ourselves that we spend even more money?


At some point we will have to just say no.


About J.J. Barnes

Author of The Lilly Prospero Series Writer and Podcaster at Blogger at Rose And Mum And More Contributor to The Huffington Post
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