Written By SansSensibility
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I have a friend who’s an alcoholic. She is one of the most amazing people I know. I say this in part because she has openly, and publicly admitted to being an alcoholic and also because she almost single-handedly has shattered for me what it means to be a wife, mother and friend in American society today.
There is this image out there. An image perpetuated by marketing, advertising, television, movies and magazines that tell us who we are, who we should be, and what completely irrational and unattainable standards we should hold ourselves to. This image goes beyond body shaming – it speaks to our very core of being. This pervasive image tells women we should be everything to everyone and holds us accountable if we aren’t. It sets expectations for what we should want, what we need, and how we should act.
It’s damaging. It’s insidious. It’s unavoidable.
Recently in an article written for Huffington Post, Jennifer Aniston spoke out against this problem. “If I am some kind of symbol to some people out there, then clearly I am an example of the lens through which we, as a society, view our mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, female friends and colleagues. The objectification and scrutiny we put women through is absurd and disturbing. The way I am portrayed by the media is simply a reflection of how we see and portray women in general, measured against some warped standard of beauty. Sometimes cultural standards just need a different perspective so we can see them for what they really are — a collective acceptance… a subconscious agreement. We are in charge of our agreement. Little girls everywhere are absorbing our agreement, passive or otherwise. And it begins early.”
There is this idea that this ideal is perpetuated upon women, but that isn’t entirely true. It has become a mantel that women put upon themselves: A corroded and corrupt interpretation of the true beauty that women have inside themselves. We assist in perpetuating the mythology of what it means to be a woman and it needs to stop. We can be all we hope to be – as we are. The outright rejection of preconceived notions and ill-formed molds brings with it healing. Negative habits formed over time which damage and degrade can be replaced with positive habits that contribute.
We create. We nurture. We build.
The sheer honest it takes to look in the mirror and admit change needs to happen is astounding. It must be incredibly frightening: The scandal of admitting imperfection and the audacity of asking for help. Such candor, exposure, and the dreadful vulnerability of telling the truth and being willing to face the crucible without hiding takes a Herculean effort. It’s no wonder my friend has come to embody what it means to be a hero. She suffers publically what we all do privately. She bravely faces her struggle which is an embodiment of the struggles all women face. She enacts change and works to make the world better by starting with herself. I have a friend who is an alcoholic, and she is the most amazing person I know.