By: Amaranthia Sepia Gittens-Jones, Guest Blogger
“Our deepest wishes are whispers of our authentic selves. We must learn to respect them. We must learn to listen.” ~Sarah Ban Breathnach, author
Self-empowerment is body-empowerment to me.
Lately, I've noticed some people defining body-empowerment in many different ways. I've also seen teenagers doing the same when it comes to dress-codes at school. I believe empowering yourself is to love yourself the way you are: not letting other people put you down, being okay with “imperfections,” and so on. And if you have a positive vision and goal of what you want your body to be like, that's great! Positive body-empowerment needs to be embraced by people, young and old, around the world. However, one concept of body-empowerment has bothered me for a while.
Image courtesy Amaranthia Sepia Gittens-Jones
I've observed in media, especially in the music and movie industry, that women are highly sexualized. There are so many artists out there wearing over-sexualized clothes in performances, on red carpets, and in advertisements. I feel the message sent to young girls is body-empowerment is equal to short-shorts, revealing tops, wearing shoes that hurt your feet (high-heels) ---the list goes on and on. In an article I will submit later, I discussed my experience with girls dressing this way purposely to attract boys. Sometimes it's not to attract boys, but to feel good about their body, and I understand that. In my opinion, dressing for yourself and not for others is a good way to raise your confidence. But, it seems like some young girls dress this way in the wrong settings such as a school environment. Dressing “sexy” is constantly promoted everywhere. Why? Body empowerment does not have to equal to wearing these types of clothes.
I say this because my Mom taught me from early to treat my body with respect. She taught me how to value myself, to know what to wear and what not to wear in different circumstances. She told me her stories of self-hate with regards to body image, when she was younger. Her stories helped me to be aware of and to love my body as it is. I feel girls are told to fit into a mold created by society. I'm okay with who I am, and I don't feel I have to impress anyone or wear “sexualized” types of clothes to feel good about myself. I think it is extremely important for girls to see positive reinforcements about women in the media and to hear body-empowerment stories from the women in their lives.
Most of all I think it is important to love and listen to your authentic self.
Why do you think so many girls feel pressured to dress and look a certain way that might not align with their values or beliefs? What can we do to change that?
- Amaranthia brings up some rocking points about self-respect and self-worth. One way to help you be true to your authentic self is to surround yourself with people who love, support, and GET you just the awesome way you are!
Amaranthia Sepia Gittens-Jones is 15 years old. Her long-term goal is to be a Mangaka (manga artist). In the future, she would like to teach tweens and teens how to create characters for their own manga stories. Visit: http://iamproudofwhoiam.com