The diet industry makes a fortune every year based on the premise that women view their bodies, and, by necessity, their sexuality, through men's eyes. During the era of the 1970's when women strived to discover their own perspective on the female form, to develop self-acceptance, and to attain a certain degree of control, comfort and love of themselves, some of these images of proportional perfection went on the wane.
As women took their birth control pills, completed their educations, went to work and attempted to slough off archaic notions of femininity and oppression, leaving the roles assigned to them, creating careers, divorcing their husbands and so forth, there was an upheaval in the notion that women's bodies are the narcissistic echo of the male ego and, as such, should reflect well upon man.
This endless loop of narcissism was broken for about a nanosecond in terms of cultural time. As of the last time I checked the television, radio programming, internet sites, teenage girls and all of my female friends, that sloughing off seems like a distant, if not hallucinatory, memory. We are, at this very moment, bombarded with more recklessness, more haste in the choices we are making about our values and our sexuality than ever before in history. What is available to young people, for free, makes the pin-up girls of the 1950's seem like quaint older ladies you'd ask to tea.
In the hopes that balance is quietly waiting in the wings to make its entrance, we may be suffering from some sort of societal backlash as a result of the extremes that seemed necessary to make real changes. The reasons are complex, myriad, and possibly beyond the scope of our collective comprehension until ten years from now when the analysis of the time is synthesized and broadcasted as I hope they will be.
Meanwhile, how do we, as women living in the current climate, stand strong against the current of cold, icy water full of reality television sharks, half naked strippers on during prime time, young girls using their computer webcams to make money, any number of free and available video and picture images as easily accessed by a seven year old as a seventeen year old?
Remaining emotionally, psychologically and physically healthy in the face of this onslaught is no small feat for women as we strive to have satisfying sexual relationships, promote a healthy sense of sexuality in our daughters and carry on with our lives in, hopefully, meaningful ways.
There is no black and white here. It is all grey, all muddy, to be trudged through at times with perfect clarity and acceptance and at times with outrage and cynicism. What does seem to be important is a kind of witnessing of the phenomena as it unfolds. To remain connected with what arouses us, what makes us feel good about ourselves in bed and in life and to veer clear of these images that make us feel somehow inadequate, uncertain, unfeminine, unwanted, imperfect, separated from our own bodies and hearts.
To read further about this topic and the effects of self-objectification you can go to: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2294/is_9-10_52/ai_n14938952/
To keep learning, growing and developing without letting negative images run the show is to remain true to ourselves in all stages of life.