When I moved to Chicago, I decided not to get cable TV. I did this for several reasons: 1) I don’t watch TV that much anyway, 2) I think TV is a horrible waste of time, and 3) I was trying to eliminate any unnecessary expenses since I knew that the cost of living in downtown Chicago was going to be significantly higher than what I was accustomed to. For the sake of full disclosure, I do have Netflix, so I do still watch some select shows and movies here and there. Anyway, the biggest perk of not having TV was a totally unexpected one for me – shutting down the constant bombardment from the media of society’s standards and how I am failing to meet them.
The media has very limited avenues with which to inundate me with messages about what society expects me to be as a woman now that I no longer engage with their TV shows or advertising. I don’t hear about all of the cosmetic products I need so that I can meet society’s standard of beauty. I am shielded from all of the ads for miraculous weight loss pills and meal replacements that will get me the body that society says is ideal. I don’t have Victoria’s Secret models implying that I’m not sexy since I’m only 5’2 and a barely B cup. I don’t have reality TV showing me how I’m not truly living life to the fullest unless I’m rich, vain, superficial, and materialistic or young, drunk, promiscuous, and back-stabbing.
I’ve made similar changes to how I engage with Facebook. I have un-liked a lot of fitness and competitor pages because I simply couldn’t tolerate being inundated with scantily clad women in “workout wear” who are surgically enhanced, spray tanned, airbrushed, and probably dehydrated/starved/overtrained or taking some kind of steroids. Although I admire muscular physiques, I’ve previously stated my position on steroid usage, and although I’ll admit to having considered breast augmentation in the past, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not something I would ever do.
It’s a lot easier to focus on being the best version of yourself when you aren’t constantly being told what society thinks is wrong with you. I am making every effort to embrace who I am and love what I have, while working toward improving in the areas that I think are important and that I know could be better. Yes, I still have insecurities. Yes, I could be more confident sometimes. I’m not bulletproof. But removing myself from all of the propaganda has been a very liberating experience.
I’m going to end this post with a status posted by one of my Facebook friends yesterday that I found so refreshing and inspiring (Trisha, you rock):
I just received a 200 page “magazine” focused exclusively on all the beauty products I need as a woman. Did you know the skin on my arms and legs is supposed to sparkle like I’m in freaking Twilight? And that lasers are the new thing and it’s about time I looked into having my skin resurfaced? I took one last flip through before tossing it, and thank goodness I did or I never would have found “what to do if you build too much muscle.” Because walking around like a badass with a healthy dose of self-confidence is apparently not the answer. Hey, NewBeauty, me and my cellulite, wrinkles, acne, and muscles are perfectly content exactly as we are. You can keep your crap beauty advice out of my mailbox moving forward.