Let’s take a scroll through my insta feed… Boobshot. Nonsense caption that has nothing to do with the boobshot I’m looking at. Butt progress shots. Some girl wearing her 1-year-old niece’s top that covers only the top half of her boobs (apparently that’s a thing now?). Let’s keep scrolling… I can see the classic hashtags #follow4follow because we’re all about accumulating fake friends to potentially get free stuff from brands. There are lots of colourful food pics (which I screenshot with every intention to recreate but never do because who has the time?) Scrolling…scrolling… funny quotes… serious inspo quotes… and my personal depression inducing posts – those travel pics that make my own life look not worth living. Seriously, does anyone have jobs these days?!
Does your insta feed look a bit like this too? If so, then you might be like me – tired of being bombarded by damaging messages, but also so accustomed to what you’re looking at you’re half desensitised to the messages. Hopefully, this post can shake up the senses a little bit…
I want to touch on a subject today that I’m all kinds of passionate about; the difference between attention and respect.
In high school, I noticed how easy it was for girls to get attention. I even noticed the things I did that would quickly give me attention – and that’s a big part of the problem. We learn early on in life the easiest strategies to get instant attention which makes us feel important, noticed, loved or wanted. These strategies we then repeat whenever we crave those things. Repeat anything enough and it becomes a stubborn habit in our life. Unfortunately, most people don’t grow out of these negative habits and they become a part of their character. Look at it like any addiction – you found a way to get “a high” and feel good.
The key to managing these negative habits or strategies is knowing when you are seeking that temporary false “fix” and sacrificing your self-respect to get it.
Imagine you’re in a club – party’s raging – drinks are flying – clothes are almost non-existent on girls – men are lurking and drooling – can you picture it? Look around… Can you identify the girl that is going to attract attention? You know people are going to want to take that girl home. And maybe for a second, you’re a bit jealous, you’d like to be desired like that too.
Now, take a step back. Look at where you are. Analyse your environment. Are people there to take someone home for a night? Or to take someone home for a lifetime? That’s an important distinction to make because that’s the difference. Attention, although nice, is superficial and fleeting. Respect is earned. And a girl who is respected by herself and others is the kind of girl someone wants to introduce to their parents… which would you prefer?
This is what really grinds my gears – I am all for people feeling great in their skin, for loving themselves, for feeling totally in control of their own body and what to do with it… good on you, go for it! But what irks me is how some people will use that reasoning to glorify themselves getting naked to get attention. Many women hide their insecurities behind a mask of female empowerment. Not all, but many. Please know I’m not here to offend. I’m here to help us take a closer look at our intentions.
Is someone ever going to come out and say “hey ladies, wearing clothes is sexy and empowering too.”
Unfortunately, we have too many young girls and women idolising celebs like the Kardashians who preach that revealing it all (publicly), to anyone who wants to see, is the only way to show you are empowered in your body. The message is that showing “it” off is how you show self-love. Okay, cool. Maybe sometimes it actually is. But what does that teach all the other women in the world who want to feel empowered but don’t want to expose themselves? It’s quite discouraging for them don’t you think?
I remember following a thread of comments on a popular influencer’s post. She was practically naked at a café’, and I am not exaggerating. I was curious to see what sort of comments she’d get for the post. It was a mixed bag of course. But what struck me was when someone who really admired her asked if it would be possible for her to get as many followers if she wasn’t willing to post explicit photos like that. The response from the influencer? “Look, I’m happy and confident in my skin…” Uhm. I think she missed the point?
The admirer was deflated and responded by saying that she too was very confident in her skin but simply didn’t want to post pictures like that. Uggh…(head in my hands).
It is such a destructive message that I believe actually undermines female empowerment. The message is “Get explicit, get risky, or don’t expect popularity” rather than a message of “Your power is not in what you look like, your power is in letting your soul be seen, not your body.”
Let me tell you… I’ve got great boobs. They’re natural too. People comment on them all the time. But I consciously and very deliberately choose not to display them all over social media, even though I know it would be the quickest way to accumulate mass followers. It’s not easy, I’m also an ordinary girl that likes attention. I’m super open (my friends will be laughing at this #oversharer). I’m not a prude in any way. I’m just mindful of my message.
Ladies, let’s evaluate our motives. Consider the message we are sending. Be careful that it’s a message you want to be known for. Learn the difference between attention and respect. Discipline yourself to give up the temporary false fixes.