As I walked through the aisles of K-mart looking for a new bra my deflated self-esteem went completely flat. (Pun intended, kinda.) They didn’t have any bras small enough for my size.
Before my shopping trip I was struggling with my body image for quite some time. Hence the deflated self-esteem. I gradually became self-aware of the way I was thinking and feeling about myself. Every movie I watched, every magazine I read, every commercial I saw, they were all sexualized. For example: my husband and I watch a scary movie every Valentine’s Day (weird, I know), but last year I asked that we stopped watching them because I became more and more self-conscious every time a topless woman, with very fake boobs, would appear on the screen. (which happens a lot in scary movies…well I guess it happens a lot in all movies now.) The media was telling me what was sexy and I subconsciously started to believe it. The Carl’s Jr ads that I hate so much were getting to me. The photo-shopped front page of Cosmopolitan had me questioning my physical appearance. These outside forces had power over me.
I am constantly told by my husband, sisters, friends, and parents how beautiful I am, but that wasn’t enough. I didn’t believe it.
I knew I had a problem with my body image when I started crying in the bra aisle of Kmart. I live in an isolated mountain community so Kmart was the only option for me. I did get to a Target over the weekend and my sadness turned into rage. I needed a simple nude bra, but 80% of the bras were padded or push-up. It was in that moment I decided I am not going to let our society tell me what it means to be sexy. I refuse to be defined by something I am not.
Do you know what I think is sexy? When two people who love each other become lost in one another. But we rarely see that in the movies.
I can go on and on about how the sex we see in the media is usually one-sided and misogynistic, but I don’t want to write about that. I also hate how sex is everywhere, but I don’t want to write about that either.
I want so much to change the way our society views sex and I want to stop the sexualization of women, but I don’t know if I can. What I can do, what we can do, is stop letting someone, something else define what it means to be sexy. We need to define that for ourselves.
At the snap of fingers, my femi-rage at Target diffused as I refused to buy a push-up bra — and I started loving myself wholly again.