Miserable and Alone Forever – Is This Legit or Ridiculous?

Posted: March 5, 2018 in Uncategorized

At a moment when girls enjoy historic opportunity — watching Chloe Kim and Mikaela Shiffrin soar to gold, and Oprah preach girl power from the Golden Globes stage — teen girls tell researchers they are twice as depressed, anxious and stressed out as boys. And though girls beat out boys in college and graduate school admissions, according to a University of California-Los Angeles study, female college freshmen have never been lonelier or less happy.

In the so-called age of girl power, we have failed to cut loose our most regressive standards of female success — like pleasing others and looking sexy — and to replace them with something more progressive — like valuing intelligence and hard work. Instead, we have shoveled more and more expectation onto the already robust pile of qualities we expect girls to possess.

  1. Elizabeth Izampuye says:

    This is sometimes a sensitive topic to talk about, because females in general have always felt demeaned by other females, or males, in different extents and in different contexts. When it comes to social media—and I realize this is not always the case—women often compete with one another to look the best or depict their lives in the best way. It becomes sort of a lifestyle, and they can never go on a trip without seeing building patterns as a background for an instagram picture, or get food without making it look picturesque for a photo. Females do this task more often then men, and it leads to an unending desire to please. I, as an instagram user, can relate to the statement that when teenager’s photos “get lots of likes on ‘social’ media apps such as instagram, their brain respond in a similar way to seeing loved ones or winning money.” As unfortunate as it is, that is the truth for many, many young teenage girls.

    Aside from social media, I believe part of teenage female stress comes from the past and present societal expectations for women to outdo one another, or outdo men. This competition based mindset, has led to females always feeling the need to prove themselves to others. At first, people decided which female had the best body, or lips, or who looked good in general. Now that we have dispelled some of those activities, we decide, how many females can we have in leadership roles in a workforce. Why can’t we have an all female lead, why does it have to be mostly male, and one or two females? This attribute contributes to the pressures we as young women, may feel at this day and age. We want to succeed, but we also want to do better than the rest because we know of the little opportunities we may have to make a name for ourselves. I am happy that our society is starting to realize the importance of changing the female mindset, from not asking only women on the red carpet what designer they are wearing, to even awarding females for their smarts, I hope that slowly but surely, we can change the way young girls see their potential role in society.

    • Your comments resonate with things we have discussed with respect to Susan Sontag. Her contention was that photography is the new means whereby we judge something to be beautiful or not. To photograph something is to make an aesthetic judgment. This judgment could cut two ways, either putting generally accepted examples of beautiful on a pedestal and demanding that everyone assent, or finding things and persons that didn’t conform to normal standards of beauty and defiantly putting them on the pedestal anyway. There are political advantages and disadvantages to either of these tactics. For even if we put something ugly, or simply plain, on a p-pedestal, we’re still putting it on a pedestal. And even if this isn’t intrinsically exploitive, it certainly can lead to exploitation soon enough. This was a criticism level at one of the most famous photographers of the 60s, Diane Arbus. She took keen interest in forgotten and buried figures from the American underground. While some find her work unexpectedly beautiful, other consider her gaze prurient and condescending. I will leave you to decide for yourself. What is worth noting though is that Sontag and Arbus were working in an era when cameras and film, to which everyone had access, were still comparatively slow and clunky. Today, not only are cameras utterly ubiquitous, but that are also fast and need no film. Consequently, we are all constantly taking photos of ourselves and others. If to photograph is indeed to be judged, then we are all constantly being scrutinized and judged, virtually in all times and in all places. To be the object of infinite judgment, whether by yourself of others, can hardly be healthy for anyone.


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