Monday, February 1, 2016

Our Culture Breeds Low Self-Esteem

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 "A mere 2% of women in this world find themselves beautiful.  81% of women in the U.S. strongly agree  that ‘the media and advertising set an unrealistic standard of beauty that most women can’t ever achieve'” (2010, Website)

Throughout the U.S. the one thing that dominates our culture is television.  I would say 95% of people here have more than one television in their homes.  Click here to see an article that says the average American watches about 5 hours of TV per day.  (That's actually worse than I thought.  I thought it would be about 4 hours, but there ya go.)   This is a bad thing for various reasons such as sex in advertising.  A large portions of commercials use sex to sell their products, especially health and beauty products.   I don't think anyone can argue that point.

Okay, so why is this bad?

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Well, click here for one.  Click here for another study.   Here's a quote:       "According to a report from the Girl Scouts Research Institute, "Real to Me: Girls and Reality TV," shows like "Teen Mom" and "Jersey Shore" have mixed effects on young girls.
The study polled 1,100 "tween" and teenage girls and found that reality shows can be uplifting and motivational, but they can also negatively impact girls' relationships and self-esteem.
Girls who regularly watch reality TV accept and expect a higher level of drama, aggression and bullying in their own lives.
The report also found that these girls measure their worth primarily by physical appearance."

Okay, so...TV is bad.  I, myself, suffer from being subjected to the crap for so many years.  I didn't know I was being subjected, of course.  All the girls I knew were trying to look like the women on TV, and why?  Because boys were being taught what is beautiful by watching the same crap, so they placed a higher regard for girls who looked like the models and actresses they were shown.

Let's look at what we are shown by Googling "beautiful women" and clicking images.  Here's the list.  Now, how many women do you know actually look like this?  What about the perfect body? 

Do you see that?  It says..."A body for every body"....only none of those are MY body!

And here is the 50 most googled women in 2013. 

I've found one company that I do support by purchasing their products whenever I'm in need of soap, shampoo, or deodorant.   Click here for Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty.

The Freak Out
All of this to tell you guys, that I think women want to be pretty.  They are being shown what men find attractive through commercials and television.  You see it on magazine covers and in movies.  You hear it in music.  So, here is the thought process for women.  My husband is a man.  Men find skinny women attractive.  Men find athletic women attractive.  Men find....anything but a big gut and butt attractive.  Men like green eyes...or blue eyes...or anything but brown eyes.  Men like long eyelashes and clear skin.  Men like firm breasts that are neither too large nor too small.  Men like long legs, long hair, and a pert nose.  Blonde is preferred, but a fiery redhead will do in a pinch.

Okay, so now I'll go get my nails done, my hair done, buy more clothes that hide my figure or at least accentuate my breasts making them appear fuller.  I'll get a gym membership and work off that extra skin under my chin.  I'll only eat lettuce and even then I'll gag myself so I'm not taking in too many calories.  I'll spend more on make up than the country spends on oil.  I'll spend thousands of dollars on plastic surgery so my husband won't look at any other women but me.  I will be the perfect woman!

So, you go about trying to do all of that, and then come to the realization that there isn't enough money in your budget, and even if there was you'd end up looking like Joan Rivers or Dolly Pardon.  So...then....what is left?  Well, we can just take a shower and do our hair and hope we are enough to satisfy our husbands.  If we are enough then he won't look elsewhere...will he?  I mean...he won't look at other women and think about having sex with them........will he?   She's got a better body than me.  Does he find her sexually attractive?  Is he thinking about her?  Is he trying hard not to look at that woman that walked by who's spilling out of her shirt?  Look at that woman in the tight jeans in front of he looking?  What is he thinking about?

When is the last time he called me beautiful?  When is that last time he told me I had pretty eyes?  When is the last time he looked at me with sultry bedroom eyes?  How many years has it been since he said, "I love your legs."  When is the last time he....?

Ugh!  I don't look like these top actresses:

Yeah, I get low self-esteem too.  I get it and sometimes there is no real reason.  I only realize it when I catch a glimpse of the cover of Cosmo in the store and it hits me like a ton of bricks that ... I don't look like that.  I want to look like that.  How long have I felt I'm ugly because I don't look like that?

The main reason we started keeping TV out of our home is because of my low self-esteem.  Even with it cut out, I still suffer now and again apparently.  It happens less often, but it does happen.  Truth be told, I'm suffering a bout of it right now.  It happens.  I realize I'm not 30 anymore.  Gravity is affecting me.  Age is affecting me.  I can't compete with the perfect woman.
Most women, myself included, need to be with a man who doesn't chase skirts and pine for some skin on TV.  To me, for a man to be looking at a woman other than the one he's with and thinking about sex, is cheating.  For myself, I have no desire to see another man naked.  In fact, the very thought is gross to me.  I just don't want any part of it.  So, is it so much to ask of my husband to not want to look at other women?  Our society says it is.  Our culture says cleavage is what is in style, as are form-fitting jeans.

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Our society says men look, and it's perfectly normal.  What this means's normal for your husband to want to have sex with another it not?  When he looks at another woman's rear, what is he thinking of if not something along the lines of getting sexually excited???   Our society says, it's normal so we should learn to deal with it.  The problem is ours, not theirs.  Does this make any sense to any of you?  I mean, really?

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It makes me feel better to keep the crap out of my home.  I suffer less for it.  I don't have to worry so much all the time how I stack up, because I'm the only one he sees naked.  If there is cleavage around, it's not because we let it in our home.  My home is a sanctuary.

I don't think I would need such a sanctuary if there weren't years worth of commercials, TV, and movies poured into my brain on what boys like.  If there were no MTV, if there were no Hollywood, if there were no Victoria's Secret, if there were no Cosmo and Maxim, if there were no pornographic movies, if there were no Playboy Mansion, if there were no wonder bras, if there were no such thing as anorexic models, if there were no photo shop, if and if and if...

Let us not forget that saying in high school..."If your man wanted you, he wouldn't be looking at me."  Or, "If you were doing your job, your man wouldn't need to look at me that way."  Yeah, I'd say we are trained from birth to have low self-esteem due to mainly our culture and it's being shaped by media.  I don't think anything else affects our culture on such a large scale...and our culture is starting to revolve around sex, cleavage, and "what men find sexy".

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Living With Parents

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Our future looks bright and we are as happy as we can be.  We have become part of the 30% of grown adult children living with their parents.

This is a growing trend, in our country at least.  For us, we have resorted to this measure due to what seems to us to be catastrophic circumstances.  We cannot complain though, for we are comfortable, happy, and things at my father-in-law's house are stress-free and quiet.  I have taken over the cleaning and cooking aspect here, and this makes me extremely happy as I'm able to be productive doing what makes me happy, and it allows me to bless not only Daniel, but my father-in-law as well.

I find I'm much busier getting settled than I thought I would be, however I do have time to crochet and such at the end of the day.  I love that my day is full, and I can see that things will settle some soon.  I know that this era of activity will come to an end, and by then I will probably be glad.  For now though, I feel at home because I'm able to cook, clean, crochet and do all those things that make me a housewife.

We are blessed in that we have our own bedroom with furniture upstairs.  We are fortunate in that I'm allowed to cook and clean to my heart's content, but not slave-driven.  I can stop when I feel like it and cook whatever I want, even shopping at the grocery store for whatever it is I feel I may need.  I understand some do not have even these privileges and know I'm lucky.

My father-in-law is like-minded in the sense of frugality, so this is good.  Turning lights off when we're not in a room, not letting the water run non-stop, not wasting food, etc is a way of life for the thrifty.  I'm addicted to being careful with money and resources, so his lifestyle suits ours.

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At any rate, I wanted to give you guys a brief update as to how our lifestyle had changed and maybe some tips if you are faced with such an adjustment in your marriage and lives.

I believe having a good attitude helps in the attitude of others.  If I want to be respected and loved, I need to show my love and respect.  If I want someone to be nice, I need to be nice.  I have the gift of hospitality even though I hate people, and for this I'm grateful.  This is my home, and I want everyone living in my home to be at peace.  I want them to eat good food and live in a pleasant atmosphere full of laughter and low stress.  I do everything I can to create that atmosphere.  Just as a discontent heart breeds discontentment around you, peace breeds peace.

I understand that if you put any two people in the same house for long enough, there will be arguments and some working of each others nerves.  If I look for the signs that it is coming, perhaps I can soften the blow or do something to correct the situation before a big blow up comes.  I spoke of this in  "How to Fight" as it pertains to Daniel and myself.  I believe some of this will work in these circumstances as well.  I think when we've all had enough of each other, we will pick up on this and hole up for a day in our room or whatever.

Something else that I think helps is to actually be a part of the household.  By this I mean, don't hole up in your bedroom for most of the day every day.  For us, this means coming downstairs and having coffee with his dad,watching movies together, taking part in household chores, even helping out where we can.  His dad's truck needed the brake line fixed and Daniel was so happy to be able to do this.  I don't feel like we are on each others nerves, so I don't want to be away from everyone.  I want to be down here where everyone else is doing things and going about their day.

We had one rule in our home before and it's one we carry with us.  That one rule is, "Respect".  Respect property and belongings.  Respect a person's time.  Respect a person's feelings.  In all things, respect.  This means, when we got here, we spent the rest of our meager budget on food to help with expenses.  This means, cleaning up after ourselves and helping out with other household chores.  This means, when his father speaks - we really listen to what he is saying.  This means we care for his property as if it is our own.  We don't go through his things.  We fix things and clean.  We try not to be hard on things by slamming doors and such.  We respect his lifestyle and are thankful he is as frugal as we are.

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Speaking of which, something that could have been a sticking point is lifestyle.  He respects our choices in what we allow and do not allow in our home in the watching of television and movies.  You can hardly find a television show out there that doesn't have cleavage in it, and I'm so grateful he is careful about it around us.  I'm not sure if he understands the way of it, but he doesn't need to.  He respects our wishes that we don't want it and that is enough for him.  He also doesn't ask questions about it, he just respects.  For this I'm so thankful.  For instance, the Super Bowl is coming up, and the commercials in that alone will probably be bad by our measuring stick, not to mention the cheerleaders and half-time show.  This is almost a holiday in some American homes, so it could have been kind of a big deal that Daniel and I don't want to watch it.  As it is, though, it's not a big deal.  No drama over it or anything, and I'm grateful.

Parents have a great deal to teach, as they have lived through many situations.  They've "been there, done that" and I choose to learn all I can.  Daniel's father is such an amazing person.  He was a sniper in Vietnam.  He looks like Papa Smurf.  He loves his dogs and his family.  He's not hard to get along with that I can tell so far.  He's appreciative and giving.  Just by these things alone, you can see why I want to get to know the man better.

Someone had brought up the point that we might could stay here for the long haul.  I do not know.  I suppose anything is possible.  For Daniel, I know he would rather us stand on our own two feet if for nothing else other than pride.  I am not sure how his father would feel about this, as he's been living alone for a while now and may like his privacy and solitude.  For me, sure I could live here and be happy.  I've been thinking a lot about that suggestion yesterday and today, and wasn't sure how I felt about that possibility (however remote) until his father mentioned putting in a garden out back this spring.  Will we be here this spring?  I don't know.  The thought of a garden here delighted me.  I immediately thought, "and how about a clothesline?"  So, yes, at this point I know I'd be happy being here for the long term.  But, we are still in the "honeymoon phase".  It's something like day three.  We'll see how we all feel in a month or two.  For all I know, by then it could be world war III, lol!

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