The Skin I'm In

To look in the mirror and like what you see, even when it doesn’t look like your idea of beauty
— Sharon G. Flake, The Skin I'm In

Society will never be satisfied.

Someone always has something to say. Naturally thin? Go eat a burger, you must be anorexic. On the thicker side? Obese and here's an unsolicited lecture about health and weight loss. Sleep with whoever you want? Wow, you slut. Virgin? Wow, you prude. Watch reality television? How shallow and dumb. Voice strong opinions? Jeez, must be on her period. Stay at home mom? How unaccomplished and a waste of potential. It's a continuous stream of judgment and pressure that fuels insecurities and low self-esteem.

So many still feel entitled to regulate female bodies; how we dress them, display them, adorn them, share them, and love them. Big butts are acceptable on the right shape and tiny waist. Breasts are should be perky and unblemished. Abs should be visible but just enough to remain 'feminine'. Slim but voluptuous. Curvy but the 'right kind'. Victoria Secret Model with side of Kim Kardashian. Jackie in the streets, Marilyn in the sheets.

So many still feel entitled to regulate female choices; how we behave, how we raise our children, express our ideas, rise in our chosen fields, and how we choose to be a woman. 55 and in a bikini? As long as you still look 25, you're fine. Feminists versus 'equalists'. No abortion yet no child support. Slut-shaming and victim-blaming. Equal pay, acquitted rapists, and shaming plus size models. There is no shortage.

Full-time mom, full-time employee, model physique, curvy, sexy, demure, classy, promiscuous, innocent, ladylike, one of the guys, expressive, quiet, strong, delicate, hero and damsel in distress, Superwoman, and Lois Lane. We are told to be everything at once.

We obsess over becoming the ideal woman, at least I have. We strive for an unattainable ideal and punish ourselves for failing to achieve it. Whose ideal are we working so tirelessly to meet? Ideal woman to who? From now on, the answer is TO ME.