|There are certain messages that are
bombarding us from the time that we are born. These
messages we subconsciously accept and they become a part
of our reasoning. It is from these messages that we learn
how we are 'supposed' to be, what is considered 'good',
what is 'bad', what's 'pretty', what's 'ugly', and
anything else you can think of.
Many of these messages revolve around gender, and can be as subtle as colour, or as blatant as rules. For example, it is constantly affirmed that blue is for boys and pink is for girls. If a baby is dressed in blue it will be assumed that he is a boy, if dressed in pink, a girl. Toys made specifically for girsl are coloured in pastels, with pink being a predominate colour. Toys made specifically for boys are coloured in bright, strong colours like red and bright yellow, with the predominate colour being blue. This is so much the case that if a little girl was to choose between a toy coloured in 'girl' colours and a toy coloured in 'boy' colours, she would generally choose the 'girl' coloured one. Through these messages that impressionable children readily absorb, we are defining the gender of the child, the actions of the child, and the way in which the child will react to certain things, define things and define her or himself.
When we look at the messages this society gives out about women, and the method in which girls, growing up, accept and internalize these messages, it is easy to see why so many women have feelings that they are not good enough, not pretty enough, not clever enough or whatever. We are barraged with images of barbie dolls, and women that look like them. Because of this, both men and women have been socialized to believe that this is the 'ideal woman'. Women will kill themselves trying to live up to that image, or trying to gain it in the first place (as can be seen from the prevalence of anorexia, bulimia and other eating disorders), and men will think that that is exactly what they are looking for in a partner, and that nothing else will ever be as good.
Not only that, but we are told subliminally that men are still seen as the superior sex, no matter what feminism has achieved, and women are still treated as second class citizens. Why else do we earn only seventy cents of the dollar that men as a group ear?? And why else are there only very small numbers of women holding executive positions? and why are there so few women judges and leaders in general? Women are still discriminated in the workplace on the basis of sex. Women are still seen as slaves of the home (Why else do even working women still shoulder 80% of the household chores?). Women are still seen as prizes for men to take and possess. So we are brought up in a society that will tell us we're wrong and bad in these ways, and we're meant to be well-adjusted, happy and have high self-esteem?
Maybe these messages telling us how inadequate we are, and how society hates us so, has some effect on us.. Just maybe it might make us hate ourselves. And maybe then, when we're feeling so lw, so empty and so dirty, we're going to try to punish ourselves for being that way. We're going to try to destroy ourselves slowly. We're going to cut ourselves and burn ourselves and do whatever it takes to make us feel real and good and tangible again.