Grrrrrrl Power

Written by Hollye Dexter

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll never be offered membership to any militant uber-feminist club, because I love my Dior mascara and my high heeled shoes and my pushup bras too much, and I’d be hard-pressed to give them up. But I’ll tell you what – I am sick and tired of being told through the media that as a woman I need to alter myself to be acceptable. As if it weren’t enough that we are ridiculed for not having big enough breasts, or being too fat, we are constantly being told through print media, ads and our celebrity population that we must shoot ourselves full of botulism and chemical fillers so that we don’t offend anyone with our age. We are blasted nonstop with ads for plastic surgery, diet products, anti- aging blah blah blah….And this past week I saw not one but TWO stand up comedians making fun of women for having pubic hair. They joke about it as if it so crude and unnatural for a woman to have pubic hair. What’s unnatural is for a sexually mature female to NOT have pubic hair. (and believe me, never in my life did I think I’d ever be blogging about pubic hair)
The message being sent through the media to all women and young girls is this:
To be acceptable in our society is to be perpetually young with a thin, narrow boy-like body, the large, full firm breasts of a lactating mother, and the bare genital area of a little girl.
Did you get that? Read it again, and then think about it.
Why are women held to these sick, twisted standards? We look back in horror at how the Chinese used to cripple their girls by binding their feet to achieve their standard of beauty. But look at us, America, the land of the free. Are we really free? We mutilate our bodies through surgeries and injections, implants and extractions, always striving for that unattainable notion of perfection which doesn’t exist. We are slaves to an unreachable standard of beauty, and are subtly encouraged to feel some level of shame for not achieving it.
Even More magazine, which is a magazine for women over forty, airbrushes their cover models then tells you “This is what 45 looks like”. No! That is NOT what 45 looks like- that’s what airbrushing looks like.
And this ugly message of “you are not enough” is affecting our daughters. Last night I sat with my Japanese daughter-in-law as she cried and cried over gaining three pounds in her eighth month of pregnancy. No matter how much I told her how beautiful she looks, and how normal and healthy it is to gain weight in your pregnancy, I couldn’t erase her shame. In Japan, she told me, no one will love you if you’re fat.
This is craziness!!!
As women we have got to RAIL against this damaging message, and stop it from being passed down to the next generation. So what can we do, each of us, to stop this? I need to come up with some ideas before I start going all “Eve Ensler” on someone’s ass.
Here is MY message, as a woman, to ALL media and stand up comics, and I hope you’ll say it with me:
I am a REAL woman, with real breasts and hips and smile lines.
I will NOT conform to your unhealthy standards. I will stand in my truth and learn to love myself just as I am.
Oh and by the way, Barbie can KISS MY ASS!

You May Also Like…

Letter to My Teenage Self

Dear Teen Self,Remember that muggy, summer afternoon when you and your friends sat in a circle on your bedroom floor,...

Read More

Why Women Will Lead the Way on Gun Reform

Huge thanks to my friend Brooke Elise Axtell for inviting me to write this piece for The Feminist Wire. This details...

Read More

The International Women’s Day Hangover

Photo: Forbes MagazineMarch 8th was International Women’s Day. I celebrated by surrounding myself with brilliant,...

Read More


  1. Gray Beard

    This may still sound very sexist to you, but the irony to me is the older I get the better real women look to me. Real women have chests of all shapes and sizes, big behinds, and hair down there.

  2. Gray Beard

    This may still sound very sexist to you, but the irony to me is the older I get the better real women look to me. Real women have chests of all shapes and sizes, big behinds, and hair down there.

  3. Anonymous

    Right on sister friend, Hollye.

  4. Debra DeAngelo

    Yes, yes, YES!!!!
    As a counterpoint, men who prefer little boy/girl women with huge breasts are to be avoided. There are men out there who prefer curvy, ample, natural women… who appreciate the true female form(s). Those are the keepers.
    It's the fashion magazines that poison our minds, and all the companies aiming to sell us stuff via our insecurities – that THEY planted in our minds!
    Funny you mention "More." I gave up my subscription when I realized that the ENTIRE magazine was all about NOT accepting yourself, and pouring all this energy into looking younger and thinner. And… you just reminded me that I intended to write about that, and never got around to it. I think it's time!

  5. Susan Bonin

    As a women who's age is over the speed limit, I dare Tara Banks to do an America's Next Top Model with women over 50. Real, unaltered women. I am having a tough time excepting these wrinkles I've earned through years of living. AND MEN, if you don't want to appreciate WOMEN, Real women with curves and lines, just remember we all age in our own way. We can loose weight, cover lines, cover the grey, GROW HAIR!!!

  6. spring warren

    I attended a lecture once in which the instructor listed the different stages of beauty in African culture starting at the dewy new beauty of the young woman, all the way to the powerful wise beauty of the oldest women. I very much liked that each kind of beauty was as desirable as the other – and all very different, of course. It seemed one could then let go of the dewy freshness, having enjoyed that a time, and look forward then embrace the next stage of gorgeousness.

  7. Theresa

    I absolutely needed to read this! I *LOVE* IT! I'm all for being healthy and whatnot, but constantly STRESSING over a little gained weight is not healthy. Embracing who you are IS! 🙂 You tell 'em Hollye!

  8. Hollye Dexter

    What's crazy is how we don't notice how crazy it all is- we are so bombarded on a daily basis through TV commercials, magazine covers, celebrities who never age or wrinkle…IT'S WEIRD! And WRONG!
    I just want to be a real person.

  9. Jes

    Thank you. I am aging ungracefully, and I prefer it to looking like a Barbie porn star lactating-boy-prepubescent girl.

  10. Crystal A

    I really loved the campaign Dove did a while back where they had REAL women posing in their underwear for their products. I've come along way in how I've been able to view my own body. I'm so proud to be able to say I'm proud of my body now.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *