maxim avril lavigneHow do I put into words a concept that after weeks of pondering, and multiple attempts at writing, I can still only try to wrap my brain around? A concept that I feel, but struggle to put into proper and coherent thought. A concept in which I believe, yet it’s difficult to surmise the fact that I actually believe it. I honestly don’t know. But I am going to try. For my own benefit, if for no other reason. This is at least my eighth attempt at putting this together, and I’m still unsure if I have properly articulated what I feel needs to be said today. Strong words do need to be said, though. Please hear me through to the end. I cannot promise you will agree, but I can promise that you will be compelled to ponder some important things. Things that some of you may think impossible, Utopian, or unnatural. Things that may make some angry. But please. Read through to the end. I believe most of you will agree with what I have to say. Most of you will see the vision of this message. And that vision will spark conversation. That conversation will spark desire. And that desire will spark the beginning of change. That is my sincere hope, anyway. Because we have a problem.

Women are ugly. Women are fat. Women are bad mothers. Women are bad wives. Women are bad daughters. Women are lousy cooks. Women don’t keep their houses clean enough. Women have too much cellulite in their thighs. Their abdomens are too flabby. Their under-arms are too Jell-oesque. Women are terrible singers. They are terrible dancers. They are terrible public speakers. Women are stupid. Women are scatter-brained. Women are weak. They are powerless. They are defenseless. Women don’t dress well enough. They don’t have clear enough complexions. They have too many freckles. Women don’t have full enough lips. They don’t have skin that is soft enough. Women are too dominant. Women are too passive. Women are too mean. Women are too nice. Women are nothing but doormats. Women aren’t good enough. Women will never be good enough. Women are, simply put, worthless.

Yes, they are all these things. If, that is, I am to believe the very words that are constantly being spoken by women themselves (which I don’t). These are their words. And I’ve heard them declared again and again. To me, to other men, to other women, and for all I know to their pets and their plants. Worthless. What a concept. To hold no value. To be less desirable than a can of dirt. Are you freaking kidding me? Every single statement on this list, including the worthless comment, was a declaration that at least one woman has made to me, for whatever reason. I bet there isn’t a statement above that we all haven’t heard at least once; most likely hundreds or thousands of times. Why would any of these horrible, degrading beliefs spill across the lips of any woman? What hurts me the most is that most of these things have been said to me by more women than I would care to count. Get real for a moment, ladies. How many of these statements have you yourself said or thought? Be honest. Go through the list, one by one, and admit to the number. I’m genuinely curious. I’m genuinely sick about it. How many of them have you said or thought just since you got out of bed this morning? [sigh] I am upset, but I’m not really angry at you. Just frustrated. Just sad. I understand the reason you constantly let slip these damaging statements. I understand the reason why you actually believe these things. I understand the real reason you feel this way. And the real reason breaks my heart. Because of that, my message today is not directed at you. It is written to the men of this world. Guys… It is our fault. The blame lies with us. And, frankly, I think a man is the one who needs to point a finger and begin a conversation that could actually fix this problem. I pray to God that every person who reads this forwards it to every man that they know, and that even a sliver of those men take a moment to read what I am about to say, because it’s time that the men of this world make a change. It’s time we make a bold declaration against everything we’ve ever been taught. It’s time we go against the grain for the sake of our precious and incredible counterparts. I ask you seriously, men. Do we not realize what we have done to the women of this world? Do we not recognize the atrocities we have committed? We have destroyed the very beauty that women are. We’ve replaced that beauty with a standard that is, and always will be, impossible for them to hit. We’ve decided what the perfect legs are. We’ve decided what the perfect body is. We’ve decided what the perfect breasts are to be shaped like. We’ve decided what the perfect face, skin, butt, and neck should be. And we’ve made no hesitations to boldly let it be known. We declare it, and we do so with little care for the tender women standing beside us. And, of course, with each declaration, women hate themselves more. With each declaration, women get further and further from beautiful. With each declaration, more and more of our women willingly place themselves beneath the scalpels of so-called “doctors” who cut apart and reshape their already gorgeous bodies into something different. Why? Because. They can’t be all of it. Not naturally. No woman can be all of it. No woman can possibly have the perfect everything and be the perfect everything. It is impossible, of that I have never been more certain. Now, you may be naively sitting there thinking, I don’t declare that. I tell women they are amazing. That they are beautiful. That there is nothing wrong with them. Do you not understand? It doesn’t take opening your mouth to propound these things. It doesn’t take flapping your lips to make a statement. It doesn’t take verbal anything to spread this vicious ideology. All it takes is you and me, stopping and looking. I’ve come to realize something profound that I don’t know if I’ve ever heard anybody actually say.

It is not the impossibly air brushed females on magazine covers who are causing women to hold themselves against a standard of perfection. No, it’s not that at all. Holy crap. Why am I just realizing this? Why doesn’t anybody seem to realize this?

It is the men that stop and look at those magazines. And that simple, repeated act is how we constantly, and never-endingly declare to women that they are not good enough, and will never be good enough. We stop, and we look. And women notice. Women notice every time another woman walks by with “perfect” legs, and the men around her are unable to break themselves of the trance until she is gone. Women notice every time we size up the girl whose “perfect” boobs are bursting out of her shirt. Women notice every time we crane our necks as we pass by a Victoria’s Secret store. Women notice every time we sneak a glance at those magazines in the checkout line. Women notice every time any woman gets attention for having the “perfect” anything. Yes, women notice that men are sucked in and captivated by the same fictional things. Over, and over, and over. And they remember it. They store it. They program their minds to say, “what he is looking at is obviously what men want, and I must have that or men won’t want me“. Come on guys, let’s give our “real” women a fighting chance.  Please. Let’s stop ogling the very things that are causing this tragic mind game. Let’s stop walking by the never-ending porn that surrounds us with our jaws dangling so carelessly. Let’s stop salivating every time Pavlov rings his freaking bell. And, guess what. It is not just women’s bodies or looks that we are destroying. Women hear every time we sarcastically joke about wanting a cleaner house, more consistent meals, or more attention. They notice when we laugh or make snide comments about their gender being anything less than kind or sweet. They hear our many jokes attacking their intelligence. They feel our belief that they are the weaker sex. And they remember it. They store it. They program their own minds to say, “that is perfect, and I must be that or people won’t want me“. Yes, men. It is our own damned fault. Why has it taken me 30 years to realize this? Why is it that nobody seems to realize this? We honestly don’t. We put the weight of this on the women. Everybody puts the weight of this on the women. Even the voice of change has been putting its attention on the symptom instead of the cause. Women, love yourselves, it glaringly repeats. Learn to love who you are. Realize that you aren’t perfect and never will be. Realize that the women on magazine covers are fake. That has even been my message of late. But now, I question whether that is an impossible thing to ask. I don’t know how it is possible so long as we, as men, stop and look. So long as I stop and look. In fact, I’m certain that it is not. A woman can tell herself that those images are fake until the sun goes down, but at the end of the day, her self-talk will barely matter. Not when men think that they’re real. Not when she knows that men want what is shamelessly being touted from those photos. Not when she knows that men think of those photos as real. Good crap. Let’s give our “real” women a fighting chance, guys. We must stop stopping. We must stop looking. We must stop fooling ourselves that such fantasies exist. We must stop wanting our women to live up to impossible ideals. We must stop seeking out images of scantily clad and naked women. We must stop filling our mind with all this fiction. We must stop. Let’s instead stop and look at something else. Let’s stop and look at the irrefutable beauty in the “real” women around us, just as men have for millennia. You see, it is only a recent phenomenon that “real” women no longer have the ability to be truly “beautiful” for the men of this world. It is only in recent history that women who have done everything they can to make themselves as attractive as they can, still feel ugly. Still feel imperfect. Still feel worthless. Can we not discover the very pulchritude that each womanly imperfection carries? Can we not appreciate the wrinkles that have each majestically formed over the years from so much laughing and smiling? Can we not find the sexiness in a woman’s breasts that have selflessly given nourishment to their young? Can we not enjoy the comfort that only comes from hugging a “real” woman with “real” curves and “real” softness? Are we so vain that we aren’t overwhelmed with desire for women who feature the polished finesse of lives beautifully lived? Can we not express our excitement over the things that day in, and day out, they so selflessly accomplish? Can we not keep from questioning whether a woman could have done more? Can we not see that oftentimes, women do much more than you or I could ever, or would even want to do? I can’t speak for you, but as I ponder on the women in my life, a truly lazy or lacking woman has been rare indeed. Men, on the other hand… we have some things to work on. My dear brothers, can we not start loving everything about our “real” women? Can we not start ogling our “real” women instead of those fictitious fantasies in the check-out line? Can we not send a message to the world that we are no longer interested in anything that is less (or more) than “real”? That we are no longer interested in setting our standard of beauty based on images that some artist found some way to create with a damn computer? Can we not declare that we’re only interested in the very “real” women standing beside us and around us? You’ll remember that I started this post with a list of the execrable things that women often believe themselves to be. Do we not realize why women think, believe, and say these things? Are we really that daft? Are we really that stupid? Are we really that stubborn? It is because of us, guys. It is because we leave them with no other option. We stop. We look. We comment. We joke. We implant those very thoughts into their way of thinking. We make sure they know that we agree with everything the media has brainwashed us to believe beauty to be. I, for one, am done with it. I, for one, am taking a stand. I, for one, will no longer be stopping. I will no longer be looking. Why? Quite possibly for a selfish reason. I am a heterosexual man. And, as blunt and uncomfortable as this may seem, I realized recently that I am starting to lose my attraction to women. Over time, and after seeing enough of this concocted and concentrated hog wash surrounding me, I’ve almost completely lost my ability to truly want a “real” woman. Most of us have. We have somehow started wanting what we know we can never have. We want what we see on the cover of Cosmo and Maxim. We want what is displayed across calendars and centerfolds. And women know that. They see that. They feel it. It’s our own damned fault that we’re all screwed up. Stop blaming the women. Stop expecting them to magically step up to the plate and be comfortable with who they are. We all must stop expecting women to fix this. When we honestly look at how women feel, what they think, and how they respond, we will see that it is all just a symptom of you and me. If men never stopped. If men never looked. Do you honestly think women would have this problem? Think about that. Would these magazines even exist if men weren’t interested in the fakeness splashed across their covers? Women would not care. They would feel no need to live up to a digital standard of beauty because there would be no reason to do so. Not if it was something we didn’t want.

To the “real” women of this world. I owe you an apology, and I hope that the men of this world will line up behind me to offer you one. I am sorry. I am sorry for it all. And I promise you, I will change. I may not always be perfect with it, but I promise you I will change. I will stop stopping. I will stop looking.

I can’t do this without you. We can’t do this without you. If men are to change, we need you to change some things as well. You see, we do need you to believe in yourselves. We do need you to love yourselves. We do need you to stop comparing yourselves to super models and pin-up girls. We need you to be what women have been through all of history. We need you to be what women have always known themselves to be. We need you to go back to a time before the Internet. Before Playboy Magazine and before Marilyn Monroe. A time before Vogue or Elle. A time when far fewer women hated their bodies. We need you to go back to a time when far fewer women felt worthless. We need you to be you. We need you to be beautiful. Because beautiful you are. Don’t get me wrong. None of this is to say that men should or can stop appreciating beauty. That would be unnatural. That would be impossible. It is not to say that women shouldn’t make themselves as attractive as they can be. It is not to say that we shouldn’t appreciate cleanliness and comeliness. No, it is not to say any of those things. It is only to plead with each of you. Let’s bring this world back to reality. Let’s make sure that the people we are attracted to are “real” people. Let’s make sure that the women we stop and look at are “real” women. That is the simplicity of today’s message. Like I said, I am a heterosexual man. And in my life, I have never known a time when men weren’t constantly being programmed to want more boobs, more butts, and more legs. Asking for less of it goes against everything that the media has crammed down my throat for 30 years. Asking for less of it goes against everything I’ve been taught to believe that a man is. It is not an easy concept for me to choke down, much less advocate, but I’m going to ask for it anyway. Because, let’s be honest. It wasn’t anything but the media that made me this way. It is the media that has worked endlessly to make all men this way. Can we not agree to that? Sure, we’ve all done our part in spreading the muck, but it all bubbles up from the same cesspool of forgeries. What do you say, fellas? Can we take a step back, cordially give the media the finger, and start seeing “real” women as beautiful, just as they always have been? And what do you say, women? Throw us a freaking bone? Give us something we can believe in? Give us the women we so desperately want to cherish? “Real” women with “real” love for themselves? All you have to do is stop. And look. Look at reality. Look at what you want. Look at what needs to be changed. Look at the problems you’re making worse instead of better. And, never, not even once, let those self-loathing statements listed above enter your thoughts. Let’s do this already. Men, own up. It’s time. Women, help us do it. With everything I have, Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing PS, Men, imagine the power you carry in what you will say and do after you read this. Imagine the ability to see beauty everywhere we look. Article by Dan & Noah *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      * I expected that this article would definitely raise some eyebrows. Writer Dan Pearce’s opinion is that men are to blame about the negative way women feel about themselves, but is it that easy? I’m a firm believer that no one can make you feel “worthless” – or anything for that matter – without your consent. However, when we are growing up in a society that tells us who and what to be from a young age, I want to say that many of us don’t grow up with excellent self-esteem and already have these expectations instilled in us. Is it a man’s fault? Men can choose how to talk to women, about women. They can choose to not hate on the female gender. But women can do the same. As Michael (who left a comment below) stated, women have expectations of men, too. Women have romantic, emotional and physical expectations just like men. The pressure is on both genders and it’s important to recognize that. So whose fault is it? I don’t think we can point the finger at anyone. Men and women have both been conditioned to place expectations on the opposite gender (and on themselves). We are conditioned to believe what the perfect male and female body looks like, what our income should be, how we should act and behave, etc. And unfortunately, once we’re old and smart enough to realize how messed up these messages are, those thoughts and behavioral patterns are hard to break. What can we do? No gender-hating, no expectations – just be decent, respectful human beings to each other. We should accept each other as we are, and work to accept ourselves as well. I don’t think this is a gender thing – I think this is a cultural thing. The media, unfortunately, will always be jamming messages down our throats – it’s a business to them. What we do with those messages is up to us. Dan has a point though – we can do something. We fail to notice this, but as consumers we have a lot of power. If you don’t support the messages a magazine promotes, don’t buy it. If a clothing company promotes its message by photoshopping their models, don’t buy their clothes. You can tell them you’re not okay with this. By saying this is not OK, you are pressuring them, who are really driving these messages, to change. It’s also about us – how we feel about ourselves. Be more gentle, more accepting – Be OK with not fitting a media-made image/lifestyle. Choose to be with people who respect you. Love each other, seriously. This is how we can get back to the real beauty within ourselves. This is how we can stick up for what is “real.”