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Sometimes, women can be their own worst enemies

24 March 2014, 09:50Lisa Lee

Abuja - Weight has always been an open topic and debate between myself and my female friends.  Lately, however, I’ve noticed the weight debate explode around me.

Ridiculous terms like “thigh gap” (Yes, this is an actual thing) have become common forms of what is considered beautiful.

Perhaps it’s the people I seem to be drawn to, perhaps it’s just become that common and out of control. Let it be known that I, myself, have been victim to measuring my self worth by my jeans size.

I was inspired to write this when a dear friend who may not be society’s vision of ‘skinny’, pointed out how much self hatred she had for herself and her body, thanks to her childhood expectations and today’s twisted culture.

Her words when I tried to comfort her? “The damage has been done. There is no reset button.” These words broke my heart. I had no idea. In my eyes she was strong, confident and one of the most naturally beautiful women I know.

When I studied the theory of evolution as part of my psychology syllabus, part of our theories focused on reproduction and how men were ‘wired’, so to speak, to seek out certain traits in women as prospective mates.

What are these traits? A youthful face (indicating a good few years left to bear children), and a curvy, full figure with child bearing hips. Surely these instincts must still be somehow deeply wired into the brains of men?

After debating this topic with both men and women, a scary conclusion was made. A woman’s never ending aspiration is subconsciously not to attract men; it is a competitive game between fellow women.

We are competing with each other. Just as in nature, the male with the brightest and most beautiful plumage is most likely to get the girl. Funny thing is, almost every man I have asked to settle the debate has swiftly said they prefer a girl with meat on their bones, as opposed to the tiny, bony shadows we are desperate to become.

So, why are we doing something that is clearly obviously not attractive to most men? Look at the media. Look at the models. Look at the A-Listers. Gossip magazines plastered with images of healthy celebs on the beach with captions like “Gasp, look at (insert name)’s cellulite-more pictures inside.”

As soon as someone slims down-even to an unnatural weight, their fame usually soars.  Compare this reading material to men’s magazines-curvy babes, sports, sex and gadgets. I think you can see where I’m going with this.

A friend of mine made a very valid point. Girls don’t starve themselves for men-they do it for each other. We are peacocks having a showdown, seeking to establish the alpha female, the one to look up to.

We spend so much of our time counting calories and torturing ourselves on scales, wasting money on weight loss lotions and potions, and mentally abusing ourselves over that bar of chocolate we needed for a bit of a cheer up.

Will any of it really matter when it’s too late, and you look back on life wishing you had spent more time enjoying your journey, rather than comparing and competing?

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- Women24


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