Thursday, July 16, 2015

Dear Society, Please stop body shaming.

Dear Society,

       Spending my summer on what I would argue to be one of the most outdoor - oriented places in the state of Georgia, if not in the United States, I've managed to notice a few things here and there that stick out.  The main one is the fact that we are objectifying women in the form of body shaming. It's an odd form of body shaming; it's a quiet form of body shaming. No one is pointing at girls and calling out or gossiping about their weight. No one is performing acts of cyberbullying to body shame. Its occurring at a sub-conscience level and it needs to stop.
       Working at the pool, many camps of various organizations and ages come through to enjoy the cool water and exciting diving board. However, one trend continues with many of the camps; girls come in wearing either a one piece or wearing a t-shirt over a bikini in order to cover their midsection and follow the rules of modesty. The cause is usually argued that it's done for modesty. There's nothing wrong with being modest. If someone doesn't feel comfortable showing their stomach, it's alright. Often it's preferred to wear a one piece the majority of the time just because it's less of a hassle to worry about how well the top and bottoms will stay on when one dives in. However, why is it that it is considered immodest for a female to expose her stomach while males are allowed to walk around without shirts and still be considered modest? Is it because guys will judge girls and become excited over a stomach? It turns out, girls also judge guys by their stomach. Let's face it, which girl hasn't seen a picture of a movie star, musician, or just an ordinary guy in general and judged him and admired his body for having rock hard abs? My point. So I say, if you wish to argue the modesty point for why girls are forced to cover up their stomachs, make guys do it as well.
       However, it's not just a poolside issue. Drive anywhere in the United States on a hot day and guys of all shapes and sizes will be out without wearing a shirt. Women  are usually found outside wearing something that will cover up their upper bodies. If they are wearing a sports bra, they are usually pretty skinny and could pass for a lingerie model. Why is this? Why can't a size 10 woman wear a sports bra out to go for a run without feeling the slightest bit uncomfortable and feel as if people would judge her? Why is this the case when men, with or without a six pack, can seemingly go out without any worry that they might the target of body shaming?
       This issue goes deeper than just a few layers of skin and adipose tissue, it's an issue that, despite women being considered equal to men, establishes that women are not equal to men. We are still upheld to standards of physical perfection that are almost unrealistic and often only attainable if life-threatening measures are taken. We are taught through these subtle rules that you, Society, have put in place that modesty is defined as something that should only apply to women and not men. Your rules allow for men to go shirtless without judgement while women feel as if they must be a size 0, 1, or 2 to go comfortable out exposing their midriff. You're rules are treating us, women, as pieces of skin covering only fat. You're rules of modesty are doing the exact opposite of what they were put in place for.
       Society, change can be a very daunting daunting, however, objectifying women through sub conscience body shaming is something that needs to end right now. Either apply the same rules of modesty that you have set up for women to follow to the male population or get rid of these despicable standards of modesty that only women must follow.

     Running Without a Shirt and Swimming in a Two Piece.

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Other Red, White, and Blue

      July 4th is the day many Americans spend beside a pool, beach, and/or a BBQ attempting to get the perfect hamburger grilling technique down and shooting off fireworks. Red, white, and blue stars and stripes were pretty much everywhere. In Rome, Georgia, however, there was a different Red, White, and Blue that managed to be pulled up into the United State's Independence Day festivities. The flag contained red and white stripes along with white stars up against blue. It was once a symbol of a union of 13 states that had a culture unlike anywhere else in the world. The flag is the now greatly debated Battle Flag of the Confederate States of America (which no longer exists; and ceased to exist in 1865).
       After the Charleston church shooting this summer, a photograph of the shooter with the confederate battle flag was found. The correlation was made that, since previous photographs and knowledge signaled that the shooter was a white supremacist, the confederate battle flag also correlates to white supremacy. That correlation can be deemed as a safe comparison or a faulty comparison based on how the 1860s and years leading up to the 1860s is interpreted.
       If making the claim that the confederate battle flag is a symbol for white supremacy, take into account that there's a lot of people who own a confederate flag. There's also a lot of people who support white supremacy. However, just because one owns a confederate flag does not mean one is in support of white supremacy. In the same sense, just because one person is a white supremacist doesn't mean he or she has a confederate flag hanging out the back of a large pickup truck parading through town on Independence Day.
       The confederate battle flag is a huge part of southern history and the history of the United States. (I've even picked up on this being Belgian.) It's a constant reminder of the Civil War, the struggle between states rights and national rights. It's a reminder that our great nation fell apart at one time and through the blood of many it was brought back together.
       Alas, not to long after the Charleston shooting South Carolina removed the Confederate Battle Flag from it's State Capital Building. Honestly; fine. The flag belongs in a museum; not on a government building (I hate to break the bad news, but the South is not rising again anytime soon).
      As vehicles with the Confederate Battle Flags still drive through the streets of Rome, Georgia, it's hard not to notice the similarities and differences between not only the flags, but the groups of people backing stance of the great flag debate. In the end, slavery was part of the Union and the Confederacy, it just stuck around longer in the South. Revolutions and the fight for rights were a part of both the Union and the Confederacy; the United States gained it's independence through revolting against the British Monarchy because of unfair and unequal representation with the government.
      So next time someone wants to declare that the Confederate Battle Flag is just for white supremacy or just for states rights, realize in the end, whether with good or bad intentions, it initially stood for a country of 13 states that left a National government because they felt as if they were not given equal rights as the rest of the nation.