. . . men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at. This determines not only most relations between men and women but also the relation of women to themselves. The surveyor of woman in herself is male: the surveyed female. Thus she turns herself into an object — and most particularly an object of vision: a sight.
-John Berger, Ways of Seeing
If you’ve ever visited my facebook page, you have probably seen a few posts about the unfair casting standards women have to face if they want to make it as actors or models. It’s not uncommon for a breakdown to read something like this:
WOMAN : Attractive, 18-22, red hair, 5’7-5’10, 100-120 lbs, blue eyes, athletic. Secretary to the MAN.
MAN : Business-like. The WOMAN’s boss.
I wish I could say I was exaggerating.
Looking for an acting gig is not the most uplifting experience and I’m sure a lot of female actors would agree with me when I say that when Idon’t book the gig, my first thought is that I wasn’t pretty enough. But even if that’s true. Even if the director thought I was a total dog. That person’s (or anyone’s) opinion should not be a basis for my personal value.
When I was younger, I believed that movie stars and models enjoyed a kind of freedom from these insecurities. After all, the fact that they were in films and magazines was proof-positive that they were beautiful. Now they could move on to conquer greater things having passed this all-important test. But that isn’t the case. Those same women could be in tomorrow’s tabloid being publicly shamed for their stretch marks or gaining (or, paradoxically, losing) a few pounds.
The game is rigged.
If you don’t fit the standard, you lose.
If you try to fit the standard, you lose. As one of the commentators in the above video so eloquently put, “Respect yourself, damn slut.”
You can’t win. So, I guess my point is, fuck’em. Maybe I’m an odd person to be saying that. I chose to pursue a career that forces me to be a part of a meat market that constantly objectifies me on the off chance that I will be lucky enough to be a part of something bigger than myself. And all those rejections used to be hard, but I learned to define my value as something I decide. I just wasn’t what they were looking for, and that’s okay.
It’s okay to not be somebody else’s ideal. Be your own ideal. Be the person you want to be not the person somebody else thinks you should be. Because that other person probably wouldn’t like you that way either. As a great lady once said:
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
And, to be honest, it sounds a lot classier than “fuck’em”.