I wonder how many women can honestly say they love their bodies? Unrealistic beauty standards, amplified by the media, have put unhealthy pressure on women to have a certain body shape to be considered beautiful.
This week, Singapore podcast channel OKLETSGO, hosted by three male ex-DJs, was called out for casually dehumanising and sexualising women. The trio initially brushed off criticism of their show but apologised after President Halimah Yacob called out their behaviour.
In a post on Facebook, President Halimah said: “Women are not objects to be made fun of, ridiculed and trampled upon, and no one has the right to do that to them. Women have the right to be respected, valued for their contributions in the family and in our society.”
She added that taking cheap potshots at women to boost ratings or to try to be funny, is offensive and cannot be justified under any label whether it be freedom of speech or under the guise of encouraging conversations.
“How do you encourage healthy conversations about the role of women and families, when your starting point is to degrade women?” she asked.
Some remarks in the podcast included passing crude remarks about women’s body parts and lewd banter about how women guests looked like on the podcast. Such remarks, said one critic, is exactly what could lead women to feel unsafe alone in the company of a group of men.
This kind of casual misogyny (reducing women to the sum of their body parts or defining their worth by how they look to men) only serves to amplify the worrying trend of more women battling eating disorders from a younger age.
How can we come to a social norm where everyone, men and women, can embrace all bodies to be lovely no matter the size or shape?
Reflecting on the OKLETSGO saga reminded me of a valuable life lesson: To value and to love myself for who I am now, and to put away all the destructive thoughts I have about myself and other women. Here is what I have learnt:
You are worth more than your physique
A common pitfall we women have is to judge and put ourselves down over something that we feel inferior about. It is not wrong to be objectively critical about yourself. But it is toxic when you dismiss your worth solely based on a flaw you see in how you look.
Take the mental spotlight off your body and base your self-perception on other aspects of yourself. It can be a skill or a talent, an interest or a hobby. Whatever that is uniquely you, own it!
Confidence never goes out of fashion
How we present ourselves is important, not just for appearances but for how we feel about ourselves. There are so many options for you to choose from in terms of what you want to wear; don’t force yourself into wearing something uncomfortable or unlike your sense of style just because it is trendy or popular.
Remember that you are in control. A confident woman is a beautiful one. When you truly embrace yourself, you will feel good and you will be happy.
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Do yourself a favour with self-care
Self-care is about how you view the things you do.
For example, exercise not just to change or control your body, but exercise because it helps you feel strong and energised. Look for workouts or activities that you enjoy and do them not just for the sake of looking good.
Similarly, watch what you eat, not because to lose weight but because you are what you eat. When you view food in this manner, you will start creating wholesome meals that satisfy cravings without guilt.
Practise moderation in your decisions and be conscious of what is happening to your body and what it truly needs.
Focus on your interests and happiness
There is so much more we can get out of social media than constantly comparing yourself to others to get that so-called “perfect” look.
Follow accounts that spark your interest and leave you with positive and not negative feelings. Find things that interest you and like-minded people to form a community with.
That way, social media becomes a support and not a crutch. Who knows, by joining an online community to encourage each other, you may end up being a positive influence to others as well!
Encourage each other
To shape any culture or social norms, community support is important.
If more women can come to know about body positivity and embrace it from a young age, then we can create a healthy and empowering ecosystem where women learn not only to accept and love themselves, but accept and love others for their differences too.
Women, don’t doubt that you are beautiful. I wish to remind every woman out there that you are beautiful and amazing just the way you are. You certainly don’t need anyone, podcast or otherwise, to tell you differently.