Oh lawdy lawd. Ok, many of my blog posts are often prompted by people being assholes, and me explaining exactly what about their behavior makes them crappy human beings. Osmel Sousa, the president of the popular Miss Venezuela beauty pageant, pretty much takes the trophy for crappy human being of the day (because there’s always a new one tomorrow).
The following video, produced by the NY Times, is only about 5 minutes long, but if you don’t feel like watching it, Sousa’s opening statement pretty much sums it up:
“Inner beauty doesn’t exist,” he claims, “it is something that unpretty women invented to justify themselves.” (He says this with a really creepy smile on his face, then laughs.)
The first issue with this statement was summed up really well by Erika Nicole Kendall, another blogger whom I admire very much:
“I think it’s pretty f—ing jarring to hear someone say “I say that inner beauty does not exist; it’s something that unpretty women invented to justify themselves.“ They need to justify themselves? As in, their raison d’etre? Their existence? Women who are not “beautiful” are subject to justifying their existence, lest there be no reason for them to exist?”
-Excerpted from “I Say That Inner Beauty Does Not Exist” | A Black Girl’s Guide To Weight Loss
Props to Kendall for calling this guy out on what he’s really trying to say: If a woman is not physically beautiful, then she doesn’t have any value.
What is especially concerning (to me at least) is that this dude is gay, and he does not talk about women this way because he wants to bone them. This is not a sexual power play. No, as a gay man, he thinks “ugly” women have “made up” the concept of inner beauty because to him, women are objects for looking at, period.
To Sousa (and many other people), women serve no other purpose than being ornamental, like a painting, or a vase. And what is the point of an ugly vase? None. An ornament must be beautiful to serve it’s purpose, otherwise it is no longer an ornament – it is an eyesore & will be taken out with the trash.
The rest of the video explores the new trend of Venezuelan mannequins being modified to be super busty, reflecting the increasingly extreme beauty ideals of the country. This trend of mannequins with impossible body proportions is nothing new. But mannequins are also particularly interesting because they literally are woman-ornaments. A mannequin with a less-than perfect body shape is worthless and will be modified and/or thrown out.
And herein lies the scary connection to be made: To Sousa (and people who agree with him) If “inner beauty does not exist”, if traits such as intelligence, compassion, and strength do not matter, and women are merely ornaments to please the eye, there is no difference between a woman and a mannequin. If this does not outrage you right now, leave my blog.
Why do mannequins even matter that much? Much like photoshopped women in magazines, they contribute to social norms of what women should & shouldn’t look like.
(by the way, if you walk around to the back of mannequins in America, you can see the clothes are often clamped or pinned to be form-fitting, because the mannequins are thinner than size 0/XS).
(because Sweden does everything right)
Ok, obviously the notion that “inner beauty doesn’t exist” is complete and utter bullsh*t. This brings me to the second part of this blog post:
Yarrrg Musclezzzz (& Booty)
Our standards of female beauty are changing from heroin-chic to Wonder Woman. Don’t believe me? Google Trends knows – thin is on it’s way out, fit is just getting started.
Part of this trend is due to a strong resurgence in the feminist movement worldwide, ever since several notable gang rape incidents (selfcontrolselfcontrol don’t fly off the handle about rape right now). Check out any “fitblr’s” Tumblr account, and chances are you’ll see some feminist stuff on it. That’s because fitness & feminism actually go together like salt & pepper. Fit gals and fit dudes understand the mental, physical, and social empowerment that comes with control over one’s body.
Because I have a sociological background, when I started writing for Cody I realized I was in a position of influence, and I could use this influence for the better. That’s why you will never see sexualized fitness content on the Cody blog. I’ve made a point to only use body-positive language on Cody’s social media accounts. Our graphic designer Tasheon also does a really great job of only using non-sexual, body-positive images & illustrations:
Another reason this trend is catching on so quick is CrossFit! This is because as CrossFit spreads, more people are exposed to images of strong women, and the more you are exposed to these images, the more you grow to accept it, like it, even want to look like it.
Here’s a short CrossFit video called “Letting Beauty Speak”:
Unlike Sousa & his beauty pageants, CrossFitters understand that beauty is not skin-deep. That being said, imagine what would happen if our mannequins looked like CrossFitters!
I’ve been waiting for the ever-vapid Seventeen or Cosmo magazines to start featuring some of the more conventionally “hot” CrossFit women, like Andrea Ager
or Christmas Abbot
or Camille Leblanc-Bazinet
But then I realized, if Seventeen & Cosmo won’t put athletes like Mckayla Maroney or Venus Williams on their covers, they’re probably not going to put a CrossFitter on their cover. Which is a damn shame. But that’s ok, because Seventeen & Cosmo are insulting pieces of shit that portray women as idiots who are only interested in makeup, clothes, and men, and they can go suck a fat one.
I’ve received some criticisms in the past – “this blog reads like a CrossFit advertisement” or “you’re still focusing on physical standards of beauty” or “stop hating on skinny bodies“… blah blah blah.
These are all people that don’t understand the deep connection between physical fitness & female empowerment. When I started working out, yes, I was doing it to “look better naked”. I had no idea that the following would happen:
1) I’ve stopped wearing makeup on a regular basis. Makeup is now reserved for big nights out, or job interviews.
2) I’ve stopped wearing form-fitting clothes, and pretty much my wardrobe consists of baggy jeans & a sweatshirt. Even though my body is now the most smokin’ I’ve ever achieved, I have no desire to show it off.
3) I’ve stopped weighing myself.
4) In short, I’ve stopped seeking outside approval for how I look, because to be honest how I look doesn’t really matter to me anymore.
Y’know what matters? Inner beauty. Intelligence, resilience, strength, creativity, compassion, resourcefulness, spunk, attitude, confidence, dedication… this is what inner beauty is. This is what matters. Not what you look like, but what you can do.
So for every single person out there, man or woman, don’t let any jerk try to tell you that inner beauty doesn’t matter or doesn’t exist. Even if your face got shot off like Chuck Palahniuck’s Invisible Monsters.