Reality vs. Porn

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My 10 and 12 year old daughters walked into the kitchen as I was plucking the leaves and outer petals from the flower on the right and exclaimed in horror, “Mom, what are you doing?! You’re going to kill it! It’s going to die!”

Inside I was nodding… yes, yes it will. The insides will rot and fester, the flower will start to wilt and droop, and if I were a porn producer I’d either add more paint, get someone new to paint and alter or use surgery to perk things back up and put them back into whatever place I thought they should be. In the case of flowers rather than humans it would be wires and props to hold the aging/dying thing upright.

My daughters asked, startled, why I would do that to the flowers I’d just bought, why was I ruining them? I told them it was for an art project. I asked them what they thought of magazines and images they see in the world. Without hesitation they started talking about the women they see on magazine covers and in commercials. I hadn’t even specified what magazine I was asking about. The magazines we purchase and have in our home are Highlights, Animal Tales, and Country Living, sometimes Real Simple. And yet they immediately thought of the ones they’ve seen in the few minutes we spend at the checkout aisle in stores with women altered with hair and makeup and wardrobe and poses to look completely unlike the women they see in real life.

I asked them as I plucked, why do women shave the hair from their armpits (plucking a leaf out and holding it up to show them as I said the word armpits), shave their legs (hold up another leaf I’ve just plucked), pull out parts of their eyebrows (another leaf) and that’s considered the best for us? I dropped the now bare flower next to one unharmed and asked them, “Honestly, which flower do you like better?” They each picked up an unaltered flower from the bouquet to admire and said, these ones! As they held the flowers to their nose to smell I started to paint the bare flower and we talked about makeup. I told them how I wished I was brave enough to just be me without feeling like I should pull out hair from my body or smear products on my face but that I wasn’t there yet and that I hoped that they would forever love how beautiful they are the way God purposefully created them to be.

I left the analogy with body hair and makeup as they don’t know about porn and how in that industry the pressure and expectation for women is to also alter themselves surgically and with tanning and bleaching and maybe many others things I have no idea about.

And for what? Why are we altering ourselves? For who? Do we really need to? Is that flower on the right pretty to you? Is it ideal or better than?

I am in love with the flower on the left. I wish I had the nerve to be that natural flower and not even do the few things I do to conform to someone else’s beauty standards. I’m working hard to look in the mirror after a shower, just me and my skin and my face and my body and see a beautiful flower instead of all the ways I’m am so unlike the altered version everyone seems to desire.

4 thoughts on “Reality vs. Porn

  • I totally get it! Many years ago, I grew very weary of my eyes getting puffy after a day of makeup. And it got tiring of having to wash it all off at night. So I just stopped. It’s been a good 15 years or so of no makeup. On special occasions I might wear some, and it can be kind of disheartening for all my family to say, “Oh, wow, mom! You look amazing!” Oh well. But, I’m in the same boat, I am NOT going to compete with the women in porn. Actually the more dressed up I get the more I feel like I am competing, so I just don’t dress up 🙂 Stay strong. God made no mistakes, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL the very way He made YOU.

    Blessings,
    Kerri

  • I get it. I have always had low self esteem. As a late teen I weighed 97 pounds, my hip bones stuck out and I felt fat. Never skinny enough, never pretty enough. I am in my late forties now and much much heavier, but I’m finally more comfortable in my own skin. I really hate that I spent so much of my life not feeling good enough. I still struggle with it, but not as bad. I would not like to be a teen or young girl in this day and age. The images we see on social media and tv can leave us feeling so inadequate. Porn gives men a false idea of what real life, with a long time wife, is suppose to be. Good for you for having these conversations with your kids while they’re young.
    I love your blog and I love watching your children grow. I’m happy to see that your are strong and hanging in there.

  • I get it too. It is such a shame that society in general has made such a negative impact on women and their self image. Seems like every woman you talk to (myself included) could give you a far longer list of all the things they dislike about their appearance instead of the ones they like. And receiving a compliment? Forget about it. I smile and say thanks but never truly take it to heart. I know I don’t see myself as others see me– I see the flaws, imperfections and all the things that made me feel bad about myself. Media has done nothing to further the positive cause for women. Though I did recently see a TV commercial for Target swimsuits and it included (for the first time) a plus size girl. That made me smile.
    Too bad we can’t enjoy what we enjoy without fear of “judgement”. If I want to wear makeup, then I want to because it is fun to me — not because society tells me I have to have it to look pretty.
    Keep hanging strong– I know that all the struggles you are wrestling are very difficult, especially alone. You are setting a great example for your kids.

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