So Olivia buys me the book from the previous year so I can read the talks. (I can't however traipse around BYU campus with my mom and sisters or eat mint brownies.)
Which is a tragedy.
I read a talk by Mary N. Cook yesterday that resonated. As a woman and as a mother of a daughter, it's something I think about anyway: the media messages women get.
They're pretty much rotten.
The following italicized quotes are all quoted from Mary Cook's talk (the rest of it are my thoughts).
"In too many cases too much is being done to the human body to meet...a fictional (to say nothing of superficial) standard."
Jeffrey R. Holland
Comparing ourselves to what we see in advertisements and magazines, where everything is airbrushed and photoshopped, is kind of like comparing ourselves to a Barbie doll or an illustration of a Disney princess. Just fiction.
Yet there are all those glossy images...
Besides being fictional, it is also the sexualization of women (which I can't stand).
"Sexualization occurs when someone's sense of their own value is based solely on sex appeal or that individual is held to narrow standards of attractiveness...[it] has been going on for decades, largely unnoticed, the elevator music of American life."
Lois Collins and Sara Lenz
"As a society, we know more about women who look good than we know about women who do good...The most celebrated women today are famous primarily for being thin and pretty, while women who are actually changing the world remain comparatively invisible.
Audrey Barshich, author of All Made Up
I am not saying we shouldn't care about how we look. When I google it, this quote is attributed to either President David O. McKay or President Spencer W. Kimball. I don't know which is correct but my mom taught it to me. "Even a barn looks better painted."
I don't think women, or anyone, should just let their appearance go because of their pursuit of other, more worthy goals. When you look good, you feel good. It just bothers me that what is "good" is prescribed by people wanting to sell something and is often faked anyway.
I could just continue to decry all of that, but what I love are the real solutions by real and wise people.
"As women of virtue, we must become visible. We must drown out the elevator music, trumpeting that which is virtuous, lovely, and of good report...To change the world, specifically the homes and communities in which we live, we must remember who we truly are and help those we love know who they truly are."
Mary N. Cook
So here is a good report to trumpet: I have loved lately watching my strong and beautiful daughter work hard. She is swimming and exercising more than she ever has in her life. (More than I ever have in my life.) She is exhausted, but she is proud of what she can do and I am proud of her. She is not exercising to reach a goal to become impossibly thin. (In fact, her coach cautioned us that the girls are not to lose weight. "They are working hard," he said, "They need to eat...a lot.") She is exercising because she's on the swim team and she loves being on the swim team.
And she comes home happy and hungry and beautiful.
The other night she was telling Braeden about the 30 pushups they had to do at practice because some girls were late for practice. Braeden said, "Real pushups? Or girl pushups?"
"Real," she said.
He must have looked skeptical because she dropped down and quick showed him what she meant. Let's just say Braeden was impressed.
She's one strong lady. I love what her body can do. I will guard that girl against negative and false images as best as I can.
I want her to know who she is. She is funny and good and determined and independent and strong and smart and beautiful and creative and imaginative and destined for greatness.
I want her to know that won't be found in a glossy magazine.