THE FEMALE ONCE OVER
Today my daughter and I were victims of The Female Once-Over by another mom and her two daughters. It was so uncomfortable. We entered a well-known athletic store and immediately these three ladies turned to us and looked us over. It was obvious and awkward.
Not sure what a once-over is? Let me clarify — it’s when one female looks at another female from head to toe and back up again. In short, when one female sizes up another female for the sole purpose of comparison. It is absolutely pointless and it leaves females feeling terribly self-conscious. It is an act of isolation, exclusion and jealousy, meant to divide females and pit them against each other. It is totally void of unity and inclusion.
Ladies, it is time to get gritty, honest, and real because we are hurting our daughters by allowing this to continue. So:
Stop it. Stop it right now. The once-over is an act of insecurity and hurt, full of drama. It is unnecessary, and it shows other females you are not empowered. So please, stop. You will never feel empowered by comparing yourself to another female. Once-overs take females apart. It makes us objects: a pair of arms, thighs, a hairstyle, a fashion accessory, shoes, clothing; objects qualified and judged as fat, big, thin and skinny. There is no room for grace, love or celebration of the female spirit in the action of a once- over.
As we climbed back in the car, Daughter let out a sigh like none other. I asked what the matter was and she said, “That is the hardest part of being a girl.” I asked her to clarify and she said “Other girls make being a girl hard. If they would just stop worrying, stop comparing, and just love themselves and what they can do, then everything would be okay.” I asked her how we start doing that and Daughter spoke such simple truth it hurt. “Their moms have to change their ways and stop being ugly to other women and teach their daughters to stop looking for the flaws in other girls. Moms have to like their own bodies first.”
Out of the mouths of babes.
When I work with girls through the non-profit I run, we spend a session on Drama — what it looks like, feels like and sounds like. Sometimes Drama is more than gossip and attitude. Sometimes it is in a look, or it is an absence of a look. We talk blatantly about the once-overs and how harmful they are, how they darken the power of the female spirit. Female spirits should be loved, celebrated, and cultivated in joy.
Think about it. The female spirit is invincible. It battles oppression, doubt, fear. It has been, and in some places still is, without rights. The female spirit binds the parts of our body together and makes us stand tall. Spirit is our beauty. The spirit of females gives life, fights for equality, and fights for grace.
Moms: Let’s change our ways and give our daughters the ability to celebrate other females. Start using body positive language about yourself. You are more than a body. You are a powerful spirit. Stop those eyes from giving the once-overs, smile at the female as she enters a room, give her space at the table, welcome her whole being, spirit first. Leave the competition and comparison at home. Let’s stop pretending the body is more important than spirit. Spirits will go on even after bodies cease to exist, so let’s be gentle with them. I will be gentle with your daughter’s spirit and you be gentle with mine.