Real Talk: How Do You Measure Your Self-Worth?

If you are new around my site, occasionally I’ll write posts I like to call “Real Talk”. I use them as an opportunity to discuss a topic that is on my heart lately and they are often related to issues that women are facing. To see previous Real Talk posts, click here

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about self-worth. In the world we live in, we are constantly inundated with messages trying to affect our self-worth. That you should be skinnier, richer, sexier or that for you to feel good about yourself you must do X and Y. That when you look in the mirror you should constantly strive to be more. And honestly? It’s exhausting. What the ads and magazines and shows don’t tell you though, is that your self-worth is not synonymous with any of these things! In fact, the methods of measurement don’t even work! Just like you wouldn’t measure the length of a table with a measuring cup, you can’t measure your self-worth with your weight, number of likes you receive or bank account either!

Woman's Shadow

(Source)

Your worth is not measured by the number on the scale. 

Whether you weigh yourself daily or the only time you are weighed is at the doctor’s office, the number on the scale does not define you. That number holds an odd power because it can make you feel bummed or excited and rarely anything in-between in a matter of seconds. But here’s the thing… your body weight fluctuates and by attaching such strong emotions to a number, it gives it the power to change your outlook. And that number is only a small measurement of one thing and if you are twenty pounds underweight or overweight or somewhere in between, it will never be able to really measure the type of person you are. Also falling under this category for inaccurate measurements of worth are the number of times you went to the gym this week or the size that you take into the fitting room.

Your worth is not measured by the amount of likes you get on Facebook and Instagram.

Since we live in a digital world where a large portion of our social interaction happens online, it makes sense that we might get confused here. When we receive likes on a post, we feel good and in turn, feel good about ourselves. The reverse sometimes happens too, as when we don’t receive a lot of likes for a certain photo, we wonder if it really isn’t that good of a picture at all and begin to doubt ourselves. But the response we receive is just that… a response, based on a pixelated image on a screen and doesn’t say anything about who you really are.

Your worth is not measured by the amount of money in your bank account.

Money can measure many things (aka how much something costs) but it can’t measure who you are as a person. This one feels so cut and dry and yet it’s one that I think a lot of people struggle with. If you don’t have that much money then you might feel ashamed or embarrassed and let that define you. But if you have a lot of money then that doesn’t make you a better person either. It’s something that we judge ourselves and others on by attaching attributes to it like driven or successful, when really, those qualities aren’t defined by how much money you have in the bank.

So tell me, what other things don’t define your worth?

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Real Talk: Beauty Pageants

At this time in history, women are doing amazing things. At the college level, women continue to outnumber men, at 56% of enrollment. In the business world, women hold 5% of the Fortune 500 CEO positions which is a number that continues to grow. And in Congress, women hold 99 or 18.5% of the seats with 79 women in the House of Representatives and 20 women in the Senate.

And yet, just last week a televised program aired that judges women based almost solely on their looks.

I’ll admit that I used to watch the Miss America and Miss USA pageants because I liked seeing the dresses and watching the interview questions. But how is it, that in this day and age where women are making leaps and bounds in society, we still have this type of National competition? For the ladies competing, 20% of their score is based on them parading down the runway in evening wear and another 20% is made up of the swimsuit portion. The time of the evening when women are asked to put on similar versions of the same swimsuit, walk the runway in heels and then stand next to each other while their bodies are judged by a group of men and women. When you break it down like that, the whole idea feels a little crazy and a lot archaic.

If you read my last Real Talk post, you know I discussed the great female-empowerment type of commercials that have been going around and yet, they are the direct opposite of these beauty pageants. Let’s face it, most women critique and criticize their bodies on a daily basis and if you decide to go into pageants, you have the unique “opportunity” of standing in front of a group of judges and letting them do that for you. There is just something so wrong with this! It also doesn’t help that the contestants all look very similar with what the media says is the ideal body type right now. And yet in pageantry, they get away with this by calling it “lifestyle and fitness”. This purports the idea that this specific body type is the only way a woman would look if she cares about her body and yet, there are so many women out there who eat healthy and exercise regularly but don’t look like the ladies walking the runway.

I think that one of the reasons that Miss America has made its way into the 21st century is by saying that they are the largest scholarship organization for women. There is a great video now circulating from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver‘s examination of the scholarship portion of the Miss America pageant that you can watch below. I won’t recap it all but I will point out two things that stood out to me. First, the Miss America pageant claims that it gives out $45 million in scholarships to women annually. This is a huge number and John Oliver’s team investigated it and found that in 2012, at the National level, Miss America only gave $482,000 in scholarships! If you start to include regional scholarships, the most they could come up with was $4 million in scholarships! The video below explains the disparity in the numbers but it’s really quite shocking.

And it gets worse. Although that number is grossly misrepresented, Miss America really is the largest scholarship provider to women. Apparently the other female-only based scholarships don’t even come close! And that just makes me sad. Sad that we live in a world where the “best” way to get a women’s scholarship, is to be judged on your appearance! Women have come such a long way since the Miss America pageant was started in 1921 and yet we still have televised programs where we compare women. It just feels like pageants and the like are setting women back and ignoring our brains and focusing on our bodies. Let’s change that. Let’s show the world the positive influence that women can have on every facet of society and that we have so much more to offer then just a pretty face.

Question:

-What are your thoughts on beauty pageants?

Real Talk: Like A Girl

I’m excited to introduce a new series on the blog today entitled “Real Talk”. Today’s centers on beauty but you can expect these to be on a variety of topics. One of the wonderful things about having a blog is having this platform to discuss things that I find interesting at the moment and sometimes they don’t always fit in the food or beauty category. So here’s some real talk from me to you! If there are any topics you’d like me to cover be sure and comment below!

In terms of commercials, so often these days we are fast-forwarding through them or if we’re on YouTube, waiting the requisite 5 seconds before we can skip them. Except lately, a few beauty brand commercials have caught my eye and enticed me to watch the entire thing. In the past, we have become accustomed to women’s empowerment type of commercials from Dove  (and I have previously written about them here and here) but it is so wonderful to see other female brands hopping on the positive self-esteem bandwagon.

Pantene Not Sorry| Shine Strong

I don’t know about you, but when I first watched this video, all I could think was “Omg, that’s me”. I am always saying I’m sorry whether it is when someone else bumps into me or for a myriad of other reasons. In fact, previous boyfriends have told me to stop saying I’m sorry so often. (And for the record, when someone tells me to stop saying ‘sorry’, it’s extremely difficult for me to not respond with ‘ok, sorry’.) Needless to say, it’s been a bit of a problem. Now I’m not really totally on board with the whole “sorry not sorry” thing, as I think sometimes people use that as an excuse to be rude but I do think that many women are constantly apologizing for things that we don’t need to be apologizing for! As a natural people-pleaser, it’s a difficult habit to change, but I do love the idea to “be strong and shine” and I feel inspired to live that out a little more and leave some of the unnecessary sorrys behind.

Covergirl #GirlsCan

In this commercial, I love how these amazingly talented female musicians, athletes, as well as TV and movie stars are all sharing how they were told that they “couldn’t do something.” And then they went ahead and did it. Women have been breaking barriers since the beginning of time and it’s so refreshing to see the media focus attention on challenging those walls. It’s also so interesting to see these huge stars whom we associate with their talents that made them famous and think that they were once held back from doing those very things. I feel so lucky to live in a country that doesn’t put barriers on what women are capable of and so many opportunities are now afforded to us. Reminds me of a pin I had in high school that said “A women’s place is in the House… and Senate” and maybe next the White House!

Always | #LikeAGirl

This post is similar to the Covergirl campaign but it focuses on the phrase “like a girl”. It’s one that has inundated our language for so long and yet, this is the first time I really thought about what it meant. I think it’s so eye-opening watching the adults do a variety of activities “like a girl” and then to see the young girls do the same activities to their full potential. It saddens me that as we grow up, many women lose confidence in their abilities and tend to give in to that gender stereotype. But what if “like a girl” meant strong and powerful and capable? How many more things and boundaries would we be able to push? Definitely food for thought in this one.

Clean & Clear | Confidence in Yourself: See the Real Me

I just stumbled upon this video tonight but I had to include because it’s one of my favorites. I’ll be honest, I love beauty and hair and style and think that there is absolutely nothing wrong with those things. But self-confidence is something that every woman has struggled with at some point in their life, if not on a regular basis. The statistic in the beginning shocked and saddened me that 75% of teen girls want to be seen but are afraid of being judged. Little personal story: when I was in middle school my mom had to have a little talk with me because I wasn’t raising my hand in class. I remember telling her that it wasn’t because I didn’t know the answer, in fact, I often did. Rather, it was that I felt uncomfortable giving the correct answer, afraid of how I would be perceived. I was never shy and have always loved speaking in front of crowds and yet, I was worried what people would think if I was correctly answering questions. Thankfully, with my mom’s wise words and growing self-confidence, that worry went away and I became much more engaged in answering questions from then on. But I think girls need to hear the message that it is wonderful to be smart and that it is something to be celebrated, not to be downplayed.

Questions:

-What campaign resonated with you the most?

-Any topics you’d like me to cover in the new series?