Body image is huge for women; this in itself is not big news as we are now fully conversant with eating disorders, dieting, obesity, exercise and the media's obsession with what women look like. The media are calculated in their targeting of women and fuel comparison and jealousy - already huge factors in how we exist in society as a whole.
Women say 'yes' to totally transforming ourselves to get the man. We are in comparison and jealousy with each other and constantly feeding an ever-hungry media by buying magazines that parade before and after pictures of women shown too-big or too-thin or too-drab or too-sexy or too-muscly or too-unhealthy or too-healthy or too-butch or too-girly ... we have said 'yes' to a tsunami of judgement that we continue to say 'yes' to every time we compare ourselves to another beautiful expression of femininity - however that appears.
A very normal morning, taking a shower, washing my hair, feeling my skin and a thought came to me ... no, it wasn't "I need to add body wash to the shopping list" ... it was the final scene from a movie that was released in 1978 and has subsequently and undeniably had a huge impact on how we relate to each other and what we have said 'yes' to.
Grease had a worldwide cinema release in 1978 and is still one of the most watched movies of all time. Grease the Musical was first performed in Chicago in 1971 and has played on Broadway, in the West End, and in Canada, Hong Kong, Denmark, Madrid and Sydney.
I was ten years old when I saw the movie, just about to start high school and thought it was so cool! Great music and dancing with a 'happy' ending - the beautiful girl totally transformed herself for the guy and they fly off into the sunset together! That's the one that I want! I have to eat less so I can be as skinny as her! I have to get my breasts out and flirt and dance! That's what it's all about!
In the movie, Sandy arrives into a new school and was bullied by jealous girls who were in reaction to her innocence, beauty and angelic quality. During the final year of school, she realised she was never going to get Danny if she didn't totally change her natural expression. She'd lost him at the dance to Cha Cha and she had to take drastic action! However, Danny was falling for her just the way she was, she simply needed to be herself, be patient and she was going to get her man ...
But Sandy said 'yes' to changing her natural and beautiful expression. She put on skin-tight clothing, lots of make-up, high heels and seduced him by using her body, showing Danny that she will give up herself and walk over to where he is - she doesn't hold herself sacred. It's interesting that as soon as Danny sees that Sandy has come to meet him on his turf, he ditches his class sweater and objectifies her - that's what he's supposed to do right? He was willing to change, but doesn't have to anymore! Awesome!
Remember the classics with Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe and Grace Kelly? Their characters would never change for a man! Roles for women were gracious and had the guy waiting downstairs patiently while she brushed her hair. Oh those were the days ... sigh ... the Grease mentality changed all that.
The phrase "don't judge a book by its cover" is my modus operandi and one I hold very sacred. If I feel to express myself by wearing jeans and a t-shirt, a business suit or tight fitting clothes, make-up and heels, it doesn't change who I am inside. I know all women love to express themselves in many multitude of different ways - there is no right or wrong here - but the essence of this discourse is that we were very clearly shown in a popular movie that the only way to get your man is to change who you are and move over to where they are. I've done this time and time again ...
I'm writing my own movie Sandy, and I'm not saying 'yes' that way anymore - it's definitely NOT the one that I want.