We are a society that is starved for deep and meaningful love. Sex seems to be the stand-in for intimacy. Somewhere between little girls who dream of a fairy tale romance and little boys that are raised to deny their emotional selves, we’ve created a monster—sex. A person doesn’t have to look very far to see the relics of our collective consciousness.
Sex appears everywhere: television commercials, movies, newspapers, and billboards line their messages with naked or mostly-naked bodies (mostly women’s) that have been buffed up, made up, and touched up. The hemlines of many a woman seems to get shorter in a desperate attempt to get attention while many young (and not so young) men still actively gawk at, sexually harass, or exploit women.
It seems to me that these blatant displays of sex and sexuality are really people who are “looking for love in all the wrong places.” I should know. As a child model who learned by watching the models around her of the supposed importance of perfect skin, perfect hair, and a perfect body, I bought into the notion that “pretty” girls are happier and attract their Prince Charming. They live happily ever after, and of course, that includes the perfect sex life.
I learned much later in life that attractiveness is subjective and just because the media and fashion industry attempt to sell a particular look as attractive, doesn’t make it so…and certainly not to everyone. As I grew into a short, curvy woman with black wildly curly hair, I questioned whether I would ever find the man of my dreams, or whether the man of my dreams would be attracted to me. After all, I had observed tall, skinny, blonde models glorified as goddesses. Little did I know that beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder, not the brainwashing to which we are socially-subjected. Later, when I confessed to the man of my dreams that I thought he could be with anyone he wanted–a tall, thin blonde perhaps–he laughed and said, “I’m a tall thin blonde why would I want more of that?” He was attracted to the combination of my characteristics: physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually.
Most people accept society’s notion of “love” as this superficial display of sex and bodies that surrounded them at every turn. I awoke one day from this pervasive fog and realized that there was only one way to have a deep and meaningful, loving relationship that is full of intimacy—by learning to love and respect oneself. For me, that journey included boycotting women’s fashion magazines and avoiding movies that degrade women or portray them as sex objects.