The Friday Dose #122: Shaming Mothers

Winner: 2016’s Friday Dose of the Year

It’s not like women don’t have enough issues to deal with already and now, in a remarkably ironic twist, the biggest media outlet in the world has made it very clear through both words and actions that it feels women should feel good about having thin young bodies but they should feel ashamed and embarrassed about their body as a mother.

978 FD Relax and Succeed - Facebook's rejected postYesterday I wrote a piece about stretch marks and how women shouldn’t feel badly about having them just because some other younger person judged them as unattractive. I explained that the lack of acceptance was a form of innocent ignorance being displayed by otherwise good people who simply don’t yet have the capacity to be able to appreciate those signs of pregnancy as being attractive.

Whenever I get an indication that a blog is particularly meaningful or worthwhile to readers I will spend some money to boost it to ensure people who don’t subscribe to Relax and Succeed can still benefit from the content. When I tried to do that with this post I was quickly told (likely by a “female” robot), that facebook’s position is that “Ads like this are not allowed since they make viewers feel bad about themselves.”

We’ve all seen plenty of sexual content on facebook. I have no shortage of photos and videos in my newsfeed that depict scantily clad extremely slim young women doing everything from holidaying on Spring Break to playing beach volleyball at the Olympics. If one of the largest media outlets in the world is saying yes to young and sexy and scantily clad while simultaneously arguing that women should feel bad about themselves for having stretch marks what does that communicate to young women and future mothers?

978 FD Relax and Succeed - Facebook's rejectionThis a clear demonstration of how egotistical and judgmental the world has become. I won’t choose to let many things upset me but, on a day where the biggest thing on the internet was a one hour video of a naked Donald Trump statue, this just flew in the face of the freedoms my own father joined the war effort in WWII to protect. That being the case I appealed facebook’s rejection and then received the response depicted–written by purportedly a woman no less!

One of the main reasons women write to me is because of body image issues. Just the day before there was a comment on the Relax and Succeed facebook page that noted, “Needed this here in the fun and sun, where shorts, tanks, bikinis and long legged younger women surround me, LOL. Where a reminder is needed that stretch marks, cellulite, and grey hair and wrinkles are beautiful as well.” Indeed.

Everyone who liked or loved the post was female, but facebook doesn’t think anyone should see it because it’s “…extremely undesirable.” Facebook suggested I find a product to advertise instead but since I don’t sell products that would be impossible. I’m a writer who doesn’t even have any ads running on my page and if I ever did I would do all I could to ensure that they didn’t ever make anyone feel ashamed of themselves and the way nature made them.

978 FD Relax and Succeed - Response to FacebookThis is of course precisely what feminists are fighting against and now we know clearly in writing how facebook feels on a policy basis. Facebook has an idea of what you’re supposed to look like and anything outside of their definition is unattractive and therefore should not be seen. They’ll take money for an ad for unhealthy food but they won’t permit people to pay to promote a non-commercial post featuring a genuine women’s issue. This is remarkable considering Mark Zuckerberg has a daughter and his wife is obviously a mother.

I tried to use the word “media” to trigger the algorithm to go get me a real person but, having likely failed in that, all I did was get pretty angry at a robot, which is silly. She definitely won’t have an issue with stretch marks. But this is where the energy behind outrage can be helpful if it’s focused in a healthy way.

I do feel strongly that if we want a more just society that permits everyone to feel good about themselves then we must each take definitive action to change the sexualized judgments that advertising has historically used to guilt women into buying beauty products. If I was on facebook advertising a cream to hide stretch marks I would have no problem, but if I want to promote women feeling good about their natural bodies that is not allowed.

Facebook will obviously try to hide it from you but if at all possible I would obviously like to see this blog post shared more than any other I have ever written. If you’re mature enough to feel like I do–that mother’s have every reason to feel proud of their post-pregnancy bodies– then please help spread this message on all forms of social media so that appropriate social pressure can be placed on facebook to revisit their sexist standards.

This is clearly not in the interests of women or men and I would appreciate anything you could do to help ensure that women are also exposed to positive natural body images and words. To all you mother’s with stretch marks–I know you are beautiful and I want you to be confident in that too. On behalf of a male-dominated world I apologise on its behalf for having ever made you feel badly about maturing into the most important job on Earth: motherhood.

 

Respectfully, s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organisations locally and around the world.

The Friday Dose #29

The Friday Dose is a collection of cool, interesting and surprising things that are chosen for their potential to distract you away from any painful thought loops that may currently be disrupting your sense of perspective. Enjoy.

449 Relax and Succeed - Are you living your life

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Today’s dose is a mixed bag that has the potential to have something for everyone. We can start with the incredible photography of Trey Ratcliff. I’m a big fan of this guy—I love how he uses light. You see, this is a good example of how to be in the world. It’s easy to look at a photo and say, I like that, but it’s something else altogether to come to know yourself by asking yourself a following question—why do I like that? That is what introspection is and it’s a form of meditation. To continue to ask yourself the why underneath the why. In fact, all you would have to do to become enlightened is simply follow that simple course: continue to ask why until you comprehend the concept of (Buddhist) Causality and therefore you “understand.” It’s actually much easier and much more fun that people expect. It’s why I enjoy the sessions I do so much. They’re filled with, “Oh wow! That’s a fascinating way to see that.” Trey Ratcliff proves that he can walk past something you do and he sees something you don’t. And that’s amazing, because Trey’s blind in one eye. It just goes to show how much vision is worth in your life. 

The Incredible Photography of Trey Ratcliff

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Next is the fascinating story of Henry Molaison, who in 1953 was subjected to an experimental “psychosurgical” procedure designed to cure him of his epilepsy. Instead Henry woke up to find out that he had lost the ability to form new memories. Despite having a history prior to the operation, Henry had no immediate past. Every single time he met Suzanne Corkin was the first time, despite the fact that she was the researcher who studied him for over 45 years. And while his story is considered a tragedy, that valuation judgment is made from the perspective that anything that is not common is therefore wrong. But of course Henry was the ultimate Buddhist. He was forever living in the Now. What the “tragedyists” fail to notice is that Henry was famous for three things. No memory, being remarkably good-natured, and being consistently happy. We could all learn a little something from Henry. Here’s a terrific audio documentary on Henry and his amazing life:

The Unforgettable Life of Henry Molaison

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And we’ll end on a short film by the Higton Brothers. Facebook is a fairly recent invention and yet it has entirely reshaped the public social sphere around ego. Life has become a competition rather than just an experience. It doesn’t matter if you like your life, it matters more if others like your life. And yet much like verbal and written communication, it leaves a lot of room for intentionally misleading truths. Comparison is the act of ego. As you move through life it is critical to always keep in mind that what you perceive is almost certainly not what is actually there:

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Now go use your power of choice and your ability to aim your thinking and create yourself an awesome day and weekend. All the best to all of you.

peace. s