Tuesday, December 13, 2011

#VSFashionShow, Anorexia, and why it's much more than "hotness."

This is for all the "men" who think I'm overreacting for my tweets and comments regarding the whole hype over the VS Fashion Show. For those who think I'm crazy, and who think I'm "mad because guys think they're hot." I guess I didn't make myself clear.

Foremost, I'm not "mad at guys who think the VS models are hot" or anything like that. I don't care who thinks who is attractive. And I understand attraction is something already embedded in you. It's not about "thinking they're hot." Well first of all, the fact that they starve themselves and promote the wrong values to your future children should be enough reason to abandon your attraction to them, but even if not, the issue isn't "thinking they're hot." It's about the values that these models are promoting to women and men both, it's about this causal link between these models, us women having to watch the men go gaga over them, and then women's insecurities which in some, no, many cases lead to things like depression, anorexia, etc.

I'd also like to say before I proceed that I thankfully do not have any of these issues, so please do not take my views as "venting because of my own personal issues" or anything like that. I am blessed to not have these issues but seeing the way things are, I can't blame those who do. And women are women. Every woman, regardless of how confident or beautiful or secure she is, sometimes does not feel very attractive because of this "definition of beauty" in the world.

For now I'll talk about the models specifically, and not even get into the other issues, such as the "lighter is better" colonialism of our brains that we think is okay in minority cultures. That's a whole different topic and also needs awareness.

Relative to the thing I said about how women feel insecure even if they are beautiful and confident, it goes for everyone. I guarantee that all of these celebrities have felt insecure at some point in their lives. It's not a weakness it's just part of women's nature, just like a lot of dumb things are part of men's nature lol. The thing is, when men tell women about their celebrity crushes and how they think this girl is soo hott or how she's so skinny or her curves are so nice (which btw, I don't know why guys tell me this stuff), it's fine at first but gets annoying after a while. It gets annoying if (1) the woman has any respect for the man, or (2) if she has any interest in him. As a man, could you imagine if a girl told a guy who liked her all about how she likes "Usher, because he has a nice body" and the guy didn't think he matched up to those qualifications? His ego would be hurt too. But in my case, there's a 3rd factor. (This numbering and factor business comes from studying torts, my bad). This 3rd issue is if the guy is Muslim. I do have more respect for Muslim guys in general because I think they're not as dirty-minded (if they're practicing). Many Muslim guys I know want a covered, or modest wife, because they don't want other men checking out their wife in ways that only they should be allowed to do as their rightful husband. This makes sense and myself, including many girls I know, like this "protective nature." And these men also don't want their moms, daughters, sisters, girlfriends, etc. to be seen in this negative light. They don't want other guys checking them out or thinking about them in dirty ways, as part of their natural protective nature. This is a good thing. But how come, the men are allowed to look at other women, the wives, daughters, sisters, and wives, of OTHER men? Isn't that double standards?

Anorexia in women is a huge issue that we can't ignore. No, it's not the girls' faults. If a girl was told she was beautiful enough, she wouldn't have to feel insecure. These girls are starting to feel this way from a young, innocent age. They're too young to be at fault. Like I mentioned earlier, we women don't have to be interested in you for it to make a difference that you're telling us about these 'hot women.' Through witnessing what defines "beauty" nowadays via guys' testimony and the media/hollywood/internet, that affects us enough. Women in their nature want to be beautiful. It's part of us. Can't argue. No woman in the world will tell you she doesn't want to be beautiful. And I'm going to be overly open about myself for a little bit here. I was always comfortable with my body and looks, alhamdulillah. But, do I once in a while think, I wish I looked like so and so, or this woman here, or I wish people thought of me as beautiful like they thought of this girl? Yes, and I'm not ashamed of that. They were short phases and everyone goes through them, and we get over them. But unfortunately many women do not fully get over them. I think I have been blessed with what God has given me, and hopefully if I looked a different way I would too. But if I was 100 pounds heavier, had a defect in my face or my body, the challenge of being comfortable with my body would become harder, no doubt. And no, people can't always be perfect and strong 100% of the time.

Here's a fact: 31,000 Americans are killed by guns each year, 18,000 of those are suicides, 12,000 are homicides and 1000 are unintentional.

SUICIDES are the largest source of Americans being killed by guns. THAT IS NOT OKAY. Granted there are many different reasons for suicide, but the primary one is depression. Depression for guys and depression for girls. Focusing in on the "depression for girls" -- Being a woman and knowing lots of woman, I know that a large factor in causing depression in women is insecurity about looks.

Here's some more facts:

Over one person's lifetime, at least 50,000 individuals will die as a direct result of their eating disorder. Without treatment, up to twenty percent (20%) of people with serious eating disorders die. With treatment, that number falls to two to three percent (2-3%). Eating Disorders affect a large number of people in the United States.
The statistics state that:
* Approximately 7 million girls and women struggle with eating disorders

Source: http://www.bulimia.com/client/client_pages/eatingdisorderstats.cfm

I'm not saying to not look at these women or think they're attractive. If you think they're attractive, you think they're attractive. I'm just saying that looks aren't everything. I honestly have so much more respect for the men that say "they look fine, but they're too skinny they look unhealthy," or "they're not ugly, but they're starving themselves and their brains are made of plastic." Not to say they're all dumb, I actually think a couple of them are pretty smart if they wanted to be. But the thing is, to just go beyond "oh my god they're so hot they have big boobs and big asses" to maybe look at the values that they promote would be nice. I'm not saying the models are ugly, they are pretty sure. But does that matter when you have 50 other things implied by the same fashion? Would it kill someone to refrain from telling women how they think "this is beauty." By saying that, you're telling any woman who eats a normal amount, "you could be better."

Here's an article, in case my statements seem like mere inferences.


Their DIET:
She sees a nutritionist, who has measured her body’s muscle mass, fat ratio and levels of water retention. He prescribes protein shakes, vitamins and supplements to keep Lima’s energy levels up during this training period. Lima drinks a gallon of water a day. For nine days before the show she will drink only protein shakes – “no solids”. The concoctions include powdered egg. Two days before the show she will abstain from the gallon of water a day, and “just drink normally”. Then, 12 hours before the show she will stop drinking entirely.

Another quote:
"Laughing, one of them mocked the fact that she used to want to be a doctor or a professional soccer player. She then made fun of her friend for wanting to be a marine biologist when she was younger.
My jaw dropped in disbelief. This young woman was actually making fun of herself, and her fellow Angel, because they used to have dreams of curing the sick, researching and working with some of the most fascinating creatures on the planet, and becoming role models for aspiring female athletes everywhere."

These women are becoming the role models of the future generations. That's what's wrong. I'm not blaming all men or generalizing or anything, but the men who are going nuts over these celebrities and showing off about it like its funny or awesome should do their part by realizing that there's something wrong with this.

“Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and be modest. That is purer for them. Lo! Allah is Aware of what they do. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest.” (An-Nur: 30-31)

QUICK UPDATE, written on 12/13

Just a quick note.

I am not saying men are solely responsible for all of women's issues or anything like that. I understand that in the end women are responsible for their own self esteem, and insecurity is a test that they have to overcome. However, I do think that many things, such as the media, and men's reactions to it, are FACTORS in this pressing issue.

All I'm saying is that, if people know these issues exist, they should consider them just a little bit, and they should appreciate that they can do something small or stop doing something small, to help the overarching problem. I understand lots of people don't care about social issues, and "hotness" prevails all. That's fine. It was just my post. I'm not trying to pass any law or anything. I'm not judging anyone in particular. I have the right to my views and I have the right to some respect. I don't mind discussion, but I do mind disrespect, and unfortunately a lot of people I recently encountered are just the disrespectful douche-y type of guys. Thankfully, the encouragement & positive feedback has made up for all that and more. Thanks if you've had something good to say, and if you want to discuss or if you disagree that's fine. But don't think you can make rude comments or disrespect me. I'd rather you just not read my blog or follow me. Thanks.


  1. Nicely constructed and well put Sr. Kinza!

    As I said on Twitter, at one point in my life, I was into the whole VS thing as a guy, but eh, now that I'm older (turned 30 last week) and realize the issues that face women in our society and especially young Muslim women, it is just a shame that these women are possibly more likely to be role models for the young girls out there, growing up with these added pressures of image and beauty.

    Additionally, I think as far as the guys are concerned, it won't be healthy for our future relationship with our wives if we get so hung up on the image we see out there from celebrities, etc. Yes, it's natural to notice the superficial beauty of people that we encounter in the media and movies, but given our Faith and teachings, we know what really makes a complete woman and the surface beauty, while also part of the lawful relationship and bond between spouses, there is so much more that will and should attract us to a woman that we want to share out lives with.

    Also, from what I have observed with Muslim girls that I have met in recent years (I don't know many to be honest!) during medical school (Europe) it does seem that they are strong influenced by the fasion industry in general - I mean fine, look nice, dress up occasionally, do your make-up, but I think when a girl is Blessed with a certain beauty, it actually becomes a burden in some ways. I can't confirm it, but after some male classmates commented on one of the two Sisters that I knew in medical school, it seemed that one used Botox injections for her lips - and I just thought that was going too far! I mean, ugh! This is a girl not even 25 years old, though I wouldn't find that normal for any age, at least for a young Muslim woman - I think we should be above that sort of thing, don't you think?

    As far as the double standard - I completely agree! I think this extends to or is a part of some mistakes parents make as well - let their sons fool around with girls, but tell their daughters, if they have them, that they can't go out with friends, etc. So just as you asked, I often ask others, "Why can someone's son go fool around with someone else's daughter, while yours stays at home/protected?"

    Again, great post! Wishing you all the best

    PS Since this is my first visit, great blog, nice theme/design choice, love the name as well and again, this is making me miss blogging!!! *cries*

    Cool to connect with you on Twitter - I have to say I am so proud of my American Sisters, both that I know personally (all 3 of them!) and in the last few years, the ones I've connected with online, when I had my blog (would you believe I had 55 followers when I closed it and about 53 of them were girls!) and a few of which I remain in touch with via Twitter; so just wanted to say how cool it is to find another such person, with a great attitude and outlook/plan for her life ma'sha'allah. Keep it up insha'allah and wishing you the best professionally and personally! Hope to stop by when I can - I've followed now of course! So many blogs, so little time! *sigh*

    Br. Anees (@AmericanBrother)

  2. Thanks for your input! I especially like the thing about how it messes up future relationships. It's the same reason porn is forbidden in Islam - aside from like the 10 obvious issues with porn, it's also known to be very harmful to marital relationships.
    & thanks for your feedback about the blog haha. I know what you mean! salam =)