Until Mother Nature Says Her Work is Through...

Janet Jackson is making the TV rounds to promote her new book, “True You: A Journey to Finding and Loving Yourself” and talking about how she’s struggled with issues revolving around her body image. Janet (Ms. Jackson if you’re nasty), says that as a child she was teased by her famous brothers, who called her names like pig and cow. Though it was considered playful by them, those names and others led to struggles that lasted well into her thirties. It’s crazy to think that a woman that was the desire of millions of men (women too) for the better part of the last three decades couldn’t see the beauty in herself. She credits ex-boyfriend Jermaine Dupri with helping her appreciate her shape, namely her booty and helping to overcome years of being self-conscious. The book deals with her esteem battles, chronicles her relationships with Michael and infamous Papa Joe.

If one of the most famous and desired women in the world has grappled with her own perceptions of beauty, how do Lisa, Pamela, Angela and Renee deal with it? I could never fathom the type of pressure women face having hundreds of eyes surveying, categorizing, rating and many times, undressing them from the time they walk out of their front doors. I imagine it to be a burden for many, but for others, a welcomed part of their daily routine. So much emphasis is placed on beauty that many women go the extra mile(s) to contort themselves into some distorted view of what the mainstream media and the hood qualify as beauty; hence the big weaves, fake eyelashes, pounds of makeup, breast augmentation and booty pop panties.

Yes, Mother Nature’s job is being remixed by chemists, doctors and hood folks everywhere, all for the sake of feeling good about yourself. It’s that necessity that causes a young woman to cross an ocean to get an implant to make her butt bigger. That was the case of 20-year-old Claudia Aderotimi who died after making the transatlantic trek to have a procedure completed to enhance her butt. Aderotimi previously had an enhancement in November and returned for a second last week along with her friend who wanted to have her hips augmented. However, she lay dead 12 hours later in a hotel near the Philadelphia Airport from what police believe were complications from the procedure and an investigation has been launched.

News outlets report Ms. Aderotimi to be an aspiring rapper or wanna-be video vixen, virtually discounting the fact that she’s a woman faced with an impossible standard of beauty daily. A criterion many have come to believe is directly associated with earning potential and the “X-factor” needed in attracting a man. Whatever the causes for her to enlarge her butt, it definitely wasn’t worth the cost. But we see it repeatedly with celebrities like Kim Kardashian or Nicki Minaj, who are lauded for their otherworldly proportions or the countless number of aging Hollywood types who attempt to turn back the clock with a surgeon’s knife.

If the pressure drives grown women to the nearest plastic surgeon, what is the effect on young girls that watch their male counterparts stumble through puberty fawning over girls that are developing rapidly? There’s a cause and effect in play that we’re ignoring and allowing it to eat at the esteem of young girls everywhere, leading them to repress their emotions or act out sexually, and it’s time for the national conversation to change to promoting a healthy Positive Body Image. If we continue to ignore this problem is going to lead to more young women seeking black market procedures and more celebrities burying their self-confidence in doctor’s visits. As the calendar strikes Valentine’s Day and millions of women attach their happiness to having or lacking a “Valentine”, I can’t imagine what goes through the minds of those that will have spent another so-called day of love ruminating over why and the extremes they’ll go to in an attempt to ensure that next year is not a repeat of years gone by.

It’s a reality I touch, but for me it’s hard to keep...

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