Not So Good to be a Good Girl

Not So Good to be a Good Girl

For decades, possibly even centuries, mass media and popular culture have focused on teaching girls to embrace a version of selfhood that is particularly damaging to their potential greatness. Our authority, our authenticity, has been staggered by the pressure to be “good”-selfless, modest, kind, gorgeous, and submissive. Growing up we have been told how to treat our bodies and when it is acceptable to show them – if at all.

As women, we live in the ultimate paradox of a lose-lose situation. Our bodies are constantly held to the standard of absolute excellence and the ways we choose to display our sexuality are often (always) abhorred.

The problem is, we do not emphasize the correct message for both the male and female population–at least not as much as we should.  It is almost always acceptable for boys and men to act in provocative ways, and that girls and women should be repressed and unstimulating. We constantly impress upon women that they should have no sexual freedom, yet, at the same time, men are generally admired if they have high levels of sexual activity. This ideology opens the door for a dangerous sense of entitlement, which in turn, can facilitate a culture that excuses harassment, rape, domestic violence, and other injustices that women face disproportionately more than men.

In the media, and unfortunately perpetuated throughout daily life, people constantly focus on the visible aspects that make women women, but when they themselves venture to be proud of their own anatomy, or attempt to be sexually liberated, it is painted as engaging in activities “unfit for a lady”, or they are slandered as whores and sluts. Women are only expected to be sexual if it is for the purpose of pleasing a man, or in the pursuit of bearing a man’s offspring. The ultimate consequence of such a primitive mindset, is the toxic message that “a woman’s body exists entirely for the consumption of men”… (or man rather, because if a woman has more than one sexual partner that is another reason for her to receive a scarlet letter). The next inference will be that a woman’s mind, a woman’s consciousness, exists solely to serve man.

That could not be further from the truth.

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It is more emphasized for girls to protect themselves from sexual harassment than it is to teach men to respect the women they come in contact with. Disseminating itself into rape culture, the resulting idea is that it is the victim’s fault that they were sexually assaulted. Subsequently, the message that arises is that they sanctioned their harassment by being too much of a tease and that the way they were dressed warranted the maltreatment they received. This speaks as if an outfit with slightly more coverage could convince a potential rapist that their payoff may no longer be worth the struggle. This, in turn, communicates to society (and young women, more importantly) that the way a woman dresses determines how she is to be treated.

Historically, much of the world’s society has been a patriarchal bureaucracy intended to enforce the assumption that men are to be incomparably successful and “their” women are to be submissive, sophisticated, domesticated mates. Mothers and daughters are to be seen, never heard, and to bear offspring whenever their husbands so please. Such an unspoken rule and regulation on one sex tells a single group that they are entitled to the other, and the other, that their inherent obligation is to please.

As contradictory to common sense this may seem, if you have a daughter, don’t raise her to be a “good girl”. Instead of constantly controlling and encouraging anxiety with countless warnings about the unavoidable dangers of the opposite sex, engage her in conversation. Listen to what she has to say, then reflect, and advise. The appreciation and voiced affirmation of a girl’s feelings at a young age can powerfully influence her emotional confidence and success as a woman. With the added pressure from mainstream media, it can be quite challenging for young women to focus on forming their own authentic identities. In my afflicted opinion, females are more perceptive to the emotions of others and empathetic to what they feel. Research has shown that girls develop emotional intelligence earlier than their male counterparts. Having said this, it is important to understand that this innate gift is stifled by the need to constantly hide what they truly feel. When our emotional expression is perpetually depicted as meaningless, we begin to regard other people’s sensitivity at the expense of our own. Coming from personal experience, when focusing on achieving someone else’s definition of perfection, girls begin to discount their own feelings. We do this with such commitment, that by the time we turn into young women, we have found it consummately rational to censor our own consciousness. Consequently, we begin to surround ourselves with individuals who do not value our feelings. We can’t blame them, though, because at the end of the day, we give others no reason to care, if we don’t even pretend that we do. This constant neglect of our own emotional disparity, can, in turn, affect our mental and physical health. Focus on encouraging young girls to discover aspects of themselves that they can translate into conducive and cathartic outlets.

Everyone has to find something to give their mind a break.

A lack of care for our emotional fitness translates into other facets of life–especially relationships. Above all, it keeps us from falling, and remaining, in love with ourselves.

I think we females have two points in our lives where we are consciously able conceptualize the meaning of loving ourselves: as candid, innocuous children, and when we have experienced enough in life to be able to filter through the bullshit and find our own beautiful truths.

I suppose we’ll all get to that point someday.

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Lush Cosmetics Review

Lush Cosmetics Review

So two Saturdays ago, and let’s be honest, last Saturday too… okay yesterday as well, I went shopping. When I shop, I shop from sunrise to sunset, and there isn’t one store that I haven’t at least window shopped. No store is safe.

But, I do admit that I have a couple favorite places to spend my hard earned paycheck. Lush Cosmetics is definitely at the top of that list. I joined the Lush movement when my aunt (fitandfabulousjointhejourneytoo.com) dragged me in a year ago (and thank GOD she did).

Skincare should be at the top of everyone’s list. I love Lush Cosmetics simply because I have extremely sensitive skin, and all of their products are natural. Forget those ingredients that no one can even pronounce. They tell you right on the label, when the product was made, when it will expire, and how to take care of it so it can take care of you. Some of their products require refrigeration, like their sent-from-heaven-fresh face masks, but most of their items are self preserving, such as their relaxing bath bombs and shower gels. Their products range from uber cheap to “I’m choking” expensive, but it’s all about creating a budget before you walk in, so that when you walk about, you aren’t happy and distressed at the same time.

My favorites at the moment include:

Fresh Farmacy (yes they spell it that way, shhh) Face Bar

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Made for sensitive skin, this calamine-based cleansing bar contains chamomile extract, rose, and lavender, to soothe dry areas, and tea tree oil to clear blemishes. This is one of the face soaps they have that actually lathers, because for someone reason, if it doesn’t have bubbles, it’s not cleansing. Don’t quote me on that, though. This soap is especially key for those of us who have mild to severe cystic acne. I have extremely oily skin, and having been using it for the last 2 months, I can definitely say that my breakouts have cleared tremendously, and that my skin is a lot more balanced. The top ingredients in this product are: Calamine Powder, Water, Chamomile, Coconut Oil, Lavender Oil, Tea Tree Oil, and Rose. Oh and I bet you’re wondering about price. Well, at lush, for some soaps, they can cut you a piece for the price you want to pay. So if you’re getting a couple other products and you just want to grab a $10 piece, they’ll cut you a 3.5oz slice. Stocking up? They can cut you a $20 piece too. Price: $9.95 

Rosy Cheeks Fresh Face Mask

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So this is one of their products that you have to keep in the refrigerator because it contains absolutely no self preserving ingredients. It’ll last you a good month and a half before going sour, but trust me, you’ll finish it in a week, or two weeks if you’re micromanaging it. This face mask is a rosy pink, and contains Calamine Powder  Kaoline, Rose Clay, Rose Petals, and Rose Oil. This is one of their more expensive face masks, and from the products, you can definitely see why. While their other face masks are around $6, this little piece of Heaven is priced at $12.95. BUT, the great thing about Lush is that if you collect 5 of the little pots that some of their products come in, you can trade them in to their recycling program for a free fresh face mask. So you can conclude that this is usually my freebie. Price: $12.95

Eau Roma Water Toner (Also known as Jesus Tears… jk)

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This is a soothing herbal toner, made for dry, sensitive, and/or mature skin. This toner has two major active ingredients. This is their best toner, containing essential oils, rose, and lavender. Rose is nourishing and cooling, while lavender balances your skin’s oil production. (People with oily skin can I get an AMEN.) Fresh ingredients: Lavender Water, Rose Water, and other essential oils. This product pairs beautiful with their moisturizers (okay, okay, I’m getting to that), in which you’ll put this on first, and moisturizer right on top. Price: $9.95

Magical Moringa

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This moisturizer is perfect for achieving velvety matte skin, and can actually be used as a makeup primer. Yup, I said it, a makeup primer. Coupling Rose Oil from South America, Argan Oil from Morocco, and Moringa from Ghana, there’s no better youth elixir out there. Also utilizing Ghanian Shea this face moisturizer soothes the skin, primes it, leaves it feeling velvety smooth, and looking perfectly matte. It’s top ingredients? Cornflour, Argan Oil, Cocoa Butter, Moringa Oil, Rose Oil, and Organic Shea Butter. This moisturizer will last forever, especially if you use a toner first, so don’t worry about weekly trips to Lush, unless your heart so desires. Price? $24.95 (making this one of their more inexpensive moisturizers).

Vanishing Cream

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This moisturizer really is magic. This may sound contradictory, but if you have oily skin, you need to moisturize your face, cue gasps. This is basically because, if your skin is oily, it means it thinks it’s compensating for something. So drying it out will only do the opposite of what you want it to do, it will produce more oil. This is why Magical Moringa and Vanishing Cream are my two favorite moisturizers from Lush Cosmetics. Vanishing Cream is Lush’s lightest face cream, and it contains Lavender (to balance the skin), Witch Hazel (to tighten the pores, which produce that ghastly oil), and Grape Seed (to soften). If you use this on a daily basis, your skin’s oil production will eventually balance, and you’ll have even and clear skin. I tend to go back and forth between Magical Moringa and Vanishing Cream every other day since I love them both. Oh, yeah, the price. This is one of their more pricey moisturizers, but definitely not their most expensive. Price: $44.95

Okay, so let’s get down to my total at a typical day of Lush. The item that I run out of the quickest is always the face wash because that is used the heaviest. That’s inexpensive to replenish, so if I go every 2 weeks to get another one, I won’t break the bank. If I’m going for a major haul in 2 months, and I need a face wash, a face mask (free when you trade in 5 pots, might I add), a toner, and 1 moisturizer, my total will be $44.95 if I decide on Magical Moringa, or $64.85 if I go for Vanishing Cream. Now when you take into account that this is skincare, what you actually have to put all that Mac, Sephora, and Too Faced on (if you decide to wear makeup), and what you have to see when the makeup comes off (or never went on, if you don’t really wear makeup), then it is worth it to invest. My theory is that I’d rather fork out a hundred dollars on skincare rather than makeup or a purse, because I can always get new Kors bag, but I can never get new skin. They say “black don’t crack”, but that doesn’t mean a thing if you don’t moisturize.

Other things I invest in at Lush besides my face (the money maker, let’s be honest):

  • Bath Bombs: because everyone needs to relax. Price: $3 and up
  • Shower Gels: because they smell like heaven. Price: $9.95 and up
  • Charity Potstheir brand of cocoa butter smelling lotion in which all of the proceeds are donated to one of their designated charities. Price: $6.95 or $25.95

I hope I’ve convinced you to take part in the Lush movement, because now, I’m hooked. Whether you’re looking to save or break the bank for skincare and cosmetics, Lush is definitely an option that your pockets and your body will thank you for.

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