Choosing the Right Handbag for your Body Type

I’m thinking about buying myself some suitable version of the handbag to throw all my shit in but I don’t want to waste my money on something which turns out to fall short of my needs and expectations i.e. it must be able to carry all of my shit and must fit comfortably on my shoulder. I can’t emphasize more how important comfort is to me. Then it also has to be durable, not too large, not too small, not too brightly coloured so that if it gets dirty, it isn’t so obvious. So I just did a Google search of “choosing the right handbag for your needs.” The first two sites which came up were entitled, “Choosing the Right Handbag for your Body Type.” These were two independent sites and were obviously directed towards females whose first priority when it comes to any functional tool or item is obviously its aesthetics and how it will look on them. The third site was directed towards the males and the contents of it were essentially about choosing the right bag for a man’s various needs. They mentioned style as well but the function of the bag and the things it was suitable for carrying were the most important aspects of the selection process.

A handbag can “make or break” an outfit, apparently.

This is how it is. Women are encouraged to focus on the aesthetics of an item and how it looks on them rather than what the item can do for them in terms of function and comfort. This is how we are portrayed and brought up. We spend a large chunk of our time focusing on our faces, clothes and hair instead of thinking about what we can do as people, as instruments of change. We invest large portions of our time thinking about how sexy and beautiful we can be instead of thinking about how amazing we can be in terms of what we can do for ourselves, others and the world.

Men meanwhile are encouraged to focus on the functions and uses of an item, with the appearance of it being an afterthought or not mentioned at all (with the exception of their stupid cars – *eyeroll*). This is also how they are encouraged to see themselves. As children and then as adults, their capabilities and talents are treated as the most important parts of them. Their physical aptitude at outdoor activities are celebrated. Their intelligence is praised. Their much celebrated ability to achieve goals which have nothing to do with how they look also happens to be a legitimate and wonderful means of personal fulfilment and joy. Their physical appearance is for the most part an afterthought or at least, isn’t treated with the same level of importance as their other more useful traits. The opposite is true for women.

Women are brainwashed by society and the media and fucking relatives, to chase after beauty and sexiness in the quest for fulfilment, an endeavour which is sure to fail since the moment you have the audacity to feel content with your appearance, another advertisement or magazine cover knocks on your door to remind you that you do indeed still fall short in some way. That is, if you still value your appearance as an important aspect of yourself. If you don’t, then beauty standards shouldn’t have an effect on you. But it’s a difficult thing to detach yourself from when your appearance has become a significant part of your identity. We are taught to seek fulfilment in something which can never bring us happiness.

So it’s handbags, clothes (which are often impractical and uncomfortable), shoes, hairstyles and sadly even our bodies. We are trained to focus on the insignificant parts of them rather than the most important part of them – their uses to us.

[Image obtained from here.]

Today’s “hot” might be you..

But not tomorrow’s. If you choose to define your body according to men’s opinions, that is.

Image

Who’s hotter? Us or Them?

I saw this picture on facebook, a while ago, and immediately became annoyed with it. A lot of boys and girls were responding positively to it but there were obviously some negative comments coming from girls who were “naturally skinny.” The comment section ended up being very long and filled with arguments between girls who belonged to either of these categories about who was actually hotter, with the occasional comments from guys who tried to cheer up the hurt parties by telling them that they actually thought that X was pretty hot also and not to feel too bad about themselves.

This is the problem that I have with the picture – the idea that women should feel good about their bodies based on the opinions of men. The ever changing opinions of men I should say.

This is my response: Women should feel good about their bodies regardless of what men think. Men are fickle. They change. Their opinions change and what they consider to be beautiful regularly changes. Are you really going to let your self-love and convictions of who you are rest on the opinions of idiots? It isn’t a nice way to live and your self-esteem is going to be very fragile, because one day they’ll be calling you hot and the next day they’ll be calling you a cow or a scarecrow depending on your size. You’re never going to be truly happy with yourself when you try to live up to the impossible ideals of others. So don’t allow these pictures to make you feel bad or give you an ego boost. Instead you need to consider how insulting it is that men think that we can only consider ourselves beautiful if they reassure us that they think that we are pretty first. They can rest assured that we don’t need them for that. We’re perfectly capable of coming to our own conclusions about our bodies without their assistance, thank you very much. This is the first thing that should come to mind when you see a picture like this.

The second problem that I have with this picture is that it divides women. In the comment section below the picture there was so much bickering between girls about who was actually hotter. There was also a lot of skinny-hate and accusations of girls starving themselves in order to be that skinny. The skinny girls in turn had many rude things to say to the self-professed thicker girls. But a lot of wise and wonderful things were also said, the gist of which was that neither category of girls is hotter than the other. We’re all beautiful regardless of our size and we have to be happy with ourselves and who we are without bringing other people down. Furthermore, are we really going to let the opinions of men divide us when they are one of the main causes of the insecurities that women collectively experience? Women have so many things in common with each other with respect to our lives in a patriarchy. Most of us have painful issues with self-worth which are closely tied to our experiences with men. Is it progressive to fight with each other over the little scraps of approval that we can sometimes get from men? Or is it more progressive to listen to each other and to try to understand each other’s lives? I think it’s the latter. You’re not the only woman who has been shaped by many, different experiences in her life. You’re not the only woman with complex emotions, who responds in various ways to different situations. You’re not the only woman who is a human being. Other women are not as black and white as society, culture, men and even some women make them seem. We’re all complex creatures, and it is beneficial for us to start listening to each other instead of competing for worthless compliments from men.

De-constructing mean “pretty” girls.

I don’t tend to have feelings of jealousy towards girls who are “prettier” than me, but I do feel resentful towards girls who act like they are so much better than me just because they meet the current standards of beauty better than I do and make sure I know it. They might say things like, “You’ve broken out again,” although my skin is always in a state of break out so that there’s no need to really point it out like it’s something new or might make comments on my skin colour, “How are you so dark?”. They usually follow this up with things like, “(Some guy) was telling me about how I don’t even have to wear make up,” or “(Some girl) told me that she really loves my skin!” to rub it in my face that their skin is flawless or “(Some girl) told me out of the blue that she’s really jealous of my complexion and I was like what the hell?”

I understand why girls might feel proud of themselves whenever they meet society’s requirements of what is considered beautiful. After all, it’s been hammered into our heads since birth that beauty is our sceptre, our most important attribute in life, the thing that’s going to get us through all of our troubles and get us the ultimate prize and key to our dreams – a man. The culture and society make us feel bad about our bodies and faces and consequently our lives generally, so that when we “succeed” in looking right in one way, we feel as if though we’ve accomplished something worthwhile or great. Some girls, to reinforce the greatness of their accomplishment and specialness, go out of their way to let other girls know that they didn’t succeed at this feat too. By letting them know of their inferiority, their superiority is reinforced and somehow is validated. After all you can’t feel be superior to other girls if they don’t know they’re inferior. Hurt feelings result and then we have a form of “girl-hate.” This is the girl-hate I’m mostly guilty of.

I can’t help hating girls who think they’re awesome just because they look a certain way and try to make other people feel bad by bringing them down so that they can feel superior. I can’t advise people not to hate these girls because sometimes they do make you feel like shit about yourself. But maybe you can try to see the nice parts of their personality which you might be compatible with, if you must interact with such girls.

If you’re a “pretty” girl, try developing other parts of your personality instead of focusing on your looks. In the grand scheme of things looks don’t make you an awesome person and they fade. It’s your personality and character that are going to determine the kinds of friendships you’re going to have and it is friendships and relationships with others which make life worthwhile and an adventure. If people make friends with you because of your looks, then they’re really not friends worth having. They’ll leave you eventually. So instead of trying to look as good as you can, try to be as good as you can instead. Trying to be both can be tiresome so focus on just one.

Girls, who were victims of these “pretty” girls: try and understand that these girls were not born this way. The world made them this way and this is their way of surviving. Just stay out of their way if you can and if you must interact with them for projects or work etc. try to be professional with them or just focus on the nice parts of their personality if such parts exist.

We’re all just trying to get by in this world, and sometimes the things we do to survive just aren’t very nice.

Vanity

I am terrified of pictures and for a really stupid reason too. Vanity. I am afraid I’ll look ugly in them which is a somewhat justified fear as I do look pretty weird in pictures. When my eyes aren’t closed due to the flash, they usually look lopsided; and I was reliably informed by a best friend from long ago that my smile screws up my face and nose.

I tried to rectify the “stupid face” problem by not smiling at all, after all, the smile is what messed up my entire face in the first place. Instead, I tried to use my default expression in photos. Unfortunately, this was a bad idea because a lot of people, including my friends, wanted to know why I looked so sad in pictures. My default expression, as it turned out, is that of one whose parents have died. After being questioned about my psychological health for a while (“No, that’s just how my face is”), I finally decided that I was going to avoid pictures altogether. I realize now that this was a pretty stupid decision to make, because now I have almost no pictures of myself from when I was in secondary school and that just sucks. Because I don’t care any more about how ugly or pretty I was in secondary school. I do care however, about the good times I had. I remember the jokes and the pranks. I remember clutching my friends and laughing and wiping away the ensuing tears. I have these bits of memories in that precious part of my brain dedicated to my years as a carefree teenager. And I am grateful for the memories. But having something tangible to hold in your hand is so much better. It makes the memories so much more vivid and you feel so much more when you look at them. The familiar surroundings in the photos, the expressions on your friends’ faces, the position of the desks, the whiteboard and the windows make the memories so much clearer.

Now I have nothing to show future friends of my days in secondary school. And I will be forgotten so much easier by my former classmates. I was practically like a ghost in my old school.

Even now, I am terrified of pictures. I love taking pictures of people and nature but I don’t like having pictures taken of myself. My Facebook and messenger pictures are both blank, which is sad considering the number of years I’ve been on them. All of this because of vanity and my fear of looking ugly or silly.

But I’m going to change that this year. Pictures aren’t about looking pretty or hot or like a supermodel. Pictures are about memories and about us being happy with who we are regardless of how well we meet our society’s standards of beauty, or what anybody thinks of us. If I look weird in photos, so what? I shouldn’t be afraid to show the world that I love myself and that I am content with the way I look because I am so much more than my looks. I can be the most amazing, awe-inspiring person out there regardless of the way I look.

With that being said, I now present you with a picture of myself:

Me

My best pic yet

This is actually a very accurate representation of myself. I will however, most certainly put up a real photo of myself on Facebook and messenger.