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Society Continues to Devalue Women's Bodies

April 27, 2024 Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer

It feels like I write an article on this topic at least once a year—but as someone who has dealt with sexual assault and a lifetime of body image pressures, I will return to the keyboard once again as society continues to devalue women's (anyone who identifies as such) bodies. So, why am I talking about it this time? The answer is simple: Because it's hard to escape the stark reminders that women's bodies are often not seen as culturally valuable or worth protecting. The devaluing of women's bodies infuriatingly continues.

The News Is Proof Society Continues to Devalue Women's Bodies

A few days ago, millions of women across the United States woke up to the headline that a New York Appeals Court tossed out the 2020 rape conviction of Harvey Weinstein.1 I could not believe it when I first saw all the posts on my Instagram timeline—I had to stare at them for a couple of minutes to be sure I was reading correctly. Then, I noticed a familiar tension in my chest and nausea in my stomach. Weinstein's original conviction was called into question and subsequently overturned. It's just one more example of how society continues to devalue women's bodies while enabling the powerful abusers who harm and objectify them.

When circumstances like this re-emerge in the public discourse, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. The trauma I have worked so tenaciously to heal from creeps right back into the forefront of my mind. I want to contain and control this body, which has felt so unsafe at times that I've been reluctant to embrace it as mine. But there is another vantage point to consider.

Society Devalues Women's Bodies—This Can Be a Call to Action

No matter how often the news cycle—and normal lived experiences—proves that society continues to devalue women's bodies, the story does not have to end there. Crucial work must still be done; every ounce of sustained, collective effort can help change the status quo. If I choose to believe in a future that empowers all human beings to thrive, I cannot become hopeless, resigned, or cynical. So, instead, I cling to the words that Rowena Chiu, a prominent #MeToo activist who was assaulted by Weinstein in 1998, recently shared on Instagram: 

"Today's breaking news has by turns been angering, defeating, devastating, frustrating, [and] infuriating...whilst simultaneously, a call to action! It is clear the legal system is in need of reform. Culturally and societally, it remains almost impossibly harrowing for women to speak up. Even if one is willing to take that horrific leap into the unknown, only a handful of cases ever see the inside of a courtroom. Then, to have the testimonies of these brave and courageous few thrown back at us in an overturning of the verdict feels like a gut punch, a slap in the face, and a tearing open of an old wound all at once. Those handful stood for us all. They stood for those of us who could not speak or would not speak...But rather than dwelling in the despair of defeat, I take this as a sign that we are at the beginning of a very long fight, where there will be many steps back, but ultimately, the arc of the moral universe will bend—inexorably—towards justice."2

A Message of Love as Society Continues to Devalue Women's Bodies

Please watch this video to remind yourself that all bodies are valuable. (Editor's Note: This video is limited to people over 18 due to Youtube's policy concerning eating disorders.)

If you were impacted by the news about Harvey Weinstein earlier this week, please be gentle and compassionate toward yourself. Nothing can take away the intrinsic value of your own unique, incomparable, miraculous body. I hope that you'll treat it with kindness because all human bodies are worthy of such. I am sending you love as we process this societal blow together.

Sources

  1. Sisak, M. R., & Collins, D. (2024, April 25). Harvey Weinstein’s rape conviction from landmark #MeToo trial overturned. AP News. https://apnews.com/article/weinstein-metoo-appeal-ed29faeec862abf0c071e8bd3574c4a3
  2. Chiu, R. [@chiu_rowena]. (2024, April 25). Instagram. https://www.instagram.com/p/C6OMQu_rDjA/

APA Reference
Schurrer, M. (2024, April 27). Society Continues to Devalue Women's Bodies, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 21 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/survivinged/2024/4/society-continues-to-devalue-womens-bodies



Author: Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer

Connect with Mary-Elizabeth on Facebook, Instagram and her personal blog.

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