My Hips, My Caderas, Written by Alisa Valdes – Rodriguez and Loosing Bodies Written by Susie Orbach
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Kaitlyn MollohanEnglish 152McGhee 27 October 2015 Applied Analysis Essay My Hips, My Caderas, written by Alisa Valdes- Rodriguez and, Loosing Bodies written by Susie Orbach, both share the same theme which was repeated throughout the entirety of both literary works. People are concerned about how others perceive their bodies, whether it be from the media which includes, TV shows, movies and magazines, or cultural traditions. Looking at both of these essays, there is evidence whether it be factual research or firsthand experience where women are stripped of their self-esteem. My Hips, My Careras focuses on and follows the life of a young girl who has a Cuban ethnicity back-round along with Caucasian. She talks about how growing up and how still to this day society doesn’t appreciate the beauty of her natural hips. Loosing Bodies varies in topics, but always goes back to how the media seems to be the problem when dealing with body acceptance. It talks about procedures that women go through along with eating disorders and how the media is the cause of all of it. When connecting both of the essays, the similarities between the two will help prove the point that; the media and culture has such an influence on women and causes them to physically change themselves to impress and conform to society. Looking at Loosing Bodies, when young Western women look to the media, they see that having a labiaplasty is common and young women should undergo one. Before they have that procedure, they usually get Brazilian waxes to help “reshape her labia, her breasts, and her buttocks” (Orbach 245). “She’s been having a Brazilian wax since she first got pubic hair” (Orbach 245). Young girls are getting Brazilian waxes at young ages because of cultural influence, we should really let the women decided at an appropriate ages whether or not they want to undergo any of the procedures. When girls first develop pubic hair they are between 8-10 years old, that is no age for girls to be deciding whether or not to get a Brazilian wax done. These girls get labiaplasty and Brazilian waxes “to find some body peace” (Orbach 245), women should be embracing their bodies for the way that they are naturally. When older and they wish to make the decisions to undergo these procedures that is perfectly okay. Until then we must let girls make their own decisions and stop the media from forcing girls into making decisions such as these at young ages.
When talking embracing about natural beauty, My Hips, My Caderas, has a very good example of a woman who had a difficult time embracing her body in certain situations. This woman, her being of American and Cuban descent, grew up as a young girl getting teased because of her large hips. This is a problem because her hips are a part of her, they are part of her ethnicity. She shouldn’t be teased because of her ethnicity and how it affects her appearance. She should be able to embrace herself for who she is. At the age of 12, which is when girls are really looking to find themselves and build up their self-confidence, was when she wanted to change what she looked like because of her hips, “My best friend Stacy and I set out dieting right away that summer to lose our new hips” … “Stacy and I pushed through hungered of leg lifts on her bedroom floor, an open Seventeen Magazine as a tiny table for our lemon water” (Rodriguez 74). The reason why they did this was because they wanted the boys to like them, and with their new hips that they had inherited all the boys did was tease them. It is not fair to the young girls to be teased at such an early age it rips them of their self-confidence for who they are. Also when looking to the media, it is showing young girls pictures of what their body should look like, like when this young women and her friend Stacy left the Seventeen Magazine open while they were doing the hundreds of leg lifts. There is a difference between exercising and dieting to stay healthy and being fit and dieting and working out to completely alter the size and shape of your body. Loosing Bodies looks at women and eating disorders and how adolescent girls didn’t think anything of it. In 1995 the television show Friends began being broadcasted to Fiji. Studies show that “By 1998, a mere three years later, 11.9 percent of Fijian adolescent girls were over the toilet bowl with bulimia, where previously none existed” (Orbach 245). The important part of that bit of text is the part where it states that bulimia was never a problem until Fiji began broadcasting Friends. The essay continues on and talks about how the Fijian girls wanted to alter their bodies to look like the ‘typical’ westernized body shape in order to fit the social norms in global culture (Orbach 245). One of the really important points that the essays goes on to make is that “They didn’t feel themselves the passive recipients of a rapacious and controlling media” (Orbach 245). They, being the young girls didn’t see anything wrong with letting the media take over their minds and having them want to change their entire bodies to look like something that they aren’t. They thought that if they didn’t look like Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox or Lisa Kudrow they wouldn’t be precieved as “out of date” (Orbach 245).