Here is a throwback for you. The photographer who took this photograph died from prostate cancer a few years ago- may he forever rest in peace. I was modeling for a few years and boy, was that an interesting adventure. I never dreamt of modeling when I was a young girl because I was a tomboy. I could never be a high fashion runway model because I did not have height or the figure. I was always “thicker” than your average girl growing up and was very athletic. So where did that leave me? I was naive when I started in the business but I got smart real quick. Several “opportunities” for videos and overtly sexual magazines, were easily presented to me but I turned them down. I wanted more. I did not want to be just another woman displayed as “just” a “sex object”. I easily grew tired of the “cat calls” and overt disrespect.
Some women and men began to call me “up tight” and said I should learn to relax, which helped me realize that this was a deeper rooted issue. My modeling career was going no where. I began to see so many women settle and lower their standards as women with dignity. Some sold their bodies competing to be the next “sex object” for another man to touch himself to in a magazine or a music video.
I wanted out. I wanted more. I was tired of being told that models do not speak their minds, they just sit there and look sexy. I remember reliving all the experiences in my Gender and Communications course in undergraduate school in college and that is when it hit me.
I not only joined the military to serve and do something great but another reason was to prove something. I had to prove that I was more than just a pretty face. Beauty in the “eyes of the beholder” had to know me more than just externally. While serving in the military, male soldiers asked me what I was doing in the military as if I did not belong. Often times I was told “you are too pretty to be in the military” as if only women who were considered less than beautiful by “societies standards of beauty” were in the military.
Let us change the way we think. It must not only start with changing this culture and society norms but we have to elevate our women to have more self esteem and pride. This will not come overnight. Lack of equality is also an issue. Women can be great, women can do more, do not settle for less. Reach out to me if there is anything I can do to help. I support you.