Are You In Or Out?
Spend a few weeks with a group of teen girls living in today’s world and you’ll need to get a plaster for your chin to stop it bleeding from where it has been dragging on the floor.
Daily demands for nude pictures, full-time inhabitation of a parallel cyber world (that has endless formats and platforms) and ongoing ping-pong matches of multiple messages on multiple social media sites (streaks) are just a handful of the mind-scrambling balls that these girls are juggling.
And to them this is all as natural as running water.
“It’s fine,” a friend’s teen daughter tells me with a bat of her hand after confiding about a wave of nude-requests from boys across a spectrum of schools in her region.
She smiles a fob-off smile.
The smile doesn’t reach her eyes.
I’ve said it before on this blog – I’ll say it again!
Tech is moving fast.
We have no idea what the psychological impact of screens are having on our kids. By the time someone sensible has devised a psychometric test to work it out, tech will have leapt to a whole new level again. The reality is that everything is moving quicker than we can keep up with it and it isn’t just the kids who are sprinting to keep up.
All of our lives and sense of self/reality are impacted by interacting in the online world.
The way we socialise, the way we work, the way we shop and interpret the world has been transformed.
For many of us the invention of the internet has even spun out the way we inhabit our bodies. We have become preoccupied with how other’s perceive us – our lives, our looks, our friendships and social lives. In essence, we are self-objectifying on a whole new level.
Let’s face it …… us ladies are used to being objectified.
We been dealing with it for centuries (since the transition of feudalism to early capitalism when the divide of the sexes was imperative to the success of bringing in the working wage. At that point women’s bodies were the source of the labour force for those in power so their value in society was reduced to unwaged “women’s-work” and sexual objects to be impregnanted).
Prolonged objectification naturally leads on to self-objectification and recently this has been exacerbated by the invention of the internet. It is made worse by the spike in smart phones, filters, cameras and the ability to capture our reflections, modify them and share those images in exchange for likes.
Body-Objectification has also spilled into Life-Objectification, with our day-to-day existence documented on the screen and (particularly in the younger generation), censored/displayed to fulfil the desired response from our onlookers.
Not only does this eat up loads of time and energy but it also subtly changes the way in which we inhabit our world.
It changes our point of reference for Self.
Rather than being the “subjects” looking out into our lives with agency and power, we’re living in a second-hand reality … a projection of our consciousness into the eyes of the onlooker and what we *imagine* they are seeing of us.
In terms of Gorgeousness and a person’s agency in the world, this level of self-objectification is disempowering. We lose our self-determined worth, our authenticity and become fixated on how we look (bodies/lives/personality) to others. Life becomes a performance.
Most tragically, we lose our sense of embodiment – the beautiful experience of living within our own skin.
Our thought processes are lightening quick and subtle.
They can be hard to capture and even harder to pin down and observe but once we start realising just how preoccupied our culture and minds have become by looking good to the outer to the outer eye, it becomes clear how “out of our bodies” we are. And this brings us to the question of – how can we change this and support our daughters and sons through this rapidly changing experience of self.
I am a great believer in the idea that as parents (and the grown-ups of the world) we need to walk our talk. Before we can help pave the way for our children to return to their own subjective experience, we first have to master our own lack of embodiment.
To do this we could:
a) Work out whether or not we’re living “disembodied” lives. Symptoms of this may include: burn out, exhaustion, depression, anxiety, a sense of feeling overwhelmed and excessive weight gain. On a deeper level, you may also feel a sense of spiritual divorce, lack of purpose and inspiration or lack of feeling joyful and truly alive.
b) Reclaim our embodied experience. Develop a tool-kit of small practices that help us become mindful of what an embodied experience feels like.
c) Commit to remaining embodied. Once a person has experienced the melting home-coming of reclaiming their embodied experience, it is too good to describe in words. The key now is to continue anchoring yourself to yourself and maintaining a grounded position in a crazy roller-coaster world.
Because this subject is pretty massive and because – as the pioneers in this brave new world- you and I are kind of fumbling our way along here, I thought I’d write a series of micro-posts to help us work out a way of role-modelling “Gorgeous Embodiment” for our kids.
next week I am going to be publishing a series of small, bite sized posts that will support us in exploring the reclaiming our embodied experience.
I’ll share with you some of the tools I’m using and trying out.
If you have something you’re doing which helps you – please do share it. You never know who might read it and resonate.
Lets Master the Machine with Love – you Awesome Human Beings.
See you soon. XXX