We’ve replaced that beauty with a standard that is, and always will be, impossible for them to hit. We’ve decided what the perfect legs are. We’ve decided what the perfect body is. We’ve decided what the perfect breasts are to be shaped like. We’ve decided what the perfect face, skin, butt, and neck should be. And we’ve made no hesitations to boldly let it be known.

We declare it, and we do so with little care for the tender women standing beside us.

And, of course, with each declaration, women hate themselves more. With each declaration, women get further and further from beautiful. With each declaration, more and more of our women willingly place themselves beneath the scalpels of so-called “doctors” who cut apart and reshape their already gorgeous bodies into something different.

Why?

Because. They can’t be all of it. Not naturally. No woman can be all of it. No woman can possibly have the perfect everything and be the perfect everything. It is impossible, of that I have never been more certain.

Now, you may be naively sitting there thinking, I don’t declare that. I tell women they are amazing. That they are beautiful. That there is nothing wrong with them.

Do you not understand? It doesn’t take opening your mouth to propound these things. It doesn’t take flapping your lips to make a statement. It doesn’t take verbal anything to spread this vicious ideology.

All it takes is you and me, stopping and looking.

I’ve come to realize something profound that I don’t know if I’ve ever heard anybody actually say.

It is not the impossibly air brushed females on magazine covers who are causing women to hold themselves against a standard of perfection. No, it’s not that at all. Holy crap. Why am I just realizing this? Why doesn’t anybody seem to realize this?

It is the men that stop and look at those magazines.

And that simple, repeated act is how we constantly, and never-endingly declare to women that they are not good enough, and will never be good enough.

We stop, and we look.

And women notice.

Women notice every time another woman walks by with “perfect” legs, and the men around her are unable to break themselves of the trance until she is gone.

Women notice every time we size up the girl whose “perfect” boobs are bursting out of her shirt.

Women notice every time we crane our necks as we pass by a Victoria’s Secret store.

Women notice every time we sneak a glance at those magazines in the checkout line.

Women notice every time any woman gets attention for having the “perfect” anything.

Yes, women notice that men are sucked in and captivated by the same fictional things. Over, and over, and over.

And they remember it. They store it. They program their minds to say, “what he is looking at is obviously what men want, and I must have that or men won’t want me“.

Come on guys, let’s give our “real” women a fighting chance.

Please. Let’s stop ogling the very things that are causing this tragic mind game. Let’s stop walking by the never-ending porn that surrounds us with our jaws dangling so carelessly. Let’s stop salivating every time Pavlov rings his freaking bell.

And, guess what. It is not just women’s bodies or looks that we are destroying. Women hear every time we sarcastically joke about wanting a cleaner house, more consistent meals, or more attention.

They notice when we laugh or make snide comments about their gender being anything less than kind or sweet. They hear our many jokes attacking their intelligence. They feel our belief that they are the weaker sex.

And they remember it. They store it. They program their own minds to say, “that is perfect, and I must be that or people won’t want me“.

Yes, men. It is our own damned fault. Why has it taken me 30 years to realize this? Why is it that nobody seems to realize this?

We honestly don’t. We put the weight of this on the women. Everybody puts the weight of this on the women. Even the voice of change has been putting its attention on the symptom instead of the cause. Women, love yourselves, it glaringly repeats. Learn to love who you are. Realize that you aren’t perfect and never will be. Realize that the women on magazine covers are fake.

That has even been my message of late. But now, I question whether that is an impossible thing to ask.

I don’t know how it is possible so long as we, as men, stop and look. So long as I stop and look. In fact, I’m certain that it is not. A woman can tell herself that those images are fake until the sun goes down, but at the end of the day, her self-talk will barely matter. Not when men think that they’re real. Not when she knows that men want what is shamelessly being touted from those photos. Not when she knows that men think of those photos as real.

Good crap. Let’s give our “real” women a fighting chance, guys.

We must stop stopping. We must stop looking. We must stop fooling ourselves that such fantasies exist. We must stop wanting our women to live up to impossible ideals. We must stop seeking out images of scantily clad and naked women. We must stop filling our mind with all this fiction. We must stop.

Let’s instead stop and look at something else. Let’s stop and look at the irrefutable beauty in the “real” women around us, just as men have for millennia. You see, it is only a recent phenomenon that “real” women no longer have the ability to be truly “beautiful” for the men of this world. It is only in recent history that women who have done everything they can to make themselves as attractive as they can, still feel ugly. Still feel imperfect. Still feel worthless…