“Selfie Image”: A media filled, distorted reality for girls and teens
DISCLAIMER: This is a paper I wrote for my AP Language class so it is in a different format than I typically write. WARNING: Content is harsh and very blunt at moments. Please read at your own disgression.
16- year-old Rachel wakes up to the sound of her alarm and immediately reaches for her cellphone. She checks her texts, snapchat, twitter, and facebook messages and it is only 6:30 in the morning. According to a 2010 study of 8- to 18-year-olds conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, girls such as Rachel will spend more than 7 ½ hours a day consuming media. (2010, http://kff.org) But what is the toll that these 7 ½ hours will take on a 16-year old girl? Does the media make any difference in the mind of a girl? Researchers seem to think so. Body image issues for girls and teens has been on the rise since social media has been introduced to the world and with it, the introduction of a new phenomenon: the selfie.
Since the creation of facebook and other such media venues, the selfie has become a regular part of teenage lingo and was added to the Oxford Dictionary in 2013. But while the selfie has changed the world with it’s rise to fame in a few short years, consumerism was present long before and has been known to cause just as many social issues related to body image. Commercials and magazines, the toys they play with, the music they listen to, and the clothing that is marketed to them, have all created a distorted reality in which girls must live.
Within this distorted reality, children have become more afraid of getting fat than of “getting cancer, nuclear war or losing their parents” (2015, Strickland, Radar Programs NYC) and new terms, such as “thinspiration”, have been created to encourage a new form of goals. From this distorted reality has sprouted eating disorders: a level of psychological disorders that haunt an estimated 24 million (2015, Radar Programs NYC ).
The social issues regarding the objectification of young women that have risen from the media are at an all-time high, and this is not without reason. The toll that the media is taking on our daughters, sisters, and friends is hazardous. This monumental realization of the distorted reality in which girls and teenagers live must be addressed in ever new ways as social media evolves.
Consumerism: What Is Society Selling Your Daughter?
Matthew B. Ezzell (2009) states: What role does the mass media play? Some would say, none. But if media played no role in affecting attitudes and behavior, would colleges across the United States offer journalism and mass communication majors? Would elementary-school children be watching, on average, 21 hours of televisions a week? Money talks. If media had no impact on us, would our advertising industry in 2005 have a total estimated market of $267 billion in the United States alone? No. (2009, “Pornography, Lad Mags, Video Games, and Boys: Reviving the Canary in the Cultural Coal Mine”, The Sexualization of Childhood, pp 9).
As Ezzell illustrates, consumerism is a billion dollar industry. But what are the effects of an industry that teaches skewed perspective? According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (2015), the body type portrayed in advertising as the ideal is possessed naturally by only 5% of American females. Similarly, the West Virginia Department of Education (2015) reports that the average US woman is 5’4” tall weighing 140 pounds yet the average US model is 5’11” weighing 117 pounds. These airbrushed, unhealthy models are displayed everywhere from the checkout stand at the grocery store to the previews at the movie theater. Yet, the vast majority of women and girls are far from this glorified ideal. With these displays so prominent in everyday life it is no wonder that American teens and little girls are going to great lengths to change their bodies.
The shocking reality of the last decade is that advertising is causing little girls to grow up faster. In her essay entitled A Royal Juggernaut: The Disney Princesses and Other Commercialized Threats to Creative Play and the Path to Self-Realization for Young Girls, Susan Linn (2009) explains that “Kids are getting older younger” (“The Sexualization of Childhood”, pp 45). She explains that this is an excuse in the commercial industry to market mature products, such as cellphones or lingerie, to little girls. She further explains that the the industry has created a new demographic of “tweens” between the ages of 6 to 12, which she calls a “monolithic consumer demographic of teenage wannabes”. But she goes on to explain that 4- to 6- year-olds are now being marketed as “pre-tweens” in the “form of lip gloss spiked with M&Ms, Dr. Pepper, and other flavors.” The marketing industry has taught little girls to use adult products before they have even begun to read.
Society has redefined beauty. Girls of today view and treat their bodies as displays and believe that looks are far more important than personality, brains, or a good sense of humor. In fact, society has decreased the amount that “beauty” is used in everyday speech. According to the Google Ngram Viewer (2008), the word “beauty” has decreased in it’s usage starting in the late 1920s and continuing a steady decrease up until now (books.google.com). Society has begun to put women who look good at a higher value than women that do good. Thus teens and girls spend hours discovering “beauty” techniques but do not do their homework; teens and girls sacrifice every last penny to buy the latest fashions but haven’t even considered saving for a college education; teens and little girls are willing to work hard if it means they will be thinner, but refuse to work otherwise; teens and little girls are willing to be seen with the “popular crowd”, but seemingly wouldn’t be caught dead with someone who needs a friend.
Marketing has not been the only culprit in the plethora of sexualized media; the pornography industry is bigger than ever.
Ezzell (2009) observes: A new pornographic video is produced every 39 minutes in the United States. Worldwide, pornography is a $97 billion industry, 10 times the size of Hollywood box office revenues. The industry is larger than the combined revenues of Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo!, Apple, Netflix, and EarthLink. But it's strictly an adult thing, right? Wrong. (2009, “The Sexualization of Childhood”, pp 11).
The pornography industry is not solely targeted to adults but to teens and children as well. Likewise, the bodies captured in these images are not just adults but children and teenagers too. This pornographic trap convinces girls that they must be lusted after rather than having the need to earn the respect of those around them. This monstrous industry has far more reaching effects on young girls and teens because it changes the way they see themselves.
Society, through consumerism, has transformed the way women are seen and respected.
Marina DelVecchio states, in her article entitled How Media Teaches Objectification of Girls (2011) : Because [children] see it all the time, they think it is normal. This is what we mean when we say that sexism and sexual abuse and violence against women are normalized. Children are growing up thinking there is nothing wrong with sex trafficking – they’re sex workers, after all. They’re growing up thinking there is nothing wrong with selling burgers in an image where the burgers represent two well-rounded breasts. . . (2011, http://marinagraphy.com).
The consumerism that drowns girls and teens with stick-thin dolls, provocative clothing, pornographic images, and graphically sexual song lyrics is harming their physical, emotional, social and mental capacities.
Commercials: are we selling products or people? TV and the media is different than it was 20 years ago. DelVecchio states “We see things today — on television and in magazines — that we never saw before. But for our kids, this is all they have known,” (2011, http://marinagraphy.com). While older generations remember a world where morality was valued, the rising generations remember nothing but the skewed reality that we live in. According to a Deseret News article by Lois M. Collins and Sara Lenz (2011), kids ages 2 to 11 watch an average of 32 hours of TV a week, while teens ages 12 to 17 watch an average of 23 hours weekly ( http://www.deseretnews.com). During those many hours of TV, these children will view hundreds of thousands of advertisements. However, among these commercials and advertisements are many that include scantily-clad women that have nothing to do with the product itself. These commercials are not selling fast food, the latest technological advancement, or fast cars, but female bodies. These commercials are teaching girls that the only way to sell something is by using their bodies.
This mentality harms a girl’s social interactions between her and her peers. She begins to seek attention in extreme ways with the hope that her peers will “buy her product.” She tries to be something that she isn’t. She may dress in an extreme manner or act out in order to be noticed.
Clothing: 13 going on 30. Clothing is one of many ways that the marketing leaders of today are helping to sexualize children.
Ph.D Stephan Hinshaw (2009) states: In 2003, $1.6 million worth of thong underwear was bought for girls ages seven to twelve to wear. Toy manufacturers are selling black leather miniskirts to girls under eight. A televised Victoria's Secret fashion show featured seven- to nine-year-olds modeling sexy underwear. Abercrombie and Fitch sells girls'-size T-shirts with slogan like “Who needs brains when you've got these?". . . There is even a new term for overly sexualized youngsters: prosti-tots. (2009, Hinshaw, “The Triple Bind”, p.110).
Young girls are being taught to “flaunt it if you’ve got it”, and yet most girls will not mature into grown female bodies until ages 12 and above. And to add to this sick and twisted mindset is the fact that prostitution is being glorified through young girls even though they do not even know the meaning of the word. Melissa Atkins Wardy (2014) hits it on the head when she stated, ". . . Nearly 30 percent of girls' clothing (sizes toddler to preteen). . . is sexualized, while overall 86 percent of girls' clothing carries a combination of both childlike and sexy characteristics. If ever two words did not belong together, it is ‘childlike’ and ‘sexy’" (2014, Wardy, “Redefining Girly: How Parents Can Fight the Stereotyping and sexualizating of Girlhood, from Birth to Tween”, p. 163). Innocent girls, with the sole purpose of fitting in, buy clothing and wear clothing that sends an adult message. The need to have these clothes is only heightened when movie and TV stars are wearing them too.
Holidays only up the ante when it comes to inappropriate clothing for girls. Halloween costumes have become sexier than ever. On Halloween night, instead of princesses, witches, and kitty cats, the streets are clad with short-skirted maids, bossomy pirates, and playboy bunnies all under the age of 10. And yet a 6 year-old does not fully understand the impact these costumes will have on the people around her.
Sexualized clothing does not stop at Halloween. Prom, a three-billion dollar business, (2012, Flanagan, “Girl Land”, p. 133) encourages girls to “dress to impress”. It is not uncommon to see teenagers with prom dresses that show more skin than the prize winning pig at the fair. This glorified event even has inferred sexual initiation with the tradition of the male to book a hotel room for Prom night. However, Prom is not for adults over the age of 21 with an ID, but for every high school teenager ages 15 to 18 that secures a date. There are 15 year-old girls, dressed like Victoria Secret models, that dare to go in public with a male peer for the evening (and night), and don’t give it a second thought. Why do 15 year olds think that this is acceptable? Because society tells them so through the media that is thrown at them 24/7.
In a barbie world. There is no toy that better embodies unrealistic expectations and narcissism than fashion dolls. Dolls such as Monster High, Barbie, Bratz, and Disney Princesses send messages to young girls that unrealistic body proportions and a nothing-but-fun lifestyle are normal. These dolls are marketed the “tween” and “pre-tween” markets and send subliminal messages to girls that are just learning to dress themselves.
According to Stefanie Iris Weiss in her book “The Beauty Myth: A Guide For Real Girls” (2000), "If Barbie were a real woman, she would have a forty-two-inch bust, an eighteen inch waist, and thirty-three inch hips. An average woman has a thirty-five-inch bust, a twenty-nine-inch waist, and thirty-seven-and-a-half-inch hips." (p. 27). When girls dress Barbie before they learn to dress themselves they grow up believing their body should look like Barbie. This results in extremes to become that ideal or depression.
Body image is not the only issue that develops from dolls. Disney Princesses, in 2006, was a $3.4 billion dollar franchise. (2009, Linn, “A Royal Juggernaut: The Disney Princesses and Other Commercialized Threats to Creative Play and the Path to Self-Realization for Young Girls”, p. 40 of The Sexualization of Childhood, Olfman). Disney, along with other fashion dolls, are teaching a “party” mentality that leaves girls with unrealistic expectations. Ph. D. Stephan Hinshaw (2009) quoted New Yorker writer Margaret Talbot when she described Bratz dolls with "the sly, doxy expression of a party girl after one too many mojitos." (The Triple Bind, p.110.) These dolls are teaching young girls that partying should be the goal rather than successful relationships, careers, or educational pursuits.
Music: Not just a beat but a message. The product with the most subliminal messages for girls is that of music. Lois M. Collins and Sara Lenz (2011) quote Steve Thomsen, a Brigham Young University communication professor, when he said, “Music has content that pushes the envelope. With a combination of a lot of factors, children at 10 or 11 now think the way someone two generations ago reached at 19 or so." (http://www.deseretnews.com). While many teens claim they only listen to music for the beat that it carries, the messages are being ingrained in their minds while they listen.
According to a Kaiser Family Foundation study (2009), kids ages 8-18 listen to an average of 2:31 hours of music daily. (www.kff.org) During these hours of listening, hundreds of derogatory phrases are being thrown at girls and teenagers. According to Carolyn M. West in her essay entitled “Still on the Auction Block: The (S)exploitations of Black Adolescent Girls in Rap(e) Music and Hip-Hop Culture”, among these derogatory phrases are something West coins, “distinct sexual scripts” being: “Diva, Gold Digger, Freak, Baby Mama, and Earth Mother.” (2009, Olfman, The Sexualtization of Childhood, pp. 91-93). This range of characterization of women in music is teaching girls to act that is far from appropriate as well as sending messages that women are seen as objects rather than human beings.
Social Media: the Newest Monster
Twenty years ago there was no Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, SnapChat, MySpace, Youtube, or Tumblr, just to name a few. Since the birth of social media, social life has drastically changed, especially for teenagers. No longer is communication solely face-to-face contact, but can be accessed by the click of a mouse or the swipe of a finger.
According to Leonard Sax, M.D., Ph.D (2010) : Today, a girl can be connected to other girls her own age almost every waking moment, via cell phone, texting, instant messaging, and so on. This technology can put girls at risk, because it deprives the girls of any break, any breather, any alternate perspective. According to one recent report, American teenagers now send an average of 2, 272 text messages each month. That works out to an average of more than 70 messages every day. And that's just the average" (2010, Sax, Girls On the Edge).
With such quick and overwhelming access, girls get sucked into the social media perspective of life and cannot get out. Suddenly, girls are expected to be “picture perfect” at every moment of the day from the moment they wake up to the very second before they fall asleep. This sense of a constant “picture perfect” world is what seems to drive girls to be oversexualized in their pictures, commonly seen through duckfaces, cleavage, short shorts, and crop tops.
“Selfie Image”: A new phenomenon. Even before Oxford Dictionary added “selfie” to it’s database in 2013, the “selfie” has become a common household noun. “Selfie” is defined by Urban Dictionary (2009) as, “A picture taken of yourself that is planned to be uploaded to Facebook, Myspace or any other sort of social networking website. You can usually see the person’s arm holding out the camera, in which case you can clearly tell that this person does not have any friends to take pictures of them” (urbandictionary.com). While somewhat brash in it’s definition, Urban Dictionary takes the selfie beyond common use and infers the insecurities that created selfies.
The harm that social media causes to girls is that self worth can now be paired with a price. The amount of “likes” a picture/status/tweet/etc can generate determines self-worth for many girls. This number is a permanent and tangible piece of evidence that girls fall back on. Social media brings a whole new meaning to the term “well-liked”. The “audience” which girls strive to please are subject to grow or shrink at any given moment. And the worst part is, it has become a competition. Thus, selfies have become a desperate attempt to up the popularity of an individual.
Now every person has the ability to gain “celebrity status” through social media. We follow what people eat, wear, say, who they hang out with, what they watch and listen to, and yet these are often the same people we see on a regular basis in person. This idea of being constantly “picture perfect” , “on”, and “performing for an audience” is what drives celebrities to do some of the things they do. This mentality drives stars to go to extremes and reach for new audiences. Girls are now going to the similar extremes because of the stress of a constant audience.
Furthermore, with social media girls have a greater opportunity for comparison. When every day is filled with scrolling past images of meticulously edited model shots of friends, girls begin to believe that their bodies need to be the same as these photos they see to be beautiful. According to Kendyl M. Klein in her thesis entitled, Why Don't I Look Like Her? The Impact of Social Media on Female Body Image (2011) a 2011 study by the University of Haifa, looked at the connection between the time girls ages 12 to 19 spent on Facebook and negative body image. It was discovered that, “the more time girls spend on Facebook, the more they suffered conditions of bulimia, anorexia, physical dissatisfaction, negative physical self-image, negative approach to eating and more of an urge to be on a weight-loss diet. “(2011, Klein, p. 25).
The direct correlation between social media use and a girl’s self perception is evident through the social and psychological issues that pepper every community in the United States. When a quick search of #selfie on instagram yields almost 7 million photos, it is apparent that this selfie epidemic is not subject to stop any time soon. These selfies are breaking down the emotional world of girls and causing them to believe that they are not good enough. From this belief, girls are going to harmful extremes to portray and/or change their bodies.
Distorted Reality: When the need to become thin goes too far.
Meghan Murphy-Gill (2014) states: According to the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty global study, more than 90 percent of girls ages 15 to 17 would change at least one of their physical attributes, with weight ranking as the highest priority. Almost 25 percent of girls would consider plastic surgery. The study showed that lacking confidence in physical appearance causes 70 percent of girls in that same age group to ‘avoid normal daily activities such as attending school, going to the doctor, or even giving their opinion. (2014, Gill, uscatholic.org).
The media has created a world where physical appearance is so emphasized that girls are unwilling to participate in healthy, everyday activities because of their insecurities about their appearance. When a girl is uncomfortable being at a school because she is afraid of how she will be viewed by those around her, there is an evident disconnect in a girls brain of 2015 between the social media world and the real world. This disconnect has been attributed to the media that floods every part of her world.
A girl in 2015 lives with the assumption that Vogue magazine models are naturally that thin, that being skinny will make her happy, and that she is the only one that does not naturally have a body that matches society’s ideal. A girl in 2015 lives with a constant voice in her head telling her that she is not good enough and is judged by her peers because they, like her, have been taught to judge completely on appearance. A girl in 2015 is so focused on impressing others that she forgets the harm she is doing to her body in order to “fit in” and become “beautiful.”
Melissa Atkins Wardy, (2014) in her book “Redefining Girly: How parents can fight the stereotyping and sexualization of girlhood, from birth to tween”, explained:
A 2008 Australian study of fifty-three preschoolers revealed many of them had already picked up messages like "fat is bad" and "skinny is healthy." The four-year-old girls showed they have been taught to be weight conscious, while the boys demonstrated the knowledge to "eat more in order to bulk up."; Nearly half of three-to six-year-old girls worry about becoming fat; 42 percent of first-to third-grade girls want to be thinner; 81 percent of ten-year-olds are afraid of becoming fat and have admitted to dieting; 53 percent of thirteen-year-old girls are unhappy with their bodies; 78 percent of seventeen-year-old girls are unhappy with their bodies and 32 percent of them admit to starving themselves to lose weight. (2014, Wardy, “Redefining Girly: How Parents Can Fight the Stereotyping and sexualizating of Girlhood, from Birth to Tween”, pp. 91-92).
The distorted world that society has created through the media quickly becomes a reality for children when they begin dieting, exercising excessively, and starving themselves to meet the ideal image that the media has created.
Klein (2011) : Thinspiration, according to the Families Empowered and Supporting Treatment of Eating Disorders Glossary, is: ’Any form of media, print, online, pictures, videos, etc. that are utilized in an unhealthy manner to promote continued weight loss. This information can take the form of images of slim celebrities; individuals afflicted with an eating disorder or emaciated models and is often exchanged amongst members of online pro-eating disorder communities (pro-ana, pro-mia) [...] Poems, music lyrics, quotes, sayings, etc. that encourage weight loss, promote the eating disorder and endorse it as being a lifestyle and choice rather than an illness.’ (F.E.A.S.T). (2011, Klein, p. 10).
Thinspiration is not found in dictionaries, online or print. When searching for “thinspiration” on an internet search engine, it asks if “inspiration” is meant. How different these two words are. Thinspiration is not inspiration but rather having a distorted obsession with being thin and then feeding this obsession with media that supports the faulty perspective. But this mental obsession can lead to extreme measures.
ED: The abusive boyfriend. Our friend, 16-year-old, Rachel, has a boyfriend. He tells her what to wear because he says she looks fat in most of her clothes. He controls what she eats because he tells her she must have a perfect body, and, as a result, Rachel eats an average of 200 calories a day. He tells Rachel that she must be exercising an average of 3 hours a day in order to have the ideal body. Rachel’s boyfriend is named ED. Also known as an eating disorder.
Sadly, Rachel is not the only one with a boyfriend named ED. According to the NYC Girl’s Project, (2015) “An estimated 24 million people suffer from anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorder. . ." (http://www.nyc.gov). Eating disorders are a growing epidemic in the modern world. This “thinspiration” revolution has moved people of all circumstances to eating disorders. However, the majority of these psychological victims are women and girls. The NYC Girls’ Project further states, “Up to 4.2 percent of women have suffered from anorexia; up to 4 percent will have bulimia; 2.8 percent of American adults will struggle with binge eating disorder." The most well-known eating disorders are anorexia and bulimia. However, a new eating disorder has developed recently: EDNOS, or Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified.
Anorexia Nervosa. According to the American Psychological Association, people with anorexia nervosa suffer from:“a distorted body image that causes them to see themselves as overweight even when they're dangerously thin. Often refusing to eat, exercising compulsively, and developing unusual habits such as refusing to eat in front of others, they lose large amounts of weight and may even starve to death.” (2015, http://www.apa.org/). Anorexics focus upon starving themselves in order to be thin.
Anorexia Nervosa is not a made-up disease but a reality. According to Margo Maine (2009), “Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness.” (2009, “Something’s Happening Here: Sexual Objectification, Body Image Distress, and Eating Disorders”, Olfman, The Sexualization of Childhood, p. 63). Anorexia, a mental disorder that often leads to death, is often developed after a series of choices. Without these small decisions based upon body image, anorexia would be less likely to occur. The media has crept so intimately into the lives of teens and girls that it has changed the very way the brain works. For those that don’t die, the long lasting effects of anorexia still remain. According to Stephanie Lein from Eating Disorders Online (2015), Anorexia can cause damage to organs, the digestive system, the skin and hair, and hormones (http://www.eatingdisordersonline.com). The lack of knowledge when it comes to anorexia is what allows girls to fall into its trap. If more girls knew the effects of anorexia, less would commit to its death bed.
Bulimia Nervosa. According to the American Psychological Association (2015), "Bulimia Nervosa, is diagnosed in people who:“eat excessive quantities, and then purge their bodies of the food and calories they fear by using laxatives, enemas, or diuretics; vomiting; or exercising. Often acting in secrecy, they feel disgusted and ashamed as they binge, yet relieved of tension and negative emotions once their stomachs are empty again” (http://www.apa.org/). Bulimics focus on binge eating and then using any and every resource to make their stomachs empty. Oftentimes, Bulimia Nervosa is developed after Anorexia Nervosa. According to Richard Kerr from Bulimia Help (2012), Bulimia has similar long-lasting effects to Anorexia, except it also includes mouth ulcers and tooth decay (Kerr, http://www.bulimiahelp.org/). This disease often has more lasting effects because it causes the body more harm to binge and regurgitate than to simply starve oneself.
EDNOS: Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. According to the American Psychology Association (2015), “EDNOS is specifically defined as a condition when individuals have eating-related problems but don’t meet the official criteria for anorexia, bulimia or binge eating” (http://www.apa.org/). Individuals with EDNOS are not starving themselves nor are they binge eating, but they are living an unhealthy lifestyle in order to be thin. This eating disorder is probably the most common, yet the least diagnosed.
The effects of EDNOS, however, are not less than other eating disorders. Those with EDNOS are not without dire need of help. The line between a healthy lifestyle and eating disorders has become blurred; it is now indistinguishable for girls and teens. The media has created such a mental block between reality and fake ideals that girls cannot be expected to know which is which anymore.
The media is rapidly changing the way that teenagers and little girls see themselves. In a world that is so saturated by media influence, girls believe that this distorted reality is the only reality. A girl cannot exist without encountering media that tells her that she cannot be accepted without a perfect body, perfect hair, and perfect outfit. These “qualifications” are not just unrealistic, but completely unattainable. But what keeps these unattainable ideals alive, is society’s ability to uphold them. From human nature’s need to be accepted, society has taken to these ideals in order to find acceptance. For example, facebook thrives off of people who find the need to be “liked” and to have lots of “friends” in order to boost their confidence.
The media has changed the way that girls think. Girls are focused on an ever-present audience that they must please and because of such, base the way they act, dress, and who they associate with on the fact that an “audience” may see them at any moment. Girls become so hyper focused on what commercials tell them is right that they go to extremes in order to change themselves and such extremes, like the ominous eating disorder, can lead to immense bodily harm.
The media, in all its’ forms, has taught little girls to be something so different from their natural form that they do not even know what it means to be a girl. The connotation of “girl” has transformed from a female with nurturing qualities to an object to be lusted after. When this is all they have known, this is all that they will act upon.
Girls need an extreme shift in perspective. Girls need the knowledge that Barbie and Vogue models are not realistic, that “likes” are just a number, that eating disorders are harmful, that being kind is more important than being skinny, and that it is okay to be a girl. But they cannot do it themselves. Though one picture can destroy a girl’s self confidence, likewise, one compliment can build her up. Girls every day are faced with people that comment on their pant size, clothing, makeup, and body type. Girls need people to comment on their personality, acts of kindness, and achievements. We must show girls what it means to truly be a woman.
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